Heri ya Mwaka Mpya! Happy New Year!! I’m hearing people outside in impromptu parades banging on pots, singing in the streets, and ringing in the new year.
Yesterday, the Tanzanian MKLM community received its two newest members. Yesterday was also the one year anniversary of OUR arrival in Tanzania.
And what a year it has been.
It has been a challenging year, a year full of wonderful experiences and incredibly difficult times. Yet, here we are. We survived, and we’re stronger for it.
Katie and I have been doing a lot of reflecting, evaluating, and planning for ways to make Year 2 of Mission a better and more productive time. And in all of this, I’ve thought a lot about this past year. Here is one of my many reflections, but one I think is at the core of my experience here in TZ:
I came to mission with a desire to help people. I got an MSW because of the skills I could use to work overseas. I came with a desire, a calling, a mission, to meet the people of Tanzania, to hear their stories, and do my part to improve their lot in life.
But this year has really been about me. This year has been dominated NOT by my work for others, but by my own vulnerability and need. I needed to learn the language (still do). I needed help understanding people. I needed help when we were robbed. At times, I needed to care for my sick wife. I needed to nurse my own homesickness. I needed to get my house set up and in order, etc. It was all about ME ME ME.
And that’s OK.
This is a year I learned a lot about myself, not all of it good. But this was a year that was necessary- a purgatory of sorts- to sort through my own baggage. Before I can help others, my head- and my heart- need to be in their proper place. They’re still not yet there, but 2012 allowed for some great strides to get to where I need to go to really start being the missioner I want to be.
I was always a little frustrated when people would hear what we were doing and would say “You’re doing AMAZING THINGS!” I always want to say, “No, you’re just amazed by what we’re doing.” But I’m realizing that for my first year in mission, no accolades are deserved, but for myself, a little simple amazement at what I’m doing is OK. Just "being" is amazing enough for me.