It has been 2 years since I returned to the US from Mozambique due to chronic pain in my head. In order to share an update I'd like to try to describe it as best as I can, and share some of the things that I've been doing.
The best way I can think to describe it is like a heavy vice that stays on my head all the time. The pressure can go higher or lower, but it's continuously squeezing my skull.
Sometimes the pressure is a 2 out of 10, sometimes it's a 6 out of 10, and sometimes it's a 10 out of 10.
It can't be seen, but it's always felt.
Some things I've been doing...
seeking God and being open to His will
praying and fasting
asking individuals and groups to pray for me
being prayed over and anointed with oil
others have fasted for me
seeing a counselor
getting an MRI of the head
getting an MRI of the neck and spine
getting a CT scan
having many blood tests
testing for allergies and food sensitivities
trying all possible dietary plans with foods recorded
seeing 3 different types of chiropractors
seeing 2 different types of physical therapists
seeing an acupuncturist
seeing a naturopath
trying many natural remedies
doing hormonal tests and treatments
getting head, neck, and atlas adjustments
seeing a neuro-muscular dentist to move jaw
doing a sinus treatment
doing a trial of steroids
taking various supplements
seeing 4 different neurologists
trying 7 types medications and injections
getting a nerve block treatment
On the right side of my house in Mozambique I planted a plumeria plant with green leaves and lovely pink flowers. But slowly the flowers and leaves faded and fell off, and the ends even went black. When I left Mozambique to come to the US 2 years ago, I thought that the plumeria was surely dying.
But when I went back to visit Mozambique I saw that it had green leaves again and beautiful pink blooms, even more than before!
I have felt like my plumeria plant.
During my time with God in prayer and reading His Word, His Spirit has encouraged me to trust that He is doing exceedingly more than what is visible, and that I am to wait on Him for His healing in His time. I believe that He is doing eternal things for His glory. As I do everything I can, My trust is in Him as I wait for the green leaves to appear and the pink flowers to bloom. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18
In 2015, Anabela, from the church in Kongoloti, had a baby and named her Aimee.
Aimee - 2015
Aimee - 2016
Aimee - 2017
Aimee - 2018
What a joy to see little Aimee, with her mom and grandma, this last week!
In 2015, Tina and Carlos gave me the gift of naming their new baby - Josue Nydango.
Josue - 2018 What a special visit with my beloved Nydango family this last week!
In 2006, I spent a summer learning about culture and language through cooking and conversation with Candida, and her son Paulito.
At the end of that summer, 11 year-old Paulito, made me a special hook rug from a rice sack inscribed with Philippians 4:13 in Portuguese (below).
"Posso todas as coisas naquele que me fortalece."
(I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.)
This last week, I shared a word of encouragement with the Palavra Viva church in the area of T-3.
After the service, a young man approached me and asked if I remembered him...it was Paulito!
Paulito (now 23 and looking very serious here) is a part of this church, and he serves on the worship team playing the keyboard. To see him after 12 years, and hear that he's walking with God, made me smile.
The Snowden family (here with Luana and me), who visited us in California last year, is now in Mozambique!
This family would appreciate prayer as they work on language and culture learning here.
Together, we attended the wedding reception of Plionasmo.
Mats are put down to honor the newly married couple as they enter the tent.
It's customary to sing a song when giving a gift. Here we are singing and presenting our gifts!
Thank you for praying for me during this time in Mozambique! God allowed me to renew my visa, as well as visit, encourage and pray with many people from my Mozambican and missionary family.
I so appreciate your continued prayer for my health and my return to Mozambique in God's time.
I traveled from Maputo with my colleagues, Paulo and Fernanda.
Fernanda helped so much in the house cleaning, preparing meals, and helping me to process through everything.
Besides killing countless cockroaches, Paulo fixed many things, and he spent special time with Jaime, who has been watching over the house.
The front garden, where Jaime has planted tomatoes, pumpkin leaves, cabbage, and lettuce.
In Quissico, it was special to visit with many of my dear neighbors, like grandma Lila, to hear how they're doing and let them know how I'm doing.
It was good to pray for each of my neighbors.
With Cidalia and her precious family.
While Fernanda made tasty Brazilian beans and rice, Cidalia pounded out peanuts and I shaved coconuts for the sauce for the wild chicken we'd been given by another neighbor.
Using my coconut shaving muscles again!
Jaime picked some lettuce from the house garden for our salad.
We drove to Cala to visit the women from the church.
I prayed for them and shared about God's faithfulness and the great works He wants to do in and around us in the midst of our suffering.
We also went to visit the women in Nyamajeho.
One of the women,whom Ermelinda and I had be discipling and who was baptized in 2016, passed away this year. We sang and prayed, and I encouraged and reminded them about the hope of eternity that God offers us in Jesus.
Since I spoke only in Portuguese, they teased me about how many words in the Txitxopi language I had forgotten.
On our way back from Cala to Quissico, we spotted a hippo in the lake. It was fun to see...from the safety of the car...but of course the hippos cause a lot of problems for the people here because they eat and trample the crops from the family fields during the night.
It's a bit far, but right at the beginning of this video, you can hear the hippo opening his big mouth.