Tuesday, January 29, 2008

So one of the most well-known missionary stories of the 20th Century is that of 5 young men who went to Ecuador to tell the Auca tribe about how Jesus loved them and died for them. The tribe was notoriously dangerous and known for killing anyone from the outside who came near but these men had a calling from God so they went. They camped on a beach near where they thought the Aucas might be and they waited. Eventually 2 women and 1 man came out of the jungle and spent a day or so eating and trying to communicate with these five strangers. They left as quickly as they arrived. A short time later, the tribe returned to the beach and killed the entire team.
The next part of the story is what has gone on to fascinate many. The wife of Jim Elliot one of the men killed, Elisabeth and the sister of Nate Saint, Rachel, decided to go above and beyond forgiveness and go themselves to the Aucas. I have just finished reading Elisabeth Elliot's account of that time and yowza! I am humbled and inspired and challenged and....and.....and....
A lot of people have heard the story of those 5 guys (who were all in their 20's by the way, all married and all but one fathers) but not quite as many know about Elisabeth. This book (among many she has written) is called The Savage My Kinsman and is also full of amazing photographs of her year in the jungle. In her story she includes parts of a poem by William Cullen Bryant called "To a Waterfowl." It is now my favorite...

There is a
Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast,--
The desert and illimitable air,--
Lone wandering, but not lost.
He, who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.

WONDERFUL! So there's your culture for the week. I know some of you are suffering without me ;). In other news, we had English School interviews yesterday and so far we have 5 students. I think there are more on the way though, you can pray that we will get 2 or 3 more especially male students as right now there is one guy and 4 ladies. It will be really good for him if he can have at least one other male student. We have 2 possibilities for teachers and it is looking like there is a pretty good chance that I will be teaching English with a girl from Korea and a girl from Rwanda. What an amazing mixed up world this is! I love it!

And just in case there was any question, I think it has been proven that Norway loves me! There is a Norwegian couple who is here at the base for a couple of weeks as they are looking for a place in Tanzania to make a long term commitment as missionaries. AND there is a team of students coming from their base in Norway next month. It is no longer just a coincidence. It has been lots of fun though, hanging out with these guys and practicing my norwegian a little!

And lastly I just have to tell about a conversation I was having the other day about some money. I was telling my dad that I had already taken care of one responsiblity so, now this bit here "is for luxuries, like apples, and toilet paper...you know...." Whoever imagined that I would conseider apples and toilet paper a luxury?!?!?!? hahahahaha.....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Just checkin in...

lest anyone think that I'm actually in Cabo on the beach with an umbrella drink, here's an update on the work...

On Monday a lady, Merry, came to interview and take the exam for the English teaching position. Unfortunately she did not pass the exam and should probably be a student in the second level school rather than teaching with us. There are two other possibilities that we know of for teachers but we are getting rather desperate as we have student interviews this coming Monday. If I don't have another teacher committed I have been warned against taking more than 4 students. I really think the school is meant to be 8 or 9 so I need at least one more teacher.... so, you're invited! (I'm only half way joking there, I've asked God if there is someone that I know that could come and teach so if you're interested....)

Regina and I are working 8 days a week to get all the material off of her computer and into hard copies so that when it comes time for her to leave I will have everything I need for the school. Right now there are some obstacles to her leaving. While it would be great by me if she stuck around til say, June, she has been apart from her husband and son for months already and they want her back! Please pray that it would all work out.

And in a goat update, last night for dinner we had ugali and soup with "regular"-aka NOT intestine- goat meat in it. Actually, quite tasty! Well gotta run, I'll try to remember an interesting story for friday. One of the downfalls of not having a computer right now is that Before, I would write all week long, and then post it when I got to the internet cafe. Now I have to scramble to remember clever and entertaining tidbits with the pressure of the clock counting down at the top of the screen, I can practically hear the jeopardy theme song in my head.....I know, I'm a trooper....

Thanks for all the comments, you guys are the best!

Friday, January 18, 2008

"dat devil tryin ta bring me down"

WHEW! a difficult week this one... it seems like there was another problem at every turn! Starting on Monday when I came to town to use the internet and there was no electricity and then got trapped walking home in a TORRENTIAL downpour, soaked to the skin!!! Twice this week we were supposed to interview a potential teacher for the English school and twice she did not show up. I washed all my clothes and hung them out to dry and half fell into the dirt and had to be washed again. AND MY COMPUTER IS BROKEN! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Something is wrong and I'm taking it today to Regina's friend to have it looked at, please pray that there will be a way to fix it!!!! Not only is it important for me for communication but I will actually use it quite a bit in the English school AND Neema was using it to learn how to type. But somehow, in spite of all that (and trust me those were just a few highlights) I have managed to keep a good attitude...and it hasn't even been difficult! I'm reading a book about missionaries Heidi and Rolland Baker who have been in Mozambique for the last decade or so and when I know what God is capable of, it's impossible to be discouraged by any of it! I highly recommend Always Enough their book for anyone wanting to get God out of the box they've put him in.

Anyway, I know some of you are waiting for one more bit of news with anticipation. On Wednesday, the base leader, Timothy, came and asked if I could give him some help with something. Sure, I said willingly......then I had a memory. Timo had just been to visit the Maasai (a nomadic tribal people). The Maasai had given us a gift of a goat. OH NO, please Timo, please don't ask me to help you butcher the goat!!!!! He sort of playfully kept on and tried to get me to help him kill the goat! I actually almost cried just thinking about it. At home, I AM A VEGETARIAN!!! He let me out of that one and I made sure I was far away when the time came so I wouldn't hear anything. Dinner that night consisted of rice, beans.....and goat liver.....oh wait, it gets better.....Lunch the next day? GOAT INTESTINE SOUP! I ate it. I did. I had to pray that God would help me but I managed to swallow it all.

As Siri said, NOW I am a REAL missionary......

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Thank you WGA

Because you won’t back down, I trust that there will be no new developments on Ugly Betty and Grey’s Anatomy for quite sometime meaning, I won’t be missing out. For this (and several other reasons) I am on your side. I know I’m not really a factor in your actions but I’m grateful all the same. ☺

Saturday’s are nice days in Morogoro. I have it pretty free to myself and after this visit to the internet café:
(that car is parked just to the left of the door)
I’ll head over to Ricky’s, that café with the cappuccinos! I also get to talk to my family on Saturdays. With an eleven hour time difference we sort of have to schedule these things.

Here’s a photo of my friend Neema. That baby is Mira-short for Miracle- Her parents are July and Shukuru. They both have been really welcoming, especially Shukuru who spent several days trying to help me to get my phone set up. Mira was born several weeks (more than a month I think) early; hence, her name.
Neema and I are having a bit of a skill exchange. She leads the sewing school and they sew on treadle machines, the ones that don’t use electricity, and she is going to teach me how to use them. In exchange I will teach her how to type. She is going to a computer school later this year and touched a computer for the first time in her life on Tuesday when she started a typing program on mine. She is 34....It was actually pretty cool. On the first day, she was having a lot of trouble and in one lesson made over 30 mistakes. We stopped and prayed and asked God to help her and the next lesson she had only two mistakes! She is very eager to learn and is not easily discouraged.

Please pray for one my new friends. I probably shouldn’t use his name just to be safe. He grew up in a muslim family, became a Christian about a year ago and his family is looking for him, trying to kill him! It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t seem like it happens in real life, but here it is.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


So last night at dinner Neema and I had such a laughing fit! Neema is on staff here as well and we get on really well. She has been taking her Christmas break at Regina’s house so when I have been there on the weekends we have been spending a lot of time together. Her English is very good so we are able to joke and have fun together. She just came back to the base yesterday and already it feels like a more exciting place to be. But last night at dinner, I don’t know if you have ever experienced this, but it happens to me sometimes here, last night at dinner, I forgot I was white.

Because I spend all day with black people and I never think of myself as being any different, occasionally the sight of my own skin surprises me. We were naving a nice meal of makande (beans and maize, one of my new favorites) and a good conversation and I saw my hand and thought “whoa. I’m white.” And not just like “I’m so white I need a tan la la” like, “I am not a black person.” Well, I have never mentioned this before but last night I did and the whole table cracked up! But Neema and I were laughing for almost ten minutes… you know that kind of laugh where just when you get it under control the other one cracks a smile and then you both are at it again… it was fun!

My for-real roommate arrived yesterday as well. Elietha from the photo down below has gone to another base in Lukobe near here to work on a school there and Paulina/Kapesa returned from her holiday today. It is nice to have someone in the room who I can communicate with! Things are getting back to normal after the holidays so it's good.

We’ve set the dates for the school and if all goes according to plan it will start on the 21st of February. This is great for me as it gives me plenty of time to get familiar with the curriculum and to find and work with the other teacher(s). I am asking God for eight or nine students and one or two other teachers. You can pray for a woman , Josephine who is home with her family in Kenya, we are hoping that she will be released to come and staff the English School.

The other awesome thing that happened this week is that I found out that my friend Silje is engaged!!!! Regina and I prayed that I would be able to go to the wedding since I was planning a visit to Norway on my way home from here anyway and turns out the wedding is 8 days after the English school finishes!!! Just enough time to get there. I am SOOOOO EXCITED! And so thankful! And SOOOOO HAPPY for Silje and Benjamin!!!!

Also, many have asked about mailing things. My address here is:
Ashley Horton
Youth With a Mission
Box 6123
East Africa

There is a reasonably good chance of things getting here but a good rule is, if it is so valuable that you will be upset if I don't get it, don't send it. Small packages and letters are usually fine from what I understand and I'm a great penpal when I am away from home so I can promise to write back. Now is a great time to start that stamp collection you have always dreamed of...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

decisions decisions...

As promised. The Toilet.
So I've decided to go ahead and commit to leading the english school. It's not really the vision I had when I planned this trip as it will mean that I can't be a part of the tailoring school but God kept bringing back this verse
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
see, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do not
perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and
streams in the wasteland" Isaiah 43:18-19
(thanks Siri)
and I'm pretty sure this is the new thing! It was kind of awesome because I was looking for some confirmation that this was the right thing to do and as soon as I said yes to it, several people let me know that they believed that this was why God brought me here at this time they just hadn't wanted to say anything before because they didn't want to pressure me..... But it's a good thing now we are hoping for one or two more teachers, you can pray that God will send us the right people!

The situation in Kenya is still rather dire. It seems to be mainly a problem of tribalism. Pray that God would break that spirit. It also seems to be a problem of an opportunistic and slightly shady leader... after the election results, he had himself inagurated within an hour. They don't usually wait the two months that we wait in the states but It's usually days at least, not an hour. There also seems to have been some extra votes counted for him. more votes than there are voters! Pray that the two candidates would submit to talks and negotiations with other regional leaders to sort this out and that they would no longer allow their followers to hurt and kill innocent people.

In other pressing news...I was just thinking the other day, wow... I have NO IDEA what is going on with Britney Spears. There is something beautiful and peaceful and freeing about that. And then I bought a newspaper yesterday...Can you believe it?!?!?! there she is....ay..... there is apparently no escape...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Heri ya mwako mpya! Happy New Year!

Happy New Year gentle readers (ten points to anyone who gets the reference, well anyone besides Kelly, of course you know it...) New years eve was a HUGE celebration here. There is a big meeting hall on the base and some people had gone around the village earlier in the week and invited everyone to celebrate the new year with us. Somewhere around 200 people turned out! There was music and skits and some preaching, sort of like Christmas but on a MUCH larger scale.

Anyone who has spent any time working in a church youth group has probably run across this certain skit. In Brooklyn it was "the box" (don't touch the box , don't touch the box, someone touches the box, gets stuck to the box, tries to get free and ends up with both hands and feet "stuck" in and on the box and they can't get free until they pray) In Morogoro its called "usigusi" literally "Don't touch" and they did it with african drums playing along and it lasted literally 20 minutes. Even with the unnecessary length it was pretty awesome to watch. I have some video but I haven't figured out how to get it onto my computer yet. I'll try though!

So here's some more photos of New Years Day actually. A group of 15 of us piled into this minivan and went to a church about 40 minutes away. It was really good and I was even able to understand some of the songs in Swahili--none very complicated but still! One of our team preached and then we enjoyed a meal with them. It was a lot of fun. This is Anna, my new friend holding a bottle of Stoney my new favorite soda it's like ginger ale but kind of spicy.... yummm! The girl in yellow is my roommate Elietha. She doesn't speak much english so you should see us trying to communicate. She says something in Swahili, I have no idea what it is but I answer in English as best as I can figure out. we go back and forth and finally realise we have no idea what the other one is saying and crack up laughing. She's a good teacher though, a lot of what I have learned so far has come from her. Oh and one more, here is the road to town, a bit washed out from a good rain that we had but pretty breathtaking.... it's hot but it's beautiful!On a more serious note. I don't know how much coverage this is getting in the west but there is a pretty terrible situation in Kenya, Tanzania's northern neighbour, right now. There has been a dispute about the results of the recent presidential election and two of the tribes are fighting with somewhere between 100 and 300 people killed depending on which tribes account you listen to. You can find an article at NYTIMES.com that tells about the worst tragedy so far where up to 50 people were burned to death inside a church yesterday morning. Please pray that the tribes will accept the results and that peace will come to Kenya.

Call me Ashley the Mosquito Hunter!

To your left you will see the before photo. I don't have an after so you'll just have to imagine it. It's pretty, I know. Notice my look of helpless dismay. Those giant red marks are the effect of two tiny mosquitoes who somehow managed to find their way inside my net. They itch. This is before I decided to fight back. Last night--I think it may have been lack of sleep from New Years --I found I had had enough! I went on attack and I bested somewhere around 12 mosquitoes. stop laughing at me. that's 12 mosquitoes who are no longer out roaming the streets searching for innocent victims to attack. I have done a great service to society.