We spent the month of April getting ready for our international move. My dad, who came with us, helped us to pick a day at the beginning of May to fly out of O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. With our boarding passes purchased, we spent our last few weeks packing, purchasing, moving, and traveling. Kellie and Landon drove down to her hometown for a brief visit to say her farewells to her friends and loved ones. I stayed behind in Iowa, as there was still much work that needed to be done on the container.
One of Kellie’s hardest goodbyes was to her beloved hedgehog. I know Willow was just a pet, but I had purchased Willow as a birthday present for Kellie. Most of you got to meet her, as she traveled with us on deputation. She was such a great asset to our team; almost everyone was fascinated by this tiny animal with sharp quills all over her back. African pygmy hedgehogs are native to our part of Africa, and Kellie loved sharing her knowledge of them with others. Willow is already greatly missed.
Saying our goodbyes to our friends and family was hard, but we are thankful for video calls, which help us to stay in contact. Landon gets all excited when we video call our loved ones. He likes to hold the phone, which means that whoever is on the other end can only see his forehead or the ceiling.
Traveling and Arrival
Our departure date was May 4, with an evening flight. My dad picked us up—plus our nine totes, two carry-ons, a stroller, the car seat, and the diaper bag—and loaded everything into his minivan. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. Kellie approached the counter when it was our turn to check in, and the flight attendant informed her that we did not have a plane to board that evening! We were thoroughly confused. After speaking to her, it turned out that our flight from Doha to Dar es Salaam had been canceled. With no explanation as to why, we left the airport in search of a hotel and some dinner.
Later that night, Pastor Wyatt called and told us that earlier that day, the requirements for COVID had changed. Previously, testing was not required upon arrival, so after the change went into effect, the airline canceled everyone’s flight into Dar es Salaam. We searched all of Chicago for a same-day PCR test, and there was only ONE location. It was located in an old car wash in the middle of Downtown. We woke up early Wednesday morning and drove to get tested. Because there was no age listed on the website as to who was to get tested, we had to get Landon tested as well. He handled the test okay, but Kellie was the one who had to swab his nose. Within a couple of hours, our test results came back; and, praise God, all four of them were negative!
We were able to fly out that Wednesday evening, and after roughly 20 hours in the air, plus an 8-hour layover, we arrived in Dar es Salaam on Friday morning. To our dismay, everyone aboard the plane had to be retested before they could claim their baggage and be on their way. We waited in line for over an hour to get the rapid test done. Those, too, came out negative.
Our friends, Alpha and Tito, met us at the airport, and we loaded all of our baggage up and headed to Morogoro. Landon traveled so well during the whole trip! He has handled the transition like a pro, and we couldn’t have asked for anything better.
A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Wyatt and I traveled to Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania. We were able to have a meeting with the government official. She sounded pretty positive that my appeal will be accepted. The approval rate for work permits is at 90%. Hopefully and prayerfully, we will have an answer by the end of this week.
Once we get the “YES” that my heart desires, we can finalize the construction of our long-term house, purchase a vehicle, and then, after the Stadium Crusade in July, look into starting language school. My Swahili is nowhere near what I would like it to be, but I am able to handle business transactions on behalf of the church. I still have to be paired up with a national for soul winning, but the day will come when I am able to share the Gospel in Swahili.
In the meantime, I am busy with projects for Pastor Wyatt. Saturdays and Sundays are busy days between soul winning and church. I am teaching an English Sunday school class for some international teenagers. Kellie is helping with the younger children between the ages of one and five.
We have settled into our temporary home. Kellie is keeping busy with Landon and the daily running of the house. I am learning how to balance work and family. This is the first time since Landon was born that I’ve not been home with him on a daily basis. It’s hard being away from him, but I know in my heart that I am where God wants me to be.
Your missionaries to Tanzania,
Montana, Kellie, and Landon Morrow