After breakfast we made our way up to Kotela Lutheran Parish in the home area of my good friend, Pastor Stephen Massawe. We walked down through the lush village with small homes tucked away in the banana trees.
After awhile, we came to Bishop Moshi Lutheran Secondary School where we received a warm welcome from a group of enthusiastic students. Even though the school is on break they put on their school uniforms and came from their homes to the school just to welcome us! They had even written a welcome song with my name in it!
We toured the campus with the head mistress, Momma Moshi and other teachers. We visited the friendship tree my group had planted a couple years ago as a tiny sapling and I was amazed at how much it has grown.
We moved deeper into the village until we came to Kikoro Lutheran Primary School. This school holds a special place in my heart as raising funds for some renovations there was the first project I have supported in Tanzania many years ago.
A big group of these elementary age students had also put on their uniforms to welcome us at their school. They heard us coming down the trail from a distance and could not wait so they ran up the narrow path between the trees to surround us with big smiles, hugs and handshakes.
Even though these were brief visits made on the very day of our departure for home, they were moving and meaningful and a final reminder of what our Tanzania Vision Trips are all about. We are here to celebrate God’s gift of Christian community. A community of faith in Christ that blesses us with a larger vision of the church in the world.
The welcome song the children sang for us included the repeated refrain, “we love you, we love you.” I know those children, many of them orphans, from that poor rural village, really meant it.
And now we mean it too. And that changes everything.
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