Steve often refers to 2007 as a "suicide year"--we started construction on the Truth Center just days after returning from the States, we hired a pastor part time, our church took on 2 Tanzanian missionaries to support, we started a school, we began several new ministries/outreaches at church, we had many guests including a group from our church in Ohio, and the list goes on. So needless to say, we were ready to get away from Katesh for a while!
The day after Easter, we left Katesh for 3 weeks. First we went to Moshi (at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro) for 5 days for a meeting with the other families in our mission. As always, it was a special time of fellowship and fun, along with encouraging messages by the men and sweet testimonies from the women.
After the meeting, we drove another 7 hours to Dar-es-Salaam, a city of several million people on the coast of Tanzania. We stayed with our dear friends, Dave and Bonnie Jones, and we enjoyed shopping and eating out at restaurants--two things we rarely get to do! We were also able to go to the American Embassy to get a new passport for Hannah.
From Dar, we took a 20 minute flight to the island of Zanzibar. This was by far the smallest plane that I (Natalie) have ever been on! I've never been on a plane where I could see out the front windshield, and where the pilot can talk to you over his shoulder. But it sure beat the horrific 3 hour boat ride! We spent one week at an amazing resort on the northeast side of the island. The only negative thing of our whole vacation was that it rained off and on for about 4 days--we weren't aware that this was monsoon season until we got there! But it really didn't keep us from having fun--we were wet anyway from swimming in the pool and ocean. Besides swimming, we played on the beach, took long walks, walked around historic "Stone Town" to do some shopping, took a small boat out to Prison Island to see the turtles, and just enjoyed spending time together as a family. It was so nice to have no distractions or specific things that we needed to accomplish. The kids enjoyed having our undivided attention, and we enjoyed giving it to them.
After Zanzibar, we spent a couple more days in Dar before driving back to Arusha to do our shopping and banking. On the way home, we stopped at Tarangire National Park for a short safari. Even though we live here, we never get tired of seeing the amazing wildlife that God has created. We had such a special time away, but there's no place like home!