2023 Mission trip to Tanzania impressions and making memories

safari at end of the trip

It is a special mission trip when you can take your grandchildren with you. 2023 I took my grandson Austin and his wife Morgan. Enjoyed her thoughts on the experience.

By: Morgan Petitt
To go on an African safari was an immediate “Let’s go!” but to do the missions part, I was a little skeptical. Susie Ferrell Allen promised me a toilet in our hotel so I hesitantly agreed to go help change lives. Little did I know, those small villages would change me. The hardworking, loving children instantly stole my heart. The strength of the women were inspiring. The way the African families welcome you into their home puts American hospitality to shame. The creativity of homemade toys, baskets, & household items is impressive. I watched a 3 year old boy peel potatoes for his family, a 5 year old carry her baby sister on her back, a 10 year old be a shepherd for his family’s cows & goats, a mother walk miles to get water for the family, and a man make homemade bricks to build a house for his family – all working with a smile on their face. Everyone I met was so incredibly happy, despite not having the necessities that Americans take for granted: running water, electricity, HVAC, a bed, & transportation.
I had a front row seat in watching many families accept Christ & hear the story of Jesus. Local Christians from the villages would guide us through dirt paths & lead us from one home to the next. By the end of each day, we would turn around & see a group of people following us. It was like the image of Jesus having the good news saying “follow me.” My group was paired with a woman who carried her 5 month old baby on her back all day walking miles with us. She didn’t speak any English but we bonded through smiling & laughing together. After two days, I didn’t realize I wouldn’t see her again. She wore the same outfit both days because that’s all she had so I climbed on the church bus & took my skirt off (thankfully I wore shorts underneath), passed the skirt through the window & gave it to her. Suddenly, “taking the shirt off my back” was no question.
All of these images play on repeat in my head & really put things into perspective. The safari was pretty dang cool, but the missions part & villages is where I will return to one day. My heart is overflowing with gratitude. I feel so blessed! Asante sane, Africa.

Morgan couldn’t get enough of holding the babies

Austin helps with peeling potatoes in one boma

Telling the story….bush evangelism

Austin loves to play with the children