Friday, December 21, 2012

Prayer, Mercy Air, and Merry Christmas!

Thank you for prayer as I continue to recuperate! 


 
At our Tuesday morning prayer meeting, I had the privilege of asking the leaders of the Mozambican national church, Palavra Viva, to anoint me and pray for my health...what a special blessing that was to me.



I've also had the opportunity to visit Paul and Cathy, the pilot and nurse from Mercy Air in South Africa, who flew me out of Mocuba when I was sick. It was great to get to know them...as a healthier person :)
 
 
Wherever you are in the world...I hope you have a very Merry Christmas...from Africa!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ministry and Sickness in Zambezia

Thank you to all those who have been praying. 


 
As I wrote in my last blog post, I went to visit and share with churches in the Mozambican province of Zambezia. 


 
 Feliz Familia Fernando
(Happy Fernando Family)
 
I stayed with Elina and family while her husband, Pastor Juka, made his first ministry trip to Brazil to visit our awesome partner church there.
 
I don't have many pictures of my time in Zambezia because I became ill after the first week. But before I tell of my illness, I want to say that...
 
I was so blessed to be able to visit and share about Christ with 5 churches in the far out areas (I traveled by motorcycle with the guy in the blue shirt in the photo above).
 
So that one might be able to grasp some of the meaning of what I will write below, one needs to know that one of my most favorite things in this world is a giant coffee milkshake.
 
 
 
One day when I got home from one of the churches feeling hot, dirty, tired, and hungry, I wrote this down...
 
"To do the will of God is better than all the coffee milkshakes in the world :o)"
 
I know this may seem silly and I don't know what some of your "favorite things" are, but I do know that obeying God's will for your life is so much better. 
 
At one of the churches two local community leaders, chiefs, came out to hear me speak. I shared the Gospel and I shared about how Christ had transformed my life. I said that God not only wants to forgive us, but that He wants to speak to each of us, to guide us, to bless us, and use us.
 
I don't know what, if any, impact this had on those two chiefs, or with any other person at the church meetings, but I was reminded of a story I heard from a Mozambican pastor.
 
He had the opportunity to go to Brazil to speak in some churches. At one meeting, a local Brazilian, who was leading a violent and drunken life, came out of curiosity "just to see the African man." 
 
The Mozambican pastor did not know what God did in this man's heart when he spoke, but the Brazilian man gave his heart to Christ, his life was transformed, and he became a pastor.
 
11 years later, the Mozambican pastor returned to Brazil, and he spoke in that same church. That man approached him after the sermon and asked the Mozambican pastor if remembered him, which he did not.
 
The Brazilian man then told him that he remembered what he had said like it was yesterday, and he told of how God had touched his heart, changed his life, and how he had been pastoring his own church for the last 11 years.
 
The Mozambican pastor was shocked. A Brazilian man who had just come to "see an African man" was met by God, was forgiven, blessed and used for Christ! 
 
I thought to myself, maybe the Mozambican chiefs came out of curiosity just to "see the white lady"...and maybe God would also meet with them.  
 
 
About my Sickness
 
After my first week, one night I began to have a very high fever, nausea, dizziness, chills, and could not keep anything down or in me. After several hours of this, I weakly woke up Elina and she saw that I needed to get to the rural hospital.
 
Since the only mode of transport was motorcycle and I did not have enough strength to sit up and hold on, the driver sat in the front, I sat in the middle, and Elina sat behind me to hold me up...like a sick Aimee sandwich. Amazingly the motorcycle held up, and thankfully we arrived at the rural hospital just before the tire blew out. 
 
The only test they were able to perform there was the basic malaria test, which came back negative. But they thought that all my symptoms pointed to malaria and that the test just didn't catch it, so they prescribed anti-malaria medication, as well as a general antibiotic in case I had a bacterial infection. 
 
When we got back home, Elina put me on a reed mat at the door of the house so that I could get some more air, since it was extremely hot, and this is where I lay the next few days. I took the medications for the next three days, but did not get better.
 
One of the most beautiful things about Mozambican culture is that it is important to not leave people alone. Someone always sat with me or stayed with me. One of the drawbacks to this was that even the smell of food made me vomit, and one evening I vomited in the middle of the house as dinner was being put on table. I staggered outside to get some fresh air...but so that culturally I wouldn't be left alone...the family brought their plates outside to eat around me...at which point I vomited two more times.  I explained that my stomach could not be near food, and as hard for them as it was, they finally allowed to me to go to a corner by myself so my stomach could settle.    
 
  Two more days passed after I finished the medications, but I was still not able to keep anything down or in. I was very weak and I decided, along with my team, that I needed to be flown out.
 
Mercy Air (http://www.mercyair.org/) flew me from Mocuba to Maputo.
 
I was able to get an IV at a health institute in Maputo and they did a number of tests. They re-confirmed that I did not have malaria, and that I also did not have a bacterial infection. They said that it was a virus and that the anti-malaria medication and antibiotics had greatly aggravated it.
 
I was taken off the antibiotics and I was given lots of re-hydration powder and probiotic powder to restore my system. And I was told to eat as many bananas as possible to restore my potassium levels. Two days later I began to keep things down.
 
 
These days I've been resting, drinking liquids, and eating tons of bananas, and I'm feeling much better. I want to thank those who have been praying and will pray as I continue to regain strength and recuperate. 

Thank you to those of you who are my partners in God's work in Mozambique, I would not be able to do it alone.
 
 
And this continues to be true for me...doing the will of God is better than all the coffee milkshakes in the world. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

First Trip back to Inhambane!

I praise God for the opportunity to travel this last week to visit, teach, and train in Inhambane!
 
 
 
With my two dear sisters Palmira and Jesuita
 
 
 
Special Flip-Flops
 
When I was studying in seminary, I once wrote a paper about discipleship, which I believe should be built upon the base of loving relationships.
 
If I come to serve and give, but do not allow myself to be served and given to, there is a danger of forming one-sided relationships that are weak in value, trust, dignity, and love.
 
In that paper, I gave one tiny concrete example of a way a server could place oneself in a position to be served...the broken flip-flop.
 
I said that although the one who is coming to serve might own 2 pairs of flip-flops, he/she could use just 1 pair, so that if something happens to the 1 pair, the server will need the service of those he/she has come to serve.
 
After being here for five years, I have never had a pair of flip-flops break...until Saturday night as I sat amongst my Mozambican brothers and sisters in Quissico. They saw my broken flip-flop and asked if I had another pair...which I did not. 
 
One student named Zito, whom Pastor and Abel and I have been discipling for two years, stood up and starting walking around the reed house looking for pieces of wire, which are used to fasten the reed to wood. After getting two stray wires, he took out a pliers-type tool and asked for my flip-flop.   
 
After about 5 minutes of working on it, he proudly gave it back to me, and then asked to see the other one. Sure enough, it was also just about to break. He then fixed that with two more wires and his tool, and gave it back with a huge smile.
 
I have been served in many ways by those I have come to serve, but at that moment I remembered the example from my paper that I wrote over 5 years ago. I thanked God for that special opportunity to be served, knowing that it gave Zito, and all the Mozambicans who were present, value, trust, dignity, and love.
 
 
 
High school students lining up to practice their worship songs and dances. (the guy with the big smile in red is Zito, who fixed my flip-flop :) 
 
 
 
I've seen some of the most nonsensical and funny second hand t-shirts, and the one Mercia is wearing here is up there with the best of them. I translated it for her, but was at a loss to explain it... 
 
It says,
 
"Love me Love
(then there is a teddy bear)
COLBERT
She married her boss"
  
 
 
The high school students often come with me when we visit the other church groups in Inhambane. One of the ways they have been such a blessing is in teaching kids some worship songs and dances. 
 
I took a little video footage, and with some help (thanks Katie!) I've pasted the video below of them trying to teach a song and dance to the kids from the church group in Cala...with some laughs.
 
 
 
video
 
 
 
 
 
Five boys from the church group in Cala
 
 
 
We also visited the family of Palmira and Jesuita, who are graduating this year.
 
 

 
Palmira with her little cousin Eva

 
For two years I have been teaching Palmira in my women's Bible study group in Inhambane. As we finished up the last study before she graduates, she called me something she has never called me before..."mama." 
 
She is a spiritual daughter who blessed my heart because this was a term of respect for someone who is my age and who is not a mother. Palmira and her sister Jesuita also gave me a very special thank you gift...a live chicken to take home and cook up!
 
 
Lord willing, this next week I will be traveling to Mocuba, Zambezia  in the far north for one month. I am not sure about the electricity and internet situation where I will be, so I will update my blog when I am able. I would appreciate prayer.
Thank you! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Purses, Blankets, and Translating

Purses
 
I had the privilege of partnering with my colleague Sharon, in a small way (my skills in this area are small indeed), helping to start a new craft/discipleship ministry with the pastor's wives in Maputo.
 
 
 
Sharon hard at work teaching the ladies how to make a cloth purse
 
The women will meet once a month to study the Word of God, pray together, and learn manual skills to help support their families. 
 
 
 
 
Here are the ladies with the new purses...yes, I had a lot of help to make mine :)
 
 
Blankets
 
 
I also had the privilege of giving a special baby blanket to a pastor's wife, Luisa, on behalf of a special group of women in the US called "God's Arms" which knits items to give to those in need.
 
 

Here is Luisa with her new baby, Daniel, wrapped in his lovely new blanket...she says, "thank you!"
 
 
Translating
 
 
The Vice President of Theological Education in OMS, Bill Vermilllion, has been visiting Mozambique this week and we visited the church in Intaka where he preached and I translated.  
 
 
 
 
From English to Portuguese to Changana the Word was preached :)  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Two precious little ones :)
 
I will be traveling to work in Inhambane this next week and would appreciate prayer for wisdom, strength, and protection.
Thank you!
 


Friday, October 5, 2012

Reconnecting and Brazilian Blessings

It's been wonderful to reconnect with some of my Mozambican sisters!


With Ofelia



Fatima and her New Bookmark
 
One of my dear supporters, Marietta, made some very special cross-stitch bookmarks with Bible verses on them for me to give to some Mozambican sisters.
 
I immediately thought of Fatima as we have resumed our Bible study and literacy lessons. She loves her new Bible bookmark which says,
 
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." 
Psalm 119:105


Brazilian Blessings



The Almeida family from Brazil (Paulo & Fernanda with daughters Laura and Luana) are new missionaries here in Mozambique!
 


One of the ministries the Almeidas have been involved in is a new church plant just north of Maputo in a place called Matchovana. Last weekend we went there to show the Jesus Film for the first time.


 
Kids in Matchovana waiting to see the film.
 



For the last six weeks, another Brazilian blessing has come to Mozambique, Pastors Sandro and Marinez. 
 
On my way back to the U.S. last year, I had the privilege of visiting and speaking at the National Convention of Missionary Churches of Brazil (CONIM), which is where I met this lovely couple.

They are the first couple from this church who have come to Mozambique on a short-term trip to serve in partnership with us... and what a blessing they have been!
 
We pray that our partnership with CONIM would be a blessing to Mozambique for Christ.    
 
 
 
One last picture from the Jesus Film...
 
...although we're headed into the hot summer months here, it got quite cold on the night we showed the Jesus Film, and I got this unusual picture of two of our "manly" church leaders warmly wrapped up in a lovely "ladies" capulana :)
 
 
Visa and Car
 
I hope to be able to pick up my alien resident visa this next week, and then take my car to South Africa to get some things fixed the week after.
 
 
While I'm here in Maputo I'm...
 
reconnecting with Pastor Abel and the evangelism ministry 
 
meeting with Fatima, Vitoria, and Ana for individual discipling relationships 
 
working with Sharon, Fernanda and Marinez to start up an exciting new women's ministry
 
and renewing relationships with the local churches here. 
 
I appreciate you prayer and support.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Back in Mozambique!

From the United States...to Canada...to Ethiopia...to Mozambique!

 
 
 
 
One special part of the trip for me happened while I was waiting in Canada for the flight to Ethiopia. I had the privilege of sharing about God with an old Ethiopian man as we waited together in the airport lounge. Although my name isn't Philip and the man wasn't a eunuch or treasurer of the queen, it was a blessing to be able to share God's love with him :)
 
 
 
After about 40 hours of traveling, with lots of adventures in between, I've arrived in Mozambique! 
 
 
 
 
 
I had asked for prayer regarding my Mozambican alien resident visa, since it had expired due to my extra time in the U.S. for health issues.
 
 
Thank you for praying!
 
 
 
I praise God as He helped me...
  • get through airport immigration without any problem
  •  
  • get my bag through customs without any problem
  •  
  • get used to driving on the other side of the car and road
  •  
  • get to the Department of Justice and get my paperwork stamped
  •  
  • get to the Department of Immigration and get my application for my alien resident renewal, with special permission for being 2 months past expired...
 
 
Thank you for praying, and praise God with me for His guidance, help, and favor in all these things!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sailing Together



With my parents on Labor Day weekend


 
It's been very good to spend time with my family and my supporters all over the U.S. ...
 
 
...but now it's time to for me to return to Mozambique!
 
 
Lord willing, I'll leave the U.S. on September 17th and arrive in Mozambique on September 19th.
 
 
To all those who pray and give...
 
...you will go with me.
 
 
There is an African proverb which says,
 
"The people sailing in the same boat share the goal."
 
 




Thank for sailing with me for the same goal.
 
 
I'll update you from Mozambique!


Friday, August 17, 2012

His Presence


Thank you to all of you who have been praying for me.  I found out yesterday that the last of my medical test results was good!


As I sat in the doctor’s office waiting to hear the final result, I thought about what really mattered most to me...

...it was God’s presence.


He promises us His presence, whether we’re in sickness or in health.   

I’m often reminded of this promise as it’s written on a ring that I wear (on my hand above with my new nephew :).  It says,  

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)


I thank God for the good health results, but I should also thank Him if they were not good.  My deeper thanks are for His constant presence.    


Lord willing, in these next couple of weeks I'll be preparing to depart again for Mozambique, and just today I read in His Word... 
 
“My Presence will go with you.” (Exodus33:14).

Thank you God.


On a lighter note, I had to be sedated for a couple of my medical tests and after one of them, my first words upon waking were, "Can I eat at In-N-Out Burger?" Apparently I have very profound thoughts when I'm put under…    

The Double-Double at In-N-Out Burger
(the nurse did say that could eat there :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Health Update and Baby Terran!

I praise God that the results of my medical tests have been good! Thank you to those of you who prayed. I have one more test this coming week to make sure I'm completely clear to return to Mozambique.


In between doctor appointments and waiting for tests, I wanted to send some hand written notes. However...after several hours of writing one day, I ended up in the ER with excruciating pain in my right hand.


Apparently (in an attempt to make my awful handwriting more legible :) I injured the Carpometacarpal joint from intense repetitive strain in my writing hand.

I've been without the use of my right hand for the last 2 weeks, and if I thought my right hand writing was bad...



Here's a cryptic left handed grocery note I carefully wrote for my mom one day.

Thankfully, the doctor said my right hand will heal with rest :)


While I finish medical tests and my hand heals, it's been a blessing to be near my sister and brother-in-law and their new baby...Terran!


Shauna, Utaka, and Terran



My mom will help care for Terran 6 months each year here in Northern California.
(She's also been "my right hand" in this time...thank you, Mom!)


Baby Terran trying to eat his way through the tomato cage :)



My awesome Northern California family.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Haven Today

I was interviewed on the Haven Today radio broadcast today! You can check out the interview by clicking the link below.





After seeing the doctor yesterday, I'll find out results of the tests in a couple of weeks. I'm trusting in God's timing for me to return to Mozambique!

Thanks for your prayer :) 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Into Indiana

After my time of visiting and speaking "on the road" in New Mexico, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and West Virginia, I've been in Indiana these last two weeks for meetings.


Thank you to all of you who allowed me to stay in your homes and speak in your churches, Bible studies, prayer groups, and special meetings :)


I especially want to thank these awesome people who helped to make the arrangements for my time "on the road"... 


Karlene, with friend and supporter, Kathy




Jose and Audrey




Garth and Becca




Austin




Vaughn and Cindy




Tim and Nancy



An African proverb says,

"If you want to go quickly, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together."

Together...we can go far for Him.
I so appreciate your hard work and partnership!

If I wasn't able to come to your area, but you would like to see a video that I showed, you can find it on www.youtube.com Type "Aimee Howarth" into the search box at the top.

There's a short (5 minute) version, which is just the first 5 minutes of the full video. And there's a long version (10 minutes), which is the full video.

These were posted on youtube by CalvaryPalisadesKids. Thank you James and Hannah!

P.S. other than the posts showing the work in Mozambique, the other Aimee Howarth posts are not mine :)


You can also check out the OMS website  http://www.onemissionsociety.org/ to read the first of 5 cover stories that I've shared called the "Mozambican Mustard Seed Stories."


I will be in California for these next two weeks to visit with my family and also to see a doctor about a health issue that needs to be checked before I can return to Mozambique.


I will see the doctor on July 5th and I would appreciate your prayer. I will keep you updated :)

Thanks so much!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

West Virginia and back into Pennsylvania



A wooden cross outside a special church I shared with in West Virginia.




Some of my faithful supporters from
Lebanon Christian Church :) 

 



Milligan Cove Christian Church.




This lovely group of ladies knit and crochet all kinds of things to bless and help others in need, including some precious baby blankets for me to give out in Mozambique!




The welcome poster for an evening missions service at Crossroads Church near Pittsburgh, PA.




It was a joy to see Jonathan and Katherine Fehl and family from Crossroads Church :) Jonathan and Katherine served in Mozambique a little over ten years ago, and now Jonathan co-leads short term mission trips to Mozambique from their church.

 



Sharing with Women Aglow in Harmony, PA.




Forest Hills Presbyterian church and the missions team (above) gave me such a warm welcome, complete with a cake and a gift basket full of Pittsburgh goodies!




And lastly...the distinguished profile of a handsome creature I saw one day in Pittsburgh :o)


Thank you for your prayer as I travel and share. I'll be heading back to Indiana for meetings at the OMS offices this next week.