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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Family News

While the work and ministry here in Tanzania moves on so does our family life. Sometimes time is moving too fast. It seems like the children are growing and changing so much everyday that we are overdue to update everyone on their progress. So here goes...

HANNAH: Hannah will be 7 years old in about 3 weeks! Boy does that make her mom and dad feel old. She lost her first tooth on Sunday--she didn't get her first tooth until she was 11 months old so we weren't surprised that she was so late to begin losing them. Hannah was so excited, laughing her head off while blood ran down her chin! She is doing wonderfully in school. She is homeschooled 2.5 days a week and is in the first grade. She also goes to our school at the Kweli Centre 2.5 days a week and is in Standard 1. She loves both schools and is learning so much. She is quite the little leader of her gang of girls at the Kweli Centre. It will be a rude awakening next year when we go to the States and she's not the novelty that she is here!

CALEB: Caleb's big news is that he can now ride his bike without training wheels! Every Monday is Steve's day off and he spends the afternoon playing with the kids. Steve suggested two weeks ago that they take off Caleb's training wheels (Caleb is 5) and we were surprised Caleb went for the idea! He did so great, and was very proud of the bumps, bruises, and cuts all over his legs. He will be amazed when we are in the States next year and he can ride on pavement instead of rocks and dirt--it will feel like glass to him! He also is doing well in K-5.

SARAH: Sarah is now 5 months old and weighs a whopping15.5 pounds! She has started eating cereal and bananas now, so we expect her to continue to fatten up. We wish she would sleep through the night, but it's hard to get frustrated with such an adorable child!

NATALIE: I continue to work at the school 2.5 days a week, and homeschool Hannah and Caleb the other days. I'm thankful for my sister-in-law, Tricia, who is a great help to me at school so I don't have to carry the load alone. The Kweli Centre is Sarah's second home, and she even has her own bed/playpen there. She's like the school mascot! We are still trying to have ladies meetings at church each month, and I teach Sunday school and Bible club once a month too. I am looking forward to going to Morogoro and Dar-es-Salaam for Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping in a few days! It's hard to believe the holidays are almost upon us again! The kids are excited about getting out the decorations this weekend.

STEVE: Steve continues to do more than I thought humanly possible--preaching, teaching, traveling, dealing with government things, communicating with supporting churches, etc., yet still makes time for his family. He carries a heavy load, but does a great job and we are so thankful for him.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hunting Trip 2009

One of the great privileges that we can take advantage of living here in East Africa in the hunting. I was never a hunter in the US and the first time I shoot a rifle was here in Africa. I was not sure I would enjoy this hobby when I first started but after five years of hunting now here in Tanzania I can say I truly do enjoy being out in the “bush” and am learning more each time I go.

This past week I tried something that I had never done before and that was actually setting up camp in the bush in area we would go hunting. I was able to invite my missionary friend Vernon Smith on this trip and it was a great time of fellowship as we slept under the stars and cooked our own meals over the camp fire. We were about 2 ½ hours from Arusha and about 1 ½ from the main road leading from Arusha to Nairobi. It was very dry area and I can not even begin to explain the dust.

The first evening we set up camp but I did not sleep much do to the excitement of hunting the next day. We got up at 5:00 am and we were hunting with our three Masai game scouts and trackers by 6:00am. We were hunting for four animals which we had bought a license for . A warthog, eland, grant’s gazelle, and wildebeest. The warthog and eland were the priority as they had eluded me in previous years hunts. The Gazelle and Wildebeest were our back up animals so that we did not go away with anything.

While looking for fresh Eland tracks the guides yelled for us to stop the vehicle and as they spotted a warthog. He had come out of his whole in the ground just as we had driven by. He ran about 20 meters before stopping to look back. When he did it was a shot in the neck that had brought him down. 1 down and 3 to go, and it was only 7:00am.
While the guides skinned, gutted, and packed up the warthog, I took off with the main game scout in search for fresh eland tracks. Tracks where everywhere and soon we were on some tracks that looked recent. We followed these tracks through the deep dust for over an hour and before long, there they were, three Eland, the largest antelope. They immediately ran and we chased them on foot. They would stop to look back from time to time but never gave us a good shot. I decided to take a shot before they were lost again in the thick bush. It was about 200 meters away and it appeared it landed but after chasing them again we lost the tracks and there was no sign of blood. We decided to head back to the car and try again with some other tracks.

It was not long after that 2 Wildebeest were spotted in an open field by themselves. It was Vernon's turn to shoot and after getting a good position and picking out the biggest one he took care of it with a nice shoot to the heart.

Now with two animals in the down and neatly packed into containers in the back of the car the search for more Eland tracks started again. We soon spotted a herd of Eland which immediately ran away into the bush and the hunt was on again. We followed tracks again for about an hour and knew we were getting closer because of the fresh manure and other bodily functions along they left along the trail. Once they were in sight I took another shot from far away but apparetly missed again because there was nothing to show that it was shoot.

We were exhausted from an active morning of hunting and so we decided to take a break. We ate lunch under a tree and were back to hunting again. It was not too long before we spotted another herd of Eland which once again ran away from us the opposite direction. One was separated from the group and we choose to follow him. Thanks to the great driving of Vernon he was able to get us close enough this time to bring down this huge animal but it took three shots. While skinning him we noticed he has been shot four times! This was as Eland from one of the earlier hunts and a shot through the back of the ear was just a few inches off from bringing him down earlier. It was good that we got this one so that it did not have to suffer with a wound.

After over an hour of skinning, gutting, and packing the meat into the car it was now around 4:30 pm. We decided to head back to camp and if we saw any Gazelle along the way to go for our last animal. About 15 minutes from camp we saw a large herds of Gazelle in a wide open field. They were very far away and it was windy this time of evening. We tried to get close but they would run away each time. We decided to take a few shots but after each of us trying a few times the distance and the wind proved to be too much. I decided to take one more last shot, I chose a nice mature male in a group of about 20 which were walking in a straight line. To my surprise he went down with a shot to the heart. We stepped it off and it was 330 meters, my best shot of the day and maybe ever.

We made it back to camp with about 1/2 hour of light left. While a few of us skinned the Gazelle the others hung up meat in the trees of our camp site. We enjoyed some grilled Gazelle with our Masai guides around the fire that night to end the day.

The next morning we packed up camp and headed back to Arusha with a car full of meat and memories that will last a lifetime.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Surprise It's a GIRL!

Yes, that is right, the baby "boy" we have been waiting for for nine months now is not a boy at all! You can imagine our surprise as a beautiful baby girl was born. I guess the ultrasound technician made a mistake and our own eyes deceived us. However, God knew all along and He makes no mistakes. We are so pleased to have a happy healthy baby girl. So without further ado let me introduce you to SARAH ELISABETH BURKHOLDER. She was 8 pounds and 11 ounces and perfectly healthy. Natalie is doing fine and healing well. Enjoy the following pictures.
Sarah's first picture after she was born. This is her reaction when I told her she was a girl. Just kidding. She got much happier after seeing mommy.

She has "sleeping like a baby" down pat even with Daddy flashing the camera in her face!

Natalie is the only one who can really make her happy and "smile".

We are blessed to have "grammy" (Steve's mom) here for the birth. She has been a big help with watching the other children and loves to hold her newest grandchild.

Hananh was thrilled to have a sister, what she wanted and prayed for all along.Even Caleb is happy to have sister and be the ONLY boy in the family.
A very proud daddy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Some Busy Times

The Truth Baptist Church at the TRUTH Center celebrated its 4-year anniversary in March. Many of the church people invited friends and relatives for the special day. There were 5 baptized on this day and it was a joy to baptize Hannah as one of them.

It was also a special day because the Burkholder family (Mom, Dad, and brother) was here for a visit. With Brad and Tricia Henderson (Steve's sister and brother-in-law) now in Katesh working with us it was a unique family reunion in the African bush.
We have officially begun Stage 2 of the TRUTH Center project. The first step in Stage 2 was the drilling for water on the property. As we continue to grow and expand the ministry we will need more water. After a month of trying, we drilled past 200 meters and no water was found. However, hundreds of people received the news of the "Living Water" as we handed out copies of the book of Romans to those who came to watch the work. Please pray for water to get to the TRUTH Center in some other way. Pray also for the other steps in Stage 2 such as building new classrooms and getting more land.
The vision of the Truth Baptist Church is to start churches in the villages surrounding Katesh. From May 1-3 we saw this vision in action as a team from the church led by missionary partner Nate Wolf held evangelistic meetings in the village of Basotu. This new church plant met for the first time on Sunday morning May 3. After all the weekend activities 5 people made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. The Truth Baptist Church will continue to help this new church until it can stand on its own.

We will be heading to Nairobi, Kenya in the middle of May to wait for the birth of Samuel (Baby Burkholder #3 which is due to be born the first week of June. Please pray for a safe delivery for Natalie and a healthy baby.