Distance

One of the many challenges that a missionary faces is “distance”. It comes in all forms but is always a challenge.
One distance is the distance between where you are currently ministering and the place where all your family and friends live. For us in Tanzania, home is half way around the world in the U.S. We have family spread over the states of Washington, North Carolina, Missouri, Michigan, Alabama, and other states. So, even when we live in the states distance between our families is still a challenge.
Another distance that challenges us is the vast size of the region that we cover – it is about the size of the state of Indiana. Our furthest point from here in Mwanza that we visit is about 10-12 hours away on the western side of Tanzania. If we have a Mission meeting in Dar Es Salaam on the eastern coast of Tanzania it takes about 14-16 hours of driving which means we break it up into two days. The roads are mostly paved these days but some of our region is still remote enough that we can spend hours driving on bumpy dirt roads.
When we need to seek medical attention, we will travel to Nairobi Kenya. Kenya is the country right above us and it’s about a 10-12 hour trip depending on road conditions and how long it takes us to cross the border. We will be going to Nairobi, Kenya at least three times a year. Joyce has to have pretty extensive lab work done since her bout with cancer last year which cannot be done here in Mwanza. Nairobi, Kenya is our closest laboratory facilities that can do the necessary lab work.
Our nearest Assemblies of God missionary is in Dodoma, Tanzania which is a 9 hour drive from Mwanza. Fortunately, the road is completely paved now between here and there or it would take us hours longer.
Many of the churches we will visit on Sundays will be a 1 hour drive from our house and sometimes further.
We rarely can tell you how many miles (kilometers) a place is from our house but we can tell you how many hours it takes to get there. The distance between places to eat and/or take a bathroom break are hours apart usually. We travel with food and have learned that sometimes you just have to find a secluded place along the side of the road for a bathroom break.
Distance plays a major factor in the life of the missionary. In Tanzania, we are thankful for our trusty STL Toyota Land Cruiser. It is a blessing!

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