Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mom Visiting

I'm so happy to have my mom here for a visit!

In Kongoloti with Mama Amelia and Irma Julia

My mom thanked them for being a good Mama and Sister to me here :)

Irma Julia treated us to ripe mangoes from her own tree.

God has been putting the people of the Gaza and Inhambane provinces on my heart since traveling there with Pastor Abel and Julia in October.

My mom and I took a prayer trip to Chidenguele, which is in the province of Gaza. We prayed for God's will, preparation, enabling, direction, and timing.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mozambican Advisors and...another Bat

My colleagues and I regularly meet with our Mozambican Advisers (to my left - Dr. Nhanale and Susan Weil, and to my right - Larry Weil, Pr. Nhabanga, and Pr. Cossa). These wise Mozambican men give us counsel and advice concerning all of the work we're doing here in Mozambique.

During the meeting, I was introduced and given a chance to share about my desire to go north of Maputo to partner with our national church in discipleship training, specifically with women.

The advisers encouraged me to remember the importance of teaching women to teach others, which I very much hope to do, and they encouraged me to remember that God would take care of my needs. It was a privilege to meet with these wise men this Christmas season :)

And a...

...different bat
...same fear
...different guard
...same box

I have now designated this as my special "Bat Box"...
"Caixa para Morcegos"

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Baby Celebration in Xipamanene

It was a joy to be part of Rosalva's baby celebration this last week in Xipamanene. Baby Cacilda, who doesn't always look so alarmed, was a being a bit fussy, so the women made sounds to try and get her to smile, and instead she came out looking positively terrified.

Rosalva is part of the church in Xipamanene, and the church came to support, sing and pray for her, share from the Bible, and give some gifts.

Grandmother with Granddaughter and Daughter

"Komba n'wana wa wena ndlela ya vutomi a ha ri ntsongo, leswaku ni loko a kurile, a ta ka a nga hambuki eka yona." Swivuriso 22:6

"Raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Boane and My First Massala

Last weekend I went to Pastor Nelio's church in Picoco, Boane. This lovely group is always very helpful in teaching me...whether it's new words, or a new fruit to eat!

During the sermon, I tried to separate and write down certain Changana words, and usually I would ask someone after the service if they could define the words for me. P. Nelio's sister, Xica, couldn't wait to tell me what the words meant, so she leaned over during the sermon to define each word as soon as I wrote it down!

At the end of the service I was blessed to be able to pray for five women that want to be baptized next Sunday.

After the service, Xica said that "massala" season had arrived. When I told her that I'd never eaten that fruit, she was shocked, and then she quickly disappeared and reappeared with a fresh massala in hand. This fruit, which may have different names in other countries, has a round green hard shell that needs to be cracked open. Inside there are lots of lima bean sized seeds covered with the soft brown fruit. To me, it seemed to have a sweet spice-like flavor.

After I finished eating, the women taught me how to say,
"Mina namazanza massala!"
(I like massala!)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Women's Meeting in Tsalala

This last week we had our final women's meeting of the year at the new church in Tsalala.

After our meeting, the women from the church served a lovely meal of rice, xima, beans, and fish in peanut curry.

Pastor Abel also came since he had planted this church...and was the only one who knew how to get there ;)

Fellowship under the shade of a cashew tree with Mozambican sisters (and brother) in Christ.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Team Retreat and...Something like a Bird

Team Retreat

We were joined by the director of the Maputo Biblical and Theological seminary, teachers from CAM school, and special visitors from the U.S. and South Africa. It was good to come aside to rest, reflect, and relate.

"Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." 
Matthew 11:28-30

And on a slightly different note...

Something like a Bird, but NOT a Bird...

It was late Tuesday night and I had just gotten back to my apartment after being out at an evening Bible study in Kongoloti. As I got ready for bed, my peripheral vision picked up a shadowy movement in the hallway, accompanied by an irregular flapping sound. The first thing that came to my mind was a bird...

With the image of a delicate little finch in my head, I walked to the hallway and let out a bloodcurdling scream when I was met with a large dark creature flying at my face. Unlike a fluttering bird, it was a kind of sloppy ominous a bat.

I just barely ducked under it, and then it flapped into my room, where sadly there was no open window by which it could escape. The first thing I thought of was to grab my electric tennis racket, which can be used for 'zapping' mosquitoes. However, I feared that 'zapping' the bat would be like shooting a grizzly bear with a pellet gun - it would probably only anger it.

Then I thought of capturing it in a box...but I wasn't able to muster up the courage to do it. So with the electric tennis racket still in my hand and a crazed look in my eye, I walked outside in search of help. There I found a very apprehensive looking Mozambican guard, who had just heard my horrific scream.

Not knowing the Portuguese word for bat, I said, "There's something in my apartment that's like a bird, but it's not a bird. Can you help me catch it?" After some convincing, he bravely accepted the challenge to capture the strange creature.

As we approached my room, I saw that it was gruesomely clinging on to the mosquito net over my bed! The guard and I stood there stalling as we nervously talked about its features..."what a furry coat" "and a worm-like tail" "and look at its strange little feet" etc... And then the guard, after taking a moment to gather his courage, bravely knocked it into the box and quickly placed the lid on top.

With the bat now safely in the box, we decided to take it out to the street and gently toss it near the stump of a tree. The bat landed with an unceremonious plop...and then quick as lightning, it took flight and flew off toward the moon like the end of a Halloween movie.

But before we let it go, I asked the guard if he could quickly open the box so I could take a picture. Here's the bat...morcego in Portuguese!

Monday, October 26, 2009

1st Trip to Gaza and Inhambane!

This last week I had the opportunity to travel north with Pastor Abel and Julia to the provinces of Gaza and Inhambane (about seven hours drive north of Maputo).

We went to encourage and teach new believers in 7 different areas in these 2 provinces.

We met with many special people to share about God's power and love.

Pastor Abel has been visiting these groups once a month for the last several months to teach them using Chronological Bible Storytelling, and it was a joy to partner with him. 

He fastened the large picture cards on the side of a house as he taught the Bible.

Julia and I also taught some of the groups.


On our last day in Inhambane, 12 young people from the area of Nyadumbuque who Pastor Abel had been visiting wanted to be baptized.

We fit the twelve people (!) into the truck...fifteen with P. Abel, Julia and myself, and we began to make our way through the deep sand to a far off lake. Because we were very far from any villages, there weren't actual "roads."

Two nights before, the right rear tire on my car had been slashed through by a sharp stump of a tree hidden in the weeds. A young man had immediately rushed out of his round reed house to help us change the tire...and this time I knew exactly what and where the "macaco" was (monkey...a.k.a. jack). I thank God for that young man.

So two days later, there I was driving a truck in deep sand up and down hills weighted down with fifteen people, with stumps, branches, and coconut shells scattered across the ground like an obstacle course before me...many, many, many kilometers from any possible form of help, and no more spare tire...I began to worry.

Then God said to my heart, "Do you trust Me?"
"Are you doing My will?"
I responded, "Yes."
He said, "Then why do you worry?"
Then He said, "You're taking a car load of My children to be baptized."

I was suddenly overcome by the tremendous privilege of what He was allowing me to do. I had the distinct feeling that I was reaping what I had not sown, that I was entering into the labors of those before me. Both the one who sows and the who reaps will rejoice together. I thank God for the amazing privilege of being a part of His work of love and salvation.

We arrived at the lake!

P. Abel shared about baptism as a symbol for birth into a new kind of life.

Julia and I took turns helping with the baptisms.

What a joy!

Two faithful co-workers

The whole group

Afterwards we had communion together.

The group in Nyadumbuque meets in the shade of this building on Sundays mornings.

Julia led the singing

They danced in celebration and praise!

The celebration attracted some of the other neighborhood kids.

Julia passed out baptism certificates to each person.

The group of new believers in Nyadumbuque - Inhambane, Mozambique. Praise God!

Would you please pray for them when they come to your mind?
Thank you. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Learning about Literacy

A couple of weeks ago I shared about how Fatima has been such a help to me as I try to learn Changana language and culture here. One day she shared about the situation of many women here who have children at a very young age and are not able to continue studying at school. Because of this, many women are not able to read. Fatima said that she would like to learn how to read well (in Portuguese), so I offered to teach her once a week. It has been very good for me to begin learning about literacy training, and I'm very thankful for the opportunity to help my dear friend Fatima.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Week in Kongoloti

This last week, I stayed with Irma Julia in her house in Kongoloti!

I was very thankful for the opportunity to live in this community, so that I could learn more about building relationships based on love and respect. 

I was able to learn more about culture, practice the native Changana language, do daily chores...such as cooking, and learn more about the challenges and blessings of life here. 

I have so much more to understand and I hope to never stop learning...but most of all, with understanding, I hope to love Mozambicans with God's love in Jesus Christ.

Irma Julia and I standing in front of the church and preschool in Kongoloti

Julia is the leader of the women's group at the church and she also helps out at the preschool.

I told the kids that I was going to be preparing their lunch this day...rice, potatoes, carrots, and...chicken!

Julia (left) and Maria (right) in the kitchen area


Irma Julia holding lunch

Mama Henriquetta and I

It was very good to begin building relationships with the women who serve at the church here. As I got ready to prepare lunch that day, Mama Henriquetta helped me to tie my head scarf to keep my hair out of the way and keep my head warm. The weather this week was quite cool.

I've eaten many chicken meals, but I've never prepared one from beginning to end. Irma Maria helped me to take the first step by killing the chicken (with a knife through the neck).

Then I plucked the feathers and cleaned the bird.

A neighbor of Julia's, Mama Amelia and her grandson, stopped by, and we posed for a rather strange and morbid picture as we grinned whilst holding onto the dead bird.

Two plucked chickens ready to be cut up and cooked.

Chickens cooking in the big pot with oil, onions, tomatoes, garlic, potatoes, and carrots.

And finally the finished product...the blue plate special!

During my time in Kongoloti, I was able to go to the local market to buy food to prepare for the week, work with the ladies doing the cooking and cleaning for the preschool children, take part in evening house groups, make home visits with the women's group to sing, pray, and console many families who were suffering from illnesses, receive lots of visitors in Julia's home, go to an early morning prayer meeting, attend a woman's baby dedication ceremony, and observe...listen...learn...and love much. I was very tired after the week was up, but I thank God for this opportunity!