I took these picture one of our last mornings in Tanzania before the girls and I got on a plane to come home. We were on the mainland and that night Evy screamed for hours. She had a high fever and we took turns holding and comforting her most of the night in the small banda we had rented. When she started crying again at about 4:45am I joined her. I was exhausted. In every sense of that word. But I picked Evy up, grabbed my shoes, a kanga to strap her to my back, a sweatshirt, and thankfully my camera. The mountains in Iringa were beautiful and the early morning mist was rising off them making everything appear hidden but struggling to be seen.
Like they were rolling and adjusting and stretching to touch the heavens. I left our campground and walked well worn walking paths in the chill of the morning. I took deep breathes and smelled the African dust and mossy earth. I talked to my Savior. I told Him my fears, confessed my inadequacies, and received the quietness of His Love. It was completely silent except for the sounds of animals scurrying and wind blowing and the occasional rustle of people making their way through the bush. And that I remember so clearly. The peace. We passed Tanzanians walking to their fields and greeted everyone who inevitably asked about the sleeping baby on my back. It was all breath taking. A reminder that He who created these mountains is intimately involved in my life. It was all an unexpected gift from the Lord.

For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs

Zephaniah 3:17

This trip home has been that as well. Unexpected but a special gift. And nothing is unexpected to God. Good perspective to have when I take myself too seriously. We are heading back in just 5 days. Feels surreal but we are ready. Being back here has been a time of reconnecting with people. His timing was right on. We needed it. We had time to enjoy more time as a family, we got to take care of medical issues that were pressing on us, we saw family and met little ones that were born in our absence, the girls got to bond more with our family and connect to American culture, I hope we were an encouragement to many people, we were blessed and encouraged and feel recharged and excited to go back, we tried to encourage family members going through some real struggles, we get to celebrate my sister’s graduation, drove too much to see everyone we could, spent time with our grandparents, and spend time being with people we love dearly. plain awesome.
And being back has also increased my longing for there. One week during our time in Iowa J’s parents were on vacation and we had the house to ourselves. This time was special but one morning the silence and calm actually made me miss the chaos of our home island-side. I wanted to sit with my neighbors and listen to their stories as they came over to wash laundry. I wanted to hear shule kids running in our shamba without permission. I wanted just one person to stop over and share some neighborhood news over banana muffins and juice. I am missing the chaos and the normal of our island. Even though our life there feels anything but normal most days. But it is our new way of being and when God changes your life He radically shifts your desires and longings. I was not prepared for this but I am trying to live more in the unexpected blessings. We are sure that He has more for our family on our little island and so we go. And know nothing that follows is unexpected to Him.
  1. Anonymous says:

    I am a faithful follower of the your journeys! I am so thankful that all four of you were able to enjoy this time in the US together!! I will continue to pray for ALL of your health, especially sweet Evy, and for the peace that transcends all understanding as you go back to your island. And . . . I think I've told you this before, but I did a semester in college at the campsite near Riverside . . . many sweet memories of morning quiet times on my rock in the middle of the river, runs up the hillside and through the coffee field, my persistent fear of bumping into the hippo in the middle of the night, the beauty of the birds and my undying love for Iringanet internet cafe. So I love seeing your pictures of the place where I really got to know Africa. Praying for a sweet last few days for you here, and a sweet reunion with your home over there!

  2. Anonymous says:

    okay so seriously, should at SOME POINT learn to only check your blog when I am by myself because you make me cry like 75% of the time. This post is beautifully written just like the heart that is writing it. Thanks for sharing!