Monday, August 24, 2009

Kidz at Heart Team talks about Africa Teacher Training












Flagstaff, AZ -- About 130 people showed up for the Kidz at Heart International - Tanzania presentation last night - it was awesome to be so supported by friends, family and prayer supporters. For those of you who could not attend, the notes for my five-minute talk follow.

Dorane King opened the presentation with an actual Kidz at Heart opener that we do at the seminars. Ishmael Munene translated it into Swahili so the audience got a flavor of how the seminars go w/translation... Pastor Doug closed w/a Kidz action story and got all to participate. Holy fun!

Notes:
During this trip, I saw so many examples of the Goodness of God. I have time to share only three.

Richard, was staying at the Lyamungo Retreat Center where we slept and ate our breakfast and evening meals. He was retired, and the Bishop had ordered him to this tranquil retreat center. Because, I think, the grief of losing his wife in March was damaging his health.

Us chatty and gregarious Americans befriended him, right away calling him by first name, Richard. At dinner he taught us the Swahili names of what we were eating. Our favorite word for a yucky-tasting vegetable: “nya nya chungu” -- he translated the word as “something nasty.” We attended a local wedding with our new friend and he taught me that greeting an older person or a person of honor should be done with “Shika Mow” not the "Karibu" I had been using and was appropriate for people of my own age or social status.
This was especially interesting for me because I am a student of anthropology and was the “Cultural Expert” of the trip. Kids at Heart’s title, not mine…I can assure you.  It was several days into our growing Christian friendship with Richard that he admitted, in a whisper, “But I am not a retired pastor, I am a retired Bishop.” You can imagine our surprise –and embarrassment – as we looked back at what he had been trying to teach us about honoring others.
God is so good, and he loves Richard so much that He sent us to be with Richard during those two weeks. We laid hands on him and prayed for his healing. One of our members was led by the Holy Spirit to pray in tongues and another look part in the healing when his grief and sorrow was spiritually transferred to her for a matter of time. Bishop Richard appreciated our prayers. He said, “Pastors have people that pray FOR them, but not WITH them. Bishops don’t have either.”
It was by the goodness of God that we were shifted to an unexpected venue for our Kidz at Heart teachers training. He wanted those Sunday school teachers to come and learn funs ways to present the gospel. He loves those teachers and those kids so much that the wickedness of men would not stop the training! We were blessed to observe the teachers using the methods we had shared in the next Sunday's classes.
Four of us extended our stay in Africa and visited the island of Zanzibar. An island means a ferry ride. Unfortunately we didn’t know that July’s windy season made the ferry ride miserable. I should have known when they handed out barf bags – with the ferry company’s logo imprinted on it – that it would be a bad sailing day. The big plastic containers in the middle of the aisles were where the seamen dumped the full “personal relief” bags. As they picked up a full bag, they would hand the poor seasick passenger another, And that is how it went for two hours. 80-90% of the people were sick. The poor Muslim ladies all covered in their black burkas with the little slits for their eyes.… and our poor was Mary sea sick for two hours.
But God loved Mary so much, that he had made arrangements for taking care of her. Before we left, we had decided last minute to order a car and driver to pick us up when we got off the ferry. If it were not for the two big, handsome men that came with the taxi that took each one of Mary’s arms into their own and helped her down the steep gang plank, I don’t know what we would have done.
Thank you all for being part of our team. You all were to me, on this trip, examples of God’s goodness.
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Stacey "Vagabonding Lulu" Wittig is a Flagstaff travel writer who just returned from Tanzania, East Africa where she served on a Kidz at Heart International mission team. Follow her travel escapades on her next adventure, Grand Canyon River rafting with Flagstaff-based Canyoneers river company by "subscribing" to this blog in the right-hand column.

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