Teleios Ministry

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday: The Long and Rough Road

We began today with ELECTRICITY! But, the network was down even for the ATM machines in town. No water and no money! By this afternoon, the water was gone. The water company said the water would start flowing in the pipes this afternoon, but no water...and we had stored water on Saturday. So we quickly formed a bucket brigade to carry water from a tank truck to water tanks at the children’s home and Mpeli and Neema’s house. Hopefully, we will have water for a few days again.

We drove to the village area of Kitowa which is 46 kilometers southwest of Iringa (28.5 miles). It took us about 1.5 hours one way for the trip. We shook, bounced, and clanged for at least one hour of the trip. When we got to the village, we were greeted by a group of pastors and children. We visited two of the homes of Pro Africa children. What is amazing to me is how they use every shilling in positive ways — buying chickens, education, and clothes. The pastor wanted us to walk because the homes of the children were “not very far.” Mpeli said, “Not very far, then we better take the car.” We got into the Nissan and road 10 minutes and at least 5 kilometers — “not very far.” Nine more children were interviewed at a pastor’s home.

I think every local official was there. Our appearance (we hope) will encourage the local community and government leaders to allow our friend, the pastor, to begin his dream of a children’s home. He and his family already care for the orphans but want to provide them with a stable and protected environment. Up to this point he has had a difficult time getting the local officials to sign off on the home.

By the way, they served us lunch — outstanding tomatoes over rice. When we were leaving, the highest ranking government leader (a woman) gave me a basket to give to Bonnie. Yes, that's right, she gave me a basket to give to Bonnie. Somehow she knew about Bonnie from area ladies who are going to attend the women's leadership conference that Bonnie will be leading March 30-April 1. I am proud to be known as the husband of Bonnie Parker, International Women's Leadership Conference leader.

After we left Kitowa, we traveled to Kilolo where Onesemo works as the loan officer of National Microfinance Bank. Onesmo is now the Chairman of the Board of Daily Bread Life Children's Home and is the accountant for the ministry. We met the manager, Mr. Freddy and had a discussion about economic empowerment. He was very interested in American political situation.

Can you believe on that rough and bumpy road, Sorin and Adrian fell asleep on the way back. I could not resist a picture - this is not the best, but it was only one that was not blurry from the bumps.

Once we got home, we met Neema. She was tired from her exams today. She has another set of exams tomorrow morning. Jonas had prepared us some excellent pizzas with homemade sauce. Our peace and plumpness was interrupted by the arrival of the water truck. Another bucket brigade was formed and soon we had emptied a 750-liter container. We emptied the container twice filling up the water tanks at Mpeli and Neema’s house. The water truck hose could reach 7000-liter tank at the children’s home (we are so thankful). Sorry no pictures for this exercise — too busy carrying buckets of water.

Sunday: Nzihi Asante Sana Children's Home

We immediately left for Nzihi and the Asante Sana Children’s Home. I am amazed each time I go at how much the children have changed. For the first time, every child had a smile on their face. They were dressed in uniform. The Rev. Pawdre Scout and family arrived in December to lead the Asante Sana Children’s Home for Daily Bread Life Children’s Home. The children, ages two to eight, joined together in a choir and sang songs for us with such joy and pride. This was great. This is not to be negative toward the previous owners prior to DBLCH assuming responsibility in 2009 and full operation of all aspects of the children’s home in December 2010. Now each of the children knows their name. Words and pictures cannot express the change. In fact, the Scout family lives in a home about a ¼ mile away from the children’s home. They are moving to living quarters that have been worked out at the children’s home because they want to be closer to the children and the staff especially at night. Their arrival is a great blessing.

We visited the farm at Asante Sana and, like the DBLCH farm, a shift is taking place there. In November, we introduced an expense tracking method for the farm to determine what are the most effective, productive, and cost efficient ways to utilize the farm. One surprise discovery was that even though pigs bring a significant income, the cost of feed and medicines make them the least effective way to provide for the children’s home. Now, a shift is taking place to chicken and egg production. Also, more goats are being added to the farm. Eggs and goats provide the best return on investment from an economic and nutrition standpoint.

Also, this year has been a bad year for rain in Nzihi. God is providing for some corn, but the corn crop will be greatly reduced at Nzihi. Most of the surrounding farmers are cutting up corn stalks for feed. At least the farm will produce some corn. However, this will not be enough to sustain the pigs, cows, goats, and chickens. Since cows and goats can graze, this made the shift even more important away from pigs. We are not "loosing money" on the pigs. The farm is just not making as much as previously believed once all the costs were figured into the process. Enough of agricultural economics for today. We had a great time at Nzihi.

Sunday was a full day but a great day.

Sunday: Kidetete Worship

This post is a day late because of no electricity yesterday. At Kidetete Baptist Church, the power of God’s Spirit was definitely there. For Sorin and Adrian, this was their first Tanzania worship experience and the worship was in the village. The sanctuary was full of many children and people with some standing outside. (I included a picture of the outside of the Kidetete Nursery School and Church from Saturday. There are always children around the church and school.)

This was a special day. Three babies were being dedicated to the Lord, we had the Lord’s Supper, and Adrian preached on “Worry” — great message. Sorin led in prayer for the baby dedication and I (Floyd) led the Lord’s Supper. Sorin held the children and prayed for each one and the family. Sorin prayed in Romania. During the service, we had three languages spoken: Swahili, English, and Romanian.

Four young people who had made decisions to follow Jesus during the week were presented to the church for prayer and encouragement. This was a very special time and a great time of celebrating the transformation of their lives.

The service lasted about two and half hours, but it did not seem that long. Sorin and Adrian got to see the church fellowship dancing, singing, and glorifying God. Sediki did a great job in leading the music for worship. Neema surprised us by singing a song that she had composed. Sorin very much enjoyed the music.

A picture is included of the offering. You see the greens, corn, beans, eggplant, and peas in the picture. Actually there were three offerings which was a little confusing at first. The first offering was for evangelism support which helps to provide some funds for Sediki. The second offering was for general gifts to the church, and the third offering was for the building fund. Kidetete has been buying stones, bricks, and cement little by little in order to complete the expansion.

I always like the way they end the service at Kidetete. Those in the church go out one by one forming a circle. Everyone who leaves shakes the hand of the people already outside. I assure you regardless of age, gender, or skin color every hand is shaken. I hope to have a few more pictures of Sunday’s worship tomorrow.

In the afternoon, Adrian and Sorin interviewed the children who are supported by Pro Africa from the Iringa area.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pro Africa Day

Today was a very special day for Cigher Sorin, pastor from Abrud, Romania. He and his family have sponsored a young boy, Frank, through Pro Africa. The grandmother was featured in our December newsletter and I wrote about her in the December blog. She lives above the children’s home on the mountain. The Cigher family collected some toys and clothes for Frank and Sorin brought them today. Also, they gave them some food. In fact, he bought some beans, rice and other food and took to Frank and his grandmother. Before he gave the food, he was asking questions. Sorin asked what do you prepare each day for food. The grandmother said, “I had hoped to cook beans today but we have no food today.” Sorin gave her the box of beans, rice, and other food. Sorin was so happy to meet Frank. He gave Frank a picture of his family and shared with him that his family prayed for Frank every day.

Of course, I could not resist a picture of Adrian catching some rays this morning as he worked on his computer.

Adrian, Mpeli, Neema, and I met about Pro Africa projects. Pro Africa now has reached 80 children sponsored in Tanzania through Daily Bread Life Children’s Home. After lunch, we went to Kidetete and visited with orphans and vulnerable children sponsored by Pro Africa. This was a great time of hearing how lives had been changed through the ministry. Adrian and Sorin really enjoyed talking with the children and their guardians. Pro Africa provides support for food, education, or other needs for the children and young people. Pro Africa was started by Adrian Giorgiov after he visited Kenya several years ago as part of a Teleios Ministry team.

We visited the DBLCH farm. The rains have turned the farm green. The first bananas were harvested from the farm -- even now banana tree shoots are coming up for new trees. Right now there are onions, eggplant, pumpkin, greens, cabbage, okra, beans, and tomatoes planted. There were also sunflowers. The corn crop is looking very good. The grass is tall and growing. Three pigs were missing from the farm. Two were sold to provide income for the farm and a third one was sacrificed on the altar of the children home’s table.

One big change is that we are moving out of the pig business. The pigs bring a lot of money but the cost of feeding them and medicine is very high. Now, we know after a couple of years of both that more money is made from goats than pigs. I think there was some discouragement when five of the new born pigs died from bad feed. This caused a setback. There's not that problem with the goats. Slowly the farm is moving away from pigs to goats. The cows are doing great as they mature and we wait the birth of our first calf.

The day ended with a great worship time with the DBLCH. Many of you have heard of talk of Jonas. He comes and helps with cooking when a group visits Mpeli and Neema. Today, I have included a picture of Jonas. He sends his warmest greetings to all his Teleios friends. Also, I was able to catch Yusta making pancakes this morning.

Thank all of you for your prayers. Tonight we had rain and in the distance the lightning is putting on a show behind the mountains. It is a wonderful “light” show.

Tomorrow afternoon, my luggage arrives by bus from Dar Es Salaam. One piece of luggage enjoyed a two-day stay in Nairobi or Amsterdam. The other piece of luggage enjoyed a holiday in Dar Es Salaam for a day waiting on its traveling companion to arrive. Tomorrow night, they are to arrive in Iringa.

Please remember Neema in your prayers. She has her semester exams at the university on Monday.

At Home with Daily Bread Life Children's Home

The safari from Greenville to Daily Bread Life Children’s Home was another adventure in God’s provision. In Atlanta on my way to JFK in New York for the flight to Europe, big surprise, I feel asleep before the plane left the gate. I woke up to the words, “cross check for arrival”. I said to myself, “Wow! I slept all the way to JFK.” Then I looked out the window and the view looked just like Atlanta. We never left Atlanta due to mechanical problems. They were to be fixed soon. I knew then that I would miss my flight in JFK to Amsterdam, to Nairobi (where I was meeting Adrian and Sorin from Romania) and finally to Dar Es Salaam. The flight attendant said they would see what would happen. After a few moments, I called the Delta Sky Miles representative (flying a lot does have its advantages). A wonderful lady, Phyllis Lewis, in Cincinnati, quickly accessed the situation and arranged a flight out of Atlanta to Amsterdam. She said, “Dr. Parker, get off the plane now and go to the Delta agent at the gate.” I knew that once I left the plane that I would not get back on. What about my luggage? She said, “Dr. Parker, get off the plane, stay on the phone with me but get off the plane.” (Bonnie, you would be so proud of me. I got all my junk together and did not leave a thing. Not one book left, Meg.)

I got off the plane—it was hectic for about 15 minutes but I had a flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam. There I met a lady from Volunteers in Medical Mission—a great ministry out of Seneca, SC. The group was headed to Southern Sudan. Also, I was able to share with a lady who was headed to India to see her father who was dying of cancer.

On the flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi we were late leaving Amsterdam making my connections in Nairobi to meet Adrian and Sorin questionable. But, I sat next to an Agricultural Economist headed to Southern Sudan. He was going to help the new government set up an agricultural strategy for getting the refugees back to the villages and farming. We had a great visit and as he talked about what was needed in East Africa. He described Teleios Ministry in its approach to investing in indigenous dreams. He was very interested in our farming in Tanzania.

In Nairobi, the proverbial running through airports took place. I went to the transfer desk and was told, “I am sorry the check in has closed if you do not have a boarding pass.” I said that I had to get on that plane and I needed boarding pass. The Kenyan airways agent called two or three people and said, “You must hurry and they will let you on the plane.” So with no boarding pass I headed to the gate (last on in the terminal). I made it. But I did not see Adrian and Sorin. In fact, they arrived after I did because of being slow coming through immigrations at the airport.

We were on our way to Dar Es Salaam. Ephraim, pastor in Dar, and Mpeli Mwaisumbe, Daily Bread Life Children’s Home met us at the airport. For the second trip in a row, my luggage decided to stay a few days extra on the trip. No problem! I was almost home. A hot shower, four hour sleep, and a comfortable bed at the Namnani—it doesn’t get any better than this. We left early Friday morning for Iringa. Saw my friends at the Kobel station in Chalinzi and had beef soup, chapatti, and samosas. UMMM! There is nothing like eating your way across Tanzania.

Sorin and Adrian were amazed at the differences between Tanzania and Kenya. Sorin had never been to Africa. He and Adrian were in Kenya with Teleios Partner, Bernard Mwangi. They had done a safari but had seen no elephants. Sorin, a Romanian pastor from Abud, wanted to see them. The Lord provided with a herd of elephants in the Mikumi National Park as we drove through on our way to Iringa. It was a great safari.

For those who travel to Iringa, the road is almost finished and really nice with the new pavement and being re-worked.

As I have always said, there is nothing that compares with the greeting received by the children of Daily Bread Life Children’s Home. Adrian’s and Sorin’s eyes filled with tears as the children sang welcome and surrounded them with hugs and holding hands. We worshipped together, singing and dancing praising the Lord.

Maka, Sam, Betha, and Bonnie (Mpeli and Neema’s children) are doing great. I am now home with my family in Tanzania.

So many stories already to tell. The light of Jesus Christ that shines from DBLCH is changing a city and country. Just to say, that a young man came Friday night to Mpeli and Neema’s house that had been led to the follow Jesus the night before. We were praising the Lord last night.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Three-Country Journey Begins In Tanzania

Floyd has arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania! He, Adrian Giorgiov and Soran will travel to Iringa on Friday. Once there they will visit in Iringa, Kidetete and Nzihi working toward developing a Pro-Africa program in Tanzania.

Please pray for these meetings and for the development of this much-needed program Also, continue to pray for safety as they all travel.

As reliability of electricity remains a problem in Tanzania, we will make every effort to keep the blog current. Keep following here and on the Teleios Ministry Facebook page.