July 29, 2012


Owen is becoming such a little man.  His personality is starting to blossom and it's so stinkin' cute.

One thing he (still) doesn't like is getting his diaper changed.  So we usually give him something he's not normally allowed to have to distract him while we change him.  For instance - the wii remote, the TV remote, the lint roller, etc.  Well lately, whenever we get the diaper out, he'll start walking around the living room saying, "hm.  Hmmmm"  looking for what it is he wants to be able to have.  That kid.  I tell ya.  Sometimes he even gets in the drawer (where we keep some of those special items) and picks out what he wants before I've even got the diaper laying on the ground ready to change him.  It's pretty cute.

He's also enjoyed becoming more independent with his eating lately. We started him off pretty early being independent - since we never did baby food.  But lately he's been even more independent - wanting to eat the banana all by himself, with the peel on.  Wanting to feed himself applesauce with the spoon (which we normally did for him), etc.  His manners are sooo cute too.  99% of the time he'll use the sign for more when he's ready for more food.  And if I'm not looking or busy cooking dinner or something he'll say "mama, ssss" and do the more sign (which means, momma, please more?) 

He really is a good little communicator all the time- not just at mealtimes.  He recently got some hand-me-down puzzles from a friend (which is his new favorite thing to play with!) that we keep on the dining room table, and whenever he wants to play with them he'll walk out there and say please over and over until we walk out there and see him or until I say, "You want your puzzles?" and he'll say "Yup."  Yea.  He says "yup."  it's cute. :)  He communicates "on" by saying "ot" and "open" by saying "peh" in a whisper voice.  "St" means "stroller", "sts" means "upstairs", "bah" means "ball", "bu bu" is "bug-bug" (our cat's nickname), "ta" is "towel" "wa" is "water", "mamay" is "edamamae", "manma" is mango, "sszzss" is "raisins", "puhs" is "puffs", "baba" is "banana", "buh" is "book".  He knows "up" but also uses it to mean down :)  He'll tell us if he wants 'help' too, though it sounds more like "hep".  Just last night he woke up around 10pm and I heard him saying "help, help, help" through the monitor.  So I went in to see what he wanted, his giraffe (George) was on the floor from earlier in the day, we never put it back in his crib, and he wanted him.  As soon as I gave him George he gave it a big hug then said "puh" and pointed over the other side of his crib, where he'd thrown puppy (in attempt to get George, I'm assuming".) As soon as he had his giraffe, puppy and paci, he laid right back down and went to sleep.  He's great at communicating yes and no, too.  He doesn't really say "no" yet, unless he's referring to something he's not allowed to touch/have - in which case he says "nononono".  When he just wants to say no, he'll shake his head.  When he wants to say yes he'll say "uhum. yup. or yssss" and he knows SO many animal sounds!  For a lion he roars, for a sheep/goat he bahahaha's, for a dog he barks, a cat he meows, a bird he tweets, a turtle he says "tuh-tle", a zebra is zzzzzzz, a fish is shhhhh, a cow is mmmmoo a horse is neeneeenee, a gorilla/mokey is uugh ugh (grunting) and flowers are him making the sniffing sound.  He makes the vrooom sound when he plays with his trucks and a vrrrzzzz sound when he sees a vacuum. 

Speaking of puzzles - he's getting pretty good at them!  He can even get them in the right spots some times!


He also really enjoys his new cell phone.  Our roommate gave him his old phone to play with on car rides (because he doesn't love being in the car) and he'll open it and put it to his hear and say "ooooo?" for "hello".  The other day he kept saying "ot, ot ot ot" which means "on" and I explained to him it wouldn't turn on because the battery was taken out and he just casually dropped it over the side of his car seat as if it wasn't any good to him any more since it didn't have a battery.  Silly boy.

He got to play with some sidewalk chalk for the first time yesterday.  He's colored with crayons a few times, and he thinks that's pretty neat, but he really liked the chalk.  He kept trying to see if he could fit both pieces in one hand :)


While we were playing outside, every time he would hear a voice he would stop what he was doing and wave.  Even if he couldn't see anyone!  He's quite the socialite - so friendly!  At Target today as soon as we wheeled up to the cashier he waved and gave her a big grin, it's cute to see him be so friendly and social.

Okay, I think that's all the recent ism's of Owen.  Whew, it's been a while.  This working full-time and being a momma and a wife is not for the faint of heart!  I'm thankful there's only one more week of work until I'm a stay at home mom again - and beyond thankful that God provides for our family for me to be able to stay home with my little one - because I sure do miss him!

Our Adventure: Tanzania 2012 - the final day


Woke up bright and early to go shopping this morning!  We went to an artists market with woodcarvers & painters, the leather shop, and a couple other spots.
The Leather shop - this was the outside wall, those are little pieces of leather nailed into the concrete wall! It covered the entire wall!

Right next to the leather shop.
 The artists' & woodcarvers' market.
We got some great gifts, and saw some amazing artists at work in their trade!  We stopped by the store on the way hope to grab some snacks for the plain, ate a super-fast lunch then headed out.
On the way to the airport I asked Mary if she would mind us coming back soon and when she asked how soon Bill said, exactly what I was thinking (though we hadn't talked about it yet) "Probably next year sometime."  Wow.  That seams crazy in some ways.  But it also just seems right.  I don't know what our next trip will look like exactly - if it will be 2 weeks, 2 months or longer.  I do know it won't be a team trup though, it will be a family trip.  Either just our family or us and a couple other families with kids.  In any event it makes me excited!  Not just because we'll be back in Africa, but because there's just this supernatural joy, anticipation and excitement that comes from knowing we are smack-dab in the middle of God's plan for our lives.  It makes me tear up to just write these words!

*                                                                                  *                                                                      *


So on this last leg of our flight back to the States, I'm in such a different place than I was last time I left Africa.  I'm not all that sad to be leaving.  Because I know that we'll be back soon.  And I know for that to happen, we need to come back home, get back to work, and start saving up for the next trip.  So as we fly home I'm feeling an awesome sense of God-joy, God-peace.  I'm completely content.  And very excited to make way for the next trip!!

Dear Reader,
Thank you so much for coming along on this journey with us!  If you've followed us all the way through, thank you!  If you're just jumping on, be sure to go back to the archives and start at day 1 - it's a great adventure!  
We're so excited about what God is doing in us and through us and are anxiously awaiting His call to head back to Africa.  Until then we wait.  We work hard.  We save what we can, where we can and put it into our missions fund.  And we pray.  Pray for wisdom, direction and clarity.  So thank you, for taking this adventure with us, for standing by us and for supporting us!
-The Battersons 

July 15, 2012

Our Adventure: Tanzania 2012

Day 14     6/22/12

We got up somewhat early and cooked breakfast over the campfire this morning: scrambled eggs, bacon & leftover baked potatoes we made into hash browns.  The Longeedos made us mandazi & chai and we had some instant coffee we'd brought from Trader Joe's too.  It was delish - a nice change of pace from the chai we'd been drinking so much.
 Yes, that's a marshmallow in my coffee. Don't judge.    Those are the mandazis - YUM.
                                               Washing dishes with water boiled over the fire!

Kids started trickling in around 10am.  Since most of the kids in this village attend school, only about 25 kids were able to come to the outreach.  There were a handful of mamas there with infants & about 10 adults total.


We did our introductions and the skit for them, then gave them salvation bracelets as Ty told them the gospel message and how to use the beads on the bracelets as a reminder to share the message.
We taught them how to play sharks & minnows - only we called it cheetahs and gazelles.  They liked that game a lot!
Then we taught them duck duck goose and they absolutely loved chasing the wazungus around the circle - they would rarely tag each other unless we stepped out of the game.  It was cute.

Next we handed out goody bags.  We actually hadn't planned on being able to because we only made enough for the first village, but we counted the kids and counted the bags we had left over and ended up having just enough for each child to get one.


We also handed out suckers and free t-shirts that we'd brought over, then we took a few pics before heading into Longeedos house to pray over his family and their church.

As we were piling into the cars a grandmother came carrying a 6 year old girl that was crippled.  We prayed for her & saw some improvements in her mobility.
She had such a sweet spirit and sweet face.  She really attached herself to Peter too.  Mary felt resistance as we were praying, and come to find out her grandmother and her parents had taken her to a witch doctor previously.  The grandmother repented for taking her and confessed God as the one true healer and we began to see more improvement in the girl's mobility.  The grandmother said she would go home and ask the parents to repent as well and we all felt like this healing would be a gradual one - so we told the grandmother not to give up, but to keep praying to God for healing.  She had walked a very long way and come straight form the hospital to bring her to us specifically for prayer - so that was pretty awesome.
After that we headed home, got cleaned up real quick (first shower in three days!!!) then we headed to Alice's for a BBQ.
We got to hang out with Gaudy, Nicole & Justin again and that was really nice.  I could totally see Gaudy & I becoming friends if we lived in Moshi.  She told me while we watched Owen & Nicole playing that what we shared in church on Sunday really meant a lot to here.  She said that it really renewed her faith and it really touched my heart to know God was able to speak through me like that.
Tracy came over to hang out and give massages to the rest of the girls, we ate an amazing dinner, then headed hope to pack up.

We debriefed as a team after everyone was pretty much packed up and we all shared one God-thing that stood out to us from the trip.  Mine was about how God showed us the realities of living in Africa.  I really feel like we've gotten direction, and that we're supposed to go back again (to Moshi) very soon.  I just keep hearing God say "soon."  It also occurred to me how God was working on our (mostly my) hearts with the connection we have to Father's House in Ghana.  Since that was my first experience in Africa, I totally fell in love with it and figured we would probably live in Ghana someday and help out at Father's House or something.  But shorting after that trip & having Owen we kind of lost touch with the co-founders of FH.  We're still very good friends - but there's definitely a disconnect and we don't talk or hang out like we used to.  One night, when Owen was still a newborn, they asked us over to their house so they could see Owen & so we could talk (and this was shortly after I told them Bill & I heard God tell us (separately) that we'd live in Africa as missionaries one day).  Turns out they wanted to talk to us and pretty much tell us they didn't want us to think Father's House was where we would live/work when we did move to Africa.  At first it was kind of a shock that they would say that.  And - I'm not gonna lie - it hurt to hear it.  A lot.  I definitely shed some tears over that one.
But now, almost 12 months later, I can see (God has revealed to me) that disconnect had to happen so I would have my eyes and heart open when we came to Tanzania  And I'll admit - I was slightly unsettled with coming here.  I really wanted to go back to Ghana.  But because God allowed for that disconnect to happen, I was able to hear his voice and direction so much more clearly than I would have if I was still attached to Father's House so strongly.  Don't get me wrong - I still love Ghana and Father's House, and the co-founders very much.  And Ghana will always be the place that stole my heart.  But now I feel a renewed sense of direction.  I feel like a plan is coming together.  Two years ago God told us we would be missionaries in Africa.  But we didn't know when or where.  So our plan was to work hard to pay down debt, and keep saving for trips to Africa by using 75% of my photog. business and a portion of our income to start a missions savings fund.  But on this trip we've heard clearly and seen vividly how real it would be to live in Africa.  We found out that we can do it as a family.  We fell into a rhythm almost immediately.  Heck, Owen even rode on my lap (or someone else's) in the car a dozen or so times. :)  And I rode in the back of a pick-up truck down a dusty, dirty road.  And I peed behind bushes and boabab trees.  And my son got filthy dirty on a three day camping trip in the bush.  I bathed him in the sink.  I boiled water to do dishes.  I ate goat liver.  We all had chai, mandazi & chapati for breakfast.  We had plou.  We slept under mosquito nets. Owen became a walker in Africa.  He learned to say turtle, and dirty.
And it was all so normal.
And I love that.

July 14, 2012

Our Adventure: Tanzania 2012 (13)

Day 13     6/21/12

After a rough-nights sleep rolling from rock to rock & listening to goats, dogs and roosters in the wee hours of the morning, I was up.  And I couldn't believe Owen had slept through it all!
We were up and at 'em around 7 and emerged from our tents to a handfull of anxious onlookers- mostly children.  We had chai and chapati (a mix between a crepe and a tortilla, served plain and warm) for breakfast, compliments of the Maasai then broke camp and got ready for the outreach.
 Owen makes friends wherever he goes! :)  The little ones (especially) love touching Owen's skin and hair because most of them have never seen a white baby.
As we were finishing up our packing they brought us out something very special that only honored guests get served.  Goat liver.  Roasted.  And in order to be respectful we all had to eat it. Every. Last. Piece.  So we had goat liver for breakfast.  Owen didn't have any, but Bill had 4 pieces, and I had 1.  It wasn't horrible.  But it wasn't good either.
Next was the outreach.
First we introduced ourselves to the crowd.  Peter translated our English into Swahili, then Issac (the pastor of the Maasai tribe) translated the Swahili into Kimaasai.  It was quite the process :)  Next was the skit.  I was designated photographer/videographer and it was really neat to see it all played out.  I had previously been in the skit, so I never got to see the entire thing as an onlooker.  The skit told the story of Jesus' accusation and death on the cross, then concluded with a "But-that's-not-the-end-of-the-story!" ending of his resurrection and ascension. They watched very eagerly and attentively.

We asked if anyone wanted to accept Jesus and be saved and several raised their hands - even adults!
We led them through a corporate prayer of salvation, then asked if any had spiritual or physical ailments they wanted healed.  So we had them go onto either side of the tarp and the team split up to pray over people.  I snapped a few pics before heading into the huddle to pray as well.
 Praying for blind eyes to be healed.                          Praying for her salvation -she wanted to repent even
                                                                                 after the corporate prayer!
That woman was so eager and hungry for God- it was really neat to see her passion as we welcomed & prayed her into the Kingdom.  A couple other moms came forward and asked for prayer for their children to be able to continue school.  Very few Maasai children (from this tribe at least) attend school because of the expense involved.  Even public schools have tuition fees in Africa, and since the Maasai are very poor, most children do not attend school.  Some, however, receive scholarships or sponsorships from people overseas and are able to attend.
After Bill & I prayed for those people, we went over to the other side to join in on the healing prayers.  And this is what I saw:
There's a special story behind this little boy.  He was. A. Dorable.  With a capital A.  About 4 years old. 
I asked what they were praying for this boy to be healed of and was told he was completely mute.  Had never said a word, though he could hear and understand just fine.  So Mary and Marilyn began praying, as did several of the rest of the team.  We prayed and prayed and prayed.  And we prayed in the Spirit and we layed hands on him, and then we stopped.  And it was quiet.  And Mary said, "Say ahhhhhhh" to the little boy.  So he opened his mouth.  And nothing came out.  So she layed hands on his jaw, and said it again, "Say ahhhhhh" "ah" "ah" "ah".  And he kept trying, you could tell he really was trying, but nothing would come out.  So we all prayed some more and kept praying and then stopped again.  Mary repeated herself: " Say: ahhhhh" she said.  And he opened his mouth.  And nothing came out.  So she repeated herself.  And he opened his mouth. And the tiniest little voice you ever did hear, produced a sound that made the angels in heaven rejoice: he said "ah".  
 And he got this excited look on his face, like "Oh my gosh!? Did I just make that noise!?" I so wish I would have captured his surprised face on camera but I was too busy rejoicing and wiping away the tears of joy!  It was such an awesome moment to witness him being healed through our prayers.  So we kept at it, trying to work on his voice and Mary said, "Say: Jesus loves me." And the little boy, without a second thought or hesitation said, "Say Jesus loves me!"  We all lost it then!  We were SO excited - and so was the tribe!  It was SUCH a feat for him to say that - in English with such clarity, when he had never spoke before, let alone in a foreign language!  It was truly amazing to witness God's great power flowing through all of us and into him to heal him from being mute.
Next we prayed for a little 7 year old girl that had crippled legs and couldn't walk.  After we prayed and prayed and prayed and layed hands on her she gained a lot more mobility and her ankles straightened so she could stand on her feet flat, rather than on the sides of her feet like she was before.  It was such an awesome and miraculous time of prayer that morning.  Indescribable.
After prayer time we split the kids up into groups and taught them how to play duck-duck-goose, except they don't know what geese or ducks are so we called it "Booze, booze, babaru" which means, goat, goat, male goat.  They LOVED that game!  They had so much fun!
We also taught them how to play hopscotch and we brought along some jump ropes for them to play with too.

After game time we gathered them back on the tarp to hand out the goody bags we'd made.  There were about 75 kids and they each got their own bag filled with little trinkets and toys.  They were so cute opening them and discovering all the little treasures inside.

After the goody bags were all passed out, they brought out lunch.  It was in a five-gallon bucket.  It's called 'plou' (pronounced plow). It's basically goat meat and rice all mixed together.  It had really good flavor - Owen loved it!

But 5 gallons was just too much for all of us to eat, especially in the heat of the afternoon.  So we asked if it would be alright to share with the kids and Isaac said that would be fine.  In the Maasai culture the men eat first, and the women and children only eat if there is enough, so it was very culturally rude for us to decline any food at all, but because we made such a good effort and ate so much, we were able to hand some out to the kids... who were very grateful!
After lunch Isaac wanted us to see his new church building.
He was so proud of it!  It was such an... interesting moment for me.  Coming from celebrating our first building being finished at Freedom House.  This church building is probably smaller than the bathrooms in our church building, but it doesn't matter.  Because they worked on it and built it with all their might and now they have a shelter to gather and worship the Father, and that's what really matters.  It was so sweet to see Isaac glowing about the beauty of the building - 9 poles wrapped in several yards of fabric with a tin roof.  We prayed over him in the church before heading back to buy jewelry they had made for us in anticipation of our arrival. It was chaotic, but a lot of fun. And it was great to be able to bless them with so much - especially since I had almost $200 in orders from people back in the States - that's a LOT of shillings and will go a long way for them!

We left around 4pm to drive to the next tribe - Pastor Longeedo's village.  He is not a Maasai himself, but he is Tanzanian.  He and his wife felt called to go and live among the Maasai and minister to them, so they built a hut just outside the Maasai village, and are in the process of building a church as well.  It was only a few miles away from Isaac's village, but Longeedo's home was set back away from this village a little, and it was surrounded with fields.  It was much quieter and more private.
They've lived there with their three children for about 10 years.  He is one of the happiest people I've bet.  He lives in a 3 room mud hut with no electricity, rides his bike 30 minutes one way to get water, and has a bathroom equivalent to an outhouse - but I never saw him stop smiling. 
After we set up camp we cooked our own dinner.  Since we were a little farther away from the Maasai, we'd brought a cooler to cook our own meals at this camp.  We had brat-style sausages and baked potatoes over the campfire and Mary's homemade coleslaw.  It was delish!
As we were finishing up dinner about 6-8 kids meandered over from the Maasai village and joined us around the campfire.  Before long they were singing for us.  Then Longeedo's wife brought out a drum and they started jumping and dancing while they sang.  We sang Hakuna Mongu with them then headed to bed.