The Last Days-April 2013 update

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The Last Days

 

No, this is not an end of times, apocalyptic update. But, we are less than three weeks from flying back to the US to begin a new stage of life, again. We’ve done this kind of thing before—sell almost everything we own and pack the rest in small(ish) tubs or suitcases weighing 50 pounds (or less) and carry them half way around the world. This has prevented us from owning much stuff, especially big stuff. So, we’ve had a few “last days” in our lives in the past and we are in our last days now in Tanzania. We aren’t saying we will never come back because we never (or rarely) say never. As they say here, “Mungu anajua tu.” God only knows. We’ve had a few lasts already: last time through the game park, last rainy season, last speeding ticket (hopefully). The lasts that we still have will be the last trip to a village to show the Jesus Film, last trip to Dar, last dinner at “Street Chicken” (tandoori chicken grilled outside next to a street, it’s not really called “Street Chicken,” I called it that because I didn’t know what else to call it but it is the best chicken in the world and since I’ve had chicken on at least 3 continents in my life, I speak with self-appointed authority). These last days have given us a time to reflect on our time here. It has been an amazing season of personal growth and ministry. We have been truly blessed by God in many ways through His faithfulness, provision, and guidance. Thank you for being part of this season or our lives through your prayers, support, and encouragement. I hope this will continue into our next season.

 

Progress Update (can be read as prayer requests also)

 

One person interested in our car so far. It is possible by the time you read this it will be a “praise” instead of a request.

 

We have applied to a charter school in Cedar Hill, TX to send 3 of the kids for next school year.

 

We talked to a mortgage loan originator in Texas about our situation and he thinks we should be able to be approved for a loan without any problems.

 

Shonna’s dad arrives this week to help us pack. He and Grayson will leave next week and spend a couple of days sighting seeing in Dubai as kind of a late 14th birthday present. Gavin got a couple of days is London last year.

 

We fly in less than three weeks.

 

Here is the quick version of plans when we return:

May—Illinois

June—Texas

July—Illinois

August—Texas (to live and begin new roles with PBT)

We have and will continue to contact our supporting churches and individual supporters about visiting together during these months. Since we are continuing our service to PBT, we will continue to need to raise support for PBT.

 

Grace and peace,

 

Andy, Shonna, Gavin, Grayson, Garrett, and Genna

 

To donate, <PLEASE NOTE NEW ADDRESS> please make checks payable to Pioneer Bible Translators or PBT:

Andy and Shonna Ingram

c/o Denny Wells

114 Thompson Trail

Bastrop, TX 78602

Or through online credit card-

Andy and Shonna Ingram Ministry

Click “Teams” and scroll to “Ministry of Andy and Shonna Ingram”

 

Important announcement

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

Greetings from Tanzania and may God bless you in 2013. Shonna and I appreciate you all and thank you for the encouragement you have been to us over the past six years since we became recruits with Pioneer Bible Translators.

 

As you may remember, we originally committed to serve with the East Africa Branch for two field terms and hard as it is to believe, those two terms and our commitment will be completed this year. We have sought the Lord’s guidance on whether to extend our commitment. A major factor in our minds is the sense that we have completed well the purpose for which God called us to Tanzania and our team is now ready to begin a new phase of operations. For that and other reasons, including the need to raise additional funding , Shonna and I have decided not to return to Tanzania following our home assignment, which will begin in May 2013. We believe there is a season for everything. When we were preparing to come to Tanzania, we felt that we could commit to two terms and then pray about our future during the second term. We believe the time that God brought us to Tanzania has passed and it is time for us to relocate back to the US.

 

It is important for us to make this announcement now so that we can begin the necessary leadership transitions here, prepare our family for our own transition, and seek guidance regarding the next phase of life that God has for us. We are confident  God will provide for us and lead us to our next place. We are confident  the work in Tanzania will continue as the fifteen translation projects continue to progress toward the completion of the New Testaments in the  next couple of years.

 

We have talked to our leaders at the International Service Center of PBT in Dallas about serving in a role supporting the worldwide mission and missionaries of PBT.  We are excited to announce that we have been invited to serve in strategic state-side roles that will facilitate the recruitment, equipping, and care of our world-wide team. For now, we ask that you pray for discernment as we seek the Lord’s guidance while closing out the remaining months in Tanzania and transition into the next phase of our life. We ask for your continued financial support of PBT on our behalf.  As we begin our roles in the US, we will continue having ongoing needs for support so that we can help to equip and send out the next generation of missionaries who will serve all across the globe in the ministry of Bible translation.  We hope to see you later this year! 

 

Again, we are grateful for the years of support to Pioneer Bible Translators and prayers on our behalf. We humbly ask that you continue to pray for us.  If anyone has questions about our decision, please feel free to contact us.  We will provide new information each month with details on our progress such as travel plans and a time line for our transition.

 

Grace and peace,

 

Andy and Shonna Ingram

Boy was I wrong-

 

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So I had this idea that I was going to make everything better for Christina. I would help her start a business and she would be able to “pay it forward” as the saying goes. But as we sat down and talked she said what she really needs in money to be able to put a roof on her 1 room house and be able to feed her kids. How Western did I feel. This is someone I have known for over 4 years. This is someone that has lived life with us for 4 1/2 years, yet I didn’t even know she needed a roof for her house. Building a house in Tanzania is their retirement investment. As we travel the roads of Tanzania we pass by many houses that have been started but haven’t been finished.  Or sometimes there is just bricks in the middle of a field where there is probably some plan to start a house. My goals have changed from changing her life to just helping her get a roof for her house. Sometimes as missionaries we want the big changes quickly. But working in a Bible Translation Organization I know that definitely doesn’t happen overnight. So I will focus on a roof today and maybe tomorrow we work on something else to make life for her a little more easy.

UPDATE: January 28, 2013

Thursday I was able to give Christina the last part of the money SHE earned to get her roof finished. I think that is probably the most exciting part, SHE did it all by herself. The business really took off over the holidays. I now feel like we can go to the next step. To be honest I am not sure what that is right now. But I am praying that she will be able to sell her food at a local grocery store. I went to the store and asked the owner if he would be interested in selling the tortilla chips he said he would have to try the product. I hope we can do that this week.

Blasida foods continued ……

Day 2- 

We had no idea how many people were going to come and we just guessed on how much to make. Luckily or through divine intervention she sold almost everything and made over $150 (which is about what she makes in a month) so not to bad for 3days work. She also made some good contacts. She was approached by a local restaurant and was told that she could sell her food there (Definitely, an answer to prayer). She is already starting to get regular cliental. I took some video of the experience.  

We will be talking to her about how to save for bigger ticket items (refrigerator and stove) but as of right now she currently doesn’t have any electricity or water at her house. There really isn’t any way to getting water and power to her house because of its location. Promises of “Maybe power and water in your area next year” have been made, we will see.  So she needs to stick with foods that she can make with a charcoal grill. Right now she can use our house but we are looking for a long term solution.

I will keep you posted on our arrangement.

Starting a Business- Blasida foods

Our housegirl (Christina) has been working for us for almost 4 ½ years. She was already employed by our organization when we arrived. She didn’t know any English and I didn’t know any Swahili. I remember one day while I was in Language school I was going to let her go home early. I thought I was telling her she could go “now” (sasa) but what I was actually telling her was that she could go at “1 pm” (saba). She was very confused by this because she normally left at noon. When we started out she had to wash all of our clothes by hand (that is a lot of dirty underwear), joyous was the day in our household when we were able to purchase a washing machine. So needless to say she has put up with a lot from my family.

We feel like that we pay her a fair wage, pay for medical issues for her and her family and provide a fund for long term advance loans that are paid back monthly. However, it still isn’t enough.  She is a single parent with 3 children and raising her nephew. She is trying to help get them through schools, but there isn’t a public school system, there are school fees.  Within the time we have lived here basic food necessity costs have gone up over 50%.  Their main food staple is maize flour that they make into paste. When we first got here it was 12,000 Tshillings for 25 kilos now it is 27,000 Tshillings for 25 kilo. Sugar, eggs and oil all have gone up over 50%.

So we want to help her, but how? We will not be here forever and the kids are getting old enough to take on some of her responsibility. But prices keep going up and we can’t afford to pay her what she is really worth. One thing she can do really well is cook. I can give her any recipe (in Swahili of course) and she can make it. Spaghetti sauce, ravioli, Enchiladas, bread, ect. This is actually very rare, first of all that she can read and second that she has the aptitude to understand how a recipe works.

The town that we live in is about 4 hours away from the big city (Dar es Saalam), we live on a beautiful mountain, it is cooler and it half way on the main rd (only road) to the capital (Dodoma). So we are starting to get an influx of wazungu (expat-white people) coming to live in our town. Other mission organizations, NGO’s, power and water companies along with already 2 tobacco processing plants.

We decided that Christina could probably start a business by selling foods that can be made with local ingredients. She was very excited about the idea and thankful for the help. We wanted to start small. There is a fair at the international school in town tomorrow. She will be making corn tortilla chips and focaccia bread to start. A friend of mine will helping another national with cinnamon rolls and sandwich size French bread.

So now we will see what sells.

November 2012

Ingram Update

November 2012

 

It is hard to believe that it is almost the end of the year 2012. Like many times in life, time feels like it flies by and other times it feels like you been somewhere or done something “forever.” For us, we had one of those experiences that you might not expect to give you reason for pause. Last month, we visited “US soil” (we went to the embassy) to reapply for the kids’ passports. It has been five years since we first obtained their passports and it is time for new ones. We realized we brought four little kids to the field and now we have three young men and a beautiful young lady. Our kids have been such a blessing to us in the way they handle new and interesting situations, events that have a tendency to be longer than what we would prefer, doing school work without complaint (ok, very few complaints), and their growth in relationship with Christ.

 

                

 

For work, last month saw us putting the finishing touches on a new agreement with our partnering organization. This had been a long time coming and we are thankful to have more clarity and understanding as we move forward in our work to bring God’s word to the Bible-less.

 

Each year, the final months of the year are important to our overall financial health for the year. This year is no exception. Our story is probably and unfortunately consistent with many others this year. We are getting the double whammy of lower income and rising expenses. Through the first nine months compared to the same time frame as last year, we are averaging $150 less per month with expenses being an average of $1260 more per month from last year. We have had increases in rent ($150/month), insurance, fuel, and travel for work. We ask that your pray for us and ask that you consider an additional gift before the end of the year. We continue to be humbled in awe of how God uses His people to provide for our needs.

 

Blessings,

Andy, Shonna, Gavin, Grayson, Garrett, and Genna

To donate, <PLEASE NOTE NEW ADDRESS> please make checks payable to Pioneer Bible Translators or PBT:

Ingram Ministry

c/o Denny Wells

114 Thompson Trail

Bastrop, TX 78602

Or through online credit card-

Andy and Shonna Ingram Ministry

Click “Teams” and scroll to “Ministry of Andy and Shonna Ingram”

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