New Role, New Friends, and Lots of News (part 2)

Hey there! I'm back for part 2 of my update posts! If you missed part 1, click HERE. I shared about my new role and my new it's time for the NEWS! 

You may know that I've been looking into eye surgery lately. I have Dwayne's Syndrome in my right eye, which, to put it in short, means that (1) some of my nerves aren't connected how they should be, and (2) my eye muscles have weakened, making my eye turn from the middle of my eyelid to the center of my face. This has also caused some double vision - which was thankfully mostly fixed with a better glasses prescription, but still happens on occasion (especially when I'm super tired or under stress!). God is absolutely incredible to have created our brains to compensate when other parts of our bodies don't function as "normal". I can still see out of my right eye, and don't have constant double vision. Praise God!

photo credit: Cole Gorman
I expected to have eye surgery this summer, and actually left Tanzania a month early to see my doctor. But, he didn't think surgery was the way to go. We (My parents and I) left the appointment confused, but trusting God had a bigger plan. We decided to get a second opinion with a doctor in-network of my new insurance, and he recommended surgery, but would work on both eyes. I wasn't comfortable with this, especially since the first doctor's advice was completely opposite.

We researched to find doctors who specialized in my area of ophthalmology, and found a doctor who had 20+ years of experience in this area at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Unfortunately, after calling to book an appointment, we found out he had no openings until after August, when I would be back in Tanzania. We had our name put down in case of a cancellation, and continued to pray and trust God. Amazingly enough, God provided an opportunity for me to get an appointment with him before I left for Tanzania!

He ran a myriad of tests (like using this crazy contraption ;) and gave me great assurance and hope! He decided surgery would be a good idea, and answered all of our questions. He plans to work on the muscles of my right eye to turn it back to center. He said that I would even be able to have followup surgeries if they eye slips back to being turned in! God is good!
He recommends to have the surgery sooner than later. We were actually able to schedule the surgery for December 11! Unfortunately, that means I'll be taking a leave of absence from Tanzania, but I know the Lord has a master plan. He's orchestrated everything to work out in His timing, and I trust He will continue to fulfill His plan.

I will be leaving Tanzania on Sunday, October 28, because I have the wonderful opportunity to join my parents in Cape Town, South Africa, before heading to the U.S.! They are currently in Botswana, and will be making their way down to Cape Town to meet me for a few days. Like I said, God's plan is perfect!

I'll be in the U.S. for November, December, and January, as I prepare for, have, and recuperate from my surgery. My prayer is for a quick recovery so that I can hopefully return to Tanzania in February, after my six-week post-operation appointment! I'm looking forward to being home for the end of fall, and for the holidays! Though, it is hard to leave Tanzania and Hope School for three months in the middle of the school year!

 As I make this transition and prepare for surgery, would you please pray for me? Here are some ways you can pray for me these next few months:
  • Healing for my eye! I believe God is our Healer- and He will heal my eye, whether it is through the surgery, or before it even happens! 
  • Favor with my insurance company - I've been having some trouble getting coverage for the surgery, as the Mayo Clinic is out of my network. Please pray that God would change their minds and allow me to have this important surgery with this doctor, who has specialized in this field for so many years! It is an expensive surgery; one that I cannot pay for without insurance. I know God has ordained this and I trust He will provide financially!
  • Surgery – that God would be with the doctor to do exactly what’s needed for my eye, and that my body would do well in and after surgery
  • Recovery – that the recovery would be quick and painless, that my body would accept the change of my eye, and my brain would quickly re-calibrate to the new placement, so that I do not have double vision! I believe for complete healing in Jesus name!
Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for your prayers!! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me!!
I would so appreciate your financial support as well! Though I won't be in Tanzania for a couple months, I will be working with the other volunteers to help Hope as much as possible from afar. Also, this surgery is not cheap, though it is very important for my well-being! If you feel led to support me financially, you can go to: Select Hope International School and write my name "Allie Elliott" in the comments. All donations are tax-deductible! "Asante sana!" (Thank you so much! in Swahili) 
I’m blessed to be serving God in beautiful Tanzania, and know that He has big plans for this nation and for me in the months to come!!

Much love,

New Role, New Friends, and Lots of News (part 1)

Hellooooo friends!! So much to catch you up has been going too fast to document!! We've been in Moshi for two and a half months, and it's been great!! (We being my MOM and I!!) Here's a quick update on life in Tanzania...

First of all, I've stepped into a new leadership role. We're calling it Academic Coordinator. I work with the other Western Mentor Teachers to help the Tanzanian teachers. We now have two Tanzanians in each classroom as partner teachers, and the mentors each have a role to help them succeed. I work with them, a bit more removed from the classrooms, to keep everything moving in the right direction, as well as some admin work. It's been an interesting transition, but I really am enjoying a different side of teaching in Tanzania! I get a chance to impact the whole school through teacher training, coordinating curriculum and school events, and overseeing the academic side of Hope School.

We had some last-minute teacher changes this summer, and my mom felt God leading her to come help out for the first two months. This time has been such a gift to both of us, and I've especially loved sharing my second-home with her. She's helped the school SO much with organization, and doing the jobs I wouldn't have had time to do if she wasn't here. She also has such a gift of loving people well, and the students and teachers have all experienced that.

It's been so fun introducing her to all of my friends here, and showing her around my world! Our time has been filled to the brim with adventures and time together, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Highlights this past two months include:

Getting to know my new housemates! Josh & Emily (the two on the left in the bottom pic) work with me & Katie (who was here last year, left on the top pic) at the school, and Grenisha (right on the top pic) works with another ministry in Moshi! I so appreciate them and am so glad to be doing life with them here in Tanzania!!

Teacher Training! I started the year out with a two-week teacher training before school started. It was intense, and a lot of work, but was a great start to the year. We did some team building activities, set up their classrooms, and spent time going over all of the teacher stuff: curriculum, classroom management, and more.


Adventuring! We've spent time getting out of Moshi and going to waterfalls, a coffee tour, a beautiful farm, a big city, and the Hot Springs! It's so much fun to see new places in Tanzania, as well as return to some favorites.

Last week, my dad joined my mom and I for a few days! It was a joy to show him my life here, and we packed as much as possible into his four days. We went to a church in the village, got to travel up the mountain a bit each day to see a hospital his hospital partners with and an awesome shop with painters & Tanzanite, and I showed him the school & he got to meet the teachers/staff! He and my mom decided to make a whole trip out of their visit here, so now they're off to Kenya for safari!

I have so much more to share with you, including some exciting news! Look for part 2 of this blog post tomorrow! Thanks for sharing in this adventure with me!