Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Back to Tanzania!

Hey all, We’ll be heading back to Tanzania very soon……..We’re taking off…….We arrived!  There, I just summed up the last few months.  In the whirlwind of preparations, goodbyes, some incredibly sweet times with wonderful people, I failed to keep ya’ll updated.  We actually did arrive in Tanzania over a week ago, and our sleeping patterns are almost back to normal.  It took a while to get over the time change this go around.  AJ’s sister Mona, and niece Josie, drove us to Chicago last Wednesday, where we boarded a plane, which took us to Amsterdam, which brought us to Tanzania.  We made a stop at the Kilimanjaro airport to drop off and pick up passengers, but because all the TV’s in the plane went blank half way through our flight, they needed to try to figure out the problem.  We ended up sitting in the plane for 2 hours in Kilimanjaro (unfortunately it was too dark to see the mountain), and then vacated the plane for another hour, and finally ended up flying into Dar es Salaam about 4 a.m.  DJ and Abel graciously waited from 8:30 pm at the airport until we arrived.   We’ve gotten a house to rent, just waiting for repairs to be finished, and the estimated moving date is the 15th.  For now, we are staying at our coworkers, the Richardsons, as they are currently in the States, getting their first child settled and off to college.  With the house, came 3 dogs to take care of, and of course, they bring some extra entertainment.  Because regular dog food is really expensive here, it takes some extra dedication if you want the benefit of a guard dog.  So, last night, AJ and I went and bought a kilo of disgusting bug infested bones/meat? from the local butcher, boiled it down (smelly!), added a bunch of corn flour, and made homemade dog food.  Hmmmm….not sure if we will want a dog or not.   In other exciting news, we own a car!  We bought a car, sight unseen, from some missionaries leaving, and were already able to get the title transferred, which only took about 5 hours at the Revenue office, a pleasant surprise.  Also, we registered Marissa at Haven of Peace Academy yesterday.  She is excited and nervous for her first time back in a classroom setting in 5 years.  They use the British system, so I’m sure there will be some learning curves.  It will be hard for us to see her off every morning too.  The girls are also excited to be able to use the library, which happened to be open yesterday, so today there are noses in books. 
 Back in the North side, we had some sweet send offs.  We had some really neat times of prayer with our church, friends, supporters, and family.  While in the States, we met some Swahili speakers in Walmart, and found out they attend the Swahili church in Sioux Falls.  One of our last weekends there, we went to church with them.  Afterwards, they introduced us to more of their friends, and they sent us off in prayer and even gave us a money gift.  We were blown away.  We felt like it was a hug from God; He knew how much we would be encouraged by Africans sending us off; Africans who understand what we are leaving and what we are going to—what a big adjustment that is for us.  On the way to the airport, our new friend, Eliud, called us, and wished us a safe and wonderful journey.  Here on the South side, we’re so blessed with wonderful coworkers, and on top of all the work they did to get things ready for us, the meals they’ve brought, it’s just great to see their faces and catch up again.   Another family, the Elis’s came back from their furlough the day before us, so Saturday we had a welcome back barbecue, complete with fun games of capture the flag.  We are looking forward to a big 4th of July party on Monday! 

The next few weeks I imagine we will just be adjusting.  We look forward to getting settled into the house, and for the first time in Tanzania, a house that actually is about our size.  It will be wonderful to have a little more room, plus it comes with night security.  Oh, and I forgot to mention how glad we are to have returned in cool season.  Even cool season, feels a bit warm yet, but we will adjust!  Thanks for all your prayers, we couldn’t be here without you!  Our new address is IVT; c/o Alfred Backes; P.O. Box 60749; Kawe, Tanzania
 The girls helped Grandma Carole and Mona plant a garden out in front of the cabin!
 Most of my siblings and parents met at a Sioux Falls Park to see each other one more time and say goodbye.  Saying 'see ya later' to my niece Rylee
 For years AJ has hoped to make his mom a tree house, and so a few days before departure he built her long awaited 'tree' house
 Goodbye to South Dakota sunsets!
 My Grandpa and Grandma Sybesma.  Grandpa's heart was only partially working, until last month he had a procedure, and this month he will most likely undergo another.  He's doing a lot better, we thank the Lord.  I just treasure the legacy of Christ they have given us.
Our new Swahili speaking friends from Sioux Falls!
 We enjoyed a last trip and went to the Black Hills for a weekend with some Backes family and Sletten family.  
 AJ's aunt and uncle have a cabin near Hill City, and we all met there each day to spend time together.
 The girls were able to meet new cousins, and re-meet others! AJ's newest great niece, Thea Backes
 Hanging around the fire with AJ's brother Rick and his son Stephen's family
 Last evening in South Dakota for awhile!

 AJ planted this perennial garden at the cabin before we went to Tanzania 3 years ago; we're glad we got to see it in it's beauty!
 Sunset over Greenland, on our first flight to Amsterdam
Chilling in Amsterdam Airport
 Maylee and Mya with 2 of the 3 inherited dogs, the girls are enjoying them.
 It's been SO GREAT going to and fro in our own vehicle! Almost every time we get in we praise God.  AJ's a good driver, he's only pulled onto the wrong side 1 time, but I often try to climb into the passengers side, and find myself on the drivers.
 Mallary with Lego and Pebbles
Our temporary home for a few weeks


  1. Thanks for the update! Praying for each of you every time I water my walnut trees, thanks AJ!
    Love you all! The Fites

  2. Thank you for sharing these pictures and your journey!! So excited about the new blessings you will enjoy this time, and especially praying for Marissa as she steps out to a new school. Love you guys, we miss you in church, and will be praying for a blessed year!!