During the month of April we saw the winds change from coming from the north to coming from the south. The winds brought with them more rain, and most of the month there were large waves on the lake. Since the lake is also the"road" leading in and out of the village, April usually isn't the best time to travel or have visitors. We had been hoping and praying for a while though that our pastor from Dar es Salaam would be able to come and visit us and see the ministry we've started. It worked out that he was able to come for the last couple of days we had in the village, and though we weren't sure how he'd make it in, the lake calmed down enough for him to be able to come. We were really encouraged by his visit and it was good to hear his thoughts on things.
Our trip out of the village: Pastor Christopher who came to visit us is in the center.
The weeks before his visit we were busy trying to wrap things up. Once people got word that we were selling things it felt like they were circling around us like hyaenas. We sold the more coveted items (like the solar panel and battery) but kept most of our furniture (which wasn't a lot) in storage. We had a box of books we were selling and we had kids in our house whenever school was out looking through them. When they'd find one they liked they would save up their money and buy the book (we were selling them for 25 cents a piece). We also had a lot of goodbyes to say (an important thing to do in this culture). We went around and said our goodbyes to the teachers and students at the primary school as well as the secondary school where Neil was teaching English. We also said our goodbyes to the different churches we'd been getting to know, as well as the church leaders. We said goodbye to the guys Neil played soccer with and gave the village team a new soccer ball. Lastly we said goodbye to our friends and to the place we lived for the past year and a half.
The teachers gave us a certificate thanking us for teaching at the primary school.
The village soccer team
That whole month somehow went by really slow, but now the seasons have changed and we're out of the village and getting ready to transition back to life in the States (we don't know yet for how long). Because village life took up most of our thoughts and energy, and because we had limited communication with the broader world, we weren't able to think to much about the season we're going into until now. So far the plan we've come up with is something like this:
May: Spend time with, share testimonies with, and teach at the churches we've been a part of in the city. Attend some more meetings with our mission leadership discussing future plans and strategy. Do some tourist things with Rachelle's sister who just came to visit us for a few weeks before we leave.
June: Travel to South Africa for a week to do a debrief with a missionary couple there. They are South Africans who have been with Ethnos for many years and have done a church plant in a village in Mozambique. From there we hope to travel back to the Midwest part of the US, where we're planning to spend some time with Neil's family before we eventually make our way back to Idaho (maybe July). It's kind of tricky making plans these days so we don't want to set anything in stone until after we get back to the US, but if you'd like to see us while we're in the US, we can start getting in touch.