Church under the Acacia Trees

I've had a couple of friends from back home ask me if I have a home church here in Tanzania, and where it is, and what it looks like. My home church back in the States is Glad Tidings Church. I'm proud to have called this church home for practically all of my life. Now that I'm in Moshi, church takes on a whole new meaning.
This is what my home church looks like now!
Some Sundays, church is in the village. It's the time when we get to be God's hands and feet and speak into the lives of the Tanzanians. Maybe it's giving a prophetic word, maybe it's sharing something God has laid on our hearts, or maybe it's just giving a hug, a smile, or a handshake. Whatever it is, I'm always so excited to see how God moves in the village churches we get to visit!
photo credit: Global-Effect
Other Sundays, we enjoy church at other churches in Moshi.

But, one Sunday a month, I get to have "house church" with the other missionaries of Global-Effect. This is home church to me. These friends have become family over the past eight months. I love them so much and always look forward to meeting with them!!
CUTENESS OVERLOAD!! Two of the sweet missionary kiddos!! (photo credit: Amanda Batterson)
Sometimes we have house church in a house, other times we don't. This past Sunday we were excited to head out to a village about 45 minutes away from Moshi, called Mtakuja, where the Kimbilio Girls Home will soon be complete! (Click the link for more information!!)
The Drive to Mtakuja was STUNNING!!!   (photo credit: Amanda Batterson)
We had church outside under the acacia trees! Passionate worship, powerful preaching/teaching, and fun times of community are a constant for this church. I seriously get so refreshed just by being around this awesome bunch and communing with them! God gave me the BEST home church ever!!!
photo credit: Amanda Batterson
Vickie shared her vision for the girls' home, and we were able to pray and agree with her...right in the very place where it will come to fruition!
photo credit: Amanda Batterson
Sometimes we get so caught up with a church "building" that we forget what church is really about- worshipping our Lord and fellowshipping with others who build us up in Christ!! I love this crazy crew so much, and am so glad to be able to do life here in Tanzania with them!!
photo credit: Global-Effect
Want more TZ? Make sure you're following these Facebook pages!! Some are for the organization I'm under and others are my friends' and fellow Global-Effect missionaries' pages! I encourage you to "like" them all!
Hope International School
Mark & Brittany in Africa
The Stivers in Tanzania
The Battersons in Tanzania

Much Love, Allie

Tea Time Tuesday

Won't you join me for some tea time this Tuesday!? Go fill up your favorite mug with some chai (tea in Swahili) or coffee, if you'd rather, and join me while I share some thoughts, stories, or things I would tell you if we were having tea together today. Maybe one day we will?! I sure do hope so!!

1. I will be home in seven weeks.
How did this even happen? It seems like just yesterday I was heading off on this incredible adventure to Tanzania. Now, in 31 days, my first year as a teacher, my first school year in Tanzania, and my first year teaching first grade will be over! I'm having very mixed emotions right now, as you might expect. I'm very excited to be going back to America for two months this summer on "furlough" to spend time with family and friends, fundraise, and get ready for the next school year. (Did I mention I'm coming back for year two of teaching in Tanzania?! SO happy about that!!) But, I'm also realizing how much I'm going to miss this place, my "kids" (students), and friends who have become family. I'm tearing up right now just thinking about it!

2. I'm becoming Tanzanian.
Yesterday afternoon I was teaching my ESL class. One of the boys in the class had finished working, and we could hear the older kids playing a game in P.E. outside of the classroom. He asked if he could look through the window to see what was happening. I said, "Yes. You can look that." NO LIE. Now, to you, that might just look like poor grammar. But, here in Tanzania, there are countless times a day when I hear someone speaking something similar. They like to take the prepositions out of the sentences when they speak English. Another example is, "Are you joking me?" Meaning: Are you picking at me? So, when those words came out of MY mouth, I had a giggle session in my head. No one else caught it, but I found it HILARIOUS, because my roommates and I are always talking about it. So, yes, I am becoming Tanzanian. :)

3. My goal for the last few weeks.
When I had the epiphany of only having a few short weeks left of the school year, my first thoughts were, "OH MY GOSH. HOW AM I GOING TO GET MY FIRST GRADERS READY FOR SECOND GRADE?!?!?!??" I was kind of in freakout mode. I knew what all needed to be taught by the end of the year, and I wasn't even close. Though I still have those thoughts in my head (what teacher doesn't?), I've made a choice. My choice is to work with my students as much as I can, but not overwhelm them and myself by trying to get through everything. Yesterday morning, we had a FANTASTIC read-aloud time with lots of discussion using phrases like..."I wonder..." and "My prediction is...", etc.  God has really shown me how much they have grown in the last nine months. And I've decided that though my students may not master all of the first grade standards, and that I may not get through all of my curriculum, we will keep learning. We will have fun learning. We will make the most of our final 31 days in the classroom together. My goal is to soak up these times with my students, and to focus on them. To all of my fellow teachers out there, we can do this!!

4. Creating Something Beautiful.
While in a lunch meeting with all the teachers today, a friend who was leading the meeting asked a question as a little opener, that basically asked this, "What do you do when you are feeling dry and need refreshment from God?" The first thing I thought of was nature. It might be a glance at Mount Kilimanjaro, which takes my breath away just thinking about how majestic God is. Or it may be walking to school, spending that time enjoying the beauty of creation around me (including the people!) and praying. Sometimes it's getting away for an afternoon by myself, working on things in a beautiful outdoor restaurant and spending time journaling.
But, something I thought of tonight is that I also find refreshment and rejuvenation from creating something. I especially love doing any sort of craft or decorating my space to make it feel prettier and more homey. I hadn't had the chance to do that in awhile, since teaching first grade usually takes all my time creating things for my students and classroom. But the first Friday night of spring break, I was able to do so! I set out to make a whimsical Easter garland to hang up in our living room, since Easter was two days away. I spent a few hours tracing, cutting, glueing, and creating to make something beautiful. It makes me feel accomplished, and I can spend that time listening to worship music in God's presence. Here's the final product!

5. Setting Boundaries and Sticking to Them
Spring break (two weeks ago) was GREAT! I was able to have time to breathe, organize myself, and rest. I also started working out a bit to strengthen my body and lose weight. I was on a ROLL for five days- and then school started again. Meh. And...I got tired...I was going to bed too late, which meant getting up late...the working out stopped...and I didn't feel good about any of this. I was thinking about this last night as I was staying up way too late. I've decided to call it quits at 10 p.m. every school night. Turn off the laptop, get all my work done before then, and try to be in bed by 10:30. As a "night owl", it's not going to be easy. But I know how rewarding it will be! I will be happy to wake up earlier, get a workout in, spend some QT with the Lord, etc. I'll let you know how it goes!!

If we were sitting down for some chai, what would you tell me?! I hope you all have a great week! I'll be back on Friday to share what "A Day in the Life" looks like to me.

Much Love, Allie

Experiencing, Exploding, and Examining!

What do those three things have to do with one another?! They are all things we have either done or observed in our science/art experiments lately! I love incorporating science and art together in experiments where the students get to explore and experience different things! So, today, I'm going to be recapping two experiments: Liquid "Exploding" Chalk Paint and Cloud in a Jar.

This super fun activity is a great beginner science experiment, but can definitely be done all-year round! Students will discover how the mixture can be liquid and solid, how it feels like chalk when it dries, and of course, the EXPLODING of the paint using a special solution! This idea came from A Day in First Grade. For this experiment, you will need:
Equal parts of cornstarch, baking soda, and water
Food coloring

I chose to have three colors for my students to use: yellow, red (pink), and blue. If I had more baking soda, I would have done more colors, but that was a calculating error on my part! I mixed up two of the three paint batches before class, and it helped ease the stress during the activity. We mixed up the blue paint as a class, and talked about what we were going to do in the experiment. We got to experience our paint as a liquid, as well as turning into a solid. Everyone got to help, then we got to work!!
Pour the paint into pitchers or cups, and give each student a paint brush. You can also use squirt bottles, and anything else you can find, but brushes work just as well! That's all we had to use! I had colored cups, which was great to color-code the paint! I split my group of twelve into two smaller groups for less fighting over space and paint.

We explored the different ways of painting the chalk paint! Splatter painting, painting your name, abstract art, and so much more! These boys, below, were trying to make a foursquare court!!

After a little while of exploring with the chalk paint, it was time for some explosive fun! I filled a spray bottle with vinegar, and they all got to experiment with it! Since we have already done an experiment with baking soda and vinegar, most of my students caught on to what was happening right away! Then, they all wanted to make their chalk paintings explode!

 At one point, I had half of my class playing in the baking soda/vinegar mixture! They sure love to explore!

This was a fun, easy, and exciting experiment that they all enjoyed! It would be a great last week of school activity too! The weather will be warm enough, my students had no problem spending almost an hour doing it, and it's a whole lot of fun!

This experiment has been around the block a few times in the education world, but my first graders had a blast with it! I didn't think I was going to be able to do this, as shaving cream that you can usually by in the dollar store in the U.S. is not very cheap here. I spent weeks scanning the local stores here to try and find something that would work. And even though I spent about $4 on a can of shaving cream, it was totally worth it for this fun experiment!

You begin with a clear glass or jar, about 3/4 filled with water. Then, you spray in the shaving cream to create the cumulus clouds! You want the "clouds" to be thick and even, so you don't see any water through them.

Then, you mix water and food coloring (I did this before the experiment) and drop it into the jar. Unfortunately, I had no eyedroppers or pipettes. But, I did have creativity! I made my own eyedroppers! All you need is a plastic bottle and a sharp knife. I used Coke bottles. Just pierce a small hole through the middle of the bottle cap, and you have your very own dropper! It worked like a charm! Then, just pour in the water and food coloring. It might take a minute to get the feel for how hard you should squeeze the bottle, but, in the end, it works just as well as a pipette!

 When you are all set, drop some of the water with coloring into your cloud, staying around one spot. You should start to see the color rain down through the cloud!

 I love how observant and focused everyone was!

We worked in groups of two and three, and they took turns doing the different jobs.

Oh, boy, did we have fun experimenting!!

 What a cute group of little scientists!!

Make sure you check out last week's post, about how we learned about the different types of clouds, leading up to this experiment! I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into our classroom, as we become scientists and artists! Let me know if you do either of these experiments in your classroom! I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! 

Much Love, Allie