We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Up the Spout and Cavalcades!

The house is very nearly completely empty! The bags are either bursting their seams or breaking the weight limit! And we have lots of people to thank for looking after the girls, storing bags, fixing things, tipping things, cleaning things..... Thanks so much all of you who have helped! It has not been an easy week trying to get it all done with the plumbing going up the spout and our broadband getting prematurely cut! But thanks to Tula next door, we were able to use both a toilet and a computer in the midst of the chaos! We are now living with Tim's Mum and Dad who are very generously accommodating the four of us and also a very massive load of "stuff"!! (There was an awful lot that didn't fit in the bags!) Mum and Dad are basically helping us in every way to get out of our house and then out of this country by next Tuesday - no easy feat!

We have sold our car now! We are still trying to find tenants for our house, really hoping we can get a family in very soon. We are booked in to start Swahili school (a 25 minute walk from our house) soon after we arrive! The course is Mon-Fri from 8am-1pm for eight weeks. Tim is going to go full-time, I will do 2 days a week so has to be able to teach the girls at home at least 3 days a week!

We had a wonderful two days with Tim's parents in London last week. The girls were able to see all the sights of the capital for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it! We also had a farewell party with the Monger clan on Sunday and it was great to see so many family members before we go!

This Sunday is our commisioning and farewell with Tadley Community Church. It is at the Community Centre at 10:30am and you are all welcome to come! There will be a lunch following! And then we fly out on the Tuesday evening at 7:20pm. Please let us know if you are able to help take one of us and a bag or two to the airport as we need a bit of a cavalcade with our 16 bags! We will be leaving around 2pm I think!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Pots in the kettle and socks in mugs!

Sixteen days to go! Seven bags and two boxes all packed and weighed! And it's some pretty amazing packing if I can say so myself!! All our clothes (except those we have left out for the next few weeks) carefully laid, rolled and vacuum packed to easily fit in one bag with room to spare! And things packed inside other things so that every empty space and little nook and cranny is filled! There are pots in the kettle and socks in the mugs and cappucino mixes used like bubble wrap! I have to admit I really do love the art of packing! But I also must admit I have completely had enough now! I am getting a little stressed with the weight of books and the never-ending pile of "stuff" still waiting to get in a bag!

We had a lovely day yesterday at the wedding of my cousin, Ben to Sarah! It was a beautiful wedding and it was so good to see my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents before we leave! The girls thoroughly enjoyed the fun day and being with all the cousins, big and small!

Amisadai and Louisa with Ben!

This week we will have our last jabs! Typhoid and Hep. A/B on Monday and then we are done! The girls have had no strange reactions from their malaria tablets which is good news and means we can continue with these tablets! Tim and I will get our tablets on Monday. We are going to be moving in with Tim's parents this week and also having two days in London, for the girls to see the sights of the capital before we go! Meanwhile we keep praying for tenants for our house and a buyer for our car! And we keep packing .... and packing... and packing ...

Friday, 13 August 2010

An Empty House and Christmas Pudding!

For the first time my stomach has turned with pangs of nervous apprehension! What have we done?! The house is now eerily empty. We are all sitting and sleeping on the floor and eating off old picnic plates! Everything ready to go to Tanzania is in Louisa's bedroom, so the next job is to pack it all up with the odds and ends in the kitchen and garage as well as whatever shoes and clothes we can fit in! The big question ... how many bags and how much will it weigh? Despite the nervous moment, it is very exciting to realise that we are actually moving to Africa very soon.

The bonus of eating our way through our cupboards and freezer, turned out on Wednesday to be the excitement of a Christmas pudding! We savoured every mouthful to make up for this Christmas when for I think the very first year, we may not get one! How festive for August!

You may have noticed that our "Growing Support" is really growing! Thank you so much to everyone who is supporting us in the work we are going to do! It is so incredible to be going to serve in Tanzania through the support of so many friends! It is amazing to see how God is providing what we need, and even the special extras like a piano! I realised today as I played my piano for the last time, how much harder it would have been to lose it had I not had one to look forward to in Tanzania!

In the midst of all the packing up (thanks Ben, Martin and Geoff!) we are enjoying special times with family before we go! We went out with Tim's brother Chris and his family on Sunday - all the cousins enjoyed bowling and going out for pizza! On Monday, the girls and I had a wonderful day visiting my grandparents in Hove.

The girls came home today from a sleepover at Tim's parents with their cousins, Imogen and Elle. A lot of fun and not much sleep! And tomorrow we go to my aunt and uncle's with all my mom's side of the family! Good times!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Tortoises, Paint and Packing!

With just 29 days to go now, the anticipation (and panic!) is building! Only two weeks left in our house! The living room is now almost empty ... just a piano, few coffee tables and lots of boxes. And it is being painted (with the kind help of Tim's Dad!) for our mystery tenants (yes - we still need some!)

The goal this week is to box up the belongings that we would like to keep but not take with us. My aunt and uncle have very kindly offered us a room in their house to store things. And so this weekend we are driving a moving van to Nottingham with our couches and other bits of furniture along with our boxes of china and dishes and other special things we really don't want to part with! Not knowing when we will see all these things again is a very strange thought!

Everything that can't go to my aunt and uncle's or fit in our suitcases (or possibly squeeze in our loft!) is going to be sold on Saturday at a garage sale at the home of our late friend Billy Excell. Janet and Mike have very kindly offered to hold this sale to sell Billy's and our things in support of us! We are really grateful! If you are around on Saturday, August 14th, please stop by 22 Duke's Ride, Silchester (RG7 2PY) ... there will be cakes too!

So next week our home living will be most peculiar - no furniture, no beds, no proper dishes! I think it will really feel like our adventure is beginning then! And the packing for Tanzania will begin in earnest! And the decorating and work on the house/garage ... and some shopping (we still don't have a camera and we need to do our Christmas shopping!) ... and a few more jabs ... ! And interspersed with all these jobs is the wonderful distraction from the stressful reality of packing and decorating ... lots of visiting! As the food is gradually getting rather boring and thin on the ground in this house, we will enjoy all the more some meals with friends over the next few weeks! We certainly enjoyed our coffee and croissants with the Davies yesterday!

And finally, the latest news from Tanzania is that we are to be the proud carers of two tortoises when we arrive! How fun is that!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Flights Booked ... it's definite!

It is Tim posting as a guest blogger on what is supposed to be a joint blog, but up to now has only been Rachel’s work. On Thursday afternoon we received an email from Emmanuel International, to say that our flights have been booked and paid for (up to this point they had only been on hold).

Tuesday 7 September departing at 1920 from London Heathrow on a BA 767 to Dar-es-Salaam. I guess that means we're actually going! All this preparation and planning, and now finally something is more than pencilled in. Life is going to change!

Today I enjoyed our Sunday morning routine of croissants and coffee for breakfast, realising we don't have many more of these left. What are we going to do when we get to Iringa? Can we learn to make croissants, as I'm sure there are no French patisseries there? We should be ok for the coffee as we'll squeeze a cafetiere into our luggage. Anyway, all this to say we're leaving a life we're fond of for something new and unknown. But we go, knowing this is path God
has opened to us and, as our daughter Amisadai
said, “So that we can help people.”

The reality is also sinking in that we're not going to make it on our own (we're going to struggle to move out of our house in the next three weeks and have it ready for tenants by 1 September). But that's ok, since what could be perceived as a point of weakness is actually a point of strength and cause of appreciation. We were never meant to live life alone. Nor is our venture simply an individual pursuit. So many of our friends from the different aspects of our lives have got behind and underneath us – for which we are so grateful – that it feels a whole community venture. It’s just that we are the ones actually going. But everyone else’s part is just as needed, whether that be buying a recipe book, or fixing something, or saying a prayer, or looking after the children. So, “Thank you.”