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!