Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Can Still Be Cleaned by Dirty Water

Mwita, one of our staff members
Yesterday will remain one of the most special moments of my life, though I never thought standing in a dirty river would make this much of an impression on me. Yesterday was my first day to baptize anyone so I to get my practice in I started with almost 50. Bro. Bill (Liz’s dad) and a volunteer team from Arkansas are here at Angel House this week. Some of them will be working on the hostel previously mentioned in this blog. Some of them will be working with local nursery students. All of them will be loving on and interacting with the kids and the community. However, I am sure that the most special day of their trip, at least for me, will remain this past Sunday. 

Heading down to the river
We started with a morning church service were we saw the school classroom the church meets in packed as never before with not only the Angel House kids, but also members of Gamasara village and the larger community. We worshiped together and then headed to the river for the baptism for which we have spent a month in preparation. The highlights are too innumerable to count. Bro. Bill lead the service and lead me into this new act of ministry. We had many children from Angel House be baptized with looks of joy on their faces (at least after they got over the cold water). We also had staff members get baptized, some alongside their families. A man was baptized who just the week before had agreed to give up the witch doctor medicine he had been practicing for his whole life. We had spiritual fathers and mothers adopt our children at Angel House and others in the community as they entered into a new family, promising to be their mentors and to help them grow. We had members of the community who had shown up to church for the first time that morning come out to be baptized having heard the sermon and accepted the questions of baptism from the church. It was an amazing experience that left me feeling drained, not from frustration but like I had just finished a race. And the village that has been a major source of recent frustrations is finally starting to respond in a positive way to the presence of Angel House within their community as many of them participated in this day of ministry.

Now, I know that after the high wears off that much of the true work will start as the task of shepherding that many new Christians will not be easy. However, I am not alone, they were not baptized into my flock with me as the pastor, they were baptized into a Christian family that is ready to welcome and support them. My prayer is for the growth of the individual people, the growth of the church, and the growth of relationships and change that seems to be starting with this community in which we now live.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Many people know about Montessori from the prestigious preschools/nurseries in America. Here, they are just as important and well known. In Mwanza, “The Rock City,” there is a Montessori Training Center that educates men and women in how to implement these particular styles of teaching. There is a program for future workers of child care centers, such as an orphanage, nurseries, and Montessori Preschools. We have sent our first college bound resident of Angel House to this Montessori Training Center.

Sarah Sabai began at Angel House in 2005, she was only 12 years old. Her story is very similar to Cinderella. Her mother was sick for a very long time until she passed away and then her father died shortly afterwards. The Cinderella part is that they were living with her father’s second wife when he passed. He had left all of his property, and he was quite wealthy, to Sarah but the stepmother took it all and none of it ended up with Sarah. She was sent to Angel House as an orphan because her stepmother no longer wanted to care for her. Sarah was of the first class of Angels to graduate from secondary school in December 2009. This past year she studied in Dar es Salaam to retake her National Form Four Exam to get a better grade. Unfortunately, the school forgot to register her and she studied for an entire year without the chance to retake the exam.

In January, Eric began career counseling with some of the older kids and found out that Sarah wants to run a Children’s Home one day. So, he did some research and found this school in Mwanza. After a month of working on getting her into the school Sarah and I went to move her in. It was a wonderful experience as she prepared to say good bye to the 47 brothers and sisters at Angel House. She had become a “mother” to many of the younger ones and a best friend to the others. Once in Mwanza, we did the last minute school supply shopping and got our hair “did.” Mine turned out absolutely hideous but the point was for her to enjoy it.

We are excited to see where she will go next. She is enrolled in a two year program but the possibilities for her future have more than tripled. Thank you to those that made her education throughout secondary school possible. And thank you to those that are now making her college education possible. She will be a changed woman and this project has taken a new step into the realm of possibilities for all the children of Angel House.