A brief summary of our first year with pictures:


We attended Kiswahili school Oct-Jan and graduated with proficiency level status.

The break in Dec included visit with the Langi Church in Mwanza.  During this visit, we stayed in church leader’s homes the village for a few days.  The Langi Church invited our team into the country and continues to be a mentoring presence in the mission.

The break in Dec included a weeklong stay in the home of our teacher, Mwalimu Siagi with his family.

We made connections with many village residents who lived near the language school as well as with workers at the language school.  Ross taught Bible stories, and we left many of our friends with a copy of the Bible and an invitation to continue conversing with us via the phone.

We attended the ECHO Agricultural conference in Arusha for three days in February.

We hosted Ross’ father, Rom Kellis and his brother, Keke Kellis in February.

Ross attended the Men’s Retreat in Kenya in February.

Heather attended a month-long tropical medicine course hosted by a Norwegian University in Tanga in March.  Many of the teachers were Tanzanian scientists and doctors with one-the-ground experience with tropical med.

We moved to Mtwara in April and set up house in a strategically located apartment at the heart of the city.  We continue to establish a home there.

We participated in a three-day long counseling workshop facilitated by MRN (Missions Resource Network) along with the team.

Ross researched the religious situation of the area on behalf of the team.  This involved meeting local religious leaders and exploration, etc.

Heather developed an emergency evacuation plan along with Kristina and Lauren after doing research about healthcare resources in the area.

In May, we hosted Janice Bingham and Lisa Engel for a day or two.

Ross and Andrew did a 6-day survey of Makondeland in June.


In June, we spent four days of vacation in South Africa, researching hospital and doctor options for the birth of our baby.

Heather’s Mom stayed with us for the month of July.

We participated in the team bi-annual strategy meetings in March and September.

In September, we got the container and have enjoyed setting up house with the new things that arrived.

Ross finds language practice at his front door.  Often he sits on the side of the street and converses with passersby.  Muslim teachers, pastors of local churches, and public officers all have been known to come by.  Ross also frequents a coffee “hang out” for men in the evenings in the market.


We have had a language tutor since April.  We continue to meet with her most weekdays.  Heather relies on her more heavily, meeting for an hour each day, while Ross sits with the teacher only a few days a week.

Currently, we are securing a car with church funds and are proceeding with the tax-exemption process.  After the paperwork is cleared with the government, we can pick up the church’s car from the dealership.

Heather is still in the process of securing her Tanzanian nursing license.

Most of every workday for the last year has been language focused.