Anxiety and excitement run side by side, at times colliding, as I anticipate my return to Tanzania. Anxiety hits as I think of all I need to accomplish between now and when I board the plane May 30. Will our books leave the printer’s hands and enter ours in time for the flight? Will I find the correct clothes for the Kome Island culture and heat, and will I take enough? How much extra prep time do I set aside for the pastors’ and widows’ conferences?
Excitement reigns as I think of renewing relationships and building deeper roots with our friends on the other side of the world! We lifted each of these people up in prayer all year long. What will they report about their spiritual growth? What role did ABH books play in their progress? Did marriages thrive in new ways after challenges went forth in last year’s pastors’ conference?
My heart warms as I imagine throwing my arms around Colleta, my fellow widow, friend, and translator. Email provided an opportunity for year-round contact. In fact, we created a new bite-sized book together—about widowhood. God allowed me the opportunity to cut my original 43,000-word book to a 16,000-word bite-sized book, ready to bring to this year’s conference. Colleta, translator of the work, will join me in personally handing finished books to our widowed friends.
What stories will the widows tell? Last year we encouraged conference attendees to find their comfort in Scripture only to discover most didn’t own Bibles, a gap we quickly filled upon returning to the states. What will we hear about God’s further provision, encouragement, and strengthening? How did God answer our year-long prayers for these widows?
Some requested prayer for release from anger, others for remarriage. One jokingly asked me to bring her an American man. Did the Lord bring release from anger? Did he provide some with new spouses? What did they take away from the conference last year and what might the widows need this year?
We leave for Tanzania in less than six weeks. Yes, the anxiety and anticipation run together. A longing in my heart begins to override these emotions, however. I long to hear more, learn more, and gather stories of those who stole our hearts a year ago. I look forward to hugs all around as we arrive again on Tanzanian soil.