Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fatima and the American Mosquito

When I was growing up, my older sister, whom I dearly love, nicknamed me, "The Gnat" because I buzzed around her and bothered her so much. (Of course I believe she really did love The Gnat, eventhough it was a bit annoying :) As I try to continue to learn Changana, a Mozambican woman named Fatima has been my wonderful helper (pictured above). I buzz around her asking, "How do I say that?" "What does this mean?" "Can you say that again?" One day as I was bugging Fatima with questions, I thought about my old nickname, and I decided to give myself a new nickname based on my nationality and an equally annoying local creature...I call myself..."The American Mosquito." Fatima smiles at that...I'm so thankful for her help :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Eating and Loving

Last week there was a special meeting in Picoco where women from five of the Palavra Viva (Living Word) churches gathered together.

There was much singing, prayer, teaching, fellowship, and...eating. I've been thinking about the importance of eating in relation to showing love and building relationships.

I heard a story about a foreign missionary in western Africa many years ago. An African man once said to him, "You may love our souls, but you don't love us as people." When the missionary asked why the man felt this way, he said, "because you don't eat our food."

Of course there are many ways to show love and we should love through our actions, words, things, and time...but I think we can also show love through eating.

During the meal at the meeting, I noticed that many of the women were watching me as I ate my bowl of nshima. When I smiled at them with my mouth full of food, I was met with huge grins and lots of thumbs up :)

I'm doing much listening and observing, I'm beginning to understand a little and talk a bit, and I'm trying to be helpful and encouraging, but if I'm not yet showing love in any other way...at least I can eat!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Christian Academy in Mozambique

It was a joy to speak at the chapel service of Christian Academy in Mozambique this last week! I asked the students (k-12) what they wanted to be "when they grow up", and there was a lovely mix of responses...from princesses and conservationalists, lawyers and singers, to doctors and journalists. We talked about being open to God's leading and His plans, knowing that He has the best in mind for each of us :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

If the Son Makes You Free, You Shall Be Free Indeed!

This past Sunday I attended a church in an area called Sao Damasso. A young lady from the U.S., Chris, who is teaching for a couple months at the Chistian Academy in Mozambique, came along :) (picture - with Chris and Pastor Tomas with his two children outside the church)

The service went very well with the exception of one small misunderstanding on my part. The pastor started the service by reading a Psalm about how God delivers us from our enemy and gives us freedom. His voice became louder as he began to preach about how wonderful it is to be free! He then called out what I thought was the following question,"Is anyone here free?"

I thought to myself, "Yes, I'm free indeed!" So I smiled happily and raised my hand. The pastor, a bit shocked, stopped his preaching and looked at me. Something was very wrong... He then asked me, "You're not free?"

I then realized I must have missed the very important word - not... which made the question very different - "Is anyone here not free?" - to which I had responded by smiling and enthusiastically raising my hand. Thinking about my misunderstanding and ridiculous response to his question, I quickly went from 'uma mulher branca' to 'uma mulher vermelha' (a white woman to a red woman).
The pastor then asked me, "Is your enemy here?" Red face hung low, all I could get out was a rather sheepish, "no." Thankfully, I think he realized that my error was linguistic, rather than spiritual, in nature. He smiled at me and continued on with his sermon - very gracious :)

Although off to a liguistically rocky start, the service was a blessing. Chris and I even got up at the end to sing a short little song in English, Portuguese, and Changana! (picture below)

p.s. - I'm not sure why some of the pics can be enlarged and others cannot - sorry about that. Thanks Dave and Ann for taking the pics :)