Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Less Than 2 Weeks 'Til Africa!

My trip to Africa is less than two weeks away!

On Monday, October 28, I'll be leaving for Tanzania, where I will conduct a two-week training school for pastors in the Tanzania Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

This trip has been in the works for almost a year and a half. Now that it's here, I'm feeling all kinds of emotions. I'm excited about this dream of mine coming true. I've wanted to do significant work overseas ever since I was in college.

I'm anxious about preparations. There's a lot to do to get ready for a trip like this: get shots, get currency, get malaria medicine, get antibiotics, start finding all the little things I'll need like a flashlight and 3-ounce packages of toothpaste, etc.

And I'm still preparing my lessons! (And running out of time...)

I'm dreading the flight.  On Monday afternoon, I'll get on a plane at the Asheville Regional Airport. I'll make the short hop to Atlanta, then take a nine-hour flight to Amsterdam. After a two-hour layover there, I'll take another nine-hour flight to Kilimanjaro. (It'll be dark when I get there, so I won't get to enjoy a view like the one in the picture above.) After a one-hour layover there, I'll take another one-hour flight to Dar Es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania. When I get there it will be 10:50 pm in Tanzania (3:50 pm here) on Tuesday, October 29.

Time from wheels up in Asheville to wheels down in Dar Es Salaam: 24 hours, 5 minutes.

After spending the night in Dar, I'll take a domestic flight across the country to Mwanza. There I'll be met by Eric Soard, the United Methodist Missionary who gave me this wonderful invitation to join his ministry by teaching these pastors.

That evening (Wednesday) I'll preach at the worship service at the United Methodist Church in Mwanza. Eric and I will spend the night in Mwanza, and then the next day we will make the five-hour drive to Tarime, which is where Eric lives, and where we'll be conducting the two week pastor's school.

(Tarime is not on this map -- it's up in the corner formed by Lake Victoria and Kenya.)

You know what? As I describe all this to you, I'm getting excited again!

Once I get to Tarime, I'm going to do my best to give you regular updates on this blog. Stay tuned!

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