Reflections on the Way Home

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By Karl Kurz

Well, I do have more to share from last night. I have been in some crazy traffic situations before — from Beijing, Ghana, NYC, and to Jakarta which had always been the worst even over TZ from my last two trips. However Dar Es Salaam in 2012 is the worst, most bizarre, craziest traffic I have ever seen. It started when we came upon a wreck on the major (2 lane) highway. We sat for about 30 seconds and then four-wheeled down a dirt ride which was somewhat adjacent to the highway. In Dar I saw lines of traffic facing each other in a single lane. I saw a driver cutting through lanes of traffic leave his car blocking two lanes to go coordinate the movement of about 7 vehicles so he could get through. We often jumped into the oncoming traffic lane creating a one way street out of a two way street. When the oncoming traffic mustered enough force they would reclaim their rightful lane by force. While Pigtails “squealed” at each near collision, Sukuma, Ridgeback and I grew more encouraging and appreciative of the driving display we were witnessing. I am convinced that concealed handguns ensure that Houston won’t attain this level of chaotic traffic disorder.

Today we learned what Ross’ rash around his eye is — “Nairobi Eye”. Some fly peed on his eye and when he brushed it away he spread the “liquid” which has left a mild chemical burn. We think it produces a slow death unnoticed by the host. “They” say he only has 50 years or so left to live.

Driver was supposed to be here at 8.30 to start the day. He showed up at 9.30. As Ross says “Semper Gumby” which means “always flexible”. Off to the the carver’s market where the market revealed Pigtails as being the best shopper/negotiator as she played the role of an “I am only a child and don’t have any money”. Mom gets the impulse buyer award as she bought a 4′ giraffe without much consideration to getting it home. The most popular item was elephant hair bracelets for the men with 22 being bought (13 by Inspector Gadget). The market is always fun for all.

Through check-in which took about an hour and preparing to board. Land in Dubai around 11.30 PM.

I had a good visit with Iron Mike Kelly on the flight. We discussed what made this trip so special. It is the evangelical focus, the joy of the people of TZ, the passion for Christ of the Safwa missionaries, the structure for continued discipleship for those who make decisions for Christ, the grounding of those who come from so much (us) and see those that have so little, the children, did I say the children?, and the beauty of the land. It is a blessing.

Tomorrow will be day 14, and the last and final update from TZ 2012.

Goodnight from Dubai.

PS | Watching John Wayne in Rio Bravo. Good stuff!

The Savages in America

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Welcome to the new Go Beyond Tanzania blog — the first in a new series of country-specific blogs by Kingsland’s missions ministry. In a few days, our sixth team will leave for Tanzania to work with our partners there to reach the unreached. Our team will post their updates on this blog. We invite you to follow the adventure. In the meantime, I am reposting an entry from my Go Beyond blog that I originally wrote in my travel journal. God has His representatives even among the unreached and those who cry out with the earnestness of the Macedonian man (Acts 16:9-10).

A Page From My Journal | Tanzania | 6 August 2008

We left Mbeya early this morning, packed like sardines into Land Rovers bulging with supplies for our stay in the African bush. This is a “bring it with you or do without” kind of trip. We lashed our stuff to the top of our vehicles and wedged it into any available space inside. Our bumpy off-road trek ended at the foot of a hill where people from the Nyiha tribe welcomed us with enthusiastic waves and joyous shouts. Within minutes, local women were balancing our heavy supplies on their heads and climbing effortlessly up the hill.

Our first order of business was to set up our base camp. Our rocky perch gives us a panoramic view of the mud-plastered, thatch-roofed huts in the surrounding valley where people from the Nyiha and Ndali tribes live. We cleared the area of rocks, pitched our tents, and moved into the neighborhood. Locals marched to the top of the hill like an army of ants, curious about the activity and eager to meet the mzungus (white people) in the blue tent village.

Quickly eating our lunch of peanut butter and jelly slathered on thick slices of egg bread, we divided up into teams with believers from the Safwa tribe. These Swahili-speakers are here to interpret for us as we introduce the Nyiha to the story of God’s love through chronological Bible storying. Anxious to bring light to the people of the Dark Continent, we headed downhill toward all compass points. This is the idyllic “ends of the earth” adventure — trekking down dusty trails to huts in remote African valleys.

In the heat of the day, my team arrived at a tiny hut in the middle of a brown field covered with the dandruff of the recent cane and maize harvest. Children stared at us with curious eyes while a hen and her chicks clucked and peeped their way across the barren ground. The family invited us to sit with them in the dirt outside their hut. While the hot afternoon sun painted our shadows on the dusty canvas, we introduced ourselves to our humble hosts. And then, the unexpected! Upon hearing why we had traveled so far, our hosts exchanged relieved expressions and said, “Karibu” — you are welcome. “We are among the few believers here and have been praying for the mzungus because we were not certain they had heard this wonderful story of Jesus. We are happy to know that you too have heard this message.” How humbling to be reminded that God cares for the nations and that believers on the Dark Continent are praying for the savages in America!