Starting off with a few random pictures from the last two months.
- When it rains in Dar neighbors come over this way.
- When moving in Dar, you SHOVE everything in every crack of the moving truck.
- When going to school for crazy hair day, you go all out.
We were so blessed to go to Zanzibar with Luke’s parents for a few days. So worth the hour ferry ride!
How have you been able to use photography while living in Dar?
When we moved here, I didn’t know if my love for photography would be used or if photography would simply be something of my past. I prayed that I would be obedient to the Lord with my camera and that I would use it how He wanted me to, when He wanted me to.
I am so grateful to say that the Lord has given me many opportunities to partner with ministries here in Dar to document what the Lord is doing in and through those ministries. I (and Luke) have been able to continue our love for teaching photography as well as bless other missionary families with prayer card photos before leaving for furlough.
It is also a joy to document life here in Tanzania through the lens. Although everywhere you look there is brokenness, poverty and the result of sin, there is also beauty and redemption and hope.
Matila Organics: https://matila.co.tz
Is there someplace your family goes when you really just miss the states?
Not really. We don’t say “hey, we miss family and friends back home, so lets go to…” However, because we tend to get drained when we are feeling homesick or culture stressed, we usually want to REST. This might look like relaxing at home while watching a movie and eating something “familiar” (salami, Mexican food, spam tacos), or heading to the peninsula where we can experience “a bit” more western influence and order something in English. 🙂
How do you feel supported emotionally? Have you made any great friends?
This has been a journey, but yes, I do feel very supported emotionally. The first 6 months were tough in this area. For the first time in my life I felt like I didn’t have people to open up to (well, my hubby of course). It was difficult to communicate with people back in the states. Difficult to share my emotions and struggles as they were just SOOO different than what I felt anyone could really understand. I was making friends here but realized that it just takes a lot of time to build friendships that are deep (seeing that I lived in Modesto for 95% of my life). Add language and culture barriers/differences to the mix, along with my own rollercoaster emotions and it made for a whole lot of praying and pleading and just waiting.
I praise the Lord that He has answered my/your prayers in this area. I have some amazing Tanzanian (and Kenyan, South African, Zimbabwean, Botswanan) friends and some amazing missionary friends from across the world. I have friends in the states who faithfully text and pray and call (THANK YOU. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH THAT HAS BLESSED ME). I have teammates that support me spiritually and emotionally. I have 2 mentors (who live in the States) who I skype with each month that I can share the good, the bad and the ugly with. God has blessed me indeed with RICH friendships and I am thankful. For all of you praying specifically for me in this area, your prayers continue to be answered! Thank you.
What is your food/shopping situation like?
We have two main grocery stores that we shop at and two main fruit dukas (street stands) that we buy fruits and veggies from. Local products are cheap. (Example: A loaf of bread is about 75 cents, a head of lettuce is 50 cents and a beautiful pineapple a dollar (in season). So, we can get LOTS of fresh produce for a great price. We have to wash everything in vinegar and use it quickly as things go bad fast.
However, anything imported is EXPENSIVE. For instance, a bag of Fritos is $12, a can of spam is $10, a box of cereal $10, a jar of spaghetti sauce $8 and so on. Fast food barely exists…although Pizza Hut, Subway and KFC are becoming very popular for those who can afford it.
What does ministry look like for you (Amber)?
It looks like a lot of intentional living among women that God has put in my life. When we moved here, I wasn’t sure if I would have any specific ministry roles as my main focus is to be mom/support for Luke. I am so thankful to be able to do those roles, but I am also very thankful that the Lord has allowed me to be a part of what He is doing in many woman’s and young girls lives.
A few of these are…
Praying with and encouraging Tanzanian women who are growing in their faith and becoming more missional for Dar es Salaam.
Discipleship through study/praying/seeking Christ together
Mommies outreach weekly play date
Planning outreach events such as Craft and Creation: (Similar to a Make Stuff Day at Redeemer, but Tanzanian style) as well as planning and implementing once a month women’s teas for the building up of believers and evangelization of non believers. I have had the opportunity to teach, share my testimony, and lead hospitality/games. The Lord is at work in these and it is exciting to see lives truly changed as woman come to understand the deep love of our Lord and Savior.
Leading a Gospel Centered marriage small group on Wednesday nights.
Teaching the Blaze Kids program at God’s Tribe as well as run the special productions for God’s Tribe kids ministries.
Teaching dance and acrobatics to a group of (17) third, fourth and fifth grade girls at HOPAC.
Will you please be praying for me and with me as I seek to faithfully serve and disciple the women that God has placed in my life and that there will be an awakening of hearts within these different settings. Also, that I will put Luke and my children first and that they will grow in their love for Jesus and others.
What are some things that go through your mind or come out of your mouth continually?
- “Thank you Jesus” after every time I go out and return home safely.
- “Wow, I live here. This is my life. How did we get here?” Usually I say this when driving through chaotic street scenes. You would think after 15 months I would stop saying that. Maybe one day!
- “Oh my goodness, look at that kids…” (Referring to something totally crazy out the window. Like: the man that walks on stilts, the things that people carry on their heads, the animals strapped to motorcycles, the things being sold together in a store.)
- That toddler is way too small to be out walking alone. (Daily as little kids walk to school along the crazy traffic packed streets of Dar.)
- Ugh, can you not pick your nose and look at it right before you serve me food??? (Culturally, it is TOTALLY NORMAL and OK to dig in your nose in public.)
- Yes, I guess you may cut in front of me in line. (Again, totally normal for people to cut in line and plop their items down at the check out right in front of you.)
- The power is off…or there is a leak here…something doesn’t work over there…the the ants have attacked…what is that smell???….. and the list goes on! We have learned to “go with the flow…”
- “Nimechoka” (I have tiredness)…usually stated every late afternoon. Along with “Is the coffee ready?”
- “Hmmm…I feel really silly right now. I have no idea what to do in this situation. Lord, please just get me through it.” -daily
- WOW, GOD, you blow my socks off. You are at work here. Your hand is not too short to save. You are actively pursuing a people for yourself. You are opening doors and closing doors. You are teaching me a deep trust in you. You are beckoning me to come and abide in you and be filled with you and be content in you. Although sin and death are everywhere, your love is GREAT and your purposes are GOOD.
And a few more random pictures…