Mazu and her caretakers
We are slowly adjusting to living back in the United States, this land of abundance! We are currently in Santa Cruz living with our youngest daughter Elaina. Marcie, our oldest daughter has just returned from a two year mission in Ethiopia. She is an agriculturalist. Timothy is in Florida doing an agriculture internship.
Days before we left Kikongo, twelve men graduated from the three year pastoral training program. Eleven wives also graduated from the women’s program. Remember, one of our students lost his wife last year. Most of them are already in rural pastoral ministry.
We are anxious to see how many families will arrive at Kikongo for the new school year. Our staff was hoping for another twelve families to replace the ones who graduated.
Since we are back in the States, people always ask us what we did with Mazu. Before we left, we arranged for two men to keep an eye on her. These two men have been around Mazu since she was a baby. An otter does pretty much what an otter wants to do. The supervision involves keeping an eye on her wanderings, feeding her, since she can’t catch enough food on her own yet, and keeping the hunters informed about our little conservation project.
Kikongo has no e-mail, and no telephone, so communication is limited to when the plane stops in. Since we left Kikongo the plane has only stopped there once. We finally did get word that Mazu is alive and well, and adjusting to her new situation. We knew that there would be challenges because the separation from us coincided with the onset of the dry season. It would be difficult to have enough fresh water for the ponds around the house with no rain. We have heard that Mazu spends most of the time in the forest by the fish ponds. She comes up to the house when she gets hungry and needs a daytime snooze. The otter spotters sent word that keeping track of Mazu is a big job.
We just returned from a week at Eastern University in the Philadelphia area. We had a conference with other missionaries who are stateside this year, along with our staff. It was great to be with our colleagues. Especially for us who spend so much time isolated in the bush.
Here are some things we are enjoying about America:
- We don’t have to sleep under mosquito nets
- The fresh fruit, the kind we don’t get in the tropics is wonderful.
- We can go on long runs, walks or bike rides without the whole neighborhood wondering where we are going.
- No roadblocks or government officials inventing infractions to enrich themselves.
- Music in English.
- Punctuality. We like things starting and ending on time.
These are some adjustments to life in America:
- Culturally, the America that we left four years ago is not the America that we have returned to. This country has lost its moral bearing.
- A media that seems to have an agenda, one we are not used to.
- The waste that needs to be disposed of would be so useful in other places.
- Why can’t you just talk to a real person on the phone?
- America is a frighteningly lonely place.
This is our one chance to get to visit your churches and your homes. Make your request with Janice, our postmaster/postmistress or directly with us, so that we can schedule a visit. For those of you in ABC affiliated churches, this is the World Mission Offering (WMO) promotional season.
This will be a busy year of travel and speaking, but nevertheless a refreshing change of pace from life in rural Africa.
Glen and Rita