Just another Normal Day...when Heaven Met Earth

Being away from home for the holidays is definitely bittersweet for me. In some ways, I'm SO grateful for the opportunity to serve in Tanzania, and be part of God's work here. I'm immensely thankful for the friends who have become family here. I love Tanzania, and the students I get to work with, the friendships I've built here, and God's perfect purpose being fulfilled. MUNGU NI MWEMA! (GOD IS GOOD!)


However, being away from my family, my culture, and the place I've called home for the last 26 years is so tough. All of the traditions, the excitement, the decorations, the cold weather, the parties and get-togethers, and the quality time spent with family is what I'm missing so much. There's a hole in my heart by not being there. But I know that if I was there, I'd also be missing this home here. You may remember my blog post earlier this year: Revolving Doors. They are ever-present, and make living life to the fullest pretty hard.

But, tonight, as my friends and I were worshiping and singing Christmas carols, I was reminded about what life was like on that first CHRISTmas. When heaven met earth, and when our Savior humbled himself to become a baby.

It was just another normal day, for Joseph and Mary. They had traveled far, on DONKEY. I'm about to get in a car and drive 8 hours to the beach in a couple days. I couldn't IMAGINE being VERY pregnant, traveling by DONKEY, in the intense heat. This is my first "summer Christmas" and I am NOT enjoying the hot temperatures. I'm sure Mary would have rather stayed home and taken a cool bath, instead of traveling day and night on a donkey to Bethlehem. BUT she followed God and did what she needed to do to be in the right place at the right time.

I'm SURE she did NOT think it was the right place. The only person she knew in the whole city was Joseph! No family, no friends, no one to care for her or take her in. Not even a hotel room to have her baby in. She was alone. I'm sure she was scared. She probably wasn't too happy about the conditions of where she would be giving birth, either. BUT she was courageous, strong, brave, and was a servant of the Lord.

I was thinking about how I would react, if I was a shepherd, or wise man, who had come to see baby Jesus. Or, even further, if I was Mary, looking down on my newborn son. The Savior of the Universe, in a tiny little body, sleeping in a feed trough for animals. It was dirty, smelly, and not so comfortable, but HE did it for US. Our Emmanuel is HERE. He was born on just another normal day, where the shepherds were trying to stay awake watching their sheep, the city was full of hustling and bustling people, it was HOT and DUSTY, and, still, Jesus was born among us. That leaves me speechless, thankful, and in awe of His unadulterated love for me.

And then I think back to my life here. I have the opportunity to focus on Jesus this holiday season, as there is so much I'm missing. That hole in my heart isn't actually a hole, it's just growing pains. Jesus is still here, and He's not going anywhere. He'll be here when life is messy and unclean, when you're lonely, sad, or just needing someone to be there. OH COME LET US ADORE HIM!!

Merry Christmas!

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!

Well hello there!! Long time no see! These past few months have been CRAZY busy, and life just keeps on moving! If you follow me on any social media, you know I haven't dropped off the face of planet earth, I'm just half-way around it - continuing to teach in Tanzania, East Africa! If you're new here, WELCOME! I'm so glad to have you. Feel free to explore my new blog design, isn't it LOVELY!?! A huge thanks to Alexis from Laugh Eat Learn Designs for taking my ideas and turning them into a wonderful reality!

Now that it is Christmas break (#andalltheteacherssayamen), I'm ready to unpack the last few months, and share what I have planned for you next!! Let me first say how much I still, after two and a half years, LOVE living in Tanzania! This is my third year teaching at Hope International School, in fact, it's my third year of teaching! Living on another continent has not been easy, but I'm so thankful that God continues to prepare my way through this adventurous life.

This is what this school year has looked like for me so far:

My class of 16 kindergarteners is very rambunctious and FULL of BIG personalities (as you can see)!! It's been a challenge, but I'm thankful for God's new mercies each day. It's such a privilege to teach these cuties, and train them in the way they should go.

I LOVE teaching along side Esther - my assistant teacher and friend!! She came in for the fourth quarter of last school year, and I love her dearly!! We work really well together - and make a great team! I am so thankful for her.

These are the AWESOME teachers I get to work with day in and day out! 

I've also had the opportunity to direct our school's Christmas play! It was A TON of work, but so much fun!! You can check out videos from the play here!! It was written as if Bethlehem was Moshi- where we live. So it may not make sense to you, but it makes complete sense to us! ;)

My team has also ministered in village churches - praying over people, loving on them, and speaking words of encouragement to them and their situations. God is really working here- and I love being a part of it!

This will be my first Christmas here in Tanzania - and I definitely have mixed feelings. I'm so excited to experience my first summer Christmas, and be able to celebrate with my "framily" here. But I'm definitely missing the cold weather, festivities, and mainly my family and friends at home. Moshi has truly become my home as well, but there's something about being away from what you know and love about the holidays, that hurts your heart too. 

That being said, this month I've worked hard to celebrate Christmas with my kinders in as many ways possible!! I'll be sharing some of my favorite Christmas DIYs for the Classroom during the next couple weeks, even though we're finished, or wrapping up the holidays in our classrooms. Check back soon for the first installment, as well as a chance to win a fun Christmas giveaway!!

Before I let you get back to your holiday traditions and fun, I want to let you know there is still time to make a tax-deductible donation to my mission before the end of 2016! I am a volunteer teacher and missionary here in Tanzania, and fully rely on the support of others. I would really appreciate your support! You can donate here: http://bit.ly/AllieDonate. Please select HOPE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, and write my name ALLIE ELLIOTT in the notes section. I pray God's blessings will be poured back into your lives as you give! Asante sana (Thank you very much)!

Merry Christmas!! Enjoy this season with your loved ones - as we celebrate the true reason for the season - when heaven came to earth!