Jennifer and Gloria’s trip to the Serengheti is less than two weeks away. We have raised enough money to send them and buy the bed, but we want to be poised to help Tangawizi’s community in whatever ways we can. We really believe that God has a few things up his sleeve, and we don’t want to be limited by our cash flow. We want to send and bless Jennifer and Gloria to do whatever God lays on their hearts if/when they find Tangawizi.
So for the next couple of weeks, the proceeds for my entire recorded catalog (Quick Said the Bird, BRIGHTEN UP!, and the gospel songs) will go toward Lincoln’s “Buy Tangawizi a Bed” fund. It’s my attempt at making a difference by making music. As always, enjoy the tunes, help me spread the word, and let me know what you think. As an incentive to help me reach further: if you share this link via email and/or social media I’ll send you one free download code as a thanks. (Be sure to copy me on the email at email@example.com, or tag me in the Facebook link or Tweet, so I know who to send the free download to.)
Here a sampling of my favorite recordings, one from each band:
If you’d like to donate without getting any music, you can still donate via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, Gloria and Jennifer have requested for prayer for the rains in Kenya, which are particularly bad at the moment. If the rain doesn’t let up soon, it could very well block roads and bridges to Keekorok, which would delay their trip. I’m convinced God hears and responds to prayers. Lets pray that their trip will be successful.
I was doing a gig a couple weeks ago and threw in a few gospel tunes. As I wrapped up one of my sets with a new arrangement of “It Is Well,” a rough, mustached guy approached me.
Horatio Spafford was a prominent lawyer in Chicago. A string of tragedies began in 1870, when Spafford’s four year old son died of pneumonia. The large family grieved the loss of their only son. The following spring, Spafford invested much of his wealth in developing real estate in Chicago. Not six months later, “The Great Chicago Fire” overtook the city, including most of Spafford’s new investments.
A couple years passed, and Spafford decided to take his family to England for a vacation. Held up by some imminent business, Horatio sent his family ahead on the Ville du Havre steamship. The steamship was sunk, though, and killed all four of Spafford’s daughters.
Eleven-year-old Annie. Nine-year-old Margaret Lee. Five-year-old Bessie. Two-year-old Tanetta. They were all dead.
His wife telegrammed, sending Horatio the unspeakable news. Horatio’s life was shattered into fragments. The man had been gutted. His family and his wealth had literally been destroyed. As he made his way to England and the boat passed the place where his children had recently died, Spafford penned the haunting words to the now-famous hymn, “…when sorrows like sea billows roll…”
Few people on earth will ever have to face the suffering of Horatio Spafford. But when our life is met with inevitable hardships, may we suffer in dignity and grace like he did. And may this song- whatever version we sing of it- remind us to cling to our triumph and hope in Christ.
When peace like a river comes my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, You have taught me to say
“It is well, it is well with my soul.”
It is well
With my soul
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, oh my soul
I long for the day when my faith becomes sight
The clouds be rolled back like a scroll
The trumpet will sound, and the Lord will appear
Even so, it is well with my soul
I recorded two different versions of this song. I’ll release the other one shortly and let you be the judge of which version is best. In the meantime, listen to the song on the player to the right. You can download my chord chart for the arrangement. You can also download the tune for a buck on Bandcamp. All proceeds will go toward Lincoln’s “Buy Tangawizi a Bed” fundraiser. So enjoy, share, “like”, and spread the word. And as always, I love hearing your specific thoughts on the songs.
May you seek and enjoy the peace of God, which is beyond all human comprehension. He is extravagantly rich, and He desires for you to share in His kingdom through Jesus Christ.
A couple weeks back, I introduced you to our friends Jennifer and Gloria who agreed to help my son Lincoln with his “Buy Tangawizi a Bed” project. Since then we’ve been in touch, crunched the numbers, and I’m excited to tell you that the trip to find Tangawizi has been scheduled! Here are the details:
May 7th. Jennifer and Gloria have already booked a taxi to leave for Keekorok. They should arrive by evening, where Gloria’s friend (a tracker in the Mara) will greet them. They’ve already sent photos ahead of both Tangawizi and the photographer, hoping for a lead.
May 8th-10th. The ladies, with some help from Gloria’s friend, will search in the area for Tangawizi. Unlike searching for someone in the United States, this might be tricky. They plan to start with the schools- traveling from one to another asking children if they know Tangawizi. Granted, “Little T” (or as I like to call him, “Young ‘Weezy”) is probably not old enough for school. But between siblings and friends, we’re hoping this will be the quickest way to find him.
Once they’ve found Tangawizi, Gloria and Jennifer will buy the bed locally. This will not only save them from carrying a bed all over the Serengheti, but also ensure that the bed is adaptable for Tangawizi’s family. Beyond the bed, we’re still hoping that the token of goodwill can be a means of connecting with Tangawizi’s family and community, and supporting them in the long-term. If there are immediate needs that Jennifer and Gloria can identify, we hope to take care of them promptly, as Lincoln has already raised more than enough to get Tangawizi a bed (see below.)
May 11th. The ladies will return to Nairobi. Lord willing, they’ll have been successful in the search.
Gloria gave us a break down of expenses for the trip:
“Prices are for Jennifer and myself together for a total of five days, travel there, travel back, and three days search. Based on the exchange rate of 85…
- Car rental from Nairobi to Trans Mara and back and all the traveling while there: 17,500/= ($205.88)
- Fuel: 18,000/= ($211.76)
- Lodging: 8,000/= ($94)
- Food: 5000/= ($58.82)
- Interpreter from Swahili to Maa (mother tongue of the Masai): 3000/= ($35.29) – We will hire a Masai when we get there.
Total: 51,500= ($605.75)“
And because I couldn’t resist: “Finding Tangawizi, getting him a bed, documenting the trip, and connecting two little boys from across the world: priceless!”
Lincoln has already raised $833.84 to buy Tangawizi a bed. Out of the extra funds raised, we want to (1) take care of any additional resources Tangawizi’s family might need, and (2) of course, pay our extremely generous couriers for offering to spend five days seeing this through. It’s worth mentioning that neither Jennifer or Gloria has asked us to pay them for their time. But for as kind as they’ve been, we want to offset costs they might incur for not being home for five days. If you’d like to connect with Jennifer and Gloria and help them reach the sick and poor of Kenya, you can help fund them at Project Agape Love and New Territory Ministries.
In twenty days these ladies will set out for Keekorok. That is exciting to type. We plan to have Lincoln draw a picture for Tangawizi and write him a letter. I’ll be sure to post both of them before the trip. Stay tuned!
We have more people to thank than we can even remember at this point. For everyone who’s donated, prayer, and spread the word…we thank you deeply. The more people have gotten involved, the more fun the story becomes. If you’d still like to get involved, you can do that in one of a few ways: (1) Sign up for updates in the “words & music” field to the right. I promise I won’t spam or send pics of naked Japanese people, and you can unsubscribe at any time; (2) Donate via PayPal at email@example.com. All extra funds will go to pay Jennifer and Gloria and buy essential resources for Tangawizi’s community; (3) Spread the word; (4) Pray. The truth is, finding Tangawizi in three days might be very, very difficult. The current rains in Kenya could also delay the trip. There are plenty of things that could go wrong. But I hold on to hope that God has something up His sleeve, and I’m confident our prayers will make a difference. All honor and glory and praise to God.
I was talking with a coworker earlier today about this whole whacky buying a bed situation.
“You know, children have a tendency to train our eyes to see the world in a different way,” he said. I couldn’t agree more.
The more I hang out with my kids, the more I’m convinced they know a few things that I don’t, or that I’ve forgotten. Somehow we grow up and lose our sense of imagination, excitement, and wonder. Somewhere along the line we adults “grew up” and got burned from helping someone. So we just sort of quit.
But when we hang out with our kids, the side-effect is that we start crawling around and playing flashlight hide-and-go-seek again. We buy stuffed rabbit puppets and watch cartoons and buy ridiculous pink outfits. And the same is true with helping people. There is some sweet spot with a kid’s age- somewhere between them crying all the time and them getting sent to the principal’s office- where every kid has uniquely sweet moments. I’m convinced that I need to recover some of that.
So that’s why I’m doing my best trying to keep up with the documentation. My son is inevitably going to look back at the things he’s done in his life. When he looks back on this moment, I hope he can see himself as a kind person who does kind things. There are a lot of things Melissa and I wish for our kids. But if this moment became a self-fulfilling prophecy for Lincoln, we’d be the proudest parents alive.
The Scriptures use the word “Father” to describe God an awful lot. I have a friend who has a hard time making sense of that, because her father is so disinterested in her. Lincoln & Harper’s definition of the word “father” is going to be shaped largely by my actions. That’s a lot to live up to. It makes me really aware and anxious about my failures as a dad. But it also inspires me to try and reflect the kindness of God through my actions. I Hope that when my kids hear “God is like a father,” they’ll sort of get it.
The other reason this particular event is important to me is that I made a promise. I shook a hand. Even if that hand was a three year-old’s who would likely forget the next day, I feel like I should try my best to make good on it. I’ve broken small promises to my son before. One time I said I’d play trains with him on Saturday morning. But I’d stayed up so late Friday night that I just wanted to sleep in and let him veg-out in front of cartoons. I shudder to think that Lincoln’s trust in me is wearing thin when I do stuff like that.
Melissa and I made a resolution to become more responsible and dependable this year. Here’s to making good on that resolution…
Parents, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. The older my kids get the more I realize how much my actions affects them. A wise man once said, “It’s easier to build strong boys than repair broken men.” Any advice on how to do that well is appreciated!
After putting out the word that we’re searching for Tangawizi, we’ve received a lot of emails and messages similar to this one (from a missionary in Kenya):
“Interesting. A few observations here.
‘Tangawizi’ is the Swahili word for ‘Ginger’ … as in ‘ginger ale.’ It is almost certainly a nick-name, not a true given name.
Kekerook is in the Maasai Mara, which is the northern tip of the Serengeti. We do have some staff out there in that area, but finding an individual child with no more than a nick-name would be quite difficult, I’m afraid.
So, they have quite the task ahead of them, I’m afraid…”
The obvious had eluded me, but my wife caught it.
“Wait…’Ginger’? Is Tangawizi a girl?!?”
It would make a lot is sense when you consider what we know about Tanagawizi. After all, there is a pink blanket in the picture, and the shorts sort of look like a skirt. Lincoln’s grandma has resolved to just calling Tangawizi “Little T.” Many apologies to the Tangawizis of the world who we’ve been ignorantly calling a “boy.”
Unfortunately, none if this helps much in the search. Our friend April explained in another email:
“When we were exploring the possibility of establishing a child sponsorship program (in Kenya), it was so difficult to figure out which of the kids were boys or girls. And sometimes their names were very tribal/African so it’s not like I could guess well either!
They shave the kids hair and because of the poverty the kids wear whatever clothes are available to them. Some of the teenage boys in one of our homes was wearing pink girly pajama pants with pink crocks because that’s all that would fit him and then you’d have little girls with superman tees on. It’s sad…SO, I understand the aspect of ambiguity. Unfortunately, that makes it more difficult to track down.”
So that’s more bum news. The ambiguity of Tangawizi’s name and gender are going to make the search significantly more challenging. You can’t just scoot around southern Kenya with picture, saying “have you seen this child?” (Especially if you’ve seen Terminator II…)
Thankfully, we also got a huge piece of good news.
Melissa and I have a friend named Jennifer who works as a chaplain in Nairobi, which is about 150 miles from where we think Tangawizi lives. The same day I posted about searching for Tangawizi, Jennifer emailed us and offered to deliver the bed. Amazing. She also asked if she could document the process. Of course!
To add to the good news, it turns out Jennifer’s best friend Gloria knows her way around the Mara (where we think Tangawizi lives), and has a friend who knows the area and the language (Swahili.) Both women were touched by Lincoln’s quest, and believe God is building an incredible story between two little kids on different sides of the world.
So while the search may be difficult, we’ve got two willing participants. We’re excitedly working on some details with Jennifer and Gloria. We’ll update the progress of the travel plans as soon as possible. Stay tuned…
If you want to take part in the story, you can do so in a few ways: (1) follow the blog to see what will happen with Jennifer and Gloria’s journey to find Tangawizi. (Sign up via email in the “free words and music” field to the right); (2) donate to the fundraiser via PayPal @ firstname.lastname@example.org (all donations will go toward the bed + travel expenses + Tangawizi’s community); (3) Spread the word via email, social media, and good ol’ fashioned storytelling; (4) Send us any information that might be helpful in locating Tangawizi. We’ve spent a lot of our free time int he last week Googling, MapQuesting, and trying to gather info. But between our family, jobs, and school our free time is pretty limited. Any info helps. Plus, who doesn’t like to act like a stalker/fake Google private investigator?