11012-kilimanjaro-funWell, we finally did it. The big hike that the kids have been waiting for all summer was yesterday. And though they thought they were ready for it, a lot of them weren’t expecting it to be that difficult. We woke up at 5:00, packed the backpacks, took down the tents, cleaned up the property and loaded up the truck with kitchen equipment. We took a picture of the team with their backpacks on in front of their work project and then they were off. With food in their pockets and a couple of water bottles each, they began their journey over the rolling hills of farmlands. Four hours later they made it to where the pavement ends and the real hiking begins. No more flat land. Now with just four miles to go they met “the mountain”. Straight up the steep hills—it was a challenge with their heavy backpacks and tired feet. After three miles and three more hours a much needed half-hour break was taken before starting out on the final mile. Some wanted to give up, some struggled so hard to make it the last part of the long hike, but everyone made it! Finally after more than eight hours, they made their way onto the church property where we will be staying for a few days. Beautiful voices of the church choir practicing inside greeted them as they got some much needed water and began to set up their tents for the night. After getting supper (boy were they hungry!), they met our newest pet—a horned chameleon that Petah spotted in the church parking lot (they had to say goodbye to our pet hedgehog and chameleon that we released back at the base that morning). The pastor arrived and asked for us to show a film that evening, and even though everyone was so tired, after bible marking and group devotions, we were able to attend the film and got to meet a number of people who live nearby who came for the film.

The church property and surrounding mountain village are really beautiful. It’s green year-round even though it is dry season because we are so close to the rivers of Kilimanjaro. The water is colder and the nights are colder. This morning we awoke to a temperature of 59 degrees. There is sporadic electricity and a comparatively nice kitchen (an 8’x8’ enclosed shelter with lots of shelves for storage and organization). It is such a contrast from our project site at the TMI base where everything was covered in a layer of dust and there was dirt everywhere and surrounded by dried up corn fields. Also, unlike at the base, we are surrounded by curious children who are eager to meet us and practice a little English. This morning there was a group of kids at the church who were learning phonics.

The biggest blessing for our team this week was when one of our team members was sharing in group devotions. He realized he hadn’t totally given his life to the Lord and through his sharing another one of our team members was also touched and they both gave their lives to the Lord on Sunday night. It was a moment of praise and rejoicing for the whole team and some commented that experiencing that was worth the whole trip.

Now some bits from the team:


“So built we the wall” Nehemiah 4:6 is basically our theme as we finished up our bricklaying days. This morning Petah shared in devotions mainly about how our “doing” is not as important as our “being”. This made me think as I was filling in the cracks on one of the walls about what I will say about this trip. Will I just say I was building a base and backpacking, or what will I say when people ask me what happened to me? I’ve been reading Judges through Kings about how Solomon built the temple and how he didn’t allow a single iron tool to be used out of reverence for the Lord. So what good is it for us to build this building if our hearts are still dirty? Works are empty. What if with every brick we laid, we built up each other in Christ instead of joking around and discussing movies. Our journey isn’t over yet so I hope that God will keep working on us as well as through us even after we go home.


Yesterday was really special to me because I had KP. I knew that I would miss being able to cook this summer (which is something I love to do). Yesterday God gave me the opportunity to cook. I was so excited! I was able to share one of my favorite recipes with the team. I made Swedish pancakes as a snack for everyone and we were able to take it to the rest of the team as they were working on the project.


How exciting it is to see the work and how much we’ve gotten done together as a team. As much as I want to go home I want to stay here. The gap of not being around my loved ones has defiantly been filled by the beauty of this country and the love of God. I praise Him for that every day.


Our whole team is pumped to start backpacking and doing EV. We are learning that if our heart isn’t right with God while we are working, living and serving God, there is no point. It has been a challenge for me. A lot of times I work with a smile on my face, but my heart attitude isn’t right. This whole trip I have been struggling with doubt. It started when I signed up. I’ll never get enough support to go. God provided. Then I’ll die before Boot Camp is over! I’m too weak, I can’t do it. God reminded me that I can do all things through Him who gives me the strength. Then can I make it through backpacking? Faith, not by my strength, Lord, but by Yours. I give myself to You.


So far, Africa has been absolutely amazing! I can’t even come close to describing the beauty that God gave this land. One of the highlights for me so far was attending church. I loved the singing. Out of their mouths came the most beautiful and harmonious sound I have ever heard in my life! I have also enjoyed the passion they all had.

Thank you all for keeping us in your prayers. We have been blessed with safety and good health, with not even one in the sick tent all summer! Thank you Lord.




  1. Thanks SOOOO much for the updates- Love reading the kid’s input. We are praying for all of you & so glad to hear how God is working in each of your hearts. May each of you be a blessing to others. Special hugs & love to Abby- so happy that you got to share your pancakes with the team!! how fun! 🙂 xoxoxoxoxxo- mama + message from sister Ellie: I love u and miss u!!! 😀 can’t wait till u get home… 😛

  2. Quentin and Lydia Miller

    Amazing and encouraging. Way to go team to make it through some grueling conditions. God is faithful. Sounds like an incredible journey. Thank you so much for these updates, it brings such joy knowing the work God is doing in each of your lives and the positive impact your leaders are making in each of these young men and women will last a lifetime! We are grateful. Love you, Aidyn. So incredibley thankful for your obedience to Him. See you soon.

  3. Your trek in Tanzania brings back alot of memories from TMI liberia 1985! Pray,
    Love, Faith works by love, and Remember all the LORD has done. His benefits are great! Sierra I am concerned how you are staying warm without a sleeping bag!!! buy blankets first chance your get.
    May your angels warm you at night. love brenda

  4. How we rejoice with each report, at the faithful provision of the Lord for your team. We love and miss you Christian, so much, but stand in awe at the goodness of the Lord to you, to us and to the team. May the Lord continue to be your strenght. Thank-you to your leaders, for caring and for lovingly teaching you about the Lord and His ways as you work, we just can’t them thank them enough! All our love! Dad and Mom and everyone else especially dear Millen!!!

  5. We were thrilled to get this report and a letter from Drake on the same day! It’s awesome how God gave you all strength to make it up that last mile! We are praying for all of you! We can’t wait to hear more and see more photos! Drake’s little brothers would like him to know they saw a helicopter on a boat at Navy Pier today. Drake, the prayers you mentioned are helping. We love you and miss you!

  6. It is amazing to see how God gives so much strength when you have none of your own left. Keep up the great work everyone we are proud of all of you. And pray for you all daily. Noms Its just boards kid its just boards, you can explain too your team what that means. Love you like crazy. see you all soon
    Daddy Digger

  7. We are reading every report that is sent. It is so exciting to see how God is working in everyone’s hearts. We at home miss you all very much. The mountain looks so beautiful in the pictures. What a way to experience God’s creation! Keep working hard for His glory!
    Tina deGroot

  8. Juana Hernandez

    Oh how I love these updates. thank you so much!! I feel like I’m there. I can’t wait to see the pictures. Have fun and continue to have an open heart for God.

  9. It’s so great to hear what God is doing through all of you and in all of you. Nabeal, I was touched by what you shared. I love you a lot, and keep praying for you. Love, Dad.

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