Friday, February 7, 2014

The Stivers are Back in Tanzania!

We are so blessed to share with you that “The Stivers in Tanzania” are indeed back in Tanzania. We thank God for bringing us back to Moshi safely with all of our luggage in tact. It has been so wonderful to reconnect with so many loved ones here in Kilimanjaro and we are starting to settle back in to East African life. There has been so much going on that we wanted to be sure to send out a newsletter and let you all know what we’ve been up to the last few days and how you can continue to partner with us in prayer. God is on the move here and we are blessed to partner with Him.

Traveling to Kilimanjaro
Perhaps the most stressful step in the moving process was packing up choice possessions of ours and praying that they and us make it to Kilimanjaro International. God has been gracious to us and we can now count that step behind us. We flew from LAX to Istanbul where we had a one hour layover to catch our plane to Kilimanjaro. Needless to say, we were the last ones to board our second flight but we boarded it all the same. Promise did so good flying. We had some trouble with getting her to sleep some on the first flight which we weren’t anticipating. Nonetheless she did rest some and slept again on the second flight as well. Not too much crying for our little one, but there were definitely some frustrating moments. International flying takes on a whole new feel when you are traveling with a toddler!

Entering the Country
Upon landing in Tanzania, we were scrambling to fill out our entry papers and keep all our luggage together. We were the last ones to get through visas and customs. I explained to the visa agent about our transition back to life here and that we weren’t necessarily tourists though that was what visa we were getting (our residence visa is still being processed). He allowed us in and we got through all the processing lines. As we were the last ones through, we were easily spotted as few people with a large amount of luggage. The customs agents pulled us aside and tried to hassle us, but God is gracious and helped us and our belongings all the way through. In the past we have gotten hassled and had a bribe attempted from these agents, so we are grateful to have it all behind us now. 

Re-Settling in Moshi
We are so thankful to have a landing spot in Moshi other than our own home. We are currently staying at the home of missionaries Peter and Rebekah Neuberger of Kashabba Ministries. They opened their home to us as they’re currently stateside and it’s given us time to update and furnish our home that is in the same neighborhood. We've hired a good local painter that was looking for work and was trained by another missionary friend of ours. It's a blessing to hire Tanzanians and give them good work in a place where many are unemployed. After Jackson finishes painting we'll begin setting up different rooms throughout the house. 

It’s been a little tough getting on East African time as we came into the crazy flight schedule already exhausted from packing and wrapping things up in California. We are trying to emphasize ensuring Promise’s comfort in her new home country and make sure that we all get the rest that we need. We praise God that Promise is truly flourishing here the last week. She hasn’t been fazed by the different populace or culture. In fact she is loving getting to know and play with Tanzanians and the missionary families. 

Treasures of Africa Children’s Home
One of our biggest joys since returning was getting to visit Treasures of Africa Children’s Home where we previously worked from 2010 to 2012. The kids were so happy to see us and meet Promise (see some of the photos below). Doreen, Sabetina and Maria took a special liking to Promise but they all enjoyed holding and playing with her. We were blessed to see how the kids are growing and how TOA is moving forward and prospering under the leadership of missionaries Warren and Christina Oberst. These kids will always hold a special place in our hearts and we are blessed to continue living life alongside these incredible children in Moshi. 

Prayer Requests
1. Residence Permit - We had hoped that we could have our residence permit finished before arriving in Tanzania. However, the immigration office is giving us a little trouble and asked for additional papers that are not typically a part of the application packet. We are believing that God will help us finish this process soon. We are currently on 3 month tourist visas but should get the residence visa finished before our director Ryan leaves at the start of March.  Pray for favor as working with government authorities is very tough. Our hope is a two year residence permit.

2. Setting Up Our Home - There are many updates that need to be done to our home in Shanty Town. Pray that we are able to get it done in good time and have the finances and resources to finish the projects within the next few weeks. With our car now working, we were able to get our painter, Jackson, started today. We are so excited to have our own home again for the first time since early September when we moved out of our home in San Luis Obispo, California. It’s really our hope and belief that our home would be a significant ministry tool as we host young people and minister to Tanzanians and westerners alike. Please pray that our 2013 tax return would be issued as that money will help us in setting up our home.

3. Car Troubles - We’ve had to spend a significant amount of money fixing our 4Runner which was delayed in being fixed. Without our car for the first week we were unable to get around Moshi and other places. Life and ministry here are severely hindered if we are without our car. Praise God that we got it back on Tuesday evening. Brandon will take it back to the mechanic tomorrow though for a checkup and also to share a few problems that we've noticed with it the last few days. Pray that our car (affectionately named Minton after those that donated the money for it) would give us no more troubles which can be quite costly in a country where everything is imported and finding a good mechanic is difficult. 

4. Divine Ministry Connections - Being back for a week now, we are once again reminded of the various needs of this beautiful country and people. Even as we're still re-settling, pray that God would direct our steps and lead us to the people that we can minister to and partner in ministry with. We are excited for the disciples that will be raised up from Tanzania and the role that Christ has called us to play. We are equally excited for the orphaned children that will find a loving Christian home because of the connection to Global-Effect. We are believing God for mighty things and your prayers put fuel in our tanks.
Promis with Diamond at Treasures of Africa Children's Home

Melissa and Promise with Witness and Moses at Treasures of Africa Children's Home

Doreen holding Promise with others at Treasures of Africa Children's Home


We are happy you guys have landed and begun settling well. Thank you for posting the beautiful pictures and giving as much information through your blogging as you guys have. It's awesome to know some of both ups and downs you're encountering and how God is working in it all. God bless and keep you three!

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