Dec 30, 2009

Road trips and plane rides

Okay, it's official I just booked my flight to NY. Yippee!
First I will be spending a good part of January in Texas. The annual CRI board and staff meeting in Dallas, then on to visit a church and friends in Tomball. Then a trip over to Mesa Arizona to see my "new parents" ( God continues to bless me!)
We should be getting back to Cedar Rapids sometime that first week of February.

I leave on the 5th of February for NY and fly back to Cedar Rapids on the 14th.
This is exciting to me, as I have not been in NY since last April.
I am looking forward to visiting with family and friends, and sharing stories of how God continues to walk with me and bless me.

I am hoping to line up 1:1 time, coffee dates, lunch, whatever.
I am also praying for the opportunity to meet with a few pastors, or mission board members, anyone who wants to hear about what the Lord is doing in Mozambique.
My prayer is that once they hear, the Lord will move in the hearts of those who are meant to walk with me on this journey. Supporting me financially as well as praying specifically for the needs of the people of Mozambique.

Please get in touch with me, so we can get something on the calender, I'd love to hear from you!
email me at ~ or

I also need people's email address! So now you have two good reasons to contact me!
Can't wait to hear from you!
God's blessings to you all!

Dec 29, 2009


I just heard an incredible statistic.
Every 24 hours, 25,000 children die from hunger related illnesses.
I spend half the year in a third world country, I've seen more hungry children than I ever thought possible.
Still this number is completely inconceivable to me.
Please pray for these children.
Pray that they will come to know the Lord before they become a part of this growing statistic.

Dec 4, 2009

God's Perfectness

God's plan is perfect.
I wonder just how many times I've said that to myself and others over the course of the last two and a half years? I've lost count.

I've said it when it seemed like the right thing to say. I've said it when in fact I've really questioned the validity of it. I've also said it when I've meant it with all my heart.

People come into your life and you love them and you thank God for them, and then they die. You question why such a 'bad thing' had to happen. But as you continue to live and seek after the Lord and follow His plan, you begin to see the 'good' that He allows to come out of what we perceive as bad.
My life and the path that the Lord has me on is absolute proof of this. He is faithful to provide all good things to those who love and serve Him.

Praise the Lord that now as I find myself saying it daily, I feel it deep inside my soul. As my faith continues to grow my vision of His perfect plan is slowly coming into focus.
I know God's plan is perfect, always.
I praise Him for His perfect plan for my life.

Oct 22, 2009

My prayer now that I am back in the states

After four flights and 32 hours of travel we arrived back in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday afternoon. Praise God!
We had our own welcoming committee, Kathy's family as well as many of our friends from church, it was a great to see everyone! 

God blessed us with an uneventful trip, no delays, smooth rides, bags that made it home, even good food! What more could you ask for? God just continues to bless us in everything. everyday!

So now we have many things on our to do list...many things to accomplish before we head back to Mozambique in May.

My prayer is to remember and pray for the people that the Lord has allowed me to love and serve in Mozambique.
My prayer is to continue to draw nearer to the Lord each and everyday.
My prayer is to remain in His will and continue to serve others with a humble heart.
My prayer is to listen for His voice and direction before I move forward with my plans.
My prayer is to  read His word and seek His wisdom.
My prayer is to put others before myself.
My prayer is to never miss an opportunity to share the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thank you Jesus for this life.

Oct 11, 2009

Our last week in Mozambique

Today we celebrated the Lord's day at His church in Centro Emmissor. The singing the fellowship the dancing the message all totally glorifying God. It was a great day and we were blessed. 
We got to dance with the ladies and then we were given an opportunity to speak to the church. Kathy and I both had words of encouragement to share. I then closed with Numbers 6:24-26, and Kathy used something out of Acts. Finally we were presented with new capalanas. Then more singing and dancing.

As we were getting ready to go, we were given a live chicken as a gift to thank us for our love, support and encouragement.
A live chicken! Can you believe it? How great is that?  It is currently in 'foster care' while we decide the best way to utilize our little feathered friend. Right now we are leaning toward finding him a girlfriend and allowing them to set up house. I can't tell you how many times we have talked about having chickens. We could use the eggs to feed our teams, as well as our staff.
God simply always provides for our needs.

Finally home after 2pm,  with about 50 minutes to rest before I needed to start transporting people to Manuel and Ramizia's home for their baby dedication. Everyone with a car agreed to help bring people from the church to their home. Many cars and multiple trips. They were so blessed by all the people who came to witness this dedication.

There were people there from many of the church plants. Savane Church, a church plant about 90 minutes away that Manuel is the leader of,  arrived quite late, after the gifts had been given and prayers said. So after they came and offered their gift ( can you believe it was 2 live chickens!?) they were handed to me! 
I was not sure what was going on, but quickly got the idea. They wanted me to pray over these 'gifts' like we had prayed for all the other gifts.
 I stood there trying to compose myself and asking God to give me the right words. I was mindful of just how incredibly unique this moment was. Would I have ever guessed anything like this could take place in my life?

There I stood in the center of a crowd of at least 200 people watching me hold 2 chickens up over my head asking God to bless them and "allow them to make many eggs or chicks or whatever it is that they are suppose to do". Seriously, that was my prayer. Unbelievable.

So many of the church plant leaders and their families came. There were many men, many men! Pastor Jeronimo was there as well. This is not normally the case, and it was such a wonderful testimony. It was just a great day.  A really great Sunday! 
I will  miss living life here in Dondo Mozambique.
I pray that the Lord's plan will include my returning here, in the spring with full support in place. Amen!

Oct 6, 2009


I have come to know a young 'plastico' boy at the market. These boys can be seen anywhere in the market place with a hand full of plastic bags. The kind you would get at the grocery store. They walk around calling out 'plastico' in hopes that you will buy their bag to carry your vegetables home in.

One day a few weeks ago, I noticed a young boy standing near me just patiently waiting. He said nothing, but as I turned to look at him he gave me the biggest brightest smile. So I asked his name, he said Arlindo. His face was bright and so sweet. 
As I went about the market buying what I needed, he quietly followed behind. Usually you put as much as you can in one bag, but this day I was buying a new plastico for every item I bought.
He quickly saw what I was doing and his smile grew even bigger. I finished my shopping, Arlindo's bags were sold out and I was ready to head back to the car. I asked if he would help me carry my bags and he readily accepted.

I told him my name and that I work with Pastor Jeronimo at the Dondo Baptist Church. I asked if he went to church and he said that he did.
The church is on the outskirts of town nearby where he lives. He told me he is 11 years old and goes to school in the afternoon. I told him I would look for him to help me when I come to the market.  I encouraged him to go to school each day, that it was very important. 
Many of these boys are hungry and selling their bags gives them a few coins for bread. So they often skip school. I also encouraged him to go to church and pray  to God to watch over him and his family.
He smiled and we agreed that Deus e' bom ( God is good) 

We said good bye and as I drove away I was so thankful for the gift God has given me. My Portuguese is really not that good, but I was able to communicate all of this so Arlindo could understand. I was blessed and so grateful that God hears our prayers!

If you think about Arlindo, say a prayer for him. Life is so very hard here, these young boys have little to look forward to.  They see no reason to stay in school, and so they beg and get into trouble. They need to be encouraged and assured that they can fully rely on our Lord. 
They just need to be told about Jesus.
Thank you for helping me to be here, to talk with Arlindo about Jesus. 
God has a plan....we just need to follow it.

Oct 2, 2009

Trip to the Hospital

Manuel and Ramizia are finally proud parents of a beautiful baby boy. Things were uncertain for a time after Junior was born, as his breathing was not normal. There were many prayers said and heard by our Father in heaven, and this is the day they were meant to come home.

Kathy and I were called into action, as they needed a ride home from the hospital. So off we went.
We arrived at the hospital at 5pm, but the doctor had not yet come to discharge Ramizia. So we spent our time looking at this beautiful gift from God.

Manuel introduced us to the lady sharing the room with Ramizia. Her name was Maria, she too had delivered a baby 2 days ago, but her baby did not live.
When Manuel told us I immediately felt tears in my eyes. This women sat on her bed about 2 feet from Ramizia, watching her as she held her precious baby. 

I was overwhelmed with compassion for this mother. She had trouble with high blood pressure and swelling during the last 2 months of her pregnancy, but as she tells the story, the doctors kept telling her everything was fine.
She delivered the baby and the baby died shortly after. I don't know the rest of the story, it really doesn't matter. This mom is grieving her loss and has no one to console her and tell her it wasn't her fault.
Her legs were swollen and hard to the touch. Her skin was tight and her feet were so swollen the bottoms of her feet were no longer flat. I'm not sure how she could even walk on them.

As I thanked God for Manuel and his ability to speak English, I felt the Lord prompting me to reassure her and maybe make a few suggestions regarding her recovery, diet, exercise etc.
Once Manuel explained that I was a nurse she had many questions, and I was so grateful for the  knowledge I could share with her.
I was most grateful for the Holy Spirit as I was overcome with emotions for this young mom. God clearly gave me wisdom and the ability show compassion and love to this women. When I was done answering her questions, I asked if I could pray for her. She agreed and I asked God to heal her body and bring her into His kingdom.

As it turned out we waited for the doctor to come for about 2 hours and then received word that he would not be in tonight. So we headed back to Dondo, minus the baby and mom.
We are told they will be released tomorrow, we shall see. We know that they have to let them go at some point, right?

So here we thought we were headed to the hospital to bring mother and baby home. God's plan was that we travel to the hospital to encourage and support a lady named Maria. A mother who will be going home without her baby.
 Thank you Jesus once again for the opportunity to be your hands and feet to love her and show her your love.

Sep 30, 2009

Saying goodbye

Wow, the time has gone by so fast in just 19 days we ( Kathy and I) head back to the states. 
The last 5 and a half months have been so incredible and  wonderful and I am already planning and praying for my return.

I was scheduled to leave on Oct 29th, Kathy on the 24th, but plans change, often.
There is a presidential election taking place on Oct 28th, and the US Embassy has warned travelers to be avoid the country due to the potential safety risk. There have been multiple reports of violence etc. especially in Safala province, which is where Dondo is located.
We have not seen any violence but we have seen many political rallies and large crowds of people. 
Then there is the issue of our visas. They are due to be extended on the 19th and this process took 3+ weeks the last time. 
Not to mention that the last team scheduled to come in October has cancelled. So we made the decision to leave early as long as we could get a flight out. ( There were exactly 2 seat open on the 19th) just exactly what we needed on the exact day we needed it. Praise God!

So today as I went to the market and talked with my girls I was suddenly aware of how heartbroken I was feeling. I really don't want to leave at all. 
Kathy and I agreed, we'd love to jump on a plane, go home and love on our children and grandchildren.....and then jump on a plane and return to Mozambique! 
I wonder if we could raise sufficient support to fly back and forth every 4 months for a visit? :)

So we pray that we can finish strong. Finish well. Following the Lord's will each step of the way. Most importantly, we pray that we would leave every person stronger and happier for having known us. 

Sep 27, 2009

Baptist Women's Conference

Today was the last day of the Baptist Women's Conference. It was held in Beria this year, about a 45 minute drive from Dondo.
It started on Thursday afternoon and ran though Sunday ending with a church service.

There had to be 250+ ladies at this conference, and at least a third of them brought their youngest child with them.
Thursday they registered and settled in.
Each women had to bring their own bedding (a straw mat). They needed to bring a plate, spoon and cup. Also each women had to bring 2 Kg of rice, 1Kg of sugar and 1 liter of oil.
Some slept outside, others in an old building across the street from the church where the convention was held.

The ladies from Dondo have been planning and taking extra work to raise the money needed to attend. They all needed to buy capulanas. Once they decided on the design they each bought 2 capulanas, one for their headdress and one to wrap around their waist. 

This is a big event for the ladies of Dondo Baptist Church. They have been getting together with the church plants ( Centro Emissor, Mafarinha, Savane)  for many weeks to plan and practice their songs and dance routines. 

Each church has an opportunity to perform. It was so great! But when Dondo Baptist Church got up there, all the other churches paled in comparison! Our ladies were great!!! There had to be 60 women up there, all dancing in perfect unison, singing and worshiping and praising Our God! 

Each church that attended had their own design, unique to their church. They each had the opportunity to present, between bible study and devotions. 

Saturday as Kathy and I were preparing to leave we were asked to meet a couple of the ladies from Centro Emissor church.
Someone had observed that one of the babies and a 3 year old boy had paraphernalia from a witch doctor on their bodies. So they asked if Kathy and I would speak with them.

We know these ladies, we go to the same church, we felt the Lord encouraging us to speak truth and wisdom into their mother's lives.These young women told stories of family traditions, and beliefs and then went on to tell us the health problems their children have experienced. 

It was quite powerful and I thank God that His perfect plan allowed for us to be a part of that encounter. We shall continue to pray for them and encourage them to trust in the strength of our Lord. It was one more time where God had a perfect plan in place and we were a part of it. 

Today was fabulous, the last day. More dancing more singing, it was all just perfect! 
We stayed back to make sure everyone had a seat on the bus. If they ran out of room we were ready to transport. That's what we do best!

While we were waiting for the bus, we just hung out with our sisters from Centro Emissor. Learning their dance steps, what a blast! We are actually starting to get the steps down, but make no mistake we are NOT Mozambican and it's made quite clear when we dance beside our sisters.
Praise God that they love us and want to teach us. Praise God that they are blessed by our desire to learn and our multiple attempts to do things their way. Praise God that they know we love them, Praise God for the life He has given me and Praise God that we are here to show them Christ's love and help them walk in His way!

The bus finally came and almost everyone fit. We filled our truck with many belongings and all the people that would fit and headed home.

One last thing needed to be done. The ladies from Centro Emissor needed to get from Dondo Baptist Church home. So we called for Todd to help and the 3 of us transported our ladies home. 
They were singing, and literally dancing in the back of the truck as we made our way home. We drove through Centro Emissor horns honking, ladies singing, there was no doubt that they were home! All the children can running to the church to greet us.
Trucks unloaded, everyone exhausted, but still energy enough for a few more songs and dancing!! 
Finally, time to say good bye. We invited all the children who had gathered to watch our celebration to come into the circle we had formed. We then prayed, for the children, the ladies, the church...what a perfect way to end. Praising God!

Go to youtube and type in:  Baptist Women's Conference Beria Mozambique 

Sep 23, 2009

All of God's children

Today I was asked to drive another CRI staff member and two nationals out to a couple of church plants that Ray of Light sponsors. We drove far into the african bush.

We let at the crack of dawn, and traveled on the main road for about an hour, then made a right and drove and drove and drove. 
We started on a dirt road, then crossed over a bridge (and I use the term bridge cautiously) The road very quickly became a dirt path, barely wide enough for a car.

It is incredible to think about and try to comprehend, but the people I saw have even less than those I have spent the last 5 month with. Is it possible to be even poorer? Is it possible to have even less? 
Kids everywhere running and laughing and waving. Eyes bright with wonder and curiosity.
Just watching me drink from my water bottle seemed to fascinate them. 
The sandals on my feet, my sunglasses.
I wonder what they were thinking, as I was looking at them, wondering why?
Why? Why do I have and they have not? What part of God's plan is this? What am I suppose to do? Am I suppose to do anything? 

It was really a great and blessed day as the Lord most certainly was traveling with us. His hand of protection was evident on several occasions. Starting with a car that provided transport.

God is good and faithful and sees the needs of all His children. I need to keep reminding myself of that. I need to keep praying for all the people the Lord places in front of me.
Thank you Jesus for the opportunity to praise you and pray to you.

Sep 13, 2009

A wonderful weekend, and perfect Sunday, I love those!

The entire weekend has been great.  We woke to showers on Saturday morning, which ultimately changed some plans, but that is what we do here...change plans.
So we enjoyed an extra cup of coffee, talked, listened to the rain, read more than usual, prayed and started our day about 2 hours later than normal. 
In the morning we spent time with Zito and Ziara, encouraged and prayed with them and enjoyed their children!!
Then made a run to what we call Sam's Club. It's this big warehouse structure that has certain items (but not all the time, sound familiar?) that you can buy in bulk ( cases, etc.) for quite a good price.
We've named or should I say renamed quite a few of the shops around here. We have a Staples, and Walmart( it's actually a little Dollar store, they call them China shops here.) We have a Lowe's and Dunn Tire and there's Payless shoes. I'd have to take a picture of this place, I'm sure that my description would not come close to describing this place!

As we were driving back from Sam's club Kathy said something and asked if I was all set to give  the message tomorrow. I had completely forgotten about it, so my answer was  "no".
So I then spent some time preparing the message.  God was good and it all came together quickly, we even had time for a movie and some popcorn!

Sunday morning was just right, not too rushed, enjoyed our quiet time with God, coffee and granola/cashew biscotti's. They are actually suppose to be almond/oatmeal biscotti, but we use what we have on hand.  With coffee = perfect.

We picked up Zito,  Ziara and family and headed to Centro Emmisor for church. It is always so good to spend time there, it is truly 'our church'. We love the people of CE and they know that we do. We had a wonderful time of praise with singing and dancing, then I gave a message on God's faithfulness.
Pastor Jeronimo had come to our service this week and so he talked about the dream of building the new church. We have the land set and ready, we even have some of the materials ready to get started.
So Pastor was speaking and trying to encourage the church, reminding them that they are the ones who will build this church. They have to take up special collections, that they are the ones who will make this happen as they pray and wait patiently for the Lord's timing in all of it.

I love watching how the Lord has been preparing the people of CE, growing the church, it's even different from a few months ago. Kathy and I both can see the change since May, that can only be God!  

After church, it's home for a quick lunch and then the baby dedication of the week.

Almost every Sunday there is a baby dedication. It's when all the women of the church get together to celebrate the family's decision to have the baby dedicated to Jesus. The baby who was usually born 1-2 weeks prior, gets prayed over and blessed and then is taken out of the house and presented to the public. There are always tons of ladies there, and it's all about the singing and dancing!!
These dedications finish just in time to run home, put more DEET on and head out to Sunday evening worship. 

Pastor Jeronimo had a great message on being Born again, the old sin is dead, gone, and forgotten. We are new creatures. It was a great message and perfect for all the youths to hear.
The Sunday service is primarily attended by the youth, the music is a little more geared to their tastes, and the kids lead the worship so we have a blast.
So you can see where it has been a wonderful, perfect weekend, where we could see the hand of God at work.

Sep 9, 2009

Ladies Day at Centro Emmisor

Today the ladies form Centro Emmisor (CE)church hosted ladies from a church about 4hours away. This event has been planned and canceled no fewer than 4 times by my last count.
Each time it was cancelled we ( Kathy and I ) were thanking God because we always seemed to have a conflict on the day it was scheduled.

I think maybe our 'overbooking' is our number one dilemma. There is always something going on and our desire is to be a part of the events that mean so much in the lives of the Mozambicans.
That said, we need to prioritize, there are things we must do, at the same time we need to keep the commitments we make. Sometimes this can be difficult.

So today was finally the day. The ladies at CE had asked that Kathy and I each give a message. The ladies who were visiting would give a presentation as well.
Of course the event started with singing and dancing and more singing and more dancing. You could see that each one was enjoying the day.
Kathy spoke first and gave a message on the need to come to Jesus, quoting Isaiah 1:16-20 Come let us reason together. Stressing the need to be obedient to God and the blessing will flow. That He is faithful and simply wants all to come to know Him.
Next one of the visitors spoke and her message was almost the very same, the only difference was the bible references she used!!
Then we did some more singing and dancing, along with maybe 30-40 little ones who were interested in watching all the activity.

So now it's after 2:00 in the afternoon. We have been talking and singing and dancing since 11am. I thought surely they would break for lunch before I would need to speak. But this would not be the case.
As my flesh was thinking, great they're going to be tired and hungry and not really care about what I have prepared. This only added to my nerves.
Then I asked God to help me get through it, help me say the words you want them to hear, and of course He did!
Actually, as it turned out all three messages were right in line with one another. Kathy and I had not even talked about what we were going to share, but God knew!
He had all three messages using His scripture to encourage the women. It was just perfect.
That should not surprise any of us!
Today was a good day and like Kathy just said 'we feel full'. Amen

Sep 7, 2009

Cashew Boys

I just have to share this story about the cashew boys. 
These guys stand in the road by a police check point. We need to pass through this check point and these boys when we go to Centro Emmisor, the church plant I've mentioned before.

So these young boys, run up to the car holding their bags of freshly roasted cashews, each eager to have you purchase theirs! They recognize us and we have been trying to build relationships by asking their names and if they attend church, etc.

One guy, his name is Tomas has this great smile and I try to buy from him. When I first got to know his name and tried to remember his face, I would call out and ask for Tomas. Since then they all smile and run to the car claiming that their name is Tomas! It's really very funny!

They also know that we attend the church at Centro Emmisor and that is why we are there. So we explain to them that we will buy  their cashews after we attend church.

 This one day, as we were heading home, driving through the dozen or so cashew boys, we could not see Tomas anywhere.
Then from a distance, maybe 100 feet down the road we see a tall young man running towards us, pulling up his pants, grinning from ear to ear!!!
It was Tomas, and he was not about to let a sale go by.
We laughed almost all the way home, and said no one in America would believe this story.
Life in Mozambique... much of it is unbelievable, and wonderful, and all of it is true! 
Thank you God for the opportunity to experience it.

Sep 4, 2009


Prayer, we pray everyday, all the time. Sometimes my prayers seem to feel more meaningful than other times. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes, the time with God in prayer is just sweet, perfect in a supernatural sort of way.

That's how it was yesterday morning. Just a perfect, quiet, real moment with God before I was off and running for the day.
I have heard on more than one occasion, my friend Kathy pray 'Lord I ask that you go before me and behind and on both sides of me this day, and protect and guide me'.  Yesterday I found myself using those exact same words as I prayed for God's protection and guidance.

Later that morning while driving through Mafarinha, God did just that. He was before me, behind me and on both sides of me as He stopped the truck from hitting a small boy who ran into the road.

It was just for a moment, He was there. Right there! I felt Him. He stopped the truck and the boy all in a split second. It felt like I personally had no control of what was happening.

When it was over, the boy ran off, and tears started running down my face. I couldn't think or speak. All I kept thinking about was that prayer.  The words I had heard and then repeated that very morning.
Thank you Jesus for your faithful hand of protection.

Sep 3, 2009

Domingo and the water well

I went to the farm today to get water. We have  a well there and the water is safe for us to drink. 
Usually when you get there, Domingo, the young man that tends the farm, is not far behind.
 I'm not sure how he does it, but by the time you shut off the truck he is there and ready to unload the water jugs.
So I thought it was strange when I saw no sign of him.
I proceeded to rinse and then fill the water jugs. I kept thinking surely he will show up soon. After  about 35 minutes I had filled all ten water jugs and loaded them back onto the truck. No sign of Domingo today.

It wasn't until later in the day that I heard the news. Domingo and his wife were expecting a baby. But yesterday she gave birth prematurely and the baby died. My heart grieved for him and his wife.

I met his wife one day, as I was getting water. She was so sweet, young, beautiful and very pregnant. He was so proud of her. His face would light up whenever you inquired about her and the baby.
I would always encourage  Domingo to come to church. He would always smile and say  'sim talvez Domingo'. ( yes maybe Sunday)  But we never saw him. The day I met his wife I encouraged her to bring Domingo to church. She just smile and looked embarrassed as I tried to encourage her.

I have thought a lot about the times I have encouraged this young man to come to church, to hear about our God. Now he is dealing with this incredible loss, who is supporting them? Who can encourage them? How can they possibly deal with this loss without the help of our Heavenly Father?
How can anyone get through one single day without Him?
Each time the Lord has brought this young family to mind, I have prayed for them. I pray that as they grieve their loss, the Lord will use this event to draw them nearer to Him.

I'll set my gaze on God alone and trust in Him completely. With every breath pour out my soul and He will prove His mercy. Though life is but a fleeting breath, a sign to deep to measure. My King has crushed the curse of death and I am His forever.
 Psalm 62, by Aaron Keyes

Aug 12, 2009

Working for Green Door

I have had the amazing opportunity to work with Manuel helping out with Green Door this past week.
Green Door is managed by Manuel a Mozambican who works for the Ray of Light project here in Dondo. He is a tall slender man with an amazing smile and a heart for the Lord. He pastor's a church plant in Savane, goes to school at night, is married and expecting his first child. Did I mention that he is brilliant as well? He speaks like 7 different languages! 

Anyway, my days are spent driving the CRI pickup truck, which is an essential part of Green Door. On any given day multiple trips are made to various places to pick up needed supplies.

All the homes that are being built are 'off' the main, this would include all the places we need to 'shop' for supplies. But then this is Mozambique, nothing is easy here. 

So now you get the idea, Manuel is in charge, I just drive where he tells me to. There are times when he says, 'turn down this road' and I  laugh. You have got to be kidding me, trust me when I say there is NO ROAD, it can hardly be called a foot path. But, there I am turning as directed.

So, it won't surprise you to hear that as we were headed to a new site, for the next mud home, I was once again directed to take this path.  As it turns out, about 20 feet down the path two men were digging in the middle of the 'road'. They saw that we needed to pass and so they removed their shovels and motioned for me to come ahead..
I looked at the guys in the back, sitting on the pile of creosol boards and as they nodded to go ahead, I did just that.
It didn't look like they had displaced too much of the sand in the road. Then bam, the front tire hit hard and the next thing I knew, the truck was on it's side and I am laying against the door.

As the boards and men continued to fall off of the back of the truck, I realized that I was okay, but I wasn't sure about the truck. I prayed and asked God to let the truck be okay, please don't let anything be wrong with the truck.
Only moments had passed when the next thing I knew, there were 8-10 men trying to lift the truck out of the hole. They were yelling for me to go forward, first I prayed some more, and asked God to please help me be in first gear! 
They lifted, I prayed, nothing, the car didn't budge.
They tried again, now they wanted me to go in reverse, again I prayed. At this point we had gathered quite a crowd, there were kids everywhere. I prayed that God would protect them as I once again pressed the gas pedal with all my might. Still nothing.
So they shoveled some sand under the tires and once again lifted, this time they were more men on the front of the car. They were using their bodies to press the front of the car down. 
Now as they all shouted go forward, I prayed that the men in front would be safe.
I put the car back in first gear, pressed the gas pedal, they lifted, the car jerked forward and then I was headed straight for the cement wall that encircles the medical clinic.
I turned the wheel as hard as I could, not easy as there is little power steering in this truck.
I turned the truck off, started to laugh and once again thanked God for His faithfulness and protection.
As we continued down the path to our destination, I wondered how much more can those guys dig up before we return???
This was just another day of life in Mozambique....and you wonder why I love living here?!

About Me

I really love when I see God's hand in everything, and He helps me to appreciate His plan. Currently spending half the year living in Dondo, Mozambique working as a missionary with Children's Relief International. When I'm in the states I live in Iowa, and love where God has transplanted me!!

Jul 31, 2009

One perfect day!

Today was just one of those days, where you couldn't stop praising the Lord for His perfectness!
I got to cook with our embrigadas and learn how things are done here in Mozambique. It was terrific! I love these ladies!

Then after lunch the sound of their laughter got our attention. Our embrigada's had finished their lunch and were talking and laughing with each other.  So we went out to join them we got to listen to them share about their life and their families. It was such a unique and personal glimpse into their lives, lives we really know very little about.

We had made plans to visit with one of our dear friends, Louisa at Centro Emmisor. We asked Zito, one of the church leaders (who also happens to speak Sena) to come with us. 
We had a nice visit and as we were getting ready to leave a young women came by and asked for our help. She said that she was ready to accept the Lord into her life!
She had attended the service at church, a while ago and now was ready to accept Him into her life.
It was so incredible that God would plan for us to be there at that exact moment!

So Kathy shared the gospel with this young women named Fatima. She had a small child with her, maybe a year old. It was disturbing for me to see the strings around this little girl's neck. The strings are a sign that the baby was dedicated to evil spirits and the witch doctor. 

So we will continue to pray that as this young women seeks after the Lord she will no longer desire to trust in anyone other than our Savior.
It was a gift from God to be present in that place, at that moment. 

As we were getting ready to leave, a young girl came running up to Louisa to say that a women who had been in labor since last night was ready to go to the hospital. 
This women lives more than 6 kilometers from the hospital. So once again God and His perfect timing.... there we were exactly where we were suppose to be!

We piled Louisa, the pregnant girl and her sister in the back seat, along with Zito. At least the first half of the ride would have been enough for anyone to have a baby, ready or not!
But Mozambican's are tough and the ride didn't seem to phase anyone except maybe Kathy and I!
We finally got on the paved road, but we needed to stop and buy cashews from the boys.
I forgot to mention the cashew boys.

Just before you turn off the main road to head into the bush there are boys who wait there to sell their cashews. They're delicious and fresh and it's how the boys support themselves. So we always buy some, but we never buy them until we are headed back to town. Today was no different. So as we were racing to get this girl to the hospital, we stopped long enough to keep our word to our boys. 
Not to worry we made it, with time to spare:) The young women walked into the hospital with the help of the other women and we were on our way.

We shared with Zito the sweet potatoes Lousia had given us,  then dropped him home and thanked him for his help.
It was just a great Jesus filled day!!

Jul 23, 2009

Deus Sabe....God knows

Once again I find myself in a position of humbly seeking God's wisdom.  

Most every day here in Mozambique is spent giving someone something. Whether it's our time and prayers or a ride, or money, or food, or clothes it's always something.

My role here this year is to 'assist', to 'help as needed'. I love what God has me doing here, yet at the same time I have struggled with thoughts of self.  Of being 'second' so to speak, will anyone know that I too was part of that gift of food, or money? Will I get any recognition?  Will my works be appreciated?  Will anyone even know? Will they like me as much as they seem to like those who actually give the gift? 

Today God allowed me to understand what really matters, HIM. 
He knows, He sees, He understands my heart and my motivation, that's all that really matters, Him!
Do I want people to love me, or do I want them to see and love God because of our deeds and actions?

So as I sit here watching another perfect sunset over the village of Dondo, I am thanking God for His many provisions and praising Him for always hearing our prayers no matter how big or small.
Thank you Jesus for knowing me and loving me in spite of my faults.

Jul 9, 2009

God's Plan

It's good to make plans, take certain precautions and follow sound advise. Yet when it all comes down to it, God's plan is what will be.

As I sit here recovering from my bout with malaria, I think about the plans I had, the precautions I took, the advise I followed and still I got malaria.
I take Malarone daily ( an anti-malarial medication taken daily to lessen the symptoms and risk of acquiring malaria) 
I used my DEET faithfully morning and night since I arrived and I sleep under my mosquito net.

So, according to my plan, I should not have contracted malaria. I had things to do, I had my plans....

I am told I could have died, I received the medication I needed and people literally all over the world were praying for my recovery. All part of God's plan.

I am so grateful that God is in charge of my life and holds everything firmly in His hands.
I need to continue to be still and hear what He is trying to tell me through all of this.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in  Christ Jesus.

Jul 4, 2009

A Mozambican funeral


The funeral began in the mortuary behind the hospital. The man who died was only 26 years old. Family and friends entered the room, sang a song and then the casket was loaded onto the back of a pickup truck.


 A man stands in the back of the truck holding a large wooded cross, family members pile onto the truck, and additional family and friends fill any other available cars or trucks. In this case there were 3 vehicles, the truck with the casket, the car I was driving and Noemia’s car. Everyone else walked, about 60-70 people.


We then processed to the young man’s home, the casket was carried to the home, more singing and someone prayed. Once again the casket was retuned to the truck, everyone got back into the vehicles and now there were approximately 100-150 people walking, all headed to the cemetery. 


It's hard to describe the cemetery, you see random mounds of earth, some covered with small shrubs and flowering branches. We carefully walked around these gravesites until we ended up deep in this forest of trees. It was overgrown with many hanging vines and dead branches everywhere you looked. Eventually we saw where the people had gathered and found a spot to watch the burial. After the Pastor spoke there was more singing. 


One person will start a song with a strong clear voice, and before you know it everyone has joined in and the music is always perfectly wonderful! 

Today’s music was quiet and reserved, there were no smiles. They sang in Sena, a local dialect, although I had no idea what the words meant, you just knew it was reverent and comforting.


While the women sang, a few men began to dig the grave.

Once the casket was placed in the ground you could hear the sound of hands hitting the earth. The family members all patted the ground over the casket, then walked away. The ceremony was over.


Jun 5, 2009

A day at the beach

A day at the beach, what could be better? 

Well actually it was only a half day, but it was great! The sun was shining, as it has everyday since we arrived. The weather was perfect.
We had working vehicles and an uneventful trip, it is always a blessing from God to be able to say that..... God is so good to us! 

I was at the clinic in the morning getting to know my way around, while Kathy and Todd were busy taking the Interns (who arrived yesterday) on a tour of the Ray of Light Project.

By 12:30 we were all on the road headed to the beach.

Kathy and I have been here in Mozambique for just over 2 weeks and this was our first opportunity to unwind. 
Personally I love hearing the sound of the waves, I could sit and listen to the ocean for hours.

As I watched the waves and listened I thought about Jim and our trip to Maine. We were so blessed by God to have had time together. 
I found myself praising God once again, because as I sat there He blessed me with a sense of comfort in my heart. 

A sense that I was exactly where I was suppose to be, exactly where God wanted me, in His will. Even more comforting was the sense that Jim was exactly where he was suppose to be as well.

I will continue to praise God for all that He provides, everyday!  Everything from a car that runs, to a few hours on the beach.
To our Lord's promise to never leave us, and to complete the work He has started in us.
To always provide for ALL of our needs, to be our great comforter.
Thank you Jesus, I love you.

May 31, 2009


Today we celebrated the 33rd anniversary of the Baptist Church in Dondo. The day was dedicated to the families, the whole service was centered around the family as a unit. 


Pastor Todd, a fellow CRI missionary from NY gave the message, referencing Ephesians 5.  The message focused on God's instructions on how we should live our lives, it was a powerful and direct, an important message for all of us to hear.


The church was packed, people were sitting outside and there were children everywhere!! Then they started singing and dancing. It was such a blessing to be in the church, and as I prayed I thanked God once again for choosing me to be His servant here in Dondo.


We arrived at 8am, things started to get going by 9 and the service lasted till 1pm. Then all of the families were served a lunch of rice and bean and a small piece of fried fish and a small piece of chicken. It was a huge plate full of food, that most are not accustomed to. They had to pay 20 metacash, for their meal which is about 82 cents. 


We went back to church tonight at 6pm for the evening service. Pastor Jeronimo spoke from John 15, referring to the Vine and the Branches and Jesus as the one and only true vine.

Pastor is so much fun to watch as he preaches, he is very animated. We had the help of an interpreter, and what he did not communicate in words, you could easily figure out in the actions and tone of voice of Pastor Jeronimo.


Many of the older children and teens in the church go to this service, it's great to see them there.  To know that they are hearing the word of God spoken to them. The teens also lead the worship and again there is plenty of singing and dancing!

It was a long day, but a good day as well.


We were home a little after 8 and finish celebrating the day with a big bowl of popcorn!! 

Life in Mozambique is good, very good. 


John 15:4 says... Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless in remain in me.

May 28, 2009

God's blessings daily

This morning as I awoke and rubbed my eyes, I thanked God for my vision. I immediately remembered that just last night I could have lost my sight. 

I was applying DEET prior to leaving the house, to keep the mosquitoes away. As I was spraying the nozzle must have gotten turned and as I pushed it down, it sprayed directly into my right eye.

I quickly called to Kathy and Melody for help. I didn't darn open or rub my eye. It was burning quite badly as I gave instructions to get a basin filled with clean water, so that I could wash out my eye.
The ladies were great and without hesitation got everything I needed. I spent the next 20 minutes with my head half under water, blinking my eye all the while.
I opened my eye finally as the burning began to ease up. I seemed to have good vision in my eye, Praise God!

God is so good!! I believe it is only by His power that my vision is perfectly clear at this time. My eye did burn a little today, but I can see and I thank God alone.

This accident only confirms that God has a plan for me. I will continue to watch and seek after Him and His will for my life.
Let us never cease to praise God for all things!

1 Thessalonians 5:16  Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.



May 24, 2009

Sunday Worship in Mozambique

We had worship today, twice, and it was great!

We missed the first part of one service as our car would not start. This is nothing surprising for life here in Mozambique. Then as one of our fellow CRI staff members was coming to pick us up, the car decided to start. 
We flagged down our rescuer and all headed back to the church. 
It was so good to reconnect with the people we have come to know and love. People that God has allowed us to love and people who we have prayed for since we left Mozambique last year.

After the service we joined Pastor Jeronimo and Noemia for lunch at Yeye's. It's an out door restaurant where the chickens roam around under you table as you eat. Did I mention what we ate? 
Chicken. It's what everyone orders every time.  It's a half of a very small chicken and some fries. It's quite tasty and reminds me of home, except for the live ones under the table clucking as they wander around.

Tonight at the second service I finally got to see Maria. She is a women I met last year. 
She understands no English and my Portuguese...well let's just say it needs work.

Anyway, we seemed to have this connection last summer and 'spoke' in sign language mostly. She was pregnant when I left in August and due to have the baby at anytime. I promised to pray for her and the baby and she said she would remember me in prayer as well.

I had found out that she gave birth to a baby boy in August. Both were healthy and doing well. But that was almost a year ago and there are no guarantees, especially here in Mozambique, that the baby was still alive.
So when I turned around and saw her, and then saw a little baby in her lap I started to cry. 
After the service we hugged and exchanged love with one another. It was so sweet to be there in that moment.
I was able to say (in Portuguese) that I was so grateful and thankful to God, that I was there seeing her and her baby!!
When I asked his name (which again, I was able to do in Portuguese) she responded, Santiago.
Santiago is Portuguese for James. 
I then told her that my late husband's name was James and we both hugged again and praised our God!
God is so good!
It was a good day, a very good day.

May 22, 2009

Mozambican morning

I watched the sun come up this morning as I sat looking out my kitchen window. I listened to the sounds of Mozambique, they are just as I remember them.   The smells, the smiles, the hugs and the waves, in a way it feels like I never left. 

I am so blessed to be back in our home in Dondo. I have no idea what the Lord has ahead of me this year, but I am waiting in anticipation as I know that He has a  perfect plan for my life.

I am trying to adjust as well as get settled in and ready for the next thing. Hard to say what that might be, so please keep me in prayer.

If you ever have any doubt about the effectiveness of your prayers let me say this, God hears them all!
The prayers that were said as we traveled were heard! We had no additional charges for the extra bags ( that should have come to $750.00) Then all the bags made it through and arrived when we did. Nothing was even searched at customs in Beira. It was totally God's hand of protection over all of it! Thank you for praying!

Did I mention the flight itself? It was '"s-m-ooth" as Jimmy would say. The weather cooperated perfectly, and I even got some rest!  There were no delays, no running to catch a flight, good food even, and the time even seemed to go by rather quickly. This is a miracle!

Thank you for loving me and supporting me as I humbly follow where the Lord is leading me.

Zephaniah 3:17  The Lord your God is with you, He is might to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

May 18, 2009

Heading to Mozambique

Finally, it's here, in 24 hours Kathy and I will be on a plane heading to Mozambique Africa! Today will be our last full day in the states until November 1st. I am so excited!!!

This past month of preparation has been filled with 'to do' lists, and lunch dates, speaking engagements and ice cream parties. Meetings with our president and his wife, as well as fellow missionaries.  Numerous phone calls, and  multiple skype conferences calls. 
Lists of supplies needed to help the people of Mozambique, and multiple trips to generous people's homes to pick up donated items! 
What a blessing the whole process has been, as I can look back and see God's hand in the whole thing!

My time with family and friends has been amazing, as God has provided for all my needs. In April I was in NY seeing my family, my kids my son-in-law and grandson Ben. It was a great time and all I could think about was how much God loves me.

Here in Cedar Rapids He has blessed me with more friends and family! Kathy's parents have 'adopted' me into the Kimm family," it's official" as they say. (I think it's because they like my italian cooking:)

My church family at Maranatha Bible Church has been the biggest blessing and encouragement to me. The fact that it's been part of God's plan all along is so neat. He loves me so much, that He would make sure I had everything I needed and more than I could have hoped for, when He moved me to Cedar Rapids.

As I prepare to leave, I need to make sure I say healthy good byes, so that my hellos can be healthy. (We learned when we were in Colorado at Missionary Training.) It is with much mixed emotion that I say my good byes.  
God has multiplied the blessings in my life here in Cedar Rapids, I will miss my pastor and his gift for teaching God's word, the ladies in our Bible study, and the worship music!!! 
There are many things I will miss, yet at the same time my heart is pounding with anticipation and expectation as to what lies ahead!!!

I love you all!!!! Thank you for loving me!!!!

I pray that as you read this you will remember me in prayer. I promise to pray for each of you as the Lord brings you to my mind. 
My plan is to use this blog to keep you posted on my travels and life in Dondo Mozambique, stay tuned......

Apr 10, 2009

Contented Connectedness

I woke up this morning with worship songs playing in my head. Now that's a great way to start the day, any day!
It's all because I live with a gifted musician!! What better room mate could the Lord have chosen for me?  Kathy is also a missionary to Mozambique Africa. God blessed us with a special friendship while we served Him in Mozambique last summer. 

As I sit here this morning, praying and talking to God I am once again conscious of how much my life has changed. Just 2 years ago my world looked completely different. 
I lived in a big house with my husband, my son was getting ready to graduate from high school, I was working full time with Hospice, we had plans for the rest of our lives... and life was good and complete.

Yet in the matter of 23 days, my husband had gone home to be with the Lord, and my life would never be the same again.
Yes, it's been quite the journey, these past 2 years. 

As I look back and marvel at the path the Lord has had me on, tears still quickly come to my eyes, but for a different reason now. No longer tears of grief, and loss. The tears now are of gratitude for the Lord's presence in my life, His constant provision and the personal relationship I have with Him.

The Lord is faithful and He has proven this to me over and over again!

As I enjoy the sunshine in my new home in Cedar Rapids, I look back and all I can think about is how much more I have now.  I don't mean material things, I gave away everything I owned. It's more than stuff. 
Is that possible, can that truly be possible that I actually have more now?

I just returned from a trip to NY to visit family and friends before I head back to Mozambique.
While I was there, it became clear to me that NY is no longer home, I was a visitor.

This was not a bad revelation, it actually helped me to understand that I have done what the Lord has shown me to do these past months.
I have questioned my feelings of belonging, my content heart my peaceful attitude living here in Cedar Rapids.
I am content, more than content, but should I be? Is this normal?

As I have prayed and asked God to help me understand these feelings, he has shown me that my contentedness comes from my connectedness to Him.
That's it, I am closer to God, closer than ever before, and in that comes my inexplainable calm and peace. My overall feeling of belonging, "to be content whatever the circumstances" as Paul wrote to the Philippians. 

I never would have guessed that as God walked with me through my valley, He would have brought me to a place of greater joy and peace and comfort than I could have imagined.

I praise God for all things, as all things are totally under His control.
Praise be to God our risen Lord and Savior.

 Philippians 4:10-13  I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in wnat. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

Mar 20, 2009

Here I am.... but I have nothing to blog:(
I have tried, but it's not coming together. 
Then I realized why. I only started blogging because I felt that God was leading me to. I told myself that I would not do it without Him, and each time He has inspired me and basically written the entry.
Now, I sit here thinking well 10 or 12 days have gone by, I have to write something!
Do you hear the problem?   I.   I have to write something. Why? 
What happen to my agreement with God?
So it's been 10-12 days, so what? 
So I need to keep myself out of the way.
I will continue to seek after my Lord and wait for Him to show me what He wants me to share.
I pray that each of you will wait for the Lord to direct your steps.
God's time is prime time.

Mar 10, 2009

Answers to the test

I was tested the other day and I failed.... miserably! 
During the course of a conversation, as the subject matter started to shift I suspected that God was telling me to 'change the subject', 'stop the conversation'.

It was a test. I could say I wasn't absolutely sure of the answer, but that really wouldn't be the truth.
God was nudging me the whole time. There was no question. It was a test! He even gave me the right answer, and still I failed. 
Instead I chose to be drawn into the conversation, to make matters worse I even added my two cents along the way.
On the way home, the Lord convicted me.  I knew deep in my soul that He was trying to show me how I had broken His heart by my words and behavior.

How could I have ignored Him, when He spoke directly to me?

I pray each day that He will cleanse me of any thoughts or feelings that are not totally pleasing to Him. 
I pray that He will fill me with only what is right and just and loving and kind.
How could I have acted like that, and hurt my Lord?

I confessed to Him and asked for His forgiveness, and I trust that He has already forgiven me.

I also trust that there will be another test, probably sooner rather than later.
I pray that the next time I am tested, I immediately look to my Lord for the answer. 

He will be there.
Ready with the perfect answer.
Please Lord help each of us to chose the right answer the next time.

Ephesians 4: 29-31  Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.

Mar 2, 2009

God's blessings shared

Today my youngest child turned 20 years old, and my beautiful grandson who will be 1 year old in a few short weeks, where did the time go?
I sat thinking today about how quickly time goes by, how things can change in the blink of an eye.
How different my life is from 20 years ago, for that matter how different it is from 2 years ago!

The one thing that stays the same, that I can count on no matter what is the faithfulness of my Lord. 
His word is true, His instruction for our lives here on earth exceedingly clear. Let all your words and actions glorify the Lord. Love your neighbor as yourself. 

For me, this means giving of myself. My time, my prayers, my heart, my resources. Whatever is needed I pray that I will be gifted to serve that need in others

I am reading a book, The Treasure Principle, as part of our Sunday school session. It's quite apparent that God wants us to store up treasures in heaven.

We have all heard the expression...."You can't take it with you".  But...... you can send it ahead! 
I think this quote from the book says it all. 

We are to give to the needy, serve the poor, share what God has blessed each of us with. As we give here on earth we store up treasure in heaven for all eternity! That is not a bad deal.

Matthew 6:19-21  Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.

I pray that as each of you consider your many treasures, you will think about the words in Matthew. 
Are you storing them up, hanging on tightly to what is yours? Or are you freely sharing with others the gifts the Lord has provided?
Where is your heart today? 

Feb 22, 2009

Home again....

I took my very first train ride this weekend. It was fabulous!  

Originally, the decision for taking the train was financially based.   I am so blessed that that was how God wanted me to get back home. I met some really interesting people, and had several opportunities to share about how the Lord is working and blessing my life.

I had some concerns about the trip home, mostly because I was allowing fear to control my thoughts.  Instead of trusting in God's plan and walking by faith and knowing that He is with me at all times. 
Thankfully, God showed me where I was headed with my thinking and as I prayed He gave me peace and reassurance. 

I arrived in Mt Pleasant a small town about 80 miles south of Cedar Rapids. This was the closest stop to Cedar Rapids. 

I thank God that Kathy was there to pick me up. I was exhausted and the thought of renting a car and driving home was not appealing.
Unfortunately, Kathy had to drive through a snowstorm to get me, but there she was! Sitting in the car, engine running....I was so excited to see her! 
Even better still, she had her grandson Ethan in the car. He is adorable and a perfect 'stand in' for my precious grandson Ben who lives in NY.

The drive home was full of catching up and laughter, it was such a blessing!
As we got closer to home, I was struck by how perfectly God's plan for my life has fallen into place as I walk by faith and allow Him to lead.

I am glad to be home....Cedar Rapids is home, at least for now. 
In a few weeks I will return to NY to visit family and friends...I will be returning to my first home.
Then in less than 3 months, Dondo Mozambique will be home, and how I long to return there and see the people who have become like family to me.

Home is where God places you and then blesses you with love, and a sense of belonging.
A sense of calm and peace.
It's good to be home....

Feb 20, 2009

Hellos and Goodbyes

Our last day at MTI has finally arrived.  
It is time once again to say more good byes. Is this ever going to get easier? Saying goodbye???

Why?  Why does God bless us with amazing people, allow us to love them, and then they are taken away? Why? 

Sometimes it's okay, you tell yourself, they were only casual acquaintances, or you knew going in that it would be only for a short time. You may not even allow yourself to 'get too close'.

 Yet sometimes, even when you knew they would only be in your life for 3 weeks, 5 weeks, you become so emotionally and spiritually connected that it physically hurts to say good bye.

The time here has been a wonderful mixture of emotions, relationships, people's stories, their lives shared, their love for Jesus and their willingness to die to self and serve our Lord. It is impossible to not fall in love with each one you meet.

It is with a very heavy heart that I will say good bye to my friends and wish them safe travel mercies, as well as praying that God will continue to bless each one of their ministries.

As I continue on my journey and walk in faith I will trust that the Lord does in fact have a perfect plan in place that includes each one of our hellos and goodbyes.

Proverbs 20:24  'The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way.'

Feb 16, 2009

Part of God's exact plan

Today has been one of those days you just don't want to see end!

As I wrap up my last week here at MTI, I was thinking it might be a rather lonely birthday.... okay so I can admit when I'm wrong....really wrong!

Actually, my Birthday celebration started yesterday as my friends from SPLICE arranged a surprise lunch after church at Famous Dave's...they have amazing barbeque! It was such a special thing for them to do for me. 

Little did I know what else they had planned....

From the moment I woke up to find my bedroom door strung with balloons and streamers, it has been simply the best!
Not a single person forgot to send me love and best wishes on my birthday.

My phone started ringing bright an early, text messages and emails came through out the day. I stopped checking during my break, there were too many! If I tried to read them all I would be late getting back to class!

Then my SPLICE sisters took me on a glorious road trip to Starbucks after lunch for some real  good coffee.  We got back just in time for class.

Just a quick trip to my room for my notebook....but no.... the guys had decided to 'WEB' my entire room!!!! there was string crisscrossing everywhere!!! What a riot!! I was feeling more like a college student than a grandmother!

Then at dinner, they come out with three large cheese cakes, everyone singing Happy Birthday!!! I was so touched by their many acts of love and friendship, I was thanking God and crying and blowing out candles, it wasn't a pretty site I'm sure.

Then we all sat around and sang praise and worship songs for over an hour! What better present could anyone ask for? I was in my glory! 
The only thing they couldn't do was arrange for family and friends to share in the love they were blessing me with.

Talk about a God filled day, and He had this day planned before any of us even existed.
Can you even fathom that? I can't.
God is so in love with us, He only asks that we acknowledge Him, and live our lives for Him.

Proverb 16: 9 We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps. 

Taking a Sabbath

Sunday, I love Sundays.
I love singing songs of worship. I love hearing God's word explained by godly men.
I love that they are relaxed and slower days. Calm days with only one purpose, to allow for relaxation and restoration.

I didn't always love them. They used to be the day of the week when I would try to play 'catch up'. Get groceries for the week, catch up on the laundry, ironing, cleaning, plan meals for during the week. 
Rest would be somewhere in there and I would work hard to 'get a good attitude' as thoughts of Monday began to creep in.
 I would go to church to worship, but half the time my mind was thinking about ' as soon as church is done I have to....'

It's the truth, it's hard to actually talk about, but I thank God that He has already forgiven me for my bad attitude.

I say this because today was so unlike how I used to think and feel.
Today after a wonderful service, with great music and a powerful message referencing Plasm 95 about the 'engagement of worship' I was again reminded of how much my attitude has improved.

God has blessed me with an attitude of complete surrender to His will, His time frame, His plans, His 'to do list', not mine. Thank you God.

I pray that your Sundays will truly be a day of relaxation and restoration.

Feb 13, 2009

Depth of Faith

I remember when I first came to know the Lord as my personal savior, I thought now I have faith.  I  rested in it, I trusted that to be fact.
I did bible studies,  took discipleship classes, got baptized, read my bible everyday, I was growing my faith, right?
I was even more convinced that I had sufficient faith when Jimmy died. Because I know that my faith is the only thing that got me through that period in my life. 

Yet now as I look back, I question the depth of my faith. I wonder because in my heart I know I still doubted, I still worried. I didn't really and truly trust that God would or could take care of ALL my needs. 
I would say and do all the right things, but I also spent a lot of time trying to work things out on my own. Not totally trusting God's promises.
I guess I wasn't willing to accept the fact that I no longer had control over my life. I had agreed to give that control to my Lord. Yet I still felt compelled to 'help Him out' with the everyday stuff. 
 I spent a lot of unnecessary time and energy worrying about things I had absolutely no control over. I mean I really wasted some time! 
As God is daily showing me His mercy and grace, I am able to see with increasing clarity that faith is more than a word, or a thought. It's a way of living your life totally surrendered to the Lord's will. No matter what that might look like.

 I believe God increases our faith as we increase our unconditional love and trust in Him. As we walk in total faith and trust that He will provide for absolutely all of our needs.
Just this past week God has shown me, in multiple ways, how the depth of my faith is rewarded, by grace upon grace, blessing upon blessing.
I am so grateful that God was willing to wait until I could finally see that it's not at all about me, but it is totally and completely about Him.

Psalm 138 :1-3 'I give you thanks, O God, with all my heart, I will sing your praises before the gods. I bow before your holy temple as I worship. I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed  by all the honor of your name. As soon as I pray, you answer me, you encourage me by giving me strength'.

Feb 10, 2009

Our Father's unconditional love

The past few weeks have been an incredible mix of emotions, prayers, questions, thoughts, ideas, and ultimately of calm reassurance.  As I look back over the last several months I can see where God has been setting me up for this season of growth.

Most of you know that I have experienced many changes in my life, but none as profound as the changes that have occurred internally...... my heart is changed.  

During my training at SPLICE,  we were assigned into small groups. I was one of six ladies in my group. Although each one was younger than I ( Kellie only by 4 days!) they all brought a gifting and a wisdom to the group.  I will never forget the powerful impact that their words and prayers had on my life.  God so blessed me with their love and support. Most especially He used them to show me that His love is unconditional.  
Thanks to their wisdom, I now see my Father in heaven as a loving and forgiving God. One who expects (and already knows) that I will mess up, but still wants me to sit at His feet and hear His words of affirmation.

The Lord has shown me who He wants me to be in Him. He has allowed me to understand with my heart as well as my head that His word is true, that He is ever faithful, that He will never let me go, no matter how often I fail.

It's always neat the way the Lord will bring a particular bible verse into your life, at just the right time.  As I have been processing all that He has been showing me, He was busy using the ladies in my small group to help me understand His unconditional love. 
Jenni, one of the women in my small group gave me this verse....

Psalm 62: 5-7  'Let all that I am wait quietly before God for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone, He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me'.

I pray that each of you can wait quietly before God, and know that He is all you will ever need.

Feb 9, 2009

Diversion verses Necessity

I found myself here at MTI  all alone on Saturday. The SPLICE program ended on Friday, only  7 people  were staying over for PILAT, and they all had plans for the day. It was very weird, after living in community with so many people for 3 weeks, to then find myself completely alone. 

 As I talked with God and asked Him to keep me company this day, I felt His presence. It was then that I realized the date, it was February 7th, it would have been mine and Jimmy's 10th wedding anniversary. I wondered why God had allowed these exact circumstances for today...

It was then that my daughter Katie skyped me, and I shared with her what day it was. She asked 'how are you with that ?' I could answer 'it's really okay'. God was keeping me company today and I felt His peace and presence in my heart. Thank you Jesus.

It was another beautiful day in Colorado, and the trail behind MTI which is several miles long with an exquisite view of the Rockies was calling. So it was decided, I would take the trail and head towards town. There is a grocery store there, and I needed to pick up some fruit and stamps. Now I had a plan and I knew it would take most of the morning to accomplish.

As I walked the trail I noticed that the dirt reminded me of the roads in Mozambique, dry, sandy dirt. I started to think about the women of Mozambique, this trek that I was on today would be nothing to them. I started praying to God and asking that He would help me to appreciate all He has given me. 
I began to hear each step I was taking, with my hiking boots. I had sufficient clothing to protect me, sunglasses and a comfortable backpack to carry my supplies home in. Once again all of my needs were met. I had prayed for a diversion this day and God provided.

I started to cry when He brought the ladies of Mozambique to mind again. They walk this far everyday, sometimes twice a day, not 'for something to do' but because the need to survive. They need to feed and take care of their families.   

I pray Lord that each day You will help me to be thankful for all that You provide. 

Feb 8, 2009

My Travels

Hi friends, I pray that you will be patient with me as I begin to blog.
This has been on my heart to do since I was in Mozambique last summer. It seems like an efficient way to keep those of you who are interest in my life, up to date.

So let me give you a brief review. Most all of you know that the day after Thanksgiving I relocated to Cedar Rapids Iowa. I took my car with my clothes and drove across New York, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. That alone was quite a feat for me. Fortunately the kids had talked me into buying a GPS. I call her Ester, she goes everywhere with me:)
 I have been sharing housing and expenses with my friend Kathy. You know her as the lady who got malaria. She and I shared housing in Mozambique and became dear friends.  Little did we know that while living life in Dondo, we were being prepared to live life in Iowa  as well.  So as we have been living, learning and stretching these past few months God has shown Himself to be ever faithful.

In January we did a bit of traveling first to Texas for the annual CRI board and staff meeting, then we turned around and headed to Colorado Springs. This is where Mission Training International is located. We just completed 3 weeks of cross cultural studies. This included stuff like conflict management, communication skills, and the multiple differences  between cultures. It was an intense 3 weeks that had a huge impact, not only mentally and physically but spiritually.
I am still in Colorado Springs, I have another 2 weeks of Language Acquisition Studies. This means that the trainers are going to teach me 'how to learn' to speak Portuguese.  
We shall see....