Monday, August 31, 2009

Tanzania - Are You a Part of the Future?

Saturday, October 3rd, 6pm in Charter Hall
Share a meal, hear stories, see pictures, and learn what the future holds for Atonement and International Health Partners (IHP)-Tanzania. Paula & Denny Lofstrom (IHP missionaries) will be with us to share their vision and to celebrate. Gabe Bargen, Audiologist and Atonement member, will also speak to her experience of the mission she took part of in June, to Guatemala.

Tickets will be sold $5/person or $15/family. Proceeds will benefit IHP-Tanzania and are available for purchase three ways:
1.) Before and after worship weekend of 9/12-9/13 & 9/26-9/27
2.) Call or email Brooke Hodnefield, Dir Service Ministries, at the church.
3.) Find a member of the Tanzania travel team.

Beautiful jewelry, crafts, and baskets from Africa will be available for purchase on Saturday & Sunday, October 4th-3rd, before and after services in the Narthex. Proceeds will benefit International Health Partners Tanzania and African Team Ministries.

“Jesus expected His disciples to fulfill their mission because they had been fully equipped to do so. The same holds true for us. When God sends us out on a mission, He gives us the ability to do the mission, the power that will accomplish the mission. He gives us everything we need.”
-Life Principles Study Series: Talking with God, By Dr. Charles F. Stanley

No Hurry

A slow Monday morning in KC, wishing that things were as laid back as in Africa.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Trip Highlight from Jim and Cindy

One of the true highlights of our trip was getting to know our safari driver, Greyson Mndeme.

Greyson was very good at locating animals – maybe because he has made over 600 trips through the Serengeti!

He also told us many wonderful facts about the animals. Perhaps the most interesting was that every animal has a natural enemy. He said that an elephant has no predators, but can be brought down by an ant. There are ants that can get into the elephant’s ears. The elephant is driven so crazy that they hit their heads against a tree or rock until they die.

We learned that Greyson is Lutheran. His father is a retired Pastor who is now teaching. Greyson sings in the forty member choir at his church. He shared with us that he donated money for the choir at a mission church that we passed as we drive to Arusha. His home is about 15 km outside Arusha. He rides a daladala to and from work at J&M Tours. He saves his money for his children’s education. When they are educated, he will save for a car.

Each morning as we started out on safari we sang “Asante Sana Yesu” which means “Thank you, thank you Jesus”. Greyson taught us the second verse “Nakupenda Jesu”. I’m not sure of the spelling, but it means “I love you Jesus”.

We have mailed Greyson our two Atonement choir's CDs. We are so grateful to know him and to know that even though he lives almost 9000 miles away, we share a common faith.

Cindy and Jim Peine

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Fall Kickoff Celebration is at Atonement this Sunday, August 30th
9:30 -10:30am & Noon -1:30pm in the Front Parking Lot

There will be a BBQ Lunch and Fun Activities - plus the Atonement Ministry Teams will be showing what is coming up in the fall and sharing opportunities for you to Learn, Grow and Serve!

Cost for a meal of hamburgers, hotdogs and more is $5 per person or $15 per family. Sheridan’s will be serving cool, refreshing frozen custard with assorted toppings in a 12 oz cup for only $3.50

The Service Ministries display will feature our recent M4M Mission Trip and also promoting the upcoming dinner on October 3, "Tanzania-Are you a part of the future?" Tickets for the dinner will be available on Sunday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Giraffe Pix

Close up of a giraffe as he stared at us in our safari car.

An even closer shot of his face - he was as still as a statue as we watched him and he watched us back.

He was all by himself out on the plains as we approached the Ngorongoro Crater Area.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Giraffe Pix

Every time I see this shot it makes me smile, I am not sure
what happened that I only ended up with the giraffe's snout.

She was standing so calm, almost as if she was posing for us out in the Serengeti.

A better shot of her, with her whole head.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Market Road

These pix were all taken on July 7 from the window of a moving car - on very bumpy, dusty dirt roads between Moshi and Marangu.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Contruction Update from Denny

Denny writes on August 20-

"The past 2 months have been extremely busy with two major construction teams on site. In June the One Community Spiritual Center team came from Kansas City and worked on the suspended ceilings in the Bogumil Birthing Center, and made remarkable progress, and in July the Atonement group came and completed all the exterior walls of the eye center – raised the massive main girder into place so the trusses could be hoisted into place. We wish each team could have spent another week, but the work on both units has continued with our Tanzanian workers applying the skills they have acquired working with the teams from the U.S.
The local construction team has the trusses for the eye clinic are almost all up. A roast goat for lunch was the reward for getting them all done that day.
Sele isn’t able to be everyplace at once, so Pastor Francis Gunda and I set up a temporary desk in the middle of the birthing center to supervise the crews. Francis is invaluable when it comes to translating a new concept for which Swahili doesn’t even have a word to describe it, i.e., “Build the wall out so it is flush with this wall.” They got it done and it’s impressive!
At the birthing center the elevated wall is complete around the central area where the central nurses station will be and ready for the suspended ceiling to be put in place. Then, we will be ready for artists to paint the murals. The building looks great, and the roof will be finished before the rains start again.

Sele has another crew at work on the eye center. They have finished all the inside walls and are fabricating the seven extra trusses needed. All of the 21 trusses are up and in place, and the roof will be on before the rains begin. Last year the first rain was on Sept. 1st. The truss manufacturers in the U.S. don’t understand torrential tropical rain. Channel lock roofing seams will leak unless placed over a truss and fastened at nor more than 12” spaces. Purlins at 2 foot intervals just don’t do the job. So, that is why Sele’s crew fabricated 7 more trusses to conform to the 36” intervals of the propane metal roofing (not for added strength as we have no snow load to contend with.)

We have purchased 638 bags of cement at a very reasonable price from the Diocese’s supplier and mixing sand from which has eliminated the usual high transportation costs. Magola has utilized our Lego Blue Lorry to good advantage. (Now though, the engine needs an overhaul. It’s way, way past due and will cost $1200.) We are ready to start the concreting of the walls on both units next week. We will keep you up-to-date on the progress with pictures at intervals.

Our method of construction has generated a fair amount of local interest with two parties asking us to design buildings for them, and to build them for them! They are impressed by our Tanzanian work crews, made up of both men and women doing construction work, and they were amazed at the rapid construction by the teams from the U.S.

One local observer came by the eye center daily, looked at the building, ran his hand over the metal lath, then shook his head as if he couldn’t believe it. When he noticed me watching him he smiled and gave me a thumnbs up.

We thank you for all your continued support which makes all of this possible"

A Story from Brooke

"My Tanzanian Friend, Thomas Ratism-
This statement sounds so cheesy, but friendship transcends age, language, and culture. I found this to be evident through my interactions with Thomas, our dear Tour Coordinator through JM Tours; who I began working with over a year and ½ ago! No question was too quirky and our group had some quirky questions!
Benedict and Brooke along with Thomas.

My first impression of him via email was that he was absolutely passionate about Ernest Hemingway…seems odd, but he educated me on the fact that Ernest Hemingway began his writing career at the Kansas City Star. Thomas even inquired as to whether the KC Star was still in print and he was thrilled when I brought him a copy. I have a treasured copy of The Green Hills of Africa that Thomas gave me as a parting gift. Funny how something as simple as a book could have such a nostalgic aura!

Once we finally met in person in Tanzania, he and I emailed extensively back and forth, to the point where I was hiking the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro and I received an email asking, “How is the hike?” He shared several meals with our group and nothing about it was awkward or unassuming. Our nightly meetings about the next day’s agenda were nothing like I had experienced…anything I asked or any alteration to our previous agenda was met with very little concern and certainly not a single bit of urgency. And I LOVED that. I operate so much on my own sense of urgency that it was absolutely delightful to not have that feeling present, or the pressure!

We have so much to learn from others and certainly above all else, we have so much to respect about each other. Thomas is a dear man that I will never forget.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Little Scouts

On the last Saturday morning in Mwanza these children stopped for some pictures as they were passing by the eye clinic construction site.

What a cutie in her bright and colorful scouting garb.

They were all dressed in their different uniforms and on their way to their scout meetings.

Monday, August 17, 2009

African Sunflowers and Cheerful Smiles

It is a rainy Monday morning here in Kansas City and with the dreary weather at the beginning of this week it seems fitting to post some pix of bright and cheerful African sunflowers.

These pix were taken while visiting Janet's batik studio outside of Moshi.

Sunflowers were seen everywhere as we drove along the roads of Tanzania. They were usually seen at the perimeters of corn fields as they create a natural barrier around the crops.

This family was working along a sunflower border around a corn field, collecting bean plants from in between the rows of corn and then beating them to release and collect the beans

Their smiles are cheerful along with the sunflowers.

More smiles as they waved to send us on our way.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Christian Community and Service in Jesus Name

Pastor Janice, one of the members of our M4M team, preached at Atonement last Sunday and she referred to our recent trip to Tanzania as she spoke about Christian Community.
" put 34 people together for two weeks, 24 hours a day, in a land where water is scarce, where toilets sometimes flush, and where if you get a shower it may be refreshingly cold and invigorating - and it is in that kind of setting you really see the truth about each other.
And here's some of the truth of what we discovered...
When you mix the Holy Spirit in with a group of people who are offering themselves and all that they have for service for Jesus' sake - something remarkable happens.
...all of the talents we put on the table and mixed up and everything got put to use for the good of community, for the good of our smaller community (there during that time), but really for the community - all of those who are going to be coming to that clinic for expanded medical care.
We received blessings as well, many blessings from getting to know people who see the world through very different eyes, and getting just a glimpse of the importance of faith in their lives. The blessings were bountiful in the time and it was a remarkable experience of living in community, and it worked for us because we had a common goal, a purpose - and that was service in Jesus' name..."

To hear all of Janice's sermon click here for the link on Atonement's website.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Phyllis Shares a Story from the Trip

"This week everywhere I went I saw kids getting ready for school which, for most, starts next week. Most were excited with the thoughts of buying new backpacks and school clothes. The selection of notebooks, markers and pencils to put in those backpacks was unlimited.
As I watched this, and participated in the rush, I thought about our experience in Tanzania. Jim, Cindy, John and I took a break one day from the building site and walked across the road to the school. We were surrounded by maybe 15-20 excited children. We politely said "Jambo" (our Swahili is limited) and were greeted back. We greeted their teacher and gave her our giraffes so she could share them with the children.

The children were having a break outside. There were no toys or playground equipment except for a teeter totter on the dusty ground surrounded by a few trees. But the kids were like kids everywhere on recess. They were excited about having their picture taken. We asked their teacher and she gave us permission. They huddled around us and smiled beautifully. Of course, they all wanted to see their picture.

Being a teacher, I wished I could see the inside of their building. It looked so dark and small. I wondered if they had books, art supplies, even electricity. I have watched kids at school for many years. My students each have a computer, all of the special classes such as music, art, technology, p.e... with all of the equipment they need. They have wonderful libraries with huge screen TVs and the latest technology. But when you watch them at recess they are kids just like the kids in Tanzania. They want to be talked to, they want to play with friends, and they want to have fun.

Some of us later took some time at the contruction site of the eye clinic to sand down some of the remnants of the 2X4's into blocks for the Tanzanian kids to play with. I think what I took away from this experience is that we are all God's people, even though our lives are so different. We are so blessed in this country and I am thankful for the opportunity I have been given to see another part of God's world, so different from my own.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Another Exciting Update from Mwanza

The Tanzanian work crew in Nyakato.

All the interior walls are up.

Now that the interior walls are in place the rest of the trusses can be put up, too.

Only a few trusses left to go.
Dear Brooke, Loren, and Pr. Joe,

We're so tickled with the progress our crew is making. We wanted to show you today's pictures. Our goal, of course, is to have that roof on before the rains come which could be within a couple of weeks.

We're going to have to make some more trusses. Sele said we need to make 7 more trusses. We found a source of good wood, dried cypress and cut "true" from a woman in Morogoro.

We're looking forward to seeing you in just a few weeks.

Blessings and prayers,
Den and Paula

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eye Clinic Update from Mwanza

An update and pictures from Paula, Denny and Sele on the construction progress of the Eye Clinic at Nyakato.

Hello Atonement Angels!

Attached are a few pictures taken today (Aug 10). Our goal is to have the roof on by Sept. 1st because that's when the first rain was last year. It's dry, dry, dry and dusty now, but once it rains, it really pours.

Sele set a goal of 7 trusses in one day and the team only took a 10 minute break in order to make that goal. As a reward, we gave them some of the clothes you left for donation, and we gave each of them (19) a bar of Coast Soap - now they'll all smell like Denny!

We're looking forward to showing you even more progress when we come in October.

Blessings and gratitude,
Paula and Den and Sele