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Tanzania #1

Hello from Merritt Island! I'm Anya H., the assistant female leader on the Tanzania team (#21009). Today is Wednesday, June 16th. It's Day 5 of Boot Camp.

Our twenty team members are working hard. On Day 1, we registered, learned names, got to know one another, and put up with the afternoon thunderstorm. We sat in a huge circle under the main tent that first night, avoiding the pouring rain. After Rally, team members hurried to get ready for bed. Rise & Shine is at 5:30am, and they have to be ready to jump up and go. Day 2 was Orientation, where we learned Teen Missions' rules, ran the Obstacle Course, and practiced moving as a team. The last three days, team members have been training hard. They work to walk in a straight line with no gaps, learn the Bible and missions skills, come to attention quickly, and bond with the team. Right now, students are in puppet class, learning to move a puppet's mouth, motions to Sunday school songs, and operate a puppet set.

The team grows closer every day. They have plenty of time to get to know one another during meals and free time. They talk about God, McDonalds, and everything in between. Bryson A. bought a squeaky toy duck from the Boot Camp store and declared him the team mascot, and the team reminded him this morning to get our mascot from the tent. Even though the tent site is flooded, they laugh and groan together. Our boots are seldom dry, but we make do with extra pairs of socks and empty bread bags from the kitchen. Puppets and music class are favorites; we have three people with guitars and one with a ukulele.

On Day 2, the Emcee asked if any teams had chants, and our team jumped straight up. Bryson A. and Kayla S. led it, going something like this:

I wanna fall in the slough! (You do?)
Get all covered in slime! (Why?)
I ain't showered in three days! (I'll say)
This smell's gotta go away! (Hey!)

We grow close to God together and are getting ready to minister to children in Tanzania, despite challenges. On the Obstacle Course today, Nathan E. was lifting a member on the wall when she slipped and fell on his eye; he was immediately treated and rejoined the team for breakfast. He is as chipper as ever and served at KP this afternoon. Ellia M. had two ingrown toenails removed and is doing well; she is always ready to help struggling friends.

We've had wonderful successes, too. On Day 2, Maranatha R. was having trouble getting across the Slough. For those who don't know, the Slough is a fourteen foot long ditch that team members swing across with a rope. The first day, she froze for five minutes before eventually wading through, still holding onto the rope. She made it to the Wall (the final obstacle), but she was soaked up to her waist. The next day, the same thing occurred: she froze right on the edge. Simon S., the back flag holder, wouldn't let her wade across, knowing how uncomfortable it is to wear wet clothes (as a Former Team Member, he knows a thing or two). Even though two teams passed, he kept coaching her on how to grip the rope, lift her feet, and when to land, and after a three-second countdown, she swung across and landed smoothly on the grass. She has dryly crossed the slough for the last two days. This is a really great accomplishment; the Slough and the Wall are two of the toughest obstacles team members face.

We all want to be on Mr. Clean's good side. He grades all the team's eating sites, tent sites, and seating areas for neatness. Teams can earn a total of 100 points, although that's nearly impossible. On Rally nights, he calls up the first, second, third place teams, and the bottom two teams. It's nerve wracking to be called up (and leaders have the privilege of going), yet on Day 2, Mr. Clean called Tanzania's leaders up. Mr. Josh, the assistant male leader, and I went up to the stage and stood squeamishly, sure as ever we were the bottom two. The whole team could just see our struggle. He announced third place, some other team. Then second place - Tanzania! The whole team exploded, clapping and screaming. Mr. Josh and I high fived all the team members and went back to our seats, relieved. We haven't been to the stage since.

Every day, team members train with a countoff. They were issued a number 1-20; when a leader yells "countoff!", they say their number in order to make sure the whole team is present. Their average time is 15 seconds. Our goal is to consistently countoff in 7 seconds; this will make airport and overseas time smoother. Also, we are learning more about each other everyday and want to be a close knit family, trusting each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Team members are following policies, except for some talking in class and socializing during leader announcements. They're a blessing to lead; this summer is gonna be huge.

Praise God for all He's done and will do. Have a blessed day!

"We have to walk through a swamp to get everywhere. Dry socks are better than a million dollars. It's fun though." -Mia O.

"Wet, soggy, and a lot of fun. It's been a blast; the leaders are so fun and encouraging. All the team members have fun and have enjoyed boot camp so far." -Eli S.

Good afternoon from Tanzania!
Good afternoon from the Tanzania Team!
By: Tanzania Foot Washing (21009)
Good morning from Tanzania!
By: Tanzania Foot Washing (21009)