Kingdom Families Conference – Majengo, Moshi

The goal of our Kingdom Families Conferences is to empower the Tanzanian church to be the godly spouses and parents the Lord has called them to be. At the same time, we are advocating for the needs of orphans within our midst in Kilimanjaro, foremost by encouraging the church to adopt and foster children in their own homes. For this conference we partnered with Pastor Zacharia Olo in Majengo district in Moshi at the church Yesu Anaweza Center. Grateful for the Kingdom Families team that jumped in for the conference. Ryan helped teach, Peter helped with some translation and Patrick and Leah took the photos.

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Kingdom Families Conference – Bonite Village

A big part of what we do is advocating for orphans in our communities and strengthening the families of the local churches. This past Saturday I led a Kingdom Families conference at our friend, Pastor Evarist’s church in Bonite village. (Pastor Evarist is pictured in black and white). Grateful for my wife, Melissa, for coming up with this idea, as well as Brian, Patrick, Leah and Peter who filled out our team. This is how we affect change in Tanzania, we call on the church to rise up.

Heidi May and The Frisbee

Here are some shots that I took while Melissa and I played with my parents dogs. One of their dogs, Heidi May, is half labrador retriever and half german shorthair. That equation means she has a grip load of energy. Her favorite thing to do is have the frisbee thrown and she is remarkably good at catching it. Anyways, here’s some shots that I snapped. It was difficult for me to really capture the motion of these shots, but had a few that turned out alright. It, of course, doesn’t hurt that I have an incredibly beautiful wife throwing the frisbee around. She makes me look good.

Take Me Out To The Twins Game!

On Wednesday, Melissa and I got to head over to Minneapolis to catch a Twins game against the Chicago South-Siders. It was a hot afternoon, but an enjoyable atmosphere. I’m a big sports fan and while my favorite team is by far the Dodgers and then the Yankees, the Twins have always had a special spot in my baseball-loving heart. The Twins also have a great new stadium that definitely makes me jealous on behalf of the Dodgers. The Twinkies got smoked 12-5, but we had a lot of fun. Without further ado, here’s the pics of Joe Mauer, Denard Span, Kevin Youkilis, Adam Dunn and all the rest…

TURTLES!!!

We Stivers are friends of animals. Yesterday my sister came home from work with a turtle that she found wandering dangerously on the road. My mom and her decided to drive the turtle to one of the many local lakes.  I started taking some photos then Melissa and I jumped in the car with them. As we were heading over there we found another turtle aimlessly meandering on the road, so we grabbed him too. As we set them free, I grabbed some more shots with the camera. Then as we headed back, we found yet another turtle crossing the road. We picked him up too and dropped him by a different lake closer to the house. Here’s the shots from our little venture…

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1st Anniversary Photos – Monterey

So I’m starting to like taking pictures and decided to throw up some photos from my and Melissa’s trip up to Monterey for our anniversary. Unfortunately we didn’t realize the camera was dead when we took it to the aquarium. Nonetheless, here’s some photos. A lot of them are from Fisherman’s Wharf…

left to right and top to bottom

  1. elephant seals near Cambria heading up highway 1
  2. a couple elephant seals going at it
  3. an elephant seal in Cambria
  4. anniversary dahlias for Melissa at the farmer’s market in Pacific Grove
  5. in front of Bubba Gump’s on Cannery Row
  6. us at Fisherman’s Wharf
  7. seals just off the pier
  8. the seals all piled up at Fisherman’s Wharf
  9. a seal sunning itself
  10. seagulls just off the wharf
  11. a seagull
  12. a pelican down in the water
  13. the pelicans gathering for fish that were being thrown to them by a fisherman
  14. us in front of the fishing fleet at the wharf
  15. a goose at Dennis the Menace park

Don’t forget that there’s beauty in this world

Good night, I’m listening to Kari Jobe and its putting me on the verge of tears as I read my Bible. Normally I wouldn’t admit to listening to such girly worship music, but as I sat down by the pool at this campsite I needed music that would drown out most of the distractions. I searched for worship music that I wouldn’t know most of the words to and landed on her album. Good choice. Today’s Old Testament reading is from Isaiah. There’s a lot of what people would call doom and gloom as I read through the first several chapters, but I see something else.

I think we miss the point often. Its takes getting out and doing something new to open my eyes to the beauty around me. We headed out to Tanga this weekend for a visit to the beach. This afternoon we went snorkeling and saw some incredible wildlife and stunning panoramas. We’re talking about pictures that you thought were only existent in calendars and greeting cards. But its neither of those, its God’s beautiful, breath-taking creation right in front of you. A thousand words aren’t able to depict.

Back in Moshi, life is life. I pray Dodger is staying in the fence at our friends’ place as we‘re away, the kids at TOA are going about business as usual, and so many things are not the least bit settled in regards to Melissa and I coming back to the states in a few weeks. It can be scary to think about. It can be daunting to ponder all the changes that are coming and the coming instability that seems apparent. No income, no house, no car, no clue, baby on the way. This is my family.

It would be quite easy to go down the mind trail that says I’m a poor leader of my family; a husband without a job and a daddy without a home. It would be equally easy to follow that train of thought further to where my family will suffer for my shortcomings. Given the fact that I really do miss the point often, especially spiritually, this isn’t too much of a stretch.

All that doom and gloom.

As I look at the children playing in the water before me, I breathe deep. God is good. He does beautiful things. Ryan’s son, Benjamin is playing in the water. He jumps in, he dives, he swims, he laughs, he plays with his siblings and makes new friends. He’s a delight and a heritage to his parents.

The Lord planted a good vineyard for His people, a beautiful field. His heart bled for His people, His longing was for them. It broke His heart to have a harvest of bad fruit. Yet, He chose a remnant out of it all that would be for Him a heritage and a delight.

I’m not preparing to fail, I am not preparing to be overwhelmed, I am preparing for beauty. I am preparing for God to do a beautiful thing in my life. He has chosen to do it in a largely peculiar manner and while I can’t say whether or not the coming season will be as turbulent as it seems it will, I know that God is beautiful and His movement in our lives follows suit.