Go with the flow

Hey there!  My family arrived in Dar es Salaam a little over a week ago, and we are currently trying to "learn" the culture around here.  The culture in Tanzania is much different compared even to South African culture, not to mention the fact that we just spent six months in the United States.  That alone gave us a little bit of shock when we arrived here!

                            We had fourteen suitcases, five carry-ons, and five backpacks.
                         Unfortunately for us, we couldn't use the trailer in the airport.  

 One of the challenging things about being an MK (missionary kid) is that you have to adapt into a new culture.  When you move to a different country, for the first or the second time, it is always starting over.  But we get to choose the different attitudes we have about it.

Some MKs love the move!  They arrive in the new place and absolutely love the culture, the food, and the weather.  And that is perfectly OK!  Now, unfortunately, that did not happen for me....when we stepped out of the airplane my first thought was: This place reeks!

So. . .  some of us arrive in the country and think it is awful.  We could be missing family, friends and familiar foods.  We might not like the horrible traffic, the feeling of isolation, not knowing the language, or the risk of malaria.

Backroad traffic

But one of the worst attitudes ever is.....passivity. It is very easy to not care what will happen next, to shut out the country and the culture, to steer clear of the things that makes us uncomfortable (and sometimes EVERYTHING makes us uncomfortable!) When this happens though, we would be missing the potential for new opportunities and experiences.

When my dad moved to Papua New Guinea as a child, they were really in the middle of nowhere.  They didn't have malls, restaurants, play lands or waterparks.  Instead, they had natural water slides in a river that they played in all day.  They created their own hiking trails that led to unexplored parts of the forest....discovered old Japanese bombers used in World War II.  Now, what boy wouldn't choose this over McDonalds?

If my dad had focused on what they left behind, such as shopping malls and air conditioning, he would have missed all the beautiful things the Lord had given him in the new country!  I've said it a million times and I'll say it again--MKs are extremely blessed in tons of ways!  If we ignore that, who knows how much we miss experiencing?

Now, granted, some aspects (maybe many!) of the country could just really stink.  Like yesterday, when the sewer cap outside our apartment was open. And it literally stunk.  One of the things I am really struggling with in Tanzania is that for ladies (us girls included), everything has to be worn below our knees.  So no more shorts.   I can't even wear shorts to play outside!

Climbing trees in a skirt

Another thing is the electricity...or lack thereof.  One morning I woke up to my mom saying that I should take a shower before the electricity went out.  There is no window in the bathroom, so if the electricity goes out it's pitch black, and well, more often than not it doesn't end well!

But for every thing that makes us scowl, we need to stay on the lookout for the things that make us laugh!   Like driving down the road and seeing twenty people piled into the back of a pickup truck....in the middle of the city!  Or even a refrigerator strapped to the back of a motorcycle! 

 I leave you with some last words of advice: have you ever heard the saying: The Lord never gives you more than you can handle?  Well, forget that.  Throw it out the window. Feed it to the lions.  I don't care how you do it, just get it out of your brain.  It is not true. The Lord does give you more than you can handle for the sole purpose of showing you again and again that you need to lean on Him.  More often than not for us MKs, the move is more than we can handle, and not just by chance.  The Lord is telling us to trust Him.  That is the only way to get through a move, through the stages where everything seems black and white.  He is the only one to make it colorful again.   Just trust him and go with the flow.  

                   Psalm 55:22a - Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you.

     2 Thessalonians 3:16a - Now may the Lord of peace give you peace at all times in every way.

                                                        Sunrise on the Indian Ocean


  1. Very well written. You are growing wise.
    Praying for you as you lean into Him in Tanzania. Angie Nelson Psalm 139:7-10

    1. Hi Abby, I met you and your family in one of those brief church visits during your furlough. Since then, your father has sent a number of emails, including a link to your blog. So I read all of your entries to date, as well as the replies from others; including this reference to Psalm 139:7-10 from Lamplighter (cool name: Matthew 5:14-16). When I was first informed about a new friend's heart for Africa, God brought this scripture to mind. I had read the passage perhaps 100 times prior as it had long been one of my favorite chapters in the Bible that I enjoyed sharing with others, but it took on new significance last year when considering the type of relationship that I would pursue with a lady who desires to be a missionary on another continent.

      "...if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast." (NIV)

      This summer I married that gift from God who is more precious than jewels, and we recently returned from a 2 week mission trip to east Africa ...perhaps the first of many?

      Thanks to God, Kyle, Abby and Angie for allowing me this opportunity to participate in this conversation, and to bring glory to Him.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Love it abby such a beautifully written and mature message keep up your writing miss you love me

    1. I miss you too! Say hi to Uncle Geoff for me, tell him: Go Sharks!!!
      Love you!

  3. Hi Abby,
    I'm a teacher in Morenci. Your grandmother told me about your blog. It is wonderful! You are a great writer, and I'll enjoy keeping up on your adventures.

    S. Kruger aka Readingjunky


Post a Comment

Popular Posts