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Something New, Simba Farms, and Saying Goodbye

Hey there!! It's been awhile since my last post - so I thought I would give you a little (ok...maybe big) update! I've been back in Tanzania for two months now, and I hit this dusty African ground running! I'm SO glad to be back for my fourth year, and am getting back into the swing of things!

I announced on my social medias a couple weeks ago that I am teaching FOURTH GRADE this year!! It is a whole new world for me, but I am completely LOVING IT!! Coming from kindergarten, I was used to the first weeks of school being crazy with a capital C, somewhat like herding cats. But I found out that: 1. Fourth Graders can do things on their OWN! 2. They can sit still and focus on a task or conversation for longer than a minute (most of the time)! 3. I'm LOVING developing deeper relationships with them, but still having tons of fun through morning meeting, read alouds, and more!

But really, I am so loving the switch, and am happy I took the plunge to try something different. I'm really trying to work on my classroom management this year and keep a high standard for my kids and classroom! My classroom reveal is coming, probably in November, due to the craziness that is the beginning of school. Not only that, but getting ready for school to start here in Tanzania is SO DIFFERENT than the States. We usually have some construction going on, have to move furniture, curriculum, and start from square one.

I'm also super happy to be back with my "framily" on this side of the world!! I've loved spending time with my friends and reconnecting from the summer away. The first week back was just for teachers to prepare our classrooms for the school year, but we also did some team bonding: worship, Sardines, and Rock/Paper/Scissors Tournaments! ;)

My friends and I took a road trip (a bumpy 2-hour drive) to a place called Simba Farms. There are BEAUTIFUL Kili views on the way, and the Farm is amazing!! Acres of vegetables, land for animals (horses, cows, chickens, dogs, lambs, etc), and a super charming lodge where they provide delicious farm-to-table meals and a place to stay, if you'd like!! The surroundings are SO beautiful too. Here are a few pictures from the day:

We've also gone to Village Church, celebrated the birth of a friend's baby, and took a couple of day trips to Arusha, a bigger city about 2 hours away! We love visiting Arusha for the good food and fun shopping!! The Maasai Market has any and all souvenirs and Tanzanian goodies! We love shopping and bartering with the locals to pick up some African treasures!

The hardest part of the last two months happened this week...one of my closest friends here in Tanzania, and the director of our school, took off for a new season back home in America! We are sad to see her go, as she transformed the school, and has played a huge part in my life here... she is SO special to me! But I'm excited for what God's got in store for her, and hopefully for a reunion this summer! :)

God is already stretching me this year - giving me the opportunity to train new teachers at our school and help them get their classes ready for the school year. I've loved partnering with them and sharing from my experience.

That's all I know for now!! The past two months have been FULL of FUN and BUSY, so I'm excited to settle into the school year, and continue to teach and love on my fourth graders!! Thanks for reading and following along! If you would like to support me and my mission in Tanzania to teach, love, and serve, here are ways to do so:

PRAYER is powerful! I would so appreciate your prayers for me, my class, and the people of Tanzania.

  • Please pray that God would continue to unite my classroom, and that He would give me the exact ways I can best teach, love, and impact each student. 
  • Pray that our school would continue to gain momentum and that the transition to new (awesome!) directors would be easy and smooth! 
  • Pray for my friend, who is about to have her first baby! Right now the baby is breech, and we are praying that God would position the baby for an easy labor and delivery!
  • Pray for Tanzania, that God would reign and His love would permeate the hearts of the people here. He is working mightily in this nation!
  • Pray for me, for continued health and rest, as this year has brought a lot of "hats" for me to wear, and it's been hard to keep up with everything!

SUPPORT with a donation! I am a volunteer teacher and missionary here, and rely on your support to continue doing what I'm doing here. You can give a tax-deductible gift HERE. Please make sure to select Hope International School in the menu, and write Allie Elliott in the comments. Thank you!

HOST a Christmas party (Omaha locals)! I'm SO excited and BLESSED to be able to come home for Christmas! I will be back in Omaha for two weeks in December, with coffee and handmade goods to sell to raise funds! If you would be interested, I'd love to work with you on hosting a Tanzanian Christmas party for you and your friends...and be able to share about Tanzania and sell my Swahili Swag (great Christmas presents)! Email me if you're interested! allieelliott@yahoo.com :)

Thank you for your support! I appreciate it so much!!

Sunday Morning Ramblings - Reflecting and Update!

After waking up at 4 am this morning (Sunday), and trying to fall back asleep for an hour, I gave in, and got up! Just made myself a pot of coffee, putting on some Elevation Worship, and thought I'd share with you!

I cannot believe how fast time has flown by this summer. I say this every year, and you would think I would be used to it by now, but I'm not. I know it's time to go back to Tanzania, and I am EXCITED! But, that doesn't mean it is sad to leave family, friends, and home! Before I get into my reflection and update, here's a short video showing you snippets of life in Tanzania:

This summer has been refreshing and life-giving. It has stretched me to step outside my comfort zone in different ways, and I'm so glad I did! After quite a long year, (this was the first year I didn't leave East Africa for the full 10 months) I was more than ready to come home and see my family!!

We had some great times together, and I am so thankful for them! I could not be more excited for my brother Collin, and sister-in-LOVE Keirstyn, as they will be welcoming their first baby into the world in November! I get to be an Auntie! It's been fun to talk to them as they look forward and prepare for this new adventure. And of course, feeling that sweet babe kicking is so fun too! That being said, it will be so hard not being here for the birth. I am so thankful I will have the opportunity to fly back to the US for a quick 2 weeks over Christmas, to spend the holidays with my family, and get some quality time with the baby! I am so blessed to be able to do this! Thank you Jesus!

I had the opportunity to go down to Grand Lake in Oklahoma with the fam again this summer for a week. It was BEAUTIFUL and RESTFUL, as always! I think my favorite part was hanging out in the boat or on the dock- either chatting or sitting with each other reading!

Another super exciting event that is happening this week, is one of my best friends (we were classmates in fifth grade, and friends since!) is getting married! She specifically scheduled her wedding so I can be there!! I'm so happy to be able to be one of her bridesmaids, and stand with her on this momentous day!

I've also been busy raising funds for this next year of teaching and missions in Tanzania! God is so faithful! He unlocked several doors that I stretched myself to open, and He has provided in so many ways! From a friend who gave me her old iPhone 6 with a cracked screen, so I only had to pay $100 for a new phone instead of $350+, to new monthly supporters, and opportunities to speak at the Womens Bible Study and Kids Church at my church, hold an open house, and much more. He is my Provider! I am trusting that He will continue to take care of all my needs!!

I've been reflecting on my word for the year- IMMERSE - and how I can continue to grow myself in ways of immersing. Being "all there", wherever I am. Immersing myself in the presence of the Lord. Immersing myself deeper in my relationships. Immersing myself in Him so He will be glorified!

Looking forward to this new year, I am excited! I get to teach and live another year with my friend Alyssa. And we have two more teachers joining us in Tanzania. I can't wait to see all my friends in Tanzania, and continue to do life with them and deepen my relationships. I look forward to learning more Swahili. And I'm thrilled to be teaching!

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my summers off! I love not having to be in charge of 15 littles every day, and having time to myself. But, I was born a teacher! And as I start looking at how I want to run my classroom, how I can set it up to be most beneficial to my little learners, and how I get to love and nurture these sweet kids from around the world, I can't help but be excited and happy! I am actually teaching a new grade, or grades, this year! As soon as I know for sure what that will look like, I'll happily share with you. But I so look forward to what this year will bring!

If you've made it to this part of my blog post, you're awesome! I am thankful for YOU - for your love and support. It means the world to me, and I couldn't do what I do without you! As I prepare for my fourth season and year in Tanzania, I would be so grateful for your support!! Here's what that may look like:

PRAYER - Our prayers are POWERFUL and EFFECTIVE! I would love your prayers - over the school, for divine appointments to share the Gospel with those around me, for health and safety, and for God's continued guidance as a teacher and missionary in Tanzania. Also, I'm taking a page out of a teacher friend's book - I would LOVE for you to pray for my students!! Like I said, I don't know exactly what grade I'll be teaching, but as soon as I have my class list, I would love to send you one student to pray for this year! I would love for each of my students to be covered in prayer. If you would be willing to pray for one of my students this year, please comment below with your email address, and I will send you the name of one of my students in a couple weeks! I would love it!!

GIVING - I am so thankful for God's provision, that I get to do what I'm doing, and be His hands and feet in Tanzania. I would so appreciate your support, if you feel led to give to my mission. Your support will go towards my living expenses, classroom supplies, health insurance, and giving to the churches and people in Tanzania. Every dollar counts, and helps me reach my goal of $10,000 for the year! If you feel called to support me financially, here's how (click the image to go to the link):

Thank you so much for your support, in all areas. I cannot do what I'm doing without you! I pray God blesses you abundantly for the blessing you are to me and others! I will continue to share with you throughout this year here on my blog, but if you would like a special email newsletter, I'll be sending it out quarterly! You can sign up here: http://bit.ly/AllieNewsletter
(credit: Amanda Batterson)
I can't wait for what God has in store for this year!!
Serving Him,

Allie The Gypsy Teacher's Birthday Bash!!!

I love birthdays!! I think everyone should be celebrated- and LOVE celebrating birthdays!! I got this from my mom- she always makes everyone feel so special on our birthdays!! Growing up, we would be greeted in the morning with a Birthday Breakfast, complete with decorations, presents, and more! Not only this, but usually we would have some elaborate birthday party with our friends and/or family!

It's my birthday month (WOOHOO!) and I want to celebrate with you! Each Sunday I'll be coming to you with a new birthday bash! Each bash will be related to a past birthday party I had, that I get to celebrate now with you!! Make sure you stay tuned for lots of gifts all month long!!

This week, I'm featuring my swimming birthday party! We didn't mind that it was cold and drizzly, we were excited to go swimmin'! (Just look at those cuties ;) I also LOVE scavenger hunts, so you get to do one today!! I have placed 4 images around my blog with a secret code on them! Each image has one code. Complete the scavenger hunt, return to this post, and type the code into the Rafflecopter!

EVERYONE IS A WINNER!! Once you submit the secret code, I will email you! You get to choose a resource from my TpT store and I will send it to you for FREE! Also, one teacher will win the GRAND PRIZE: a Back-to-School Teacher Survival Kit!

Ready, set, go!! Here's the first clue! Search the blog to find the right post!

All finished? Enter the four-word secret code in the Rafflecopter! Thanks for playing!