As you've probably come to realise if you've been reading my blog ... my family are big fans of yummy food.
In fact, we're part of the 'old-fashioned' traditionalists, who enjoy a family meal, round the table each and every day. I realise that for many this is not possible, with work commitments and family situations but we have been extremely privileged that for our whole married life, we have been able to share a family meal together, whether it was when there was just two of us ... or as our family grew, first to three and then four.
In the UK Mark's hours were flexible and here, with an early start and an earlier finish, he has been able to be home every night for dinner, which should continue in Tanznia. It's time we value as a family and time when interruptions are ignored (yes, we're one of those annoying family's who let any calls go to the answer phone at mealtimes because we choose to prioritise that time together!).
During the first year or so that we were in the States, we soon came to realise that most people weren't going to reach out to us in friendship, so we started inviting families over for a meal to our house instead, to build relationships that way. That actually made more sense for us, as it was less unsettling for Abigail who was only little then! Most weeks, where possible, we made the effort to have different people round, it was lots of fun and built some great friendships. Sadly, once Naomi came along we got a little side-tracked and have got out of the habit.
As we enjoy cooking and entertaining and because in many cultures food is such a social thing for both building important relationships and making people feel loved, we intend to continue using food for this purpose once we leave here. Knowing that a lot of 'ordinary' cooking tools are difficult to come by and often more expensive for substandard products, we were really blessed to have a Pampered Chef Missionary Shower at our church last week. We have been able to both stock up on essentials and have friends here, purchase some of the things on our wish-list for us too.
The evening was run by one of the other MMS wives, Isobel Dunkley, who has been a Pampered Chef consultant for years and it was a lot of fun. For us, it was just another example of how our friends and church family here are so supportive of what we're doing and excited to help us get as prepared as possible in the remaining months before we leave.
Thank you, if you came or if you ordered online, either for your own kitchen or for ours. I will think of you when I am in Tanzania, preparing food for us and our new friends and using our new bits and pieces!