Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mail & care packages - Tips!

We received an email from HOPAC about mailing packages to us when we are there. I thought it was helpful information & wanted to share for your future package sending purposes :)
“I know in some countries when people receive packages they have to pay to pick them up. Is that true in Tanzania? Is receiving packages discouraged?”
Yes, you may have to pay duty on the value of the contents of a package sent to you and these charges can be quite high. There does not seem to be any discernable way that the government decides what packages to charge duty on and what they do not. Here are the tips out of the HOPAC Teachers’ Guide to Living in Dar with a few of my comments inserted in ( ). Be sure to share these tips with those who might be sending you packages so that you don’t get a large box, for example, marked “expensive electronic equipment” with a value of $500 which will then cost you almost $500 to get from Customs! Something similar (but not QUITE that bad) happened this year to our primary art teacher!J
How Friends/Family Can Mail Things to You
Use HOPAC’s address:
Your name
c/o Haven of Peace Academy
P.O. Box 70027
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Mailing tips
The Tanzanian mail system is not always reliable. You can expect mail to take as little as a week to 10 days get to you, or as long as six months or more. Some tips for your friends mailing you things:
  • Never mail anything electronic or valuable.
  • Be obscure/vague on the customs declaration form. For example, write “garments” instead of “clothes.” (I strongly suggest your family and friends be conservative when stating the value of the goods as that is what duty will be based on.)
  • Don’t gift wrap things—the customs officials will just unwrap them.
  • Never send anything by surface mail. In the States, the post office will tell you that surface mail only takes six weeks, but in reality it will take at least six months. Air mail really is your only option if you want to receive your package before you leave Tanzania!
  • Mailing envelopes that can fit into a regular-sized postal box arrive faster and more reliably than boxes. (Stuff sent in the padded envelopes seem to be less likely to attract duty charges than boxes.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

34 Days to 40K - Financial Update

So, 50 days to raise $50,000 has turned into 34 days to $40,866. Doesn't flow quite as nicely, does it? :)  It's still a large number, but it's shrinking daily!

I originally wrote "So, how'd we do it?" here. Then I realized (once again) that it's not 'us' who is doing this, but only and purely through our Sovereign Lord.

ADJUSTED BUDGET - $5,000 reduced
* We are getting one-way tickets, which is quite a bit less than what we origionally budgeted. We are not sure what this means yet for trying to come home next summer.
* We reduced our ministry budget. This is the money that we would take a student out for coffee with, or have a small group over for a meal. This is money that we would use on situations that may come up where we sense a real, financial need, and are able to give into it. We didn't eliminate this budget item, just reduced it.
* We have a bit in our budget for savings/retirement. Like with most full time jobs where this would be a part of it. We reduced this item.
* We have a car lined up. We know the exact price, instead of an estimate, so we were able to reduce that line item.

OFFERING AT CHURCH - $800 reduced
* On May 18, we were able to take the evening service and share with our congregation and other friends and family about our ministry in TZ. They took an offering on our behalf & raised $800! Our pastor mentioned it being a LONG time since our church has had an evening offering that high - THANK YOU! This happened before our 50 to 50 plea, but hasn't been sent in yet. :)

FORGIVEN DEBT - $50/month or $600/year reduced
* My parents are incredibly giving. They helped us pay for a semester of Marc's college when we had no other loan options. We've been paying them $50/month since the loan was given, and yesterday my parents graciously told us our debt has been forgiven. What an incredible example of grace - we have done NOTHING to deserve this debt being eliminated, yet it's gone. Forgiven. Done. What a gift!

GARAGE SALE - $600 reduced
* We have had 5 days of our garge sale now. Some of that will go to pay off some debt that we're trying to get taken care of before we leave. $600 of it is going to World Missions! Oh, and we had 2 people come by to bring us $50 checks because of my facebook plea!!!

LEMONADE STAND - $94 reduced
This STORY has melted my heart. Please go read it. If you don't get a little bit teary, you might not be human. :) The friend Isaac has had the longest in his short, 5 year old life, besides his cousins, is Ali. Sweet little Ali, with a gentle, thoughtful, giving heart, who might really 'get' this whole move to Africa thing more than my own children do at times. Just go read Ali's moms blog about it. She does a wonderful job explaining it!

My team mate from Mission Year (2001-2002) in Oakland, CA and his wife are in the midst of fundraising, much like us. In August, they are heading from England (where they currently live) to India for missions work. Despite their own need, they sent us $150 for our ministry.

CHURCH GIFT - $1000 reduced
There was a large gift given to church. After our pastor made a plea on our behalf Sunday, the giver called & asked that $1000 of it be given to us. WOW! I have no idea who it was, but THANK YOU!

I got to work this morning & found an envelope with our names on it. With $50 cash inside.

FAMILIES - $600 reduced
Two families gave us checks yesterday, the sum of which is $600! Their generosity is such a blessing and answer to prayer! We got another email from a couple at church who plans to make a gift as well!

PLEDGES - $20/month or $240/year
We received an email from another family that plans to give $20 a month. Monthly pledges are HUGE for us - we plan to be in Africa longer than just 1 year, so we appreciate and desperately need people who will stick with us and support us beyond our first year.

There you have it  - $9134 down. $40,866 to go in 34 days.

If you have contemplated giving, but have not gotten around to it, please consider following the World Missions link to the right & donate online.
We are so grateful for your support, and marvel at how the Lord is moving and give HIM the praise for the money coming in!