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This Spring Break, seven students and four adults (including two EC staff) travelled to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania for their Touch the World Mission trip.

Why Tanzania?

Technology teacher Tim Steen and his family lived in Dar from 2013 – 2015, teaching at an international Christian school called Haven of Peace Academy. Tim and his grade 10 daughter Emily were on the trip and happy to introduce other EC students to “their” beautiful but broken country.

What We Did

The team created a Vacation Bible School for students in grades 2 – 4 at a small local Christian school called “Divine Christian Academy.” These 70 kids had the week off of regular school, but came to school anyway for the program! For four fun-filled days, EC students taught songs, crafts, games and English-language worksheets to the children. On three of the days, the Divine students came to the Haven of Peace campus and enjoyed their playground and computer lab. One day, EC visited Divine and worked with the kids in their usual classrooms.

It was an enlightening adventure for EC students. They witnessed how other students study, learned about the Tanzanian education system, spent time with children from another culture, and learned about Dar es Salaam: it’s people, economy, culture, religions, transportation, industry, tourism, and more.

Here are some other highlights from our trip:

Our team: Emily Steen, Tim Steen, Amy Shepley, Nate Wehrle, Isabelle Lasor, Josh Lee, Elaina Shepley, Marco De la cruz, Chantelle Pazmino, Caleb Vazquez, Sam Vazquez

  • We arrived safe and sound in Dar es Salaam at 3:30 am Saturday morning. After waiting for our ride to our home for the week, we boarded a bus and witnessed the sun rising over the city.
    We explored the city by foot, by bus, by car, and by bajaji (small taxis built on motocycles with open doors). Everywhere we went, we seemed to find an adventure.
  • In our first days in Dar we saw a number of temples and learned about the diverse religious beliefs on the East African coast. These experiences solidified our purpose, and reminded us of the importance of sharing the life-changing gospel of Christ.
  • We met some local missionaries, including Jackson Swallo, a seminary student at Reach Tanzania, another organization working on the ground in Dar to train pastors in the area. We were blessed to stay at a Reach Tanzania house with Alyssa Dunker, who took great care of us while away from our families.
  • Our beautiful Tanzanian home
  • We ate Indian food, traditional Tanzanian food (look up Pilau and Ugali), lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and celebrated on the last night with a delicious pork & chicken barbecue cooked by local missionaries.
  • We visited the TingaTinga Cooperative, a school which teaches a traditional Tanzanian painting style we all fell in love with.
  • We explored the Slipway Shopping Center, a beautiful spot on the Indian Ocean which is a great place to find souvenirs. Local residents set up their goods in small stalls, full of homemade treasures! We ate ice cream, a true treat after a long hot day in the city!
  • We enjoyed church service at God’s Tribe where we sang in both English and Swahili, and listened to a sermon. We visited with local Tanzanians as well as missionaries from all over the world. Each evening, we would host different people for dinner which allowed us to ask questions about Tanzanian culture. We prayed together, and some evenings, we sang and worshipped around our living space. There were some very powerful moments when we witnessed the Holy Spirit move in our group in ways many of us had never experienced before.
  • Students planned and executed a Vacation Bible School for the Divine Academy, and we had the thrill of watching their personalities shine. Each student played a unique roll, some exercising quiet leadership, others never tiring of play, some finding their authoritative side, and others discovering their voice for the first time.
  • We made fun crafts and the kids loved playing with cotton balls, googly eyes, glue, and crayons.

The team had a blessed time. We felt God move in our group and with the missionaries and kids we served. We were amazed at how God provided exactly what we needed when we needed it throughout the entire week, and how we got to experience being God’s hands and feet as we served. It was a wonderful, heart-filling trip!

(Jackson, Jehovah, and Joan)

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