Yet another awesome train journey
Once again I am starting this post while sitting on a train… How lucky can one be? We heard some varied reports about the Kenyan trains and we were unsure if we should take this one from Nairobi to Kisumu. Considering that the road to Kisumu was pretty bad when I took it in June 2010 we decided to give the train a go. We sure are happy that we did! This is the third African train we took and it is surely the best… The scenery in western Kenya is amazing! We arrived in Kisumu on Thursday morning, and I have been writing this in bits and pieces as I get time. Sorry for taking so long!
Our view from the train, early on Thursday morning...
Dar es Salaam
After a long, but enjoyable journey on the TAZARA train we arrived in Dar es Salaam 26 hours later, luckily before dark. Last time when I took this same trip we arrived in Dar at midnight… not a good time for this big city. We met a group of Germans on the train and when we arrived the ten of us bargained together to get a better price for a taxi… Amazingly the same taxi driver that picked me and my friend up in December, Mr. Juma, was ready to give us a ride. Together with all our luggage we split up into two cars for a nice ‘ol game of African squash! Our first night in Dar was spent in Jambo Inn, a cheapish but decent hotel near the city center. With it being a hotel and all, nothing really interesting happened so I am going to skip to the next day…
Pastor Fidel Migabo of the Mwananyamala Pentecostal church came to pick us up the next afternoon. We were going to stay in their church. After struggling through the terrible peak traffic we finally arrived… The church was unlike any of the other churches we have been at, not massive by western standards, but big compared to the others we have seen in Africa. It is situated in the middle of a densely built up township; being three stories high it is the tallest building in the area.. and we had the top floor all to ourselves! Now that is what I call interesting. We had a 360 degree view of the area, and I enjoyed taking in the daily lives of the people around us. We did not sleep very well though - the township is busy 24/7 and between the shops playing their music full blast until 4AM and the local mosque calling for prayer at 5AM our amount of sleep was severely limited!
Adriaan and the rest of the oversight team arrived the next morning. It was a great privilege and a pleasure to see old faces. Completely under-dressed we went to a very smart Protea Hotel, the first place we found with DSTV, to watch the SA trash Fiji. It was a strange feeling to be in a place like that… You could literally smell the wealth. It stood in so much contrast to the places we were staying at the last few weeks, and I think it is only now that I realize how rich the western world really is…
On Sunday we, together with the oversight team, attended a church service. By now we were used to the (very) long African church services, but even this one was a stretch for us. It was funny to see how some of the others really struggled to keep awake I really enjoy the worship in these churches, especially when they don’t use any sound equipment. (When they do use the sound equipment it is as if they only know one volume setting, the MAXIMUM!)
At a local pastor's wedding in the very small village of Bambi, Zanzibar.
After the service we took the ferry to Zanzibar. It was a lot of fun, and luckily nobody got sea-sick! Our contact in Zanzibar was there to greet us when we arrived and he took us to his home where we were introduced to his family. The next day he took us to visit a few of the churches on the island. We were touched by the way they face persecution in their daily work. It just made me wonder again… How much are we willing to sacrifice for our faith?
On Tuesday we had a MIA2012 info session combined with a leadership seminar. It went really well and I am excited to see what God has planned for Zanzibar.
We spent the next two days relaxing with Adriaan and the team in Paje on the East Coast of Zanzibar. We had a very enjoyable time at one of the most beautiful places I have ever been… you know those white beaches with the turquoise sea water you always see on the holiday ads? Well Paje looks exactly like that! Adriaan blessed us with a snorkeling trip which every body enjoyed and appreciated. We also spent some time together reflecting on our experiences the past few weeks. While we had our challenges, one thing is certain, we feel really blessed, and it was a blessing and a privilege to share this with the team.
After the oversight team left we continued with ministry in Zanzibar. This included various activities such as prayer walking through completely unreached villages, serving at a wedding and painting a church. We also helped some of the church members with door-to-door evangelism.
Painting the church near Stone Town, Zanzibar.
We spent some time in Stone Town before returning to Dar es Salaam. Stone Town is a very interesting place… through the centuries it had been under Persian, Portuguese, Arab, British and African rule… This can be seen in the city layout and architecture. It was great fun to get lost in the winding alley ways!
We spent another two nights in the church in Dar es Salaam where we also had a MIA2012 info session. Early on Sunday morning we took the bus to Boma Ngombe, a small village situated between Moshi and Arusha at the foot of Kilimanjaro. The bus trip was surprisingly very very comfortable. In Boma we stayed with a South African missionary, Charnelle Dunn. She has been working with YWAM in Tanzania for 5 years now. Staying with her was a massive privilege – she spoiled us with real South African food, and for a moment it felt as if we were home! We visited the YWAM base with her and it was interesting to see what programs they offer. I especially enjoyed the multicultural praise and worship session we had that was led by a team from South Korea.
Sunset, standing in front of Mount Kilimanjaro!
We took the shuttle to Nairobi on Wednesday and managed to get on the train that very same evening. God has been really providing for our travel arrangements… It is such a good feeling to look back at how is hand of grace and protection has been over us these past two months. We are now and Kisumu, and while we are tired from weeks of traveling and ministry we plan to go full out for the two remaining weeks. Already we have been very busy here with a home based HIV care program. It has been physically, and emotionally draining, but a great, great, touching experience. We do not realise how lucky we are. More on that in the next post.
Thanks for reading! Please keep praying for the team, thank you for all the support so far. We appreciate every prayer and every message of support more than you can know.
Hendre and the South2North team.
Article source: http://www.blog.slickorange.co.za/?p=186
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