March 2017 Newsletter
Hello and Blessings from Sunrise
Everything is going GREAT here! There is never a dull moment and we love it. Thanks again to Bibi Kay for entrusting us with the children, staff, and resources of Sunrise Children’s Home. What a joy and privilege it is for us to “get to” lead and manage Sunrise
We Are Celebrating 1 Year in Tanzania
It is hard to believe, but we have been in Tanzania for one year! We have learned so much and so much has happened in this short time. The most important of all the happenings is our relationships with “our” children. We are a Baba and Mama (father and mother) for the children. This is what God sent us first and foremost to do. We have won their hearts and they have won ours. We love the children and are raising them, as much as is possible, as we would our own children. This presents many challenges but with the Lord’s help we overcome them one-by-one. The picture of us was taken in the Dallas/Fort Worth Zoo. Instead of visiting we decided to stay!
Transformation Results from Obeying God’s Word
God’s Word, the Bible, is true and if followed it results in transformation that is impossible for man to accomplish on his own. God’s Word brought to life by the Holy Spirit is very powerful! How powerful? It is powerful enough to heal hearts, bring freedom, and impart hope and vision for life!
“…But perfect love drives out fear …” 1 John 4:18
These are not just nice words with a good idea. These are words of truth that, when combined with faith and action, come to pass. That is what is happening at Sunrise. As the children are loved with God’s kind of love they are being healed from the fear of rejection, humiliation, abandonment, and other emotions that would otherwise hinder them in their lives and future.
People often ask us what a day is like for us. That is a hard question to answer since our daily plans are seldom followed, but require changes because of the varied challenges that arise. One day recently we had plans to get some financial tasks accomplished as well as to finish gathering our 2016 tax documents.
So at 6:30 am we prayed for the kids and off to school they went. We had great hopes to accomplish many things but at about 7:30 we hear a couple of our kids coming down the road. We look, and there they all are coming home. We asked them why they were coming back home and they told us that there is no school today. So, our next question was, “Did you know this yesterday or before?” They told us no, no one told them. It turns out this was true and is not unusual. Needless to say, our financial and tax work had to be put off to the next day. Not sure what happened the rest of that day or the next. We definitely do not live mundane lives.
We had several school meeting this month related to our Standard 7 (Grade 7) students. In Tanzania at the end of your Standard 7 year you must take a national exam. If you do not pass the exam you cannot go to secondary school (junior high/high school). So during their Standard 7 year the children take many, many practice exams. They began this month going to school every Saturday. Each Saturday they take exams in 5 subjects. Then the following week when school is over at 3:30 pm and the other students leave the Standard 7 students stay. They do “corrections” (go over each question) on one or more subjects from the previous Saturday’s test every afternoon (Monday through Friday). Then on the next Saturday they do it again.
We have been to a couple of meetings to discuss the cost per student for the Saturday schooling, the cost of exams, the projected schedule, and cost of the “mock” national exams. What are the “mock” national exams? Once a month they load all the standard 7 kids (48 of them) in the back of a truck and take them to another school in the district where four or more different schools gather to take “mock” national exams. These exams are given to replicate the end of year’s exams that the children will take, in hopes of preparing them as much as possible. After taking the exams they rank the top 10 students.
Looking for New Staff Member
We have begun looking for a new staff member who will have the primary responsibility of caring and supervising the children. This staff member will ensure the children stay on schedule which includes ensuring adherence to wake up and bed time, inventorying and repairing clothing, supervising chores, and being obedient to all Sunrise rules. Part of the children’s success in life will be learning self-discipline through daily activities and chores. This will set them up to do well at whatever God calls them to do.
When the children are at school this staff member will assist with the care and feeding of our animals, care of our gardens and fields, and will also assist with other tasks as needed.
Broccoli – a New Favorite
We grew a vegetable that was new to the children, broccoli. They all loved it. We grew about 25 plants that have continued to produce enough for many meals. The children and staff like it raw in a broccoli, carrot, and onion salad and cooked in broccoli and cheese soup.
Our home is about 95% complete. The last 5% is progressing slowly as we are doing this ourselves. Our varied experiences in life have prepared us for the many challenges that we have faced. We hope to move into our home next month. We will see, if not, then the next… Our 12’ x 8’ room has become “home” to us. It is quite cozy!
We recently had to take on our boys, Elisha, to a doctor because of a “rash” on the right side of his face, neck, and ear lobe. We knew of the Kipengere Children’s Home located about 27 kilometers from us and knew they had a nurse there. Then we heard that there was a full-time doctor so we decided to take Elisha there rather than drive all the way to the Ikonda hospital. We also knew that if the Kipengere Clinic could not satisfactorily treat him we would already be half-way to Ikonda.
They did treat him for the rash which ended up being shingles, as well as treating us so wonderfully. The clinic is run by Sister Neva and as soon as she saw us she streamlined our visit. Elisha was checked in and taken to the doctor immediately. We were sent to the lab for some tests (including HIV since shingles can be a first physical indicator of it) and then back to the doctor. His HIV test came back negative – he does NOT have HIV. Praise the Lord! What a blessing to be “treated” so well and so quickly. We went back a month later for them to check him again for HIV (negative again!) and also to check to check his shingles area. Elisha is doing great and his shingles have healed nicely.
Elisha is 13 years old and his nickname is “Mr. Manners”. As his nickname implies he has the best manners. When everyone else forgets to say please and thank you, Elisha never forgets. Elisha is quiet most of the time and keeps to himself. He seldom gets into any kind of trouble. His mother died when he was 5 years old and though we think he has a father, his father has no part in his life. He has a number of sisters and one of them is Kulwa, our 19 year old Kitchen Supervisor.
When Elisha grows up he wants to be an engineer. He does not know what kind of engineer but we are praying with him for the Lord to direct his steps. With his attention to detail this could be a good field for him.
All of the children have a cabinet that is called a kabati in Kiswahili. It is their responsibility to keep their kabati clean and neat. Their clothes are supposed to be folded. When we check their kabati there is always one where the clothes are neatly folded every time – Elisha’s! Elisha is a detail oriented person and likes things to be neat and orderly.
Well, enough for this month. Check in again next month when we will highlight the many projects going on at Sunrise and also introduce you to more of the children.
All For Jesus,
Richard & Rhonda Hanssen
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