Neil and Rachelle's Update
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We sat on the shore of Lake Nyasa, wondering if the waves would ever calm down. Our co-workers, the Lopez family, who came to Tanzania ten months ago from Mexico, were visiting us from Dar es Salaam, where they are learning Swahili, and we told them we would try to take them to see a village on the lake.  It didn’t look like it was going to happen though, and as the waves continued to roll in, no one seemed to eager to take us out in their dugout canoes. Then one of our guests heard my phone ringing, handed it to Rachelle, and then she brought it to me. I looked at the unknown number, and decided to answer it anyway. It was a guy named Alexi, who I had first met in a village an 8 hour boat ride from there down the lake. I hadn’t talked to him since then, so I was surprised to hear from him.  It turned out he was in the village where we were wanting to visit, and he offered to come get us in a small rowboat. After a couple hours of paddling, we all made it to the village. 
Over the course of the last few years, and especially in the last couple of months, we’ve been getting a heavy dose of uncertainty. Going into new places, meeting new people, using public transportation, hoping for good weather, we’re always reminded of how little control we have. We’ve had to learn to be flexible, to make new plans as we go, and to hold them loosely. And yet, later that same night on the shore of Lake Nyasa, after we’d returned from our adventure in that village, I stood under the starlit sky and looked up at the whirling clouds illuminated by the moon, palm leaves rustling over my head and sand under my feet, and felt like a small child who knows their father is watching them.  I thought of how God has helped us learn a new language, of how he protected us while we were living in that crazy place in Dar es Salaam. Of how he’s guided us when we’ve gone into different villages, of how he’s helped us to eat strange food, and how he’s helped us to sleep at night in dark places. I thought of Rachelle and Micah and of how God’s protected them during the times I’ve been gone and the times they’ve travelled with me. I thought of all the friends I’ve met, many of whom still don’t have any idea what God is really like and how he cares for them. I wondered if God will really have me go live with them, or will he reveal himself to them through someone else or in some other way? Even though there is so much that remains uncertain, I know there is one thing I can be certain of, and that is that I’m part of God’s family and He is watching over us.
Just eight days from now, we’ll be leaving our house here in Mbeya and travelling back to Dar es Salaam.  We’ve already sold most of our things, including our chickens, and we’ve found a place to store the rest. We’ve finished our survey work in both the Bungu and the Kisi areas, and on Sunday I’ll be sharing at our church. We were planning on a trip to Mozambique later this month, but now we’re not certain if we’ll be able to go, due to some visa issues. These same issues could potentially keep us from coming back to Tanzania, so please pray that God’s will be done in this situation. Also pray for our old neighbors, who we’ll get to see again when we return to Dar es Salaam.  We have plane tickets to return to the US May 7th, so pray for us as we transition back into life in the States as well.
A family we stayed with in one of the villages on the Lake.
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