Thursday, March 31, 2011

11th Trip to Inhambane

Discipling:

Traveling, Teaching, Eating, and Braiding



Traveling

Irma Sandra (above) from the church in Tsalala came with us on this ministry trip to Inhambane.




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




These have essentially 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, eat, and sleep alongside of these women as we learn and grow in Christ.




Discipleship happens as we travel together.




Teaching

Teaching the Word of God is certainly a part of discipleship. Here I am teaching some of the women about the lessons we can learn from Job's wife in the Bible (...what not to do).





Here is Pastor Abel with the church planters underneath the cashew tree. He is teaching about what it means to be a worker for the Lord.




Discipleship happens as we teach.






Eating In this picture, I'm about to partake of the cashew fruit (the seed/cashew nut is on the top and the fruit is on the bottom). You can see P. Abel grinning at his fruit on the left, and Alberto wondering why in the world I would want to take a picture of a cashew fruit on the right :)





Perhaps it is clear that discipleship happens as we travel on short-term mission trips and teach the Bible...but what does eating have to do with discipleship... I believe that eating is one way to open hearts, ears, and eyes.





Here is the inside of the cashew fruit (it tastes a lot like star 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 a way of 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 happens as we eat.





Braiding

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




At the end of the first day of our discipleship training, I approached the reed mat where three young ladies were arranging eachother's hair. They asked me if I had ever braided my hair, to which I replied that I had not, with an ambiguous grin on my face...happy for the chance to bond with them, 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.



Beatiful Belmira






Curious Cesaltina






Sweet Vitoria










Hurt a bit...it did. But it was more than worth it for the relationships it helped to build. How is braiding hair a part of discipleship... I believe that relationships based on love and trust are the foundation for discipleship. And if these relationships can partly be built through braiding hair...then I want braids :) From traveling and teaching, to eating and braiding...discipleship is happening. Praise God for all the ways the He helps us to make disciples for Christ!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Literacy Lessons and Women's Bible Study

Literacy Lessons with Fatima
Here 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 Discipleship Bible Study


Here in Maputo...

Using the Mozambican Bible study, Women of the Bible,


I am privileged to be able to disciple Mama Vitoria and Mama Isabel...


Then Mama Vitoria and Mama Isabel disciple a group made up of one woman from each church...


Then these women disciple the women's group in each of their respective churches.





Praying before the Bible study with some of the women disciples






Mama Vitoria facilitating the study with the group of women disciples from the churches



In our Bible study this last week, we studied the early and later life of Rebekah. It so happened that I had a lovely visitor staying with me named Rebekah. And it so happened that 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 your prayers for Fatima's literacy lessons, and the Women's Discipleship Bible Study!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

10th Trip to Inhambane

We praise God for the privilege of sharing His love, teaching His Word, and building His kingdom in Inhambane, Mozambique!
Saturday and Sunday Discipleship and Leadership Training Group

Irmao Marcos Zito (left) from the church in T-3, Maputo came with us (Pastor Abel on right).



Irma Zinha and her little daughter Dulcinha from the church in Picoco, Maputo also came with us.



Irma Zinha faithfully served in any way help was needed.
Here she is washing the dishes.



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

The work is always full of different experiences, some difficult, some wonderful, and some random. Just to give an idea of this, here are few pics and stories...

Random kitten in Bangusa that made me want a glass of milk and some oreo cookies ;)



Setting up the Jesus Film.
In this area, we showed the film in the Chope language, and afterwards an elderly man told us that he was so happy to hear about Jesus in his mother tongue :)


The men from the discipleship leader's training.
(Pastor Abel and Irmao Nelson are pointing up to give glory to God, and Papa Tomas, who's always joking around, is sprawled out in the front :)
During the training, I've 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.
In Chidenguele, Gaza, we met with a group of 12 young people to ask them if they wanted to start up church groups in their areas and to receive leadership training that we're doing once a month in Zavala. One by one, each person said no, got up, and walked away. The four of us were left sitting there alone in silence.


In Nyadumbuque, something happened that has never happened to me here before. Many churches thank us by offering us food, which is wonderful. 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 (which is in the bush), the father and mother of the church leader, Germilindo, gave P. Abel and I an offering of 200 meticais (approx. $6.50). Wow, what a tremendous blessing to witness.

For all these things, random, 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 pictures from the road...


Some confusing lane markings...




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!