Sunday, January 31, 2010

Literacy Instruction goes North

Elina (picture right) is a Mozambican missionary from one of our churches in Maputo, who serves, along with her husband Juka, in the northern province of Zambezia. While they were here this last month, I talked with Elina about the Bible-based literacy instruction that I've been doing with Fatima. Elina said she was very interested in this for her ministry up north! So last Monday, the night before they left for Zambezia, I was able to teach Elina the method and give her some copies of the materials.

A few days later, when Fatima and I met for our weekly literacy lesson, Fatima said excitedly, "Yesterday I opened up my Bible and I read John 1:1-4...and I understood it!"

What a blessing to hear :)

I pray that Elina would also hear such blessings, and Zambezia!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2nd Trip North to Gaza and Inhambane

This last week I was able to make my second trip north to the provinces of Gaza and Inhambane with Pastor Abel, and Irma Louisa and her baby, Benilde.
We were able to meet with, listen to, pray and sing with, and teach five different church groups that have begun in these provinces.
(picture below of the group in Chidenguele - Pastor Abel is in the back with the black and white shirt, and Irma Louisa is sitting on the left side of the mat)
After our teaching time in Chidenguele, one young man said, "Wow, these Bible stories are so good and they help me so much. The Bible has so many pages, I want to know all of those stories!"

In Nyadumbuque, after sharing with the church, the young man who is leading this group, invited us to his mother's house for lunch. His grandmother also lives with the family (picture above). She kept everybody laughing with her tough old attitude...the phrase "one who chews nails and spits rust" comes to mind...she seemed like a Mozambican version of my own grandmother :)

The whole family
(the young man sitting in the front, Jermelindo, is the leader of the church in Nyadumbuque)

Everyone loves grandma :)

After teaching and praying with the group in Madendere, one of the young ladies thanked me and handed me a freshly harvested pineapple.
(picture above - Irma Louisa holding the sweet gift)

Three Sisters
(Irma Louisa, Irma Aimee, Irma Olga)
Irma Olga is the leader of the group in Bangusa

She raises turkeys to sell

Most people in this area have a coconut tree -here is Olga's beautiful tree.

Olga also has a cashew tree...her mother (picture above) has just toasted the cashews, and then she cracks them open.

Louisa with her sweet baby, Benilde.

After we taught and shared, we feasted on fresh cashews and dried mandioca.

The church group in Bangusa

I was so thankful to be able to visit the groups in these provinces again!
In God's time, and if it is God's will, I would like to live nearby, either in Gaza or Inhambane, so that I could regularly meet with, encourage, teach, and train these precious groups.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Women's Bible Study in Chamanculo

Last month, the pastor of the church in Chamanculo (also known as Xipamanene) asked me if I would be willing to start up a women's Bible study for his church in the new year. I've been studying the method of teaching the Bible chronologically through storytelling (left - some of the picture cards for different Bible stories). My friend Fatima, who I've been giving literacy lessons to once a week, is also a part of this church. This last week, I asked Fatima if she would like to co-lead this Bible study with me...and she said yes :) Beginning in February, we plan to meet twice a week - to continue the literacy lessons and to prepare for the study. I'm very thankful for this opportunity, and I hope to give support and training to Fatima as we lead together, with the hope that she would be able to train other women to lead in the future!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas and New Years with my Mom

In South Africa...
We celebrated Christmas morning in a local church
And we saw some lovely animals...

Dassies warming themselves on the high rocks

Penguins playing on the beaches

Birds resting in a giant aloe tree

And the most noble seal I've ever seen

This man had spent the last 26 years attempting to "domesticate" the seal

Here he is showing off his lovely teeth

Here's me trying to take a picture with him...and getting the great "seal snub"

When he turned toward me, he suddenly seemed too close with all those lovely teeth...
But we became friends at last :)

We returned to Mozambique for the New Year

We were privileged to celebrate the New Year's Day feast with my dear friend Fatima and her family

Mom, Fatima, and Aimee

Then we visited Pastor Abel and his family...where we feasted again :)

On my mom's last night here, Fatima and her two daughters, Vania and Xashi, came over to sing to my mom and to present her with special gifts - a "capulana" (wrapped around her her waist) and a "lenco" (for her head).
The meaning of the beautiful song they sang -
"How wonderful it is to have a family, the family of Jesus
A united family
A family that loves
A royal family
A family that's without comparison
How wonderful it is to have a family, the family of Jesus"

What a blessing it has been to have a part of my American family here to visit a part of my Mozambican family :)