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Tanzania Blog

Thursday, May 25

Shelby Cook

Hello from the lovely plains of Africa!

The sun rose early on Shirati this morning as we powered through some fatigue to eat breakfast as a team. This morning we had chipati, hard boiled eggs, and mango! This morning we headed back to Gabimori to continue working on construction, stoves, and our youth program.

Glenn and I worked with community members on designing charcoal stoves and how they could tailor them to their needs. One of the women even wanted to find out how she could decorate hers! It was the first time I had gotten to build a stove, so I was really excited to try my hand at it. I wasn’t too shabby, but was lucky to have Glenn’s expertise! Through some discussion, we were able to help some of the men layout the design for a large charcoal grill.

We’ve built so fast that now the Gabimori church is getting tall enough that we can’t reach the top to add more bricks (except for a few of our extra tall team members), so today our team helped make more bricks as well as assist some Tanzanians as they climbed scaffolding. We also took advantage of some downtime to play soccer with the youth.

This afternoon, we continued with our youth program. Today’s lessons focused on God’s promises and faithfulness as we talked about and acted out the stories of John the Baptist and Noah’s Ark. We really enjoyed some good discussion time about God’s timing as well as how we find ourselves in covenant with God.

Tonight, the team back at out hotel made us a special dinner of fish fresh from Lake Victoria! We really enjoyed it and were so grateful to them for being hospitable to us.

Thank you so much for continuing to think of us! We’ll see you stateside in less than a week!

With the Love of Christ,


Where are all the pictures, Shelby?!

Pole (polay). Pardon the dust. The networks do not like it when I try posting pictures, and I do not have the time, or energy to stay up all night refreshing a page to maybe get one picture up. I promise that at a later time, I will share more pictures from our adventures in Shirati and Gabimori.

We have literally built this church from the ground up from the dust of the earth. I feel so empowered that God created us with such love and care, and he mindfully gave us the power to create (to a certain extent). Whenever we try pushing God's limits, when we try to out-create God, we find ourselves in a rough place that I like to call sin. God gives us great power, but as Uncle Ben from Spiderman once told me, "With great power comes great responsibility".

This morning, Glenn was in charge of the tunes in the car; maybe I'm a little kid, but I got super excited when the Elton John version of The Circle of Life came on. There's a line in the song that says "You should never take more than you give". I have been thinking about this all morning. God has given us a responsibility and a need to create, to give, to grow. I'm not saying this is an equation for life, but, I think it's a great concept to live by: the more you give to God, the more he has to give to you. You give, you take. You wouldn't place a $5 bill on the table and replace it with $1 (or at least I hope you wouldn't!). Maybe this is a scrambled thought, but I find it such a cool way to look at how we live our life and the relationships that we invest in Christ.

Keep reading, keep praying, keep missioning.

2017 Tanzania Team


We had fish for dinner (bones, skin, eyes, and all). I almost swam away in fear, but I tried it!