Thursday, March 31, 2011

11th Trip to Inhambane

Discipleship and traveling, teaching, eating...and braiding

Irma Sandra from the church in Tsalala came with Pastor Abel and I on this ministry trip to Inhambane.

Out of the 9 Palavra Viva churches in the Maputo province, women from 6 of the churches have accompanied P. Abel and I on ministry trips to the province of Inhambane!

These really have been "short-term mission trips" for these Mozambican women (something I never could have imagined or planned). I've been blessed to travel, work, teach, cook, eat, and sleep alongside of these women as we learn and grow in Christ.

Discipleship happens as we travel together.

Teaching the women's group in Quissico about Job's wife, and how we can learn from her example in the Bible (...what not to do).

Pastor Abel, under the cashew tree, teaching the church planters about being a servant.

Discipleship happens as we teach.

The cashew fruit 
(the seed/cashew nut is on the top, and the fruit is on the bottom). 

Pastor Abel is grinning at his fruit on the left, and Alberto is wondering why in the world I would want to take a picture of a cashew fruit on the right :)

The inside of the cashew fruit.

Eating the local food that we are offered, is a way of showing our acceptance and love for the people that we are here to serve. If we were to refuse the food that is offered, it would be, in a way, like refusing the love and reception of the people.

If people know that we love and accept them, then they are more open to listen to what we are saying and to see how we are living. In this way, I believe that eating can prepare hearts in an attitude of love to hear the Word of God and see it in action.

Discipleship seeds can be planted even as we eat.

I've been wondering how I could build stronger relationships with the young ladies where we stay in the village of Quissico.

At the end of the first day of our discipleship training, I approached the reed mat where three young ladies were arranging each other's hair. 

They asked me if I had ever braided my hair, and I replied that I had not, with an ambiguous grin on my face...happy for the chance to get to know them better, but knowing that it was going to hurt a bit.

Here are some shots in the dark...since "Cousin Itt" couldn't see through the hair as she took the photos.




Hurt a did. But it was more than worth it.

Relationships based on love and trust are the foundation for discipleship, and if these relationships can start to be built through braiding hair...then I want braids. 

From traveling and teaching, to eating and braiding, discipleship seeds for Christ are being planted. Praise God!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Literacy Lessons and Women's Bible Study

Literacy Lessons

In Maputo, I continue to meet with Irma Fatima each week for her Portuguese literacy lesson.
Before we study, we always have a special time of prayer.

Then we go over her homework and do the next lesson. After each lesson we do a Bible study, in which Fatima reads the Scripture, and we talk about what it means. What a joy it is to see her growing in her reading, and in her relationship with Christ!

Women's Bible Study

I've been doing a discipleship Bible study using the African version of the Women of the Bible study, with Mama Vitoria and Mama Isabel.

The hope is for Mama Vitoria and Mama Isabel to disciple a group made up of a woman leader from each of the churches in Maputo.

Praying before the Bible study with some of the women.

Mama Vitoria leading the study.

In our women's Bible study this last week, we studied the early and later life of Rebekah, and it so happened that I had a lovely visitor staying with me named Rebekah. 

There is a well at the church where we did our study, so our modern day Rebekah wanted to try out the well...and she, like her Biblical counterpart, was kind enough to pump us some water :)

I appreciate prayer for Fatima's literacy lessons, and the Women's Discipleship Bible Study!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

10th Trip to Inhambane and Last trip to Gaza

Together with Pastor Abel, Marcos Zito, and Zinha, we took our 10th ministry trip to Inhambane, and our last trip to the Gaza province.

Saturday and Sunday Discipleship and Leadership Training Group in Quissico, Inhambane.

Irmao Marcos Zito (left) from the church in T-3, Maputo preparing materials with Pastor Abel.

Irma Zinha, and her little daughter Dulcinha, from the church in Picoco, Maputo.

Irma Zinha helping out by washing the dishes.

Little Dulcinha enjoying her first meal up in Quissico, Inhambane.

We went to Bangusa to show the Jesus Film.

There was a kitten there that made me want a glass of milk and oreo cookies.

Pastor Abel and Marcos Zito setting up.

We showed the film in the Txitxopi language, and afterwards an elderly man told us that he was so happy to hear about Jesus in his mother tongue. Praise the Lord!

The men from the leadership training

During the training, I had been teaching about prayer. After asking the group if they pray to thank God before their meals when they are with friends who are not Christians, one young man said that he did not. He then said that he wanted to make a commitment that day to thank God for his food, no matter who is around him. Praise God.

We also had our first women's Bible study for the leaders of the women's groups in the local churches here. I thank God for the good start to this study!

We visited the church in Maculuva, where we were lovingly given jambalao (the black fruit) in bowls made from coconut trees.

In Maciene, Pastor Abel and I had the difficult task of asking the main church leader in that area to step down due to some life choices he has made. We used 1 Timothy 3:1-7 as our Biblical foundation, and the church leader agreed to step down. We then asked the four other members of the church leadership to step up to keep the church together, and they all agreed to do this.

Last Trip to Gaza

We have been visiting and praying about the work in both the Gaza and Inhambane provinces. The work seemed to be going forward in Inhambane, but in Gaza we have met many challenges. So we prayed about this trip specifically, whether we were to continue to work in Gaza, and God answered this prayer very clearly.

 Pastor Abel knew a community leader in Chidenguele, Gaza, who agreed to gather people together for a meeting to see if anyone would be interested in meeting to learn about God and study the Bible.  

So the appointed day came, and we met with a group of 12 young people to ask them about this. One by one, each person said, "No" and then each one got up and walked away. The four of us were left sitting there alone in silence. This was a first for me, and I think it was very unusual to my Mozambican brothers and sister as well. 

But it was clear to us that the door to Gaza is closed for us at this time. This was sad, but we knew this was our answer, and we have decided to focus on Inhambane. 

When we returned to Inhambane later that day, to the area of Nyadumbuque, something else happened that has never happened to me here before. Many churches thank us by offering us food. And of course food could have been eaten or sold for money, but I have never directly received money as a thanksgiving offering from a church here in Mozambique.

After visiting the church group in Nyadumbuque, the father and mother of the church leader, Germilindo, gave P. Abel and I an offering of 200 meticais (approx. $6.50). What a tremendous blessing to witness.

For all these things - difficult, and wonderful - we praise God for the work He is doing here, and how He allows us to be a part of it!

And here are a few random pictures from the road...

Some confusing lane markings we passed...

The lucky cow I almost hit...

A goat getting a ride...

A close up of the bus goat

Thank you for your partnership in prayer and support as I serve here in Mozambique!