Tales from Tanzania - O'Neil Family Blog

Though we have already been in Tanzania for one year, this is a journal of our time at Haven of Peace Academy in Dar es Salaam. Karibu sana.

July 24, 2006

A Great Big Thank-You

We want to give all of you a very big thank you for all your support and prayers over the past year. It has been a great year. We are so grateful for all of the financial support that has enabled us to even be here. It is a privilege to be on the recieving end of your hard work. We are also blessed to be flooded with all the verbal encouragement and covering of prayer. Thanks to the internet we are able to truly feel a part of your lives in the States. A special thanks to those of you who have delivered or sent special gifts and packages. These have lifted our spirits in unexpected ways. Each of us has grown in so many ways and here are some quick responses to what we have learned and appreciated about being in Africa this first year:

Steve -I'm thankful for the privilege of providing a Christian education to students and families that would not have one if Haven of Peace Academy was not here. We are meeting a critical need. I'm also grateful for the ways in which God has blessed and refined my family through Africa and its people.

Benjamin - I love seeing all the big animals and getting to know Tanzanians and especially learning Swahili!

Denae - The Bible says to "pray without ceasing," but this year I have learned how to do this in a new way - at the moment of need and with the person who needs it. I have been humbled by how many times I have needed praying over this year. God has provided me with example after example of Spirit led people who have prayed over me as I needed: prayers in the car from behind the wheel for safe driving, prayers in my home for sick children, prayers on the sidewalk as I'm headed to untangle cultural controversies that I'm feeling unsure about, prayers in front of the pharmacy because I'm not sure which medicine to use for unknown illnesses, prayers outside my car in the hot sun for encouragement because I don't want to go home to piles of laundry and no electricity or running water. I have been prayed over at the moment of need and I hope I have begun to practice this type of "praying without ceasing." I hope I am learning to pray immediately for and with the woman who rings my gate asking for money, pray immediately for and with the friend looking for a place to rent, for and with the friend who just isn't having that great of a day, pray for and with the neighbor dying of AIDS. This has perhaps been my greatest blessing and greatest lesson this year.

Thomas - I like having different people stay at our house.

Anna - I am thankful for all the new friends I have met in Africa.