Updates from Tanzania: Karibu. Karibuni. We Are Welcome.


Karibu. Karibuni. We are welcome. This is one of the first phrases a visitor to Tanzania learns. Karibu. I received my first Karibu at the airport, upon responding to the man checking to see I had a visa. In response to my Asante, I received a quick karibu.

You hear Karibu over and over again. It would be easy to assume it is only a pleasantry, much like our American tendency to ask everyone we encounter "How are you?" often disregarding or barely recognizing the response.

Within a few moments, however, you feel Karibu. Once we managed to get our travel worn selves and heavy luggage through customs, Karibu's were joined with bright smiles, handshakes, and warm embraces. Suitcases were swiftly exchanged for beautiful bouquets and a safe hand to guide us to our transport. We continued to feel our welcome as we arrived under the dark night sky at Msasani Lutheran Church, at nearly 11pm, to enter the rotunda of the Msasani Multipurpose Development Center, welcomed with two joyful songs sung by one of the church choirs.


The welcomes continued as we were each brought to our host locations, well past midnight, and it was made clear that we were entering our homes while in Tanzania. Karibu.

We have spent two full days with our friends from Msasani Lutheran Church. The first day, after being graciously allowed to sleep late and sleep well, we spent a bit of time walking through the Msasani Multipurpose Development Center, known locally as Msasani Tower. The MMDC is a project prayerfully and financially supported by Mount Olivet, though our contribution pales when compared to that made by the members and community of Msasani. The MMDC is a work in progress. The building manager, who kindly took time to not only lead us on a tour but also to answer our many questions about the building and surrounding area, explained how hard she works to fill the many beautiful offices, business spaces, and meeting areas.

Currently a number of businesses, including a Diabetes Center and financial management organization as well as a prominent bank, offer services to the community. The large meeting hall has because a popular site for weddings and celebrations, with bookings nearly every weekend. As Msasani is able to securely pay down the mortgage on the Center, they plan to increase the number of nonprofit organizations housed in the Center by offering generous rental rates and make the Tower a hub for community support and celebration. We could already see it is a safe and secure place for the community to conduct business and the views from the balconies are breathtaking.  We wrapped up our first day making last minute preparations for the next day's health fair. Saturday we joined Msasani members and many local medical professionals for the first annual AFYA Day - Msasani Health Fair. The first spark for this day ignited when our Msasani friends attended the Great Minnesota Get together, the MN State Fair, with Kirsten in 2013. The sweltering August visit to the Fair was spent mostly in the KARE 11 Health Fair tent. The Msasani team began talking about how they could see a similar idea being beneficial in their community. The returned to Tanzania filled with ideas and plans to talk to their community.

Fast forward two years and the ideas became reality. Supported by many doctors, nurses, medical professionals, and enthusiastic volunteers, 364 members of the Msasani community received medical consultation and a variety of health screenings and information. Some were Msasasani Lutheran Church members, some were from the surrounding areas, others were from local health organizations and health professional schools. All were filled with God's love.  Visitors had their blood pressure taken, their BMI calculated, and their blood glucose level tested. From there they received medical consultation and were sent on to many other stations: nutrition, eye exams, oral health screening, men's health information, breast cancer screening and women's health information, speech therapy consultation, and Healing Touch.  https://instagram.com/p/51tUCFH05N/?taken-by=moplychurch

Sophie Pletcher pricked hundreds of fingers, Kirsten consulted on speech issues for many of all ages, and Tracy Dickovich, Kim Dunford, and Marcy Walker, with the help of the rest of our team when their room was full, provided healing touch sessions to many visitors.

The rest of us filled in where needed, got really good at inflating beach balls we handed out to the many beautiful children who joyfully played and smiled with us, and we did our best to share the feeling of Karibu with everyone who entered the Health Fair grounds.  It was a good day. Though we were on the "giving" side for the day, we ended the day feeling like we had received a great gift.

Karibuni - we were welcomed.

- Summer A.

Updates from Denver: Mending the Hole in Our Hearts


(This blog post is being typed by Pete because Andi is currently sleeping outside)

Today's post is about how service mends the holes in your heart. We met a man named Luke one morning who told me that people who spend their youth doing service, good deeds, whatever you call it, do not have a hold in their heart, their soul where many adults do. I don't necessarily agree with that. I'm sure many adults went on mission trips like this when they were younger and still feel they're missing something from their lives.

Do you ever feel like you should be doing more; changing , evolving, and growing in your faith? That's the hole in your heart. Fortunately, it can be mended with purpose, intention, actions, and most importantly grace only given through Christ on the cross. Here in Denver we are having time and experience which allows us to reevaluate our perspective on the world and ourselves. We are being pushed to never allow a hole to grow, though inevitably, it will and that's okay. Because we cannot do this on our own. Christ fuels us to mend the empty space by being responsive to the world around us, bringing love and compassion into the world. The struggle to be whole will always be a struggle because we are broken. Love, compassion, faith are what mends the hole in our heart.

Updates from Denver: Waking Up

https://instagram.com/p/5YuYCJH07J/?taken-by=moplychurch Hello everyone! Today’s blog post comes to you courtesy of Andi Dickmeyer, the Mount Olivet Mission Intern. I have been working since November to reach out to our youth and teens to find better ways of maintaining communication and community as they grow up through the church. I’ve also been responsible for organizing volunteer opportunities, helping with our equivalent of a Prayer Tour for Minneapolis, advocating for change at the Capital, and helping to sort our Senior High Mission Trip students into their work groups and planning different parts of the schedule and guidelines.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how important is to be conscious about what you’re thinking, feeling, and doing versus being ignorant of society or why you’re thinking and feeling they way you do, essentially being asleep. Being awake vs. asleep to our minds. This concept is especially important here, in Denver, when we’re witnessing and experiencing countless things that must be reflected upon and analyzed.

As I was sitting on the sidewalk yesterday with my group, talking to Jack the homeless Veteran, I watched every single person walk by with either a look of bafflement or disgust or ignore us completely. Only one person walking by smiled and stopped to chat, one of the security guards at a nearby building that has known Jack for months. What is wrong with society that the mere concept of sitting and talking and treating someone on the street like a normal human being (Yes, they are humans!) is either surprising, disturbing, or completely irrevelevant?

A song popped into my head during that time, Car Radio by Twenty One Pilots. “And it’s faith and it’s sleep, we need to pick one please because faith is to be awake and to be awake is for us to think and for us to think is to be alive…” Walking blindly through life, ignorant of the wrongs of society, ignorant of our own minds, is not living. It is us being asleep. Wake up, folks. Question everything. Why do we treat people like this? What are the pros and cons of this solution? What needs a solution? Is there anything we can do? If there isn’t anything we can do, how do I accept it? What can I do? How do I make the world a better place? How do I live?

Wake up.


Denver: Day 1

https://instagram.com/p/5XHqonn093/?taken-by=moplychurch We are here! Denver, the home of the longest street in the country, Colfax, which stretches 26 miles. Home of beauty and vulnerability; home of postcard views and poverty; home of 36 missionaries this week.

CSM is an organization with which Mount Olivet has partnered over the last four years of senior high mission trips. We were introduced to the city during orientation from a hillside that looked down on a busy, dynamic city. Our group was urged to push aside any expectations we had to allow God to surprise us. We were asked to use that space where our expectations lived to allow God to enter in. We were invited to fully engage in this intentional community; to be curious and open to the relationships we will form in Denver.

Monday's theme is all about planting and growing. You will hear more about our Monday experience from Andi Dickmeyer. Andi is an Intern on this trip and will be collecting stories throughout the week to share with you. ALSO - follow us on Instagram @moplychurch. Our hashtags for this week are: #moplymission and #csmdenver

Thanks for the prayers that have guided us to Denver and those that will sustain us in our time here. It's a great start to the week!