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 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. 

I went to visit and share with churches in the northern Mozambican province of Zambezia. 

I stayed with Elina and family, while her husband, Pastor Juka, made his first ministry trip to Brazil to visit our partner church there.
I was so blessed to share about Christ with 5 churches in very far out areas. I traveled by motorcycle with the guy in the blue shirt in the photo above.
One of my favorite things in this world is a 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."
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 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 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 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. 
I thought to myself, maybe the Mozambican chiefs came out of curiosity just to "see the American lady," and maybe God would also meet with them.  
Sickness
After my first week of ministry, 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 became very weak and I woke up Elina, who she saw that I needed to get to the rural health post.
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 health post just before the tire blew out. 
The only test they were able to perform 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. 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 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 had lost quite a bit of weight and I was very weak. 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. They said that it could have been a virus and that the anti-malaria medication and antibiotics had greatly aggravated it.
I want to thank those who have been praying as I regain strength and recuperate. 

It continues to be true for me, that 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 Quissico, Inhambane! 

 With two dear friends, Palmira and Jesuita.

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 remember giving one little example of a way a server could place oneself in a position to be served...a 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 among 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 Isildro, whom Pastor and Abel and I have been discipling for the last two years, stood up and starting walking around the reed house looking for pieces of wire, which are used to fasten the reed to the pieces of wood in the house structure. 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 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 Isildro, 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 Isildro, who fixed my flip-flop :) 



I've seen some strange second hand t-shirts over the years, and the one Mercia is wearing is up there with the best of them. I translated it for her, but was at a loss to explain it... 

The shirt says,

"Love me Love

(then there is a teddy bear)

COLBERT
She married her boss"
  


The high school students from Quissico often join Pastor Abel and I when we visit the other church groups in Inhambane. Sometimes they teach the kids some worship songs and dances. 

I've put 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


  
 Boys from the church group in Cala

We visited the family of Palmira and Jesuita, who are graduating from high school this year.
  
Palmira, with her little friend, Eva.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Purses, Blankets, and Translating

Purses
I had the privilege of partnering with my colleague Sharon, in a small way, helping to start a new craft/discipleship ministry for 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 Bible, pray together, and learn manual skills to help support their families. 
  
 Here are the ladies with the new purses...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 group of women in the US called "God's Arms." 
Luisa with her baby, Daniel, wrapped in his new blanket...she says, "thank you!"
Translating
 The Vice President of Theological Education in OMS, Bill Vermillion, is visiting Mozambique this week.
He preached at the Intaka church, where I translated into Portuguese, and Alda translated into Changana.  
  
 Two little ones from Intaka.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Reconnecting and Brazilian Blessings

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


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 women.
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 and 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. 

I appreciate you prayer and support.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Back in Mozambique!

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

After about 40 hours of traveling, with lots of adventures in between, I've arrived in Mozambique. 

One special part of the trip 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. 

 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 my health issues.

Thank you for praying!
 
 I praise God, who 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 good to spend time with my family and my supporters all over the US, 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 those who are praying and giving...
...you will go with me.
 An African proverb says,
"The people sailing in the same boat share the goal." 

Thank you for sailing with me for the same goal.

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. 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 said it was alright for me to eat there :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Update and Baby Terran!

I have had to have some medical tests done, and in between doctor appointments, I wanted to write some thank you 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 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 in northern California near my sister and brother-in-law and their new baby.

Shauna, Utaka, and Terran

Grandma and Terran

My wonderful northern California family

Friday, July 6, 2012

Haven Today



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




Saturday, June 23, 2012

Back to Indiana

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 those who helped to make the arrangements for all 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."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

West Virginia and Pennsylvania


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

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 the missionary sharing at Crossroads Church near Pittsburgh, PA.

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.

Forest Hills Presbyterian church and the missions team gave me such a warm welcome.

A random dog with a distinguished profile I saw one day in Pittsburgh :)


Thank you for your prayer as I travel and share.