Thursday, December 29, 2011


I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas!  It was very strange for me to be here in Tanzania for Christmas instead of at home.  First of all, it didn’t really feel like Christmas.  The lowest temperature for the week leading up Christmas was in the mid 60s.  So it physically didn’t feel like Christmas.  Also, I don’t watch a lot of television here, so I didn’t have to sit through all the commercials talking about Christmas and Santa that I would normally get at home.  This means the commercialism that surrounds Christmas in the States was missing in my life this year.  For that, I am definitely not complaining.  But the thing that was missing the most was, of course, my family and friends and all the traditions that go along with the season.  I think one of the traditions I missed the most was Christmas Eve service at my home church with the playing of Silent Night while we light candles at the end of the service.  That is probably my favorite part of Christmas because it is probably the most peaceful part of the entire Christmas season in my life.  Here in Masasi, I actually had a Christmas tree in my house.  The student I will be working with put it up to help me feel more at home.  It reminds me of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. :) I love it.  Christmas is celebrated here a little differently though.  There’s not really an exchange of gifts or anything.  The children all get new clothes for Christmas if the family can afford them.  Then we go to church.  I kind of like having church on Christmas day.  I realize this year, more churches back home (mine included) had service on Christmas day.  But that’s because Christmas happened to fall on a Sunday.  Normally, they only have services on Christmas Eve.  Well, the practice here in Tanzania is to have service on the actual day, no matter which day of the week it is.  I like that because it is a good reminder of why we celebrate.  It’s not about the gifts.  It’s about the birth of Christ and joining in celebrating His birth with our fellow believers.  So the day wasn’t spent in putting together new toys or installing new computer games, but in fellowshipping with fellow believers and sharing a meal together. 

But now I want to hear from you.  What Christmas tradition is your favorite?  Is there something that your family does and most don’t that you think would make the Christmas season more meaningful?  Since I didn’t participate in any of my normal traditions, I want to hear about all of the ones that you celebrate.  Tell me all about your Christmas in the comments section.  I just want to hear from you.  It brightens my day to hear from people back home.  So leave me some joy! :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

End of Language School and Moses

Hello out there in blog land!  I hope you are doing well.  I have quickly settled into the routine of a normal day at language school.  The only thing that disrupts that routine is the weekend where all I’ve done is read, study, do my language homework, and rest.  I’m definitely not complaining because my brain needs to rest after a week stuffed full of Swahili learning.   I’m done with language school this week.  I will head back to Dar es Salaam on Friday and be in Masasi by Monday.  I am excited to get settled into a routine down there and ready to get working on the real reason I came to Tanzania:  helping Joyce and Mavuto with their work here.

I’ve been reading Exodus in my devotions lately and the one that has stood out to me is the way Moses and the then the Isrealites questioned God about almost everything.  When I first read it, I couldn’t believe they had the guts to question God when He was audibly speaking.  Then I thought back on all the times I doubted God about whether I was supposed to come here or not.  I also think of all the ways He tried to show me that it was truly what He was calling me to do.  I still would like to think that if I had heard God’s voice like Moses did, I would believe Him no matter what, no questions or doubts. But who knows?  It does bring me comfort that I’m not alone in my constant doubting of God’s call on my life.  The important thing in Moses’ case and mine is that we finally listened.  We may have voiced some doubts, but we still went through with it and completed the call God put on our lives.  Obviously I haven’t completed God’s call, but  I’m hoping I will.

Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt God calling you to do something and you doubted and questioned Him?  Tell me about it in the comment section if you feel comfortable doing so.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Life at Language School

I’ve decided that my blog posts need to be about more than just spiritual.  They will still include the spiritual things I’m learning, but I also want to include some details of my day to day. 

As I said, I’m in language school until December 16.  The language school is located right outside of a town called Morogoro.  A normal day for me here starts when I wake u pat 6am and get ready for breakfast at 7.  This sounds really early, but it so far hasn’t felt that early since my internal clock is messed up from being on Ohio time.  Just so you know, Ohio is 8 hours behind Tanzania.  So 7am here is 11pm the previous day in Ohio.  Breakfast is at 7am.  We usually have bread and something called uji that is a lot like gruel only I think soupier.  Add honey to it and it’s very good.  School starts at 7:45 with devotions.  We sing 2 hymns and read a passage from the Bible.  Then we split into our “classes.”  I put quotations around it because there are only a few students and a few teachers.  So each class consists of one student and one teacher.  So from 8-10 I work with my teacher and read through the language book I was given.  There are times when I have to put the book away and the teacher drills me on the language and the parts I should already know.  At 10 we have morning tea.  Usually there is some kind of sweet bread for snack. From 10:30-12 we’re back at school working hard.  From 12-2:30 are lunch and a break for napping or extra study time or just relaxing.  I usually spend it reading or sleeping.  From 2:30-4 we are learning at school.  At 4 is afternoon tea and it marks the end of class.  I usually skip afternoon tea in favor of doing any homework from the day’s lessons and extra studying.  At 6 is dinner.  By 7 it’s dark out and lately my internal clock has said go to bed.  Sometimes I stay up a little longer and read or play a game on my computer or watch a movie on my computer. 

It still has not gotten as hot as I thought it would be.  We had one or two pretty hot days, but the rest have been pretty mellow.  One night I even put on a comforter because I was rather cold.  I have taken pictures of the room and bathroom and will try to post those when my Internet is better.  The windows don’t really close but do have moving glass sections with cages on the outside to keep as many bugs out as possible.  I also have a mosquito net that I put over my bed at night. 

I have to work rather hard not to get too bored with day-to-day things because there isn’t really anyone to hang out with and keep me company. So to pass the time, I’ve done a lot of reading and watching the same movies over and over again on my computer.  Thankfully I brought my Kindle with me and have plenty of books to keep me occupied.  I don’t think I will be as bored once I get to Masasi because I will have Joyce and Mavuto and Nathaniel and the Sancala's to spend time with there.  Plus, Internet will be more regular so I’m hoping to be able to check my email daily. 

My father has done his best to email me everyday, which is extremely enjoyable.  My mother writes every couple days as well with her daily news.  My uncle has even emailed me a few times.  These emails have become the highlight of the time I spend online.  So, as such, I’m informing you that I would love to hear your news too.  It can be just whenever you’re on the computer and thinking of me.  Anything would be a welcome distraction.  The email is

I hope to hear from you either through email or let me know you’re keeping up to date with the blog by leaving me an encouraging comment!  I’m hoping the rest of my blog posts will be both spiritual in nature and give detail of what I’m doing over here.

I Made It

I posted to the wrong blog, so sorry it's so late.... It was supposed to post last Friday...

Well, I'm in Tanzania safely.  It is warm, but I'm told not as warm as it could be and usually is, so God has blessed me with that.  I'm at language school right now, trying to shove as much Swahili into my head as possible in 2 weeks.  I'm not going to lie, it's been a rough week.  I didn't realize how hard it would be to be in a different country with nobody familiar.  Living at the language school right now, I feel like an outsider since I can't speak Swahili very well... There are a few gentlemen that live here who are originally from the US, but they are fluent in Swahili, which makes me feel a little lonely.  The good thing is this has strengthened my relationship with God.  I've had to lean on him 100% (which is what we are normally supposed to do...) I get up every morning and spend a lot of time in the Psalms reading verses that comfort me in my loneliness and homesickness.  I've held onto Isaiah 41:10 like a life raft: "Do not be afraid for I am with you, Do not be discouraged, for I am Your God.  I will strengthen you and help you, I will lift you up with my victorious right hand."

I will try to post in 2 weeks or so - once I'm out of language school and down with Mavuto and Joyce where internet is not an hourly charge.  I hope you are doing well!  Feel free to leave uplifting and encouraging comments!  They will bring a smile to my face...but also probably a tear to my eye.  Love and miss you all!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Support Needed!

I've copied and pasted my support letter below. Most of you will probably get a hard copy too. Any support you can give - especially prayers! - is greatly appreciated!

Dear Friends and Family,

I am writing to you because I am about to embark on an amazing adventure. I will be heading to Tanzania, Africa to teach missionary children and aid the missionaries in their work with the people of Tanzania. I’ll be leaving in the summer of 2011 and returning in the summer of 2012.

I’m very excited about this opportunity and for what God will be doing through me with this trip. I am working with an organization called Team Expansion. They are based in Kentucky and help organize all different kinds and lengths of mission trips and missionaries.

A year and a half ago, I felt God calling me to put my complete trust in Him. He did this by asking me to leave everything comfortable and head to another country. This started an amazing, but also rough journey to the point I’m at now. In that journey, God has shown me again and again in numerous ways that He has been going ahead of me, preparing the way for my trip to occur.

I am writing you because you are somebody important in my life and I am in need of your support. The biggest thing I need is your prayers. I cannot do what God is calling me to do without prayers from as many people as possible. So I am pleading for you to partner with me by praying for the work I will be doing in Tanzania. Also, if you want to follow my journey and offer encouragement, I’m hoping to keep a blog updated with what I’m doing and what God is teaching me. The web address for my blog is The final thing I’m asking for is help funding this adventure. I’m going for an entire year and that requires money. It is going to cost me about $36,000 for the entire year. My home church is hoping to help me out with $12,000. Any help you could give would be appreciated. You can support me by sending a check now, or you can also commit to supporting me monthly if that is easier. If you are sending a check, make it payable to Team Expansion. In order for your donation to be tax-deductible, do not put my name on the check. Instead, when you make out the envelope, address it the following way: 

                             Team Expansion 
                        c/o Allison Mittelkamp
                         4112 Old Routt Road
                         Louisville, KY 40299

I want to thank you in advance for your prayers and support in the upcoming year. If you have questions or would like to offer me words of encouragement, you can call me at 937-620-4040 or email me at I love you and appreciate your support in everything I’ve done so far in my life.


Allison Mittelkamp

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday Thoughts

So, as I'm listening to my pastor preach about Palm Sunday and the Triumphant Entry, an interesting thought popped in.  These people in Jerusalem who are hailing the King as He enters the city are probably the same ones that were shouting for Him to be crucified a few days later.  Its amazing how much things can change in that short amount of time.

Of course, like things normally go as I'm sitting in church, when I have these random thoughts and questions, something about the sermon will help to answer it.  These people who are celebrating Jesus' return to Jerusalem were wanting a king to come in and save them from Roman rule.  That is the king they were hailing as he came into the city.  But Jesus didn't come for that purpose.  His purpose was greater than anyone at the time could have ever comprehended.  He didn't come to save them from the oppression of the Romans.  He came to save them from the oppression of sin.  They were probably thinking Jesus would come in, say a few words and the Romans would be destroyed and the Jews would finally be free.  Instead, the man they were hoping would deliver them does nothing when he's arrested and beaten.  He takes the beating and just listens as they shout for His death.  Someone even challenged Him to save himself as He was hanging on the cross and He didn't.  He knew what He had to do in order to save us all, and He finished that task.

So I think the reason the people were cheering for Him one moment and shouting for His death the next is because they wanted something small when Jesus came to complete something greater.

I'm so glad I live in today's world where I can look back and see how God's plan was working rather than being one of the people with certain expectations of what the Messiah would be and then being disappointed.

Of course, it could also be said that too often I think I know how God is going to do something and get disappointed when He doesn't.  I should instead try to wait patiently and see what He's going to do instead that's going to serve a greater purpose in my life and the lives of those around me.

How about you?  Do you have specific examples of how your expectations of the actions of God haven't panned out, but in the end were better and more glorifying to God?  Or do you have your own thoughts about Palm Sunday, perhaps something YOUR pastor preached about this Sunday.  Leave a comment below and tell me about it!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Children Worshipping

This morning, I had the joy of running sound for the children's worship service at my church.  I used to do this all the time, but I've stepped away for a while now and let others take care of things for me lately.  This morning was the first time in months that I was up there.  I had forgotten how much fun it can be to worship with kids.  They have so much energy and absolutely no shame.  Adults need to take a cue from kids.  We shouldn't be afraid to just let it all go and completely worship God with all that we are, regardless of who is around us and how they might make fun of us.  How much joy would be ours if we unabashedly worshipped God with everything that's within us?

It was a great time and I loved just watching them dance and listening to them shout the lyrics to the songs. If you haven't been to the children's service at your church, I recommend trying it once...but you have to participate :)  And if you're church doesn't have a quality children's program, come try mine :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bible Study

I've been attending a Ladies' Bible Study recently where we're going through Luke using a Beth Moore study called, "Jesus the One and Only."  Right now we're going through the last week of Jesus, which is quite appropriate given that Easter is coming up.

Last night a few things stood out to me that Beth pointed out in the video session.  The study was about Jesus' time in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Something I've always been aware of was that this is really the only time we see Jesus, the man struggling with God and his will.  He knows the pain He's going to go through and would love for His father to take it all away.  He's in a "war of the will" as Beth Moore puts it.  How often have you felt you were in a war of the will with God?  I definitely went through about a year long war with God struggling to first ignore, then to question and doubt and finally accept what His will was for this time in my life.

Another really interesting thing Beth Moore talked about in her video, and something that needs to happen during any challenge, comes from the idea of anguish.  In Luke 22:44 it talks about Jesus being in anguish as He's praying.  Beth tells us in her video that the Greek word for this means having a fear that doesn't run away, but continues on to the end despite the fear.  I may still have fear and anguish about what I'm going to do, but I need to have the kind of anguish that continues on and does what I know God is leading me through until the end.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sermon Series

Have you ever been through a sermon series where it feels like every message is meant or you? I hope so... If you haven't, it's probably because you haven't been listening to the sermon very well :)

The series my pastor has been going through the last two weeks has very much felt like it was written and planned with me in mind. I'm pretty sure it wasn't, so I know it has to be God talking to me through my pastor.

The series is about the call we feel in our lives to chase after adventure. Today he made the point that God never tells us he's safe. He just promises to go with us wherever He sends us. Right now I'm struggling to remember that God is not only sending me to Africa, but He's promised to with me. I find myself nervous and afraid of leaving my comfort zone and the security of my family. This series is reminding me that just because he called me out of my comfort zone doesn't mean he's going to leave me on my own. I need to continually remind myself that I will never be alone in my life no matter whether I'm in Ohio or Africa.

It's a timely and important reminder that I have my pastor (speaking the Words of God) to thank.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Since Februrary 2010

A lot has happened in the last year and I have a lot to let all of you know about.

First off, I promised I would discuss a few of the signs that came up that confirmed I was supposed to go.  The biggest one was that my aunt had a dream that Satan would attack me and try to get me to feel like I shouldn't be going on this trip.  She had a last name of someone that the devil would use to try to change my mind.  As soon as she woke up from the dream, she prayed and then texted me what her dream had been about so I could be prepared.  Now, you should know that this is a very unusual occurrence for my aunt.  She's never had something like this happened to her ever before.  So when I received the text, I was instantly on alert.  Then, that evening I was discussing with one of the pastors at my church and he told me some information of things that were happening.  One of the families involved had the last name my aunt had given me THAT morning!  To say that I received confirmation at that point is an understatement.  From now on, anytime I have doubts creep in about whether I should go or not, I just remember my aunt's dream and my confidence in my task returns.

Since I last posted, I have filled out my application, turned it in and gotten confirmation that I will be going.  At this point, it appears that Tanzania could possibly by my destination.  I would be working with missionary kids and teaching them as well as working with the missionary team already in place.

This gets me excited, nervous, impatient, a whole gamut of emotions.  But, I am ready to get started in the next step of the process and know for sure where I'm going and what I'll be doing.  So, please be in prayer for me and for this opportunity to spread God's word and work with people dedicated to bringing Him to people who have never learned about Him.  I will keep you updated on my journey as I get really going on this new path.  I hope you are blessed even a little with my journey as I'm sure I will be over and abundantly blessed by it myself.