trusting . resting . following

Maria is 3!

April 16, 2012
Pastor Deli, his wife Justa with Maria and Rachel
 Some of my dearest friends here in Tanzania are Justa and her husband Pastor Delphinus.  

Quick background: Justa and Deli are the ones who prayed and waited for a child for 7 years.  Finally they decided to adopt Justa's niece, Maria (who was 1 1/2 at the time and in an orphanage.)  Six months later Justa got pregnant and they were blessed with baby Rachel. 

Maria just turned 3 and we celebrated Tanzanian-style!  (TZ-city, not TZ-village... BIG difference!)  Maria was SOOO excited.

The Brouwers and I met Deli's family at a hotel where they had asked to use a back room.  Five other of Justa's family came, including her mother who traveled from Bukoba (8 hrs away by ferry).  It's Mama Justa's first time to Mwanza (and only the 2nd time to see her son-in-law, Deli), she'll be staying for a month.

Birthday girl gets to cut the cake
The week before Justa had asked me how we celebrate birthdays in America.  Maria's party was half American, half Tanzanian. :-)

Deli made it kind of formal by having each guest introduce himself.  (He's a serious kind-of-guy, all the other pastors tease him by  calling him "askofu," Swahili for "bishop.")

Birthday girl gets to feed a piece of cake to each of her guests!
I made a simple cake with chocolate frosting (that was running off the cake because of the heat!)  We sang "Happy Birthday" in English (I was surprised that all the Tanzanians knew it!)  Then Maria blew out the candles.  That was a first for her, took a bit to figure out how to focus her air enough to blow out the flame (so cute!)

As is the custom here at all weddings, the guest of honor (bride or groom or birthday girl) feeds each of her special guests a bite of cake.  :-)

Then we each gave Maria some "words of wisdom" like: be a good girl, work hard in school, be a good wife, obey your parents.  And those who brought gifts gave them to her after giving her some wisdom.

Maria loves to ham-it-up.  She makes the goofiest facial expressions.  She has a quick mind and loves to sing. I celebrate this precious girl.  I celebrate God's providing for her through Deli and Justa. I pray for the day God will draw her to Himself to accept Christ as her Savior!
Maria and "Aunti Lisa"

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