Just over three weeks ago we took our friends and fellow team mates to Dar Es Salaam as they were heading to America on home assignment not knowing if they would return to Tanzania. We spent time in their last couple of weeks helping them indifferent ways as they went through the difficult process of saying goodbyes, finishing up and handing over their ministry and deciding what of their belongings would be useful to them back in America. How is it possible to grow so attached to people that you have known for a relatively short period of time…I think it is because of our common bond in Christ and our shared vision for the people here. We only knew Tim and Cathy for around four months and yet their departure has left a hole in our lives.
While we were in Dar (everyone refers to it this way for short!) we decided to do some language learning. This turned out to be quite intense. We would start the day with four hours of GPA language learning and follow this up after a break for lunch with two hours of grammar. Needless to say, at the end of the day we were pretty brain dead! We started our three weeks very excited and enthusiastic to gain as much as we could from our lessons but about the half way mark our enthusiasm began to wane as our tiredness increased and as we began to feel a little daunted by the whole idea of learning another language and contemplated whether or not we would ever become able to hold a conversation with another person! This was no reflection on the lessons or teachers but rather a personal challenge and a known phenomenon that occurs for most learners at different stages of learning a new language. It was very encouraging at the end of our time in Dar to do a review of what we had learnt and to see the progress we had made as it is often difficult to see your own progress clearly. Our language co-ordinator was very pleased with our progress saying we had covered in three weeks what most people would take six weeks to do. Please pray with us that we continue to make good progress with language learning. We also ask that you pray that God would guide us to language helpers…these people will be an important part of our learning but equally importantly we hope to build strong relationships with them.