We're 4 weeks into the school year and 5 weeks into our 3rd year of being here in Tanzania. In some ways we've settled back into 'normal life' easily, although that looks a little different than it has in the past.
Marc is teaching grades 9 - 12 this year as opposed to both middle and high school. This helps to lighten what was a heavy load, and also frees him for more intentional time with students outside of class. Isaac is in grade 2 and has joined the primary swim team. He has practice three days a week after school. I've started to give him piano lessons as we were able to get a keyboard from friends who left at the end of last year. Hope has started preschool again (2 days a week) and just celebrated her 5th birthday. Geneva is now potty trained and joins me for our weekly adventures of driving people places, worship team rehearsals, swahili class, leading assemblies, going to the market and prayer meetings.
Our roles at church are different as we've come back. For various reasons, we are slowly phasing out of some of our leadership positions within the church. Marc is no longer doing all the tech/design stuff nor on the leadership team. Instead of leading worship every week, I am now in rotation every other. We are still helping with our life group. One of the things we recognized while being 'home' this summer was that our family time was beginning to suffer under the load of our church and school commitments. We may have a 'large capacity' for ministry, but we sometimes find ourselves saying YES to too much and it not being sustainable or healthy for our family in the long run. When we left for the States, we were there. Between that, some theological differences and the need for more Tanzanian leaders to step into leadership roles at the church, we are phasing out of some of our roles. Its not easy, as we love our Pastor and his family and we love our church! We've had some difficult conversations over the past few weeks, but we are at peace about the changes being made and continue to support God's Tribe and pray for the church, here and worldwide, to grow!
The other challenge we have faced since returning is the recognition that despite our amazing supporters and our various church and small group presentations this summer, our funding is still low. The past two years have been difficult in regards to fundraising, and we've actual incurred a bit of debt just to stay here as some months we had only enough money to cover rent. We don't believe that's God's plan for us, to go into more (any, really!) debt, and we've come to feel that if we are not fully funded by the end of December, we may need to leave Tanzania at the end of this school year. Our school will need to know in January if we are coming back or if they need to begin recruiting another Bible teacher, thus the timeline. We're trying to be open to the Lord's leading for our family. Would you please pray for the Lord to make his will clear to us as we contemplate and pray about our future? We would love to see huge breakthrough in the area of our finances and be able to testify to God's provision. We want to stay! We also want to follow Jesus if he's showing us a need for us to return to the States, whether for a year to fundraise and then return or for good. We get that we don't see the big picture. This is just another way we are daily learning to rely on ourselves and our own abilities less and on Him more. We can't just go out and get a part time job delivering pizzas or something to help our own financial state - we're not in control! Please pray for clear direction and for patience as we wait. Our latest Prayer Letter will be going out later today which lays this out a bit as well.
So those are the big things going on with us. We feel at home here and are enjoying getting to know some of the new faces around the HOPAC and missionary community.