The Next Ten

The Next Ten

May 24, 2022

In June, 2012 we opened a large rented house in Arusha with a promise to God that we would do all we could to love well the babies he sent to us who had been abandoned or orphaned in the East African country of Tanzania.

Who knew ten years later that we would become a village with 13 buildings, five major programs, 79 full time employees, hundreds of volunteers and over 400 babies who’ve been though our programs. 

Most of the babies are living with families today through adoption or reunification with families. Along the way we buried a few. But we are pretty humbled by those numbers.

When I say “we did this” you know I mean “us”, you and me and Michael and over it all led by and standing in the Amazing and Abundant Grace of God.  Please click on the song below to hear two of our babies, Joycie and Malikia, sing this powerful song of God’s Greatness. To hear Malikia sing “I see the stars” is just Wow!

How Great Thou Art, sung by the children's choir of Neema Village Tanzania

I didn’t tell the girls what hand actions to put in, I just said feel the words.

Below, The land seven years ago with nothing on it, no trees no bushes, nothing and then to see the video. I am blown away by it all!

Think of it, Ten Years!  With forty plus trips over the Atlantic I have never lost the excitement and squishy feeling in the pit of my stomach when we head home to our beloved Africa and the moms, babies and staff at Neema Village. It has been a full ten years of babies.

I think numbers probably don’t mean much to God though and when we look back at the babies who have come and gone, I think it has always been about the one. Just one. Like little Filbert here.

With all of those who have come and gone I can still hold only one at a time,

Well, sometimes I can hold two but holding one, playing and singing to one, teaching the stories of Jesus to one, finding a forever family for one, saving one has always been what it is all about.

I have had many people ask that with so many babies do I have a favorite baby and I always say, yes I do, the one I am holding at the moment. 

So here we are again, home at last, one or two babies on my lap with all the hopes and dreams God can place in that sweet little heart before me. Each one special, each one very real as David Platt writes,

“Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they are not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” It certainly did for us.

When we first flew from that small airport in Abilene, Texas to Tanzania in 1965 Michael and I could not have known all those years ago, as crazy, eager 21 year olds with Kim a 3 month old, just where all this would lead but I think now we know. It was all leading to this time and this place, rocking here on this porch, facing our mountain with one baby.

Where it will lead in the Next Ten years we still don’t know but one thing we know God is Faithful and we can follow on if you will come with us.

I hope wherever you are today that you have found the place God wants you to be and that you are living and loving and being loved well there.

Acts 17:26 – 27

Dorris and Michael