(written end of May 2011)

Despite the way that time slowly drifts by here, I’ve been on the go…a lot! Next week we have a church mission team coming from Oklahoma (USA) so we’ve been having Saturday “work days” prepping the new sanctuary foundation for their arrival. We’ve cleaned a lot of brush around the church and placed the blocks for three of the four sets of steps surrounding the church. I spent one whole Saturday morning hauling buckets of dirt across the school yard to fill in the space in between steps and another Saturday mixing cement on the ground with a short spade shovel. (Mas Mezcla! shout out to the MPUMC youth who shared the joy of hand-mixing cement with me! I’ll be praying for you guys this week as you start out on your mission trips!) The first Saturday that we started the Saturday “work days” it was extremely overcast and extremely awesome…at first. What a perfect way to work while avoiding the Tanzanian heat until the sun peaked out from behind the clouds halfway through the morning. Just as we were getting into the grove of working, the sun appeared in full force and started toasting me quite effectively. Since I was in “the Zone” thinking about the work, the thought of stopping to put on sunscreen was far from crossing my mind. When we finished that afternoon… I felt it. A nice reddened face and, to make the white guy stand out even more, a red neck. I’m sure I’m not the first Tanzanian Redneck (nor the last…) but for now I’m definitely the ONLY one around these parts (or as you might say… over yonder.) But the work is fun and good for the soul and it’s rewarding to see God’s love being shared in the works of new classrooms and a new church sanctuary too!

Well, when I’m not teaching, worshiping, building or playing football/volleyball…I’m adventure-seeking! I stopped by the pastor’s house the other day and opened the door to a surprise. The night before we had joked about eating the large grasshoppers that were dominating the lights outside of the house. And here I stood before a bowl of tanned, crispy, black-eyed fried grasshoppers. They had reminded me of my comment from the night before and encouraged me to try some. So I did… and… they were good! Quite honestly they tasted like a Lay’s potato chip as odd as that sounds. Now, if I forget a meal, I can just go outside and compete with the free-range chickens for a light treat. (I hope the thought of eating grasshoppers doesn’t BUG you too much!)

But fried grasshoppers aren’t the only latest adventure. Last weekend, we were saying farewell to a friend of the pastor’s children and so we embarked on a hike to some “nearby” waterfalls. Now I have learned here that there’s no such thing as a “short” or “quick” trip here. But in order to persuade my fellow hikers, I adopted a phrase for the day, “bado kidogo.” (which means “a little bit more” or “not quite yet…”) Three hours later we arrived to an incredible series of 7 or 8 connected waterfalls ranging from 5 feet to 20 feet tall. We ate some snacks, took pictures and even swam some in the FRIGID mountain water. We even found some fresh guava fruit on the other side of the stream so had an additional treat. Eventually we returned home exhausted but satisfied. The month of May has surely been an interesting month with it’s handful of surprises. I hope your life is filled with unexpected joys and surprises as well.

Talk to Y’ALL later, ya hear?