Trips to Toloha

Follow along with our 2014 Vision Team on their trip to Toloha, Tanzania and read about past trips. This year, the trip is from June 28-August 4, 2014. Our team engineers will be checking in on the renovation of the water system and assisting the project manager and the Toloha Water Board. The whole team will be focused on making relationships with the villagers as we focus on seeking how we can serve them beyond water.

2014 Trip to Toloha Vision Team 0537

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More than Meets the Eye | The first Trip to Toloha

Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in Clean Water, Trips to Toloha, Written by Josh | 0 comments

 
Why is it that people go on mission trips? Some might say that it is because they want to experience another culture so that they can develop a more realistic understanding of how the rest of the world lives. Others may say their main purpose is to assist our fellow man in his struggles and eventually religiously convert him. I have struggled with this question for a while now and have mulled it over every summer for the past three years. I was raised with a heart to serve and believe that as a follower of Jesus, I am called to serve others for my whole life. Prior to my trip to Tanzania this past June, I thought that I had a basic idea of how most mission trips work. I thought that a good group of Christians would travel to wherever, whether down the street or across the world, and that they would partner with another good group of Christians and help to aid them in whatever way possible. The group might minister to people in their village or provide them with resources they were incapable of obtaining. That kind of mission work really is the most common and well known to me, and I perceived it was what the majority of mission work entailed. I knew that this was not the only way mission work was done, but the other way seemed fairly far-fetched to me and pretty obsolete, at least at the time.

This other way was the kind of missions you would only hear about at large conferences and on television. It was someone, or group of people, targeting a primarily unreached people group in order to aid them in some way and eventually convert them to Christ. Prior to this trip, I had been to the Dominican Republic a couple of times and had participated in numerous service projects in the United States, so I assumed that I had a pretty good feel for the mission field as I had seen many different scenarios play out in different kinds of situations. Before this trip our knowledge about Toloha village was pretty minimal. We had one real source of information on life in the village and, therefore, had very little to base our preconceptions of the conditions in which we were about to be immersed. Consequently, as I prepared, I fell back on previous experience to guide my preconception and didnt think much of it.

Well, not only was I wrong, but I was actually visualizing the opposite of the circumstances in which I found myself. I was expecting to be greeted by a large body of Christians, eager to welcome fellow Christians into their village and church body. In fact we were met by a hearty group of extremely grateful people, the vast majority of which were not Christians.
The People of Toloha
Throughout our time in the village, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of thirst coming from the villagers. As we surveyed the water system, people approached us thanking and begging us to repair their water line. I saw their thirst for useable clean water so that they could support their struggling families and just survive. We not only heard stories but also saw with our own eyes people sabotaging the existing system that had been put in during the 1950s. People hacked the pipes with machetes to divert it and dammed up the source of the water with cement and dirt. I saw their thirst for a solution. 

But, despite the hundreds of examples of physical thirst that I saw, their thirst for something more than water was what struck me like those machetes hacking up the pipes. I saw a thirst for someone to care about them when adults and children alike would constantly barrage me with their stories of anything from their last trip to the market to their dream of obtaining an education and making it to America. I saw a thirst for knowledge, when person after person, young and old, would approach us and ask about the surveying technology, how it worked and what it did.  Finally, I saw a thirst for a purpose. These people want a reason to live; many of them spend all of their time trying to find a way to make any kind of money so they can provide for their family while others, most of the women and girls, simply worked and worried day after day to get clean-enoughwater. They are stuck in a continuous generational and circumstantial cycle of living just to get by, and they yearn for more than that, much more.

Go to the village2

The villagers knew that we, the Americans, may be able to quench their physical thirsts, but they were unsure whether or not we could satisfy their thirst for the other intangible things. They seemed to pursue the answer to that question but came up short. Unfortunately, the other team members and I could not sit down and listen to every story, show every eager villager how we worked the GPS system, or provide those with the deepest thirst a purpose to live. This lack of provision on our part hurt me deeply because I knew that no matter how long we stayed and how much time or effort we gave, the end result of the problem would always churn out the same solution, disappointment. 

After thinking this new experience through, I came to a realization that had been lurking in the back of my mind for years and was hard to accept but blatantly obvious and easy to understand. What these people needed, far more than water, was Jesus. They needed the water of life to quench all the thirsts that had accumulated in their society and lives for generations, and without intervention, for generations to come. It was the answer that always seemed so stereotypical to me living in a Christian bubble where I was surrounded by Christian customs and beliefs. I had become so numb to being a Christian in a herd of other like Christians that this obvious answer, which was previously just a reflex of my Christian background, came to real life. I was so comfortable in the middle of this herd that targeted the few outside non-Christians for conversion that it took me being immersed in a culture that was completely dominated by Muslims, pagans, and worshippers of dark magic to realize the real solution to the conundrum. 
When the Toloha Partnership was established, we yearned to bring the Gospel to the people of Toloha, but the complexity and challenge of the water problem caused us to spend most of our efforts on the logistics of a water system and preventing disease and thirst.  As we evolve and expand this partnership, I see it absolutely essential to incorporate a full missionary crusade to share and spread the good news of Jesus Christ to these people. This trip has revealed an entirely different dimension of the Great Commission to me. When you go to a place like Toloha and see thousands of people from every generation who have been living their lives with a misconception of Christianity, or very possibly no concept of the transforming power of Christ at all, and then realize that this village surely will continue to contain people with no hope for eternal life, it makes you fully comprehend what exactly Jesus meant when he spoke those words…”Go and make disciples of all nations…” There is no tomorrow for these people. Another group of Christians almost certainly will not be coming to spread the Word of God if we do not. 

The situation is dire and is more than meets the eye. I went on this mission trip expecting to return with the same feeling that I had upon returning from every other mission trip. Instead, I have experienced a real problem that I did not perceive before but one that needs to be addressed collectively and passionately by the people involved in the church and in the Toloha Partnership. We need not take this lightly because there is no passing it on to the next guy. I believe we have been chosen by God to aid these people and that their eternal lives may rest in our willingness to be obedient to Gods cry for His people in Toloha.

Once again God has rocked my world by allowing me to experience His marvelous kingdom and by providing me with a whole new perspective on missions and the Great Commission. Summed up: While comfort is appealing, its end leaves you lacking in knowledge and intended blessingsaffecting you, and those you encounter, eternally.

Josh serves as our Team Videographer and also assists in the engineering and planning aspects of our water project. He graduated from Arendell Parrott Academy in 2013 and will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University starting this Fall. His mother, Diane, is one of the first Toloha Partnership team members to share in Daniel’s vision for Toloha.

Back in the USA!

Posted by on Jul 15, 2013 in Clean Water, Praise Report, Program Update, Trips to Toloha, written by Lindsay | 0 comments

It has been an amazing month for the Toloha Partnership! We had our first team trip to Toloha and everyone will be back in the states this week. Our Assessment team came back at the end of June and Daniel comes back today! We also had our first fund-raising and awareness initiative in partnership with the Erasing the Lines (ETL) annual event in Kinston! (Read about ETL here.) Plus, we have t-shirts!

We have so much exciting news and we will be blogging about it all right here. There’s so much to share that we almost don’t know where to start, so this is a little teaser of what’s to come.

There is a lot of teamwork going on right now! Currently our engineering team is getting bids for the pipeline that will be used to distribute our water source, and they are organizing all of the research and information from their trip to get a finalized design for the clean water project. Our fundraising team is planning an exciting fundraising and awareness events for this Fall and Spring in Kinston and Greenville. We also have Tanzanian-made merchandise to sell along with our very own Toloha Partnership t-shirts that made their debut at ETL. Photos coming soon!

We will need lots of volunteers for fundraising events, so if you are interested, please contact us here.
I am putting together a very informative e-newsletter with all of the details for our clean water project and prayer requests. So if you haven’t yet, please sign up for the e-newsletter here.

In the meantime, here are some images from the team trip to Toloha taken by our Team Videographer, Joshua Spear and some images I took from Erasing the Lines. There are soooo many more photos that we will be sharing along with some blog posts from our Assessment team so make sure to check back soon!

Thank you so much for your support! God is doing amazing things in Toloha and here in the USA to show us his love in miraculous ways.

Toloha, Tanzania

Erasing the Lines, Kinston, NC, USA

We Walk So They Won’t Have To

Posted by on Jun 19, 2013 in Clean Water, Fundraising, Get involved, Praise Report, Program Update, Trips to Toloha, Written by Katie | 0 comments

Toloha Partnership has been given the incredible opportunity of partnering with Son Set Ministries for one of their annual camps, Erasing the Lines (ETL).  ETL is a week in which middle school and high school students from local churches in Eastern NC gather to spend the week serving and showing Jesus to the community.  This week (July 17-21) ETL is celebrating their 10th year with over 165 students participating.  

When the students arrive they are broken into small groups (mixed ages/genders/churches) of about 10 students with a college or young adult leader.   Groups are assigned varying work projects each morning and afternoon.  Toloha Partnership is leading one of those work projects — we are leading the “water walk” this week!


You may be thinking, what is a water walk?  I am glad you asked!  The concept is very simple but the results are enormous.  Groups are educated about the water situation in much of the developing world and then they are issued a challenge.  Students are challenged to take a walk in the shoes of women and children who walk miles each day to gather life’s basic necessity – water. 

It looks a little something like this:

Students fill up water jugs

Students carry the water back to Rochelle Middle School (2.4 miles) where the camp is based.

Along the way students have an opportunity to raise awareness by sharing with others what they are doing and why they are doing it.  The students get it — they share about the need for physical water to flow as well as the living water of Jesus Christ.  In Toloha, TZ, 56% of the Pare people claim Islam while 40% claim Christianity.  

Someone has graciously agreed to donate $1 to Toloha Partnership for each gallon of water the students tote back to Rochelle.  Each group is challenged to bring back at least 25 gallons – the groups from Tuesday exceeded this toting 33.4 and 35.5 gallons!  That is a lot of water…especially when it weighs ~8 pounds per gallon!

It is certainly hard work but when these students hear that people are walking 6+ miles to gather dirty water, nothing will stop them from doing what they can to be a part of the solution.

This is just the start — check back for updates and more pictures later this week!  

Assessment Team Update!

Posted by on Jun 14, 2013 in Clean Water, Praise Report, Program Update, Trips to Toloha, Written by Katie | 0 comments

Sunday was an incredible and much anticipated day!  It was a day the Toloha Partnership team has anxiously awaited and a day Daniel has been longing for almost 12 years!  It was the day the first team departed from Kinston, NC to travel to Toloha Village in Tanzania to begin, what we hope to be, a long-term partnership.  
Perry, Daniel, Josh and Burt
The Assessment Team consists of Daniel Makoko (native of Toloha Village), Burt Rudolph (project engineer) and team members Perry Rudolph and Joshua Spear.

Sunday night at 11:25 pm the team flew out of Washington, DC to Istanbul,Turkey and then onto Dar es Salaam, the capital city of Tanzania. 
Perry and Josh on board the flight headed for Istanbul, Turkey
After many flights and hopefully a lot of sleep, the team arrived safely in Dar es Salaam.  The team spent a few days meeting with potential partners in the capital city and then traveled toward the village (10 hours + from the capital city).  On Thursday the team arrived in Toloha Village and were greeted with a joyous welcome from the villagers!
That is all the information I have for now but I can’t wait to get more updates, details and pictures.  I will post as soon as I hear more!
Please continue to pray for the following:
  • Strong relationships with the community leaders/members
  • Relationships with the local church in Toloha
  •  Water project logistics (surveying, water tests, water committees) 
  • For Jesus to shine brightly through the team members as they interact with the locals
  • Energy and health

It’s GO Time!

Posted by on Jun 9, 2013 in Clean Water, Praise Report, Program Update, Trips to Toloha, Written by Katie | 0 comments

Last May we began meeting and actively seeking God’s face for how we could be a part of Daniel’s story and a part of what the Lord is doing in Toloha, TZ.  Now, just over a year since those prayer meetings, we are thrilled that an Assessment Team of four is leaving TOMORROW (Sunday June, 9th 2013) to go to Daniel’s home village of Toloha, TZ!

I think these words from Daniel truly sum up our team’s sentiments:

“Oh my Lord, it is real now!  I did not believe if someday this would happen.  A hope for getting clean water to my people in the village — I will always adore You (God) and testify to Your power before Your people wherever I go and you will always be my God.”

The Lord has been so sweet and so very present throughout this past year.  I would love to share all the ways we’ve seen the Lord and how He has truly led us step by step to get us to this point (maybe in a future blog post)!  A year ago we thought we’d drill a couple of boreholes and the village would have clean water within the year.  Now we are looking at repairing a mountain spring gravity feed system which is an extensive undertaking but one we know the Lord will see to the end.

There have been many times that it would have been easiest to give up, throw in the towel and believe it couldn’t be done.  But, the Lord keeps showing up — over and over and over again.  There is no denying that He has been the one leading this adventure and we can’t wait to see where He leads next.

Will you be praying for our team as they travel?  Here are a few specific things you can be praying for over the next two weeks:

  • Safe travels, on-time flights, checked baggage to make it to TZ, accommodations and travel while in country
  • Productive meetings/favor with government officials, non-governmental organizations (similar to non profits here in the USA), village leaders and village committees
  • Health, good rest and energy
  • Opportunities to share Jesus/encourage the church
  • God’s leading/wisdom/discernment 

We hope to post multiple times over the coming weeks as we hear news from the team in Tanzania!  Please please please be praying!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21

Real Thirst

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in Clean Water, Daniel's stories, Trips to Toloha, Written by Katie | 0 comments

As my mom and I were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner tonight I said:

“I have got to have some water…I’m about to die of thirst.”

I immediately stopped. I couldn’t believe I had said that. My thoughts instantly ventured to Toloha, Tanzania, where my friends are walking 12 to 16 kilometers (~7.5 to 10 miles) to get a bucket of dirty water.

Recently I’ve been thinking more and more about how often I use water – when I wash my face, take a shower, brush my teeth, cook, flush the toilet, wash the car, water the lawn, or need to quench my thirst.

There are so many things I do each and every day that involve water and yet I take it for granted and say things like, “I am about to die of thirst.” A statement that I used to say as a figure of speech but is now something that I can hardly speak without tears welling up in my eyes. The reality is that there are people that really are dying of thirst.

In 2009 in Toloha, Daniel’s father died as a result of the lack of water. How many in Toloha will die this week from the lack of clean water? How many will die this month or this year from water related diseases? This is a problem that I must do something about; this is a problem that can be solved.

Please consider joining us in bringing clean water and hope to a village that is desperately in need of both.

~ Katie ~ 

Photos by Daniel Makoko