I am HERE!

By Savannah Swanner | Jul 11, 2012

I am HERE!!  I haven’t been able to post an update because our first full week in Tarime we didn’t have power or Internet all day.  But today we are back up and running.  There is so much to tell and so much to be thankful for that I would eventually overwhelm you with too much information, so I will hit the highlights.  After saying goodbye to my family at the airport, I traveled all day and the next day, arriving in Nairobi, Kenya on July 2.  Waiting at the airport was Benson, the Second Headmaster at Angel Secondary School.  I could not have dreamed of a better welcome!  Benson and Steve (our driver) ushered me to the car where we set out for our hotel, Hotel Kipepeo (means butterfly in Swahili).  Nairobi is a huge city with people everywhere!  There are usually four-five lanes of traffic where there is suppose to be only two lanes.  Many times we were so close to other cars that I could have reached out and touched the other persons nose (this is no exaggeration)!  Pedestrians walk everywhere.  All over the road, people simply step out, taking their lives into their own hands, and dash across the streets.  Cars do not stop, so you either move or get hit.  It was quite an experience, but God placed me with an amazing driver!  After checking into the hotel, we traveled back to the airport were we waited to pick up Rachel, my new friend from Montana and fellow missionary.  Once Rachel landed and was safely in the car we went back to the hotel to sleep before our last part of the journey into Tarime.

The next morning around 8:30 we headed to the bus station where Benson kindly arranged for our luggage to be safely stored on the bus and got us wonderful seats in the front of the bus.  Much to my relief, we traveled out of Nairobi and down into the more rural parts of Kenya.  Nairobi is at a much higher elevation and therefore its temperatures can be pretty chilly, but as we traveled towards Tanzania the temperature continued to rise to the point where I was sweating in my seat.  We arrived in Tanzania around 5:30 p.m. and met Joseph (the orphanage and secondary school director), Chelsea and Dustin (two other missionaries already here), and William (one of the boys staying at Angel House).  We also met James, an immigration officer, who came with us across the border to make sure everything went smoothly and no one gave us a problem.  All together, I could never have asked for or expected a more welcoming, caring, and wonderful group of people to help us get to our new home.  Benson was absolutely amazing and such a gift from God while we were in Nairobi.  Trying to navigate through that city without him would have been nearly impossible!  The team that showed up at the border to welcome us was fabulous!  They swiftly took our luggage to where it needed to be, showed us how to get into the country, helped us exchange money, and were just fantastic!

God has been so gracious to me through this whole traveling process.  Thank you for all your prayers, because they truly helped to make getting to Tanzania a perfect miracle.  God showed up in some amazing ways throughout my journey.  To start, I had packed and repacked my bags trying to get them to weigh less than 50 lbs to meet the flying regulations.  Normally this is not a problem for me, but when you add all the medical supplies and medicines I carried, weight became an issue.  Upon arriving at the airport, I knew I would have to probably shift my luggage around so that I could meet the weights but when I put my two bags on the scales one weighed exactly 50 lbs and the other weighed 49 lbs!  Thank you God!  Once I got to Washington D.C. to board Ethiopian Air for the long flight across the ocean, I had to stand in line at the counter.  While I was in line, I kept seeing people having to weigh their carry-ons, and then leave them to be checked, which meant paying more money.  I knew my carry-on was extremely heavy and had essential things in it that I didn’t want to be checked such as my medicine and computer.  I quickly began praying when immediately the thought to take out my computer and Bible came to me.  I looked pretty ridiculous once I removed those, because not only was I carry a huge carry-on bag, but I had a pillow, blanket, purse, computer, and Bible all in my hands.  Once I reached the counter I weighed my bag and it was 32 lbs.  If it had been 33 lbs then I would have had to pay for yet another checked bag!  Praise God yet again!

Miracle after miracle happened over and over on this trip!  Once I loaded the plane and we had taken off I looked out the window and saw the most amazing rainbow!  It filled my entire window with colors that were more vibrant than I had ever seen.  No one else seemed to see it, just me.  I was in the perfect seat behind the jet stream where moisture was coming off the plane, I had the perfect sunglasses, and looked at the perfect time to experience part of God’s amazing creation!!  I felt God reminding me that throughout this journey to always rest in His promises.  When times are hard, when I am scared, and when I don’t know what to do, fall back on Him and rely on His promises!

Several more beautiful blessings were given to me such as meeting a group of North Carolinians in Ethiopia to keep me company in the airport, suddenly realizing I was in the wrong terminal and almost missing my flight but making it just in time, making it through customs without even being searched, meeting another American leaving Tanzania who gave me precious gifts that have already proved to be helpful.  Our God is so great!  He has everything planned and looks after us.  My heart is full of gratitude and bursting with praise for this Mighty King I serve!  He is working in me and I want to make sure I don’t miss a single blessing He bestows!  More will come…I love you all and thank you for your continued prayers!