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Tanzania Trip 2020

Reflections on trip to Tanzania 

Jeff France

October 20, 2020 

It has been several weeks now since our return from Tanzania. When asked, “What was one of your best memories or highlights from your trip?”, this experience always surfaces the most.  Youth With A Mission (YWAM) has a big campus just outside the city of Arusha, then another smaller outpost many miles outside of that same city. It is a very long drive to get there, but very scenic in its’ own beauty as we traveled to and from this outpost. Since we traveled to Tanzania in the summer, it is Tanzania’s “cooler” and drier season. Thus, without rain, it is very dry, dusty, and without any green vegetation. So, picture in your mind an almost, “moon scape” type of scene.  The only “living thing(s)” are many dry and thorny bushes and a few small dried up trees. In the very far off distance, you are surrounded by a few of their famous mountains, one being, Mount Kilimanjaro. Now the scene is set. 

In this arid environment live many, many people from the Maasai tribe. The Maasai are know as herders. Thus, you will see boys and young men herding cattle and goats over this land to find food and water, as scarce as it is. At this YWAM base, their strategy is to minister to the women, who will then quietly change their culture in their own little “villages”. The staff at YWAM try to provide or meet some of their physical needs, thus paving a small inroad to providing for their spiritual needs. Our small team was able to provide over 2,000 pounds of grain that was put in small sacks to be distributed to the ladies that gathered on the base while we were there. We also provided a large bar of soap for each lady that could be used in a variety of ways to provide for some sanitary needs. Darla was able to provide some spiritual nourishment by presenting a short message that include the Gospel message to the gathering of ladies. From that seed that was presented, over twenty ladies accepted the Lord as their savior! Our time was short as we stood under a hot sun with these ladies. Upon leaving the campus, we of course, passed out a bag of grain and a bar of soap to each lady. As their culture ascribes to, the ladies put the bags on their heads and they gracefully started walking out of the compound. For some, their walking journey entailed walking many, many miles.  

Mini dust whirlwinds were sweeping over the land as they walked away as well. We were all covered with dust from head to foot. Staying a bit clean was not even an option, nor did it matter at all for the creature comforts we usual crave. Life for the Maasai ladies is a daily struggle just to exist in this type of rugged environment.  We have recently learned that due to lack of rain, this outpost has run out of, what would be, collected rainwater from the roofs of their buildings. Because of this drought, the staff has to buy water just for survival. What a blessing and miracle it would be for them to see even a little rain falling from the sky.  

As I can grab a bottle a water with much ease or turn on any faucet at my disposal, water flows freely and without any thought of my own. What other things do I take for granted each day? What would I be willing to give up to minister to others? What thoughts come to your mind as you read these questions? Would it be fair to pray for the Lord to lead you into a barren land for a time in your life? Then when the rain eventually fell to your dry ground, it would propel the start of a fresh, green, and new season in your life. Bring on the dusty whirlwinds! 

Stefanie Essick

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