April 2017

April 2017 Newsletter

April Was a FULL Month

Some months, when it comes time to write an update it seems like we have mostly been busy doing all the normal daily tasks that are required to make Sunrise run.  Some things are private and others just aren’t earth shaking enough to write about.  BUT April was so full, we could write several newsletters!  Now you know why this month’s newsletter is longer, but we wanted to share the many blessings that God is pouring out on Sunrise.

We give Him all the glory, honor, and praise for the great things He is doing.  Without His help, His provision, and the love of His people we would not be able to accomplish anything really meaningful.  The truth is, if Jesus Christ is not the center and reason for what we do, we are wasting our time.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.

Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.

Psalm 127:1

Steve and Rebecca Thorpe

We had a wonderful visit with Steve and Rebecca Thorpe.  They attended the church we pastored in Italy and are very special friends.  In fact, they are more than that, they are committed partners with Sunrise, not just financially, but with their lives!   They have four children, Christian -10, Logan – 8, Maddock – 3, and June – 4.  June is from China and she was adopted into their family about 1 ½ years ago.

Steve is a Lt Col in the US Army.  When he retires in about three years they plan to move to Tanzania and become part of the Sunrise family!

Steve and Rebecca were such a joy to have with us over the Easter holiday.  All of our Sunrise children were home while they were here so they really had a chance to build relationships with them.

While here the Thorpes took on a major task: to “remodel” the sungura banda (rabbit home).  They came up with some innovative and effective ideas to improve our daily feeding and care of the rabbits as well as a great way to deal with waste.  You will see the picture below.  Take note of the hinge board that keeps the doors closed and also the vinyl covered board under the cages that is mounted at a slant for easy elimination of waste and simple cleaning!  We can’t wait until we have them here all of the time!


We know that God sent us here to “make Jesus famous” and to, first and foremost, invest our energy, our hearts, and our lives into the children so that they will have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and also experience the healing of their hearts that only He can give.  Once this happens then we know that they will go out into all segments of the Tanzanian society and “make Jesus famous”.  How will they do this: Through 1) Godly Character and 2) an Outstanding Work Ethic.

As you all know, the vision for Sunrise was conceived and brought to life by Kay Oursler, aka Bibi Kay.  She prayed for a couple to come and manage Sunrise to ensure its longevity. God answered and He has gone even further by bringing the Thorpe family too.  God has a plan for Sunrise to love and embrace the hurting and rejected, to heal them, and then to send them out to be a blessing to their nation, the continent of Africa, and the world.  The vision is big but our God is still bigger!

Easter Eggstravaganza 

WOW!  What a great Easter Celebration we had!  Elia, Hosea, and Janeti (three of our secondary students) were home and the Thorpes were herealong with the rest of our Sunrise family.  We began the day with Sunrise Church.  Two times a month we have church at Sunrise with Richard leading the service.  He is actually an ordained Pastor who spent seven years as a children’s pastor.  We even had a visit from Willie, our long time puppet friend.  Together we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ!  Because of His death and resurrection we now have life!

…“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!…”

Luke 24:5–6

After lunch we played a number of “egg” games.  Timing was perfect.  We had to give our chickens medications that required us not to eat eggs for 3 days so we saved them for Easter fun.  What a blast the kids had!  First they colored hard boiled eggs, then we hid them.  What fun!  Then the real fun began with raw eggs.  First we had an egg on a spoon race.  Then we progressed to a messier game, an egg toss.  You will see in the pictures the result of this game!  Elia caught an egg with his head.  This same thing was repeated several times.  Even our staff ladies enjoyed joining in on the fun.

A Visit from the Diwani, 7 Chiefs, and a Secondary School Headmaster

Danlord Mgaya is the Diwani, or director, for seven local villages including our own, Uhekule Village.  Danlord used to be the Chief for Uhekule and was promoted to his current position.  He is a good friend of Sunrise!  He recently brought the Chiefs/Chairmen for all of the villages that he is responsible for.  In addition, he also brought the Head Master from Makoga Secondary school.  The visit went great!  They were impressed with all areas of Sunrise and are happy to know there is a place like this where orphans and at risk children can come to live.  This was a key step in our adding more children to the Sunrise family in the near future.

New Staff Member: Florentina “Tina”

We have another new staff member, Tina!  She, like Neema, is a graduate of Hagafilo, an animal husbandry school.  We hired Tina primarily to work with the children ensuring that they keep to their daily schedule, accomplish chores, and have clean and serviceable clothing (she sews). She is helping to teach them to live a clean and orderly life.  Tina also takes care of the dormitory, helps with the care and feeding of the animals, and works in the gardens.  She is already part of the family and is doing a great job!

This was a critical position for us to fill before we are ready to increase the number of children in our family.  Our desire at Sunrise is to see our children grow up and succeed at whatever God calls them to do.

Our House

We did it!  On Tuesday night, April 11th, we moved into our house – well, kind of!  After taking showers with our 15 liter hot water heater we were pretty excited, but then the leaking began.  When they installed the hot water heater they used “cold water only” hoses.  So with the heat they got soft and expanded and started leaking.  We turned off the water and then around 12:30 finished cleaning up the mess.  It was our first night to sleep in our house and it was late, but we had made it!  We got into bed and had barely begun to relax when a text notification on our phone went “ding”.  More on this below…

Nickson Goes To Kipengere Clinic/Hospital and then To Ikonda Hospital

Last month we told you about how our “highlighted” child, Elisha had to go to the Kipengere Children’s Home Clinic located about 27 kilometers from Sunrise.  April found us visiting this clinic again, but this time with Nickson.

This was the beginning of what ended in major surgery.  Nickson’s sickness began with a low grade fever and sore throat.  On a Friday in early April we took him to the Uhekule Village Dispensary where they looked at him and then gave him paracetamol (Tylenol) and penicillin.  We were a little suspect of the penicillin as it didn’t have any letters or numbers on it.  After a couple of days on the penicillin Nickson had not improved at all so on Monday off we went to the Kipengere Clinic.

When we arrived Sister Neva took us immediately to the check in desk where they screened him and then we went right in to see the doctor.  He touched Nickson’s throat and his pain was intense.  The doctor diagnosed him with tonsillitis and prescribed a different antibiotic and something for his pain.  He also tested Nickson for HIV.  The test came back negative!  Thank you Jesus.  We got him home, gave him is first dose of medications and he was feeling much better by evening!  Yeah!  We thought this particular bout was over.  We were wrong!

We made it to the early morning hours of Thursday.  As stated above, it was our first night sleeping in our home.  That night ended, first, with a leaking hot water heater, and the final blow came at about 1:00 am just after we finished cleaning up when our phone went “ding”.  It was a text from Kulwa, one of our staff.  She told us that Nickson had a very bad stomach ache.

We dressed immediately and went to look at Nickson.  He was crying and shaking from the pain.  We looked up the side effects of the medication he was taking.  What we read concerned us so we called the Ikonda Hospital hoping someone would answer.   No one answered so we looked up the name of a doctor that had previously done surgery on Priska, one of our girls.  Dr. Adams answered and we explained.  He said we could manage the pain and bring him in the morning or we could come now and see the doctor on call.

The way Nickson was shaking concerned us so we gathered his clothes and a few thing for ourselves and at 2:00 am we took off for Ikonda Hospital.  The road to the hospital is terrible enough in the daylight, but in the dark?  We also had to stop several times to open the truck door so Nickson could get sick.  It took us about two hours to get to the hospital and another 15 or 20 minutes of flashing our flashlight to get someone to let us in.  The whole time Nickson is moaning, groaning, and whimpering.  We were so concerned; we prayed all the way there!

The person working the night shift checked us in and then said that there was no doctor.  We told him that we had called Dr. Adams and were told that there was a doctor on call.  The night shift person said we would have to wait until the morning when everyone came in to work.  They put Nickson in a bed in a hall and left us there with him.  We were not happy and not satisfied.  We went back to the man who checked us in and told him that we needed a doctor.  He then said that he was coming.

Dr. Yusuf arrived, looked at Nickson, and said that his pain was too bad and there must be something wrong with him.  Then they offered us a private room, which we took ($12 a day), and we settled in.  Dr. Yusuph said that they would do an ultrasound on Nickson in the morning.  After a short time the doctor looked at him and said, “We need to do this now, his pain is too bad”.  So off for an ultra-sound we go.  They had to call the technician to come in.

The test results were inconclusive.  They ended up giving him something for pain and then he settled down.  We called Nickson’s extended family and a family member left to come and be with him.  In the morning one doctor came and said they would do a CT scan and another doctor came and said they may do exploratory surgery.  We asked for them to do a CT scan first.

A family member arrived later that afternoon and we left because we had to go back to Sunrise. [This was the day the Thorpes were arriving.] Someone always has to stay in the hospital with a patient.  Hospitals do not provide water, food, or close care so someone must be there to provide for the patient.

Later that afternoon we called and found out that they had taken out Nickson’s appendix.  It had burst and they had to clean out a lot of infection.  This was strange because not even two years ago Nickson’s appendix was supposedly removed in another hospital?

About a week later he came home.  After being home for only two days some of his incision stitches came out and the wound looked bad.  We sent pictures to Dr. Yusuph.  He told us to take him back.  We took Nickson back to Ikonda.  Dr. Yusuph met us and took us to the surgeon.  She came out and called for Nickson and asked if one of us wanted to come in, so Richard went with them.  He ended up assisting the surgeon as she removed most of the stitches from Nickson’s 9 plus inch incision and then she resewed.  She asked us if we had the materials to clean and dress his would ourselves?  We said yes and so we were appointed with the after surgery care.

We are happy to say that Nickson is doing great!  We cleaned the wound daily, kept it dry, and it looks great now.  Nickson is up and around and has no pain.  He will be home with us for another three weeks.

Highlight: Nickson

Nickson is 13 years old and is in 7th grade.  His nickname is “Dr. Nick”.  As his nickname implies, he desires one day to be a doctor.  Nickson and his sister, Atu, who is 10 years old and also lives at Sunrise, are our only two children that don’t come from Uhekule Village.  They are from a village about 40 kilometers way.  They were found abandoned and in very bad condition by Patrick, a former Belgium Special Forces soldier who lives here and is married to a Tanzanian.  He is a fine man who loves Jesus.  We thank God that he found Nickson and Atu!

Nickson’s desire to be a doctor has opened a door for us to minister to him concerning his many hospital and doctor experiences.  We have discussed Romans 8:28 and 2 Corinthians 1:4.  We told him that the Bible says that we comfort with the comfort that we have been comforted with.   We explained that he is learning a lot about how to be a good doctor.  He is a smart and insightful young man and really understands the significance of what we have explained to him.

Nickson is studious and is usually #2 in his class of 48 students.  He has all the ability he needs to be a doctor and with the help of the Lord he will one day be a leading physician in this nation.  By the way, children here take exams regularly to help prepare them for the national exam they must take at the end of 7th grade.  They must pass this exam to be eligible to go on to Secondary School (high school).

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 our children.

All For Jesus,

Richard & Rhonda Hanssen

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