Oct 16, 2010

Time in Mozambique...

Wow,  hard to believe our time here is almost over for this season. It has been such a great blessing to once again have the opportunity to live life here with people I have come to care deeply about.

We have been super busy up until the 14th and so officially we have had only 2 days to pack and say our goodbyes...but God has provided for many situations that have blessed us along the way!

On Thursday we took our last two visitors to the airport then had to go into Beria.
 There are many beggers in Beria, and I think it would be impossible to give to everyone...even if our pockets were full of coins!  So we try to use discernment, and ask God to help us know which ones we should help on any given day. Sometimes there is just a look and you know immediately, this is one I have to help!

 This day I saw a young boy leading an elderly blind man, and I knew! I gave him a coin and he was just so sweet as he thanked me. The children who lead the blind always hand the coin to the blind person, and as soon as he did, the elderly man, started blessing and thanking me. As they were walking away from the car Kathy called for them to stop because she remembered she had a matchbox car in her bag. We called the boy back and gave him the car...you should have seen the look on his face, absolutely priceless, he was grinning from ear to ear, explaining to the blind man what we had given him.
It was such a sweet moment!  Praise God!!

This morning we were able to spend several hours with Zito and his family. We brought over food and drinks and spent time encouraging Zito and praying with him and his children. It was so good that God would allow this time for us.
Zito is getting stronger as he continues to look to the Lord for direction. We thank God for this!

I have been busy balancing the books and getting everything in order...even working on spread sheets! 
Who would have ever guessed I'd be doing this!!???

With what seemed like so little time to get many things done I was thinking we would literally be running around trying to get everything accomplished.
We had prayed that God would multiply our last few days, and not only have we had ample time for  work related meetings, we have also had more than enough time to hug and pray with the people we care about the most!  So we continue to praise God!

This afternoon has been quiet, well sort of. There have been many visitors at our door, as everyone knows we leave tomorrow. Each one has been sweet, wishing us safe travel and asking when we will return. It's impossible to live here and not absolutely love the people!!!

So it turns out we have had plenty of time...Kathy even caught a nap this afternoon and I skyped with my daughter! Bookkeeping is done, bags are packed.... now all we have left to do is drink the rest of our Coke lite and finish the popcorn off!

Grace and peace to all~

Oct 6, 2010

A short story about life here...

Ercylio and I were driving into town the other morning and I asked him how his night was last night. I expected that he would tell me about school, instead I got quite a story.
He said he was on the main road waiting for a chappa (a small mini-van/bus) when a friend drove by. Ercylio flagged him down and he stopped to give him a ride. So Ercylio ran up and got in the car. 
Just then he said the car died, it wouldn't move!

I'm thinking... oh no the poor guy was probably late for school.

Then Ercylio explained how the rest of the night went. 
He explained that he couldn't just leave his friend there, so he called his brother to come with their dad's car.
Then they towed his friend's car to Ercylio's dad's garage. 
Ercylio then took his father's car and gave his friend a ride into Beira. He then waited for him to finish his business and drove him back to Dondo! 

 I sat there thinking, you have got to be kidding me!

Not only did he not make it to school, but he spent the entire evening and night helping his friend.
I just loved hearing this story and I knew I needed to share it. What a beautiful example of loving your neighbor and giving everything you have to help.

I have to say it again....I love living life here!!!

Oct 2, 2010


Some of you may have heard that I was once again sick with malaria.  I thought I was suffering from hot flashes and chills, and I told myself it was my age and tried to ignore it. Anyway, it got the better of me and I realized I had malaria and I was in bed most of the week.

I'm not 100% but I am so grateful for medicine, and a comfortable place to call home. I am also very grateful for all the beautiful people who God has blessed my life with.

Early Saturday morning I saw our gardener Francisco walking toward the house. I wondered why he was here as it was his day off.
When Kathy asked him why he was here, he said he had come to check on me. 
This dear man had just walked for over 45minutes in 90 degree weather on his day  off, just to see if I was okay!

About an hour or so later, my friend Maria who works in project life was knocking on the door!  She too had walked well over an hour in the heat to see that I was alright!

So here I sat in my house, with everything I need within reach. While these two Godly people put everything aside, on their day off, to walk many miles to check on my health!
I was so humbled and blessed by their unselfish acts of kindness. I asked myself would I have done the same for them? I may have gone to visit them, but I surely would have used a car. I would have taken my waterbottle with me, and when I was done I would have probably come home and collapsed on my bed in front of the fan!
Just no comparrison, really.

This past week I was asked to take one of the men from our church at Centro Emissor to the hospital. He had been getting worse and today needed to be seen by the doctor. So, as I sat outside the hospital waiting I had ample opportunity to observe people as they arrived as well as when they left....

Three young men one steering the bike, the other two on either side walking along holding a very elderly  women steady on the back storage rack. They gingerly lifted her off the back and I could see where they had strapped a small pillow over the metal rack for her comfort. I found myself asking God to bless them for their kindness.
A young boy maybe 5 or 6 years old with most of his right leg wrapped in a fresh clean white roll of gauze. He shuffled as he walked down the ramp, when he got to the one step, I could see him whince in pain as he had to force his knee to bend. 
I thought he must have been burned and I asked God to protect him and heal his little body.
This very old women came out limping, as she used large stick to assist her. Finally I could see she had a big white bandage wrapped around her great toe. She too needed to make her way down that one big step. As she did,  her bandaged toe ended up striking the sand. She stopped, looked down and seeing the sand covered dressing, she shook her foot with all her might and went on her way.

At one point I saw a little girl, I would say she was maybe three, four at the oldest, come strutting down the ramp. She caught my eye as she was this little peanut, just marching down the ramp, dressed pretty and very self assured!
So I sat and continued to watch and pray for people, then I noticed this same little girl return about 10minutes later. In her left hand she had a small bag of "nicy nacks", they're little snack bags, like cheese doddles...the kids here go crazy over them! 
So this girl just needed a snack, while she waited her turn to be seen. 
It's wild, I'm not sure that any of us would let our five or six year old go out of the hospital alone, cross the road and purchase their own snack. Everyone seems to learn at a very young age how to take care of themselves as well as others.

Today, Kathy and I got to keep a promise we had made several months ago, to two of our workers. 
Fransisco and Chico have repeatedly invited us to come to their homes and meet their families. Today was the day we were meant to do this. We were totally blessed by their hospitality! 
Chico had his brother shimmy up a palm tree and drop down three coconuts, which he then proceeded to to hack at with a huge machete. Once they were cleaned, he cut a small opening at the top and we each drank fresh coconut milk! We left gifts for the women in his family, prayed and explained that he needed to leave.

Next, we went to Fransico's home. His yard as well as his stick and stone home were immaculate. You could see the pride and care he takes in what he has been blessed with. His wife joined us as we prayed and thanked God for their lives as well. As we were getting ready to leave, Fransico came out with a bag of cassava for us to take home. We are so very blessed!! We left gifts and made our way home.  
All this before 10am! 

At 10 we had made plans to pick up Zito, the children, his brother, a friend, the friend's sister and cousin.  Zito wanted to bless the children with a day at the beach and he asked if we would help.
So with a stash of cookies, juice and towels we were off.....

Sep 22, 2010

...the last shall be first..

Julia is first now. Julia is the little year old baby girl I wrote about last week. This  fragile little girl weighed less than 8 pounds, and was close to death. We arranged to have her seen at the clinic and also got her signed up at the Nutrition center.
But our efforts were not enough to keep her here, where she was among the last.

Today Julia is first sitting with Our Heavenly Father, and so we Praise God!

Please keep the people of Mozambique in your prayers. 
They face death and hunger and extreme poverty every single day.

Proverb 22:2 The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all.

Sep 21, 2010


Francisco is one of our part time workers. He used to be one of our night guards, but he’s older and had a hard time staying awake.
We knew we needed to replace him, but we also didn’t want him to be without work and money.

So we decided to offer him part time work, mornings only, sweeping up the grounds, watering the garden, and keeping the cars clean.
He was so grateful for the work, even with the cut in pay.
 He is just such a dear sweet man, for the longest time I couldn’t understand a single word he said. He talks like he’s got a mouth full of food, and I think he mixes his Portuguese with Sena.
Anyway, bit by bit I have come to understand him and now we even ‘talk’ with each other, more than just the…. good morning- how are you- how’s your family- kind of talk.
No mater what you might be talking about with him, he never fails to say “Deus e’ grande”! (God is great!)
He says it with such enthusiasm,  with both hands clenched in fists and held up beside his head.  Here it comes….his weathered face turns into a huge smile and then he says it…Deus e’ grande!

The other day he was cleaning the inside of one of the cars and he came to me and gave me a  coin, 10 metacais.  This is like about 3 cents to us, but it here it would buy 3 large rolls, or a big bunch of bananas. Then finally I understood  the word for ‘carpet’ and ‘inside’ as I realized what he was telling me, tears were in my eyes.
He found the coin while cleaning the car and wanted to give it to me.
Praise the Lord!  The man could have easily put the coin in his pocket and no one would have ever known. Well, that’s exactly what I told him as I thanked him and praised God for his honesty!  Then of course I gave him the coinJ ….I just love living life here!

Sep 4, 2010

Centro Emissor~ mobile clinic day 2

Wednesday we took some team members to our church plant at Centro Emissor.
Once again the plan was two fold, share about the love of Christ and provide some medical care.
Unlike our trip to Savane, this time the word of God came first.

So after some singing and praising our Lord, Dan and his wife Becky shared a moving testimony of God's faithfulness in their lives.
It was very powerful and generated quite a response from the congregation, then, of course, there was more singing:)

The people were aware that we would be providing some medical care and it wasn't long before we had more people than we could count.
The team members all helped with organizing the crowd, each one was given a number and they waited their turn.
Tony ( the EMT from Minn) and I decided to split up so we could double the number of people we treated as it was getting late. This worked out well.

 Most of the people need to drink more water, especially clean water. So most of their complaints were related to their lack of sufficient nutrition and limited fluid intake.
Fernando, one of the 3 amigos was my translator. He is a young man, only 17 years old, and this is his first year translating for us.There were many situations that were sensitive and personal and he did a marvelous job!! I have certainly come to appreciate just how difficult it is to be a translator, and just how important their work is.
One day I pray and trust that God is going to allow me to communicate without the use of a translator!

We saw one little girl who is a year old and weighs only 4 kg. Her name is Julia, she is precious. She has AIDS and it would appear that her life will be brief.
Arrangements were made for her to be seen by Dr Neve's later in the week and she received some medications that will help.

While I was at the clinic, I actually saw the young boy ( Fernando Joao) that we cared for in Savane. He and his dad had made their way to the clinic as well, to be seen by the doctor. I was so grateful and pleased to see them!

I had opportunity to speak and pray with both Fernando's dad, and Julia's mom and explained that God had arranged for us to meet. That He had a plan for each of our lives.

The needs are just so great here, absolutely everywhere you look.
I have found myself thinking about Matthew 20:16
"So the last shall be first and the first shall be last"

Praise God that one day all things will be made right.

Aug 31, 2010

Wooddale team in Savane

Today I traveled to Savane ( one of our church plants in the bush) with 6 team members and Simone our translator.
We had two goals in mind, to present the bible study the team had been working on, and to provide some much needed medical care to the area.

We arrived around 9:30 and set up our 'travel clinic'. The girls were set to play with the kids, having brought some balls and other games. Then the plan was to see people till midafternoon and then have the bible study.
We handed out 32 pieces of paper numbered 1 to 32. Why 32, you may ask, well it was suppose to be 30, but none of us were able to tell the last 2 ladies that walked in...no, so the final number was 32.

 Of course then you need to double or triple that number as every mom had at least 1 if not 2 or 3 children with her.
Past experience has taught us that unless you keep some kind of limit, you could be there well into the night.

First some team members would pray with the people, then they would come over and see Tony ( an EMT from Minn.) and I. With the help of Simone we would treat their problems.

Praise the Lord we were able to give everyone ( this includes every child too!) a small supply of vitamins! Thanks to the generousity of our friends at Maranatha Bible Church!!

So we actually had time to see everyone, that includes the 7 people who arrived at some point, and didn't  have a number.
One 12 years old boy, Fernando, was the next to last to be seen, praise God that we did, as he was one of the sickest ones we treated.
The girls never did get to present their bible study, as we ran out of time and needed to head back before dark.

As I was feeling bad, they were very understanding and said that they were so pleased to have had the opportunity to play and pray with most everyone that came to the church.
It was a great day as everyone was focused on what they could do for someone else.
Praise God it was a great day!

Aug 14, 2010

The team of Two

This past week I've had the pleasure of caring for the Litton's, Larry and Peggy.
This godly couple has been married for 37 years, they both barely look 37 years old!!
I can see where God truly does bless those who live their lives for Him! The Litton's are a perfect example!

One day one of the translators asked 'may I ask how long you have been married?' When they answered 37 years, his response was 'oh I thought maybe 3 years, as you are so much in love'. It's true, they are just the sweetest people to be around!

It goes without saying that I have been blessed to be able to spend time with them this week.
Peggy, is our bookkeeper at CRI, and she was a bit anxious about the trip. Larry who has been on the Dallas police force for 32 years was the reason why Peggy came. 
He is also a graduate of Dallas Theologic Seminary and has come to Dondo to train and teach and inspire the young church plant leaders here in the project.

Larry had a pretty full schedule, which got 'fuller' each day.While Peggy was at my mercy, and more than agreeable to doing whatever I suggested.

Knowing that she was a bit anxious, I scheduled things that she and I could do together. It was also great for me to visit the preschool, walk Project Life, serve soup at the hospital, observe and pray at the clinic and Nutrition center and just hang out at the church. We also managed to do some shopping....

Over the course of the week God blessed us both as we were able to accomplish much. It didn't take long for Peggy's anxiety to subside, as the people and especially children of Dondo melted her heart. 

It has been such a pleasure getting to know Peggy. She is a precious godly women and mother of 4 grown children. Hearing the stories of raising her family with that sweet southern accent of hers, has been a joy!  

Larry reminds me a lot of Jim, not only his demeanor and sense of humor, but the way the two of them interacted.

He is a gifted speaker and extremely intelligent man. Yet I doubt he realizes how much he has blessed the young men he has been working with this week.

The first thing you notice about Larry is his humble spirit and willingness to serve others. One of the first things he asked me...'tell me, is there anything I might do or say that would offend the people?'
I just knew it was going to be a blessing having him here after that!

I am thanking God for His perfect plan in bringing the Litton's to Mozambique. For allowing them to come and see and love God's people here in Dondo.

Aug 8, 2010

Another week of life in Mozambique...I love it here!

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, last Sunday I was to give the message at Centro Emissor, it actually came out nothing like I thought it would. 
God had another plan and praise the Lord I listened as He directed me to change things up a bit.
As I shared about God's faithfulness and perfect plan for our lives, I could see what God was doing.

Most of you know Zito, and his story. He is the church plant leader at Centro Emissor, whose wife died about 10 months ago. 
His struggles and the pain he is experiencing are so very real, my heart truly aches for him. 
I believe God has called me to walk with Zito at this time. Love him and encourage him, but also speak words of truth into his life.

He is just a young man trying to figure out how to raise his 3 small children while sorting out his own feelings.  
We have had two seperate occasions to talk this week, and I trust that God has directed my words. 
I am grateful for the opportunity to help Zito and the kids.
Please keep them in prayer when you think of them.

I also spent a good deal of time with Simone, one of our translators. 
He is a very smart and sensitive young man who truly loves the Lord.
It has been a blessing getting to know more about him and his heart.

On a lighter note....
I acquired a new nick name this week...I am now referred to as 'grande feijao', it means 'big bean'. 

Each morning we meet with all our workers for a short bible study and a song or two. Then we give instruction for the work that needs to be done for the day.
I have been making every effort to use my Portuguese whenever possible...it's the only way I'll ever get better.
So in the morning I give instruction to the staff, in Portuguese. Now this has been working out just fine, especially because they have come to learn my way of speaking Portuguese:)

So anyway, this one morning I was trying to explain that there was a large container of left over beans in the frig. 
Then everyone started laughing and I couldn't figure out why. So, Ercylio who was laughing the hardest, explained that I said there was a 'large bean' in the frig.
I could say I knew it all along and I just wanted to give them all a good laugh...but that wouldn't be the truth.

So now you all know where the name came from.
I actually like it...big bean...grande fiejao, it works.

On more thing... Kathy officially returns to Moz in 10 days!!! Yippee!!
Her mom is home from the hospital and doing amazingly well. Praise God! It was perfect that she was able to be with her family when they needed her.
We are both praising God for His perfect plan in all of this!

Jul 31, 2010

Encouraging words

It's Saturday morning and I am working on the message I will be sharing tomorrow at Centro Emissor. Sharing a message with a group of people....how things have changed in my life!

In the past this would have caused me great turmoil ( I like that word), to say the least. I would have needed many days, if not weeks, to prepare.  The very worst part of all would be how preoccupied my mind would be leading up to the event.

Now don't get me wrong I'm not like "hey, this is no big deal".  But here I am the day before with no idea what God wants me to speak about, and I'm not even a little stressed...at least not yet.

I have a few ideas and I've prayed about them, and so right now I'm waiting to see what God says...I feel like He is telling me to share about how He is sufficient.

As I was reflecting on that, I realized that today is exactly 2 weeks since Kathy left for America, and I headed to the church plant in the bush.

Several things came to mind as I thought about that day.
I was really struggling with the thought of Kathy not being there when I got back.
I was having a super hard time, mostly because I knew my heart was not in the right place.

Not in the right place to be able to share God's love. I was feeling sorry for myself, how could I speak truth into other lives?  How could I shine with the joy of the Lord like we are called to?
I didn't want to go.... if only I could stay back and feel sorry for myself.  That actually sounded like a good idea at the time.

Fortunately, for me the people in my car were quiet as I drove, so I had plenty of time to pray. I asked God to help my attitude. I was feeling lonely and even more my heart was heavy for Kathy and what she may be facing when she got home. I wanted to be with her, no wait I wanted her to be with me.
It was long drive and I prayed.

I prayed for her, her mom, all the family. I prayed that God would give her wisdom and strength and good health. I prayed that God would give me wisdom and skill as I drove on some very treacherous  roads.
I prayed that He would change my heart and give me peace as this was going to be a long weekend.

By the time we arrived at Matundo, I could feel that God had been listening to all my prayers. I was able to jump right in and do what was put before me. My attitude was right and my heart was full of thankfullness to God for being ever faithful!
As Kathy and her family would come to mind, I would again ask God to be with her and strengthen her.
That's all I needed to do...

As I blogged before about the trip, it was a blessed time. I was asked to speak, not once but twice and I didn't even have anything prepared! God is always right on top of things, ya know?
He always provides what we need and we are never alone when we ask Him to be with us!

Well there you have it, that will be my message for tomorrow.
God is always with us...AMEN!

Thanks for reading...Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Chrrist.

Jul 30, 2010

Chico, our girls, visas...

The other day I was headed over to Mafranhia to pick up some of the team who were painting at the Nutrition center. As I was leaving the housing complex where we live I saw Chico our gardener . He was dressed in his street clothes and even though I was pretty sure of the answer I asked if he was done for the day.
He said yes, he was headed home. Now Chico understands some English, but at this point I was using my Portuguese.  Chico, like our other workers has come to understand my redition of Portuguese and so I try to practice whenever I can. Like the others he will correct me and help restructure my sentence so it actually makes sense.
I told him I was headed to Maf. and I asked if he wanted a ride. He agreed and jumped in the car and we headed off to the nutrition center.
After a few minutes I got thinking about it and was pretty sure Chico did not live in Maf. I decided to question him about exactly where he lives. He then asks if I know where Manuel lived. I asked which Manuel and once he clarified I said yes, I know. Chico said 'I live near him'.
So now picture this, I'm driving this poor young man in complete opposite direction of his home. There he sits beside me smiling away, happy as ever, he has a grin that just won't quit!
I tried then to explain and apologize for taking him in the wrong direction.
He just kept smiling, saying 'nao, noa, isso nao problemo'.

We picked up the team, and now I 'm trying to explain why we're going to be taking Chico home. It was  the least I could do as I had just taken the guy a good 30 additional minutes from his home!
So off we go, Chico in the front seat just a-smilin away the entire time. I was grateful to be able to take him home, to repay his kindness. After all he only got in the car in the first place to please me!

Yesterday morning was a special time I have to tell you about. I think I've mentioned that we meet with all our Mozambican staff at 7am each morning. We have a time for devotions, or bible study, prayer requests and then a song or two. We also get our business of the day worked in and then the staff head out to begin their work. It's proven to be a truly perfect way to start each day.

So yesterday morning, I could hear that the empregada's were outside, their laughter is quite distinct and contageous I might add. After a few minutes I could hear the ladies, the laughter and talking had turned into singing. There they were coming in dancing in a line, singing as they entered the house!
They had gotten together and planned this little performance, they even had bought matching capalanas with the extra money we gave them to enjoy their holiday!!
I was so blessed by their thoughtfulness...it was just a sweet moment and I so wished that Kathy could have been there to see 'our girls' giving us what they could afford to give, themselves ...singing and dancing songs to the Lord!

Today, Todd, Ercylio, Manuel and I were off to Beria, we had documents in hand, signed by government officials and everything. We are in the process of trying to get our visas stamped and extended for another 60+ days. They did eventually 'accept' the papers, but this is no guarantee that they will extend the visa, this just means....now we wait. It is good news really, because they could have refused to even accept them, to look at and review, so you never know.
We will go back on Monday and see if they have made any decision. Depending on what they decide, we may or maynot be heading to the airport enroute to Joberg for an over night stay, next week.

Prayer requests:
                          * Pray for Chico...he's a good young man and we are blessed to know him.
                          * Pray for our emprigadas, their health and their families.
                          * Pray that they will stamp and extend our visas, without having to fly to Joberg.

Thanks once again for reading this, and for praying!!

Jul 27, 2010

God's direction is always the right one

For those of you who may not know, Kathy had to return home to Cedar Rapids quite suddenly on Saturday July 17th. Her mother had gotten sick and no one knew what to expect. So Kathy is at ‘home’ in the states with her family.

Here in Dondo, Kathy and I pretty much would do everything together and that works well for us. So, unless we needed to go off in different directions, you most always would see us working together.

So it goes without saying that I am missing my dear friend, it’s lonely and way too quiet in the house, especially at night! There has been no laughing, no guitar playing, no movie night and that means no popcorn either!  Okay I did have popcorn one nightJ
The one thing I have continued, in her absence is reading the Psalms, out loud, before I go to bed, it sure does make for a peaceful nights rest….thanks Kathy J

I love life here, but until now I have only known life here with Kathy. Now there have been times, as you know when she’s been laid up with Malaria and I would step up and do both jobs, and visa versa.
 The difference being, she was just down the hall and I could get her input on something or together we could make a decision. 
This is no longer the case, not to mention the fact that we have not had internet since she left, and the cell phone service has been the most unreliable and inconsistent EVER!!!!

So not only am I missing my friend but I have had no communication with her or my daughters for a week now….talk about feeling isolated!

So today, after delivering team members to their ministry sites, I had several errands to run. Like most days you start off with one thing in mind and eventually you may actually get that one thing accomplished.
The great thing about getting a job done here, is the path you have to take to make it happen, it’s nothing you could ever ‘plan’ for.
For example, the people you stop and talk with or the rides you may need to give, the emergencies that come up or the stories that get shared, always something. The best part of all is being able to share the love of Jesus. By listening, by giving a ride, by praying for someone’s sick relative, it’s all part of God’s plan.

 Today felt different at least from my perspective, as I was alone in the car.
But as far as the path, or should I say paths, that needed to be taken to get some things done, well that was pretty much the same. The really cool thing is eventually it all gets done.

Now where was I?  Oh yes, the point of this blog was to share about the ‘normal’ twists and turns most days take. But also to point out how we may perceive things as ‘bad’, but God has the ‘Whole Perspective’ in view.

I found myself sharing this thought with Agustino, one of our translators. As I was driving him around looking for kerosene….you guessed it, kerosene was not part of any plan for this morning.

Anyway, today I’m wondering if God is simply answering some of the questions I have been asking.

When you become accustomed to doing something one way, and then all of a sudden it’s a different way, it shows you many things. 
Very often I find myself saying “ you don’t know, what you don’t know”.
 This seems to be a significant theme in my life lately. But once you do know, you need to use what you have learned and move forward.

I don’t know what I am capable of until it’s before me. It still amazes me every time I do something and think, ‘how in the world did I ever accomplish that’.  The answer is always the same…only through the Lord’s strength and provision.

So I’ve been thinking, it’s easy to observe when someone else is in the lead, especially as you learn to be slow to speak and quick to listen. You can get comfortable there…. following. But, at the same time you may begin to question your own abilities.  
Many times I have thought ‘I wonder if I could do this work if I were alone?’

What I am learning is that “I can do all things though Him who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13.

God continues to show me what I am capable of. He also is showing me that He provided me with a friend and helper to make the journey all the sweeter!

I have needed to take the lead in many instances since Kathy went home.  But God… has so thoroughly blessed me, even my Portuguese seems to have improved! Definitely only God could do that!

It’s been different, being here by myself that’s for sure and it wouldn’t be what I would have chosen.  I think about the ‘Whole Perspective ‘ that God has, and His perfect plan for each of our lives.
I can see where He will use every circumstance to grow and teach us.
I pray that I am learning what He is teaching.

Beria with the 3 Amigos

I can’t say it was my first time to Beria without Kathy, but it certainly wasn’t the same! I had to drive and navigate, which is hard to do in the city where a stop sign is only a suggestion, and people drive right through red lights all the time!

I took the 3 Amigos with me, that was the best part, I just love those guys!
First to the open market for the vegetables we would need for the week. The fruit we buy from the guys who come running as soon as they spot the car. They do their best to sell you what they have on hand, which is not necessarily what you need.  Then we needed to exchanged money.

This is still such a wild thing for me....there is this small store in town,  you go to the back room where a lady or sometimes her brother will exchange your American currency into Metacais. It’s all legal and everything, but each time I’ve done this I feel like I’m in a James Bond movie or something.

Fernando ‘stood watch’ in the store while I went in back. He is such a fine young man and so funny, he definitely takes his job seriously when told to be my "protector". ( At the same time I feel like I need to watch out for them, they're just young boys) 
So, Captain and Afonso waited in the car and when we were done they were treated to a pop and a pastry.
It was pouring rain all day today so the original plans that we had for the team, which included a trip to the beach had to be changed.  The rain then did allow me the opportunity to get my errands run, but it is more difficult to do anything here when it rains.

We ran back to the car, soaked by the time we got in. I turned the key and nothing, the car was dead. There I sat with a whole lot of money in my bag, 3 young boys, a car full of fruit and vegetables, pouring rain….and no Kathy! She's the one who learned from her father the mechanic.

The car had been working fine, no issues so I thought a minute and remembered about checking the fusses. 
Over the years now, Kathy has taught me many things, among them car maintanence. How to charge and or change a battery, or how to pop a clutch! ( My personal favorite)  Change wipers, check the fluids etc.  This past spring Kathy had taught me how to change a fuss.  Then about a month ago John Pieper, a fellow CRI missionary helped us change one on this car.  God knew!

It was hard to see what I was doing exactly, I got the cover off and as I was trying to figure out which one needed to be replaced, Fernando says “ mom, it’s really raining very hard now”.
I was standing outside the car with my head stuck under the steering wheel and my lower half getting soaked!
By the grace of God I managed to figure out and change the right fuss, on my first try.  
The boys all clapped and complimented me “for being so good with the car”. God is so good to me!

It was great to hear their encouraging words, but I was even more grateful to be on our way.
We had one more stop to make before heading home, and we had just enough time to get back before dark.

Even with the rain it turned out to be a good day.
I thought of Kathy often as people would ask about her or she would come to mind. I prayed for her often asked God to give her strength.
I really wished that she could have been there when I fixed the car, but then if she were there I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to use what she had taught me. For that matter the 3 Amigos would not have been with me either.
Okay, so although I am missing my friend, God is blessing me in many different ways, I just need to keep my eyes on Him so I can see when He blesses me.

God blessed me many times today. I pray that each of you feels His blessings this day!
Please pray for the 3 Amigos when you think of them, thanks!

My trip to Matundo

This entry is now a week old, and a little on the long side…….

I just returned from an overnight visit to one of our church plants out in the bush. We left early on Saturday morning and about 4+ hours later we arrived.
It’s a very long 4 hours as the roads are quite difficult to maneuver.
But we praise God that the weather was clear and sunny both days. At night the sky was amazing as you are surrounded by total darkness, the stars were like millions of light bulbs you could reach out and touch! Absolutely breathtaking!

As soon as we arrived there was a large welcoming committee, probably 30 people all singing and smiling and waving…so excited to see us!
We unloaded our things into the guest home they had built last year for a wedding at the church.
It’s a large bamboo stick structure, with a straw roof. It has 4 small rooms inside, so the girls in one room, boys in the other, one room for storage and a common area for eating.
The teens got right into their games with the kids, I started helping with meal preparation while the guys set up the tent for the translators.
We were having rice and fish for lunch, and today would be the day that I would learn how to clean and prepare fish. I finally got the hang of it but while I was doing my best, 2 other ladies came over to assist in the process. It took the 3 of us about 40 minutes to clean this tub full of fish.

Over the course of the day, at least a hundred, if not more, ladies, men, and children of all ages showed up.
Shanna and I were to meet with the ladies of the church.
Shanna, the team leader for the group we had taken out, had a message prepared. When we were told we had about 2 hours to fill I was asked to share as well.
 I spoke of God’s faithfulness, and tried to encourage these women who are so very poor. No words could fully explain the degree of poverty to you.

We then asked them to sing for us, we didn’t need to ask twice! When they finally stopped we didn’t have too much more time to fill.
I shared a part of my testimony and spoke of how God has more than filled the void left behind when my husband died. Many of these ladies are widows with so little hope. I pray that I was able to encourage the way the Lord has encouraged me.

I then found myself repeating things I had recently heard, about speaking the name of Jesus out loud, so that the devil has no choice but to flee. Different scriptures were coming to mind, it was totally God using me, I was like watching the whole thing happen, Praise the Lord!
We then asked for prayer requests and Shanna prayed for all the women.

Then I spoke a little about nutrition and hygiene. Trying to explain to them about germs they cannot see that can make them sick. This is a difficult concept for them to understand. I am certain we all would have a hard time with this concept, if we hadn’t been blessed to be living where we live.
It looked like every women in the church was either pregnant or carrying a baby on her back.
By now there were well over 100 children alone, they were everywhere! It seemed appropriate to speak about drinking enough ‘clean’ water, and washing your hands and teaching your children to do this as well.

As it started to get dark they started a fire, not only for the warmth but it was the only source of light as well.
The team ate in the guest house, put on mosquito repellent and warmer clothes and then joined with the Mozambican’s by the fire. We were warm, fed and protected from bites. They sat there in the same clothes, short sleeves, no shoes and very little in their belly. I really struggled with this….

 As I joined them I noticed no one was talking, each were in their own world watching the fire. As I sat there I could see that all eyes were on me. After a bit I asked Simone to ask if they would like to hear a story. There were a few nodding heads but no one spoke, they just watched.
I started by trying to explain the awesomeness of our God and telling them how much He loves us and how He sent His son to die for us. I explained that all God asks of us is to love Him and love one another.
I gave a few examples of how they could love each other and then asked them to remember to always talk with God and He will always listen.
It really was such a sweet time, I still don’t know exactly how it happen, certainly it was unplanned but what a blessing!
I guess I had forgotten how dark it can get when there are NO lights anywhere! The light from the fire illuminated their faces to a degree, but all I could clearly see were their staring eyes as they were fixed on me the entire time I spoke.
 Praise God that His word was spoken and does not come back void.

About 8:30 I headed to bed, leaving the children sitting at the fire. I would be sleeping in the car, to be very honest I wasn’t looking forward to it. I kept telling myself ‘it’s only for one night’.
Several times as I tried to find a comfortable spot, God reminded me of those children huddled around this small fire trying to keep warm. Would they get any sleep tonight? Is tonight any different from every other night for them? I fell asleep asking God to comfort them.
I woke up about an hour later to the sounds of singing and drumming! Many of the people who were planning to be here for church in the morning had arrived tonight.
They were singing praises to God that He had brought us, their special guests, to spend time with them. They were thanking God for answering their prayers! This singing went on until well after midnight, and then they slept right where they were….in the church, on the ground.

While I enjoyed the comfort of the car and had a perfect view of the stars. I also was facing in the right direction to see the sun come up.
When I woke up I could see where others were sleeping outside next to the fire.
 I thought about how stiff and sore I felt from lying on a car seat, while they only had a narrow wooden bench or the ground.

Today was another celebration for the people of Matundo, because we were there to share God’s word with them. First the youth on the team had some children’s program stuff to do, while the ladies prepared the goat we would be having for lunch.
Several of us were headed to a new, small church plant nearby. Unfortunately we never made it as we had a flat tire.
Ultimately to fix this flat tire we needed the help of, not one but two different Mozambican’s who allowed us to borrow their bikes.
While we waited we bought a case of pop and a bag of cookies from one of the men who let us use his bike.
 We greeted practically every person that passed by, asking how they were and thanking God each time. We had several stop to offer suggestions, one man said that we could all simply lift the truck while someone else slips the tire on! That’s exactly how they would do it, gotta love it!

We did finally get the tire on and as it was too late to get to the other church plant we headed back. The children’s programs were completed, having been a huge success, and we could hear the singing as we approached.

Pastor Cory the leader of this team gave the message, it was about being honest with God.  Every so often you would hear one person say ‘amenie’ and then the whole church would respond with ‘amenie’, it was great!
Again more and more singing and dancing.
Finally the service needed to end so we could get ready and get back before dark.

We needed to eat our lunch, inside the guest house, as there was not enough food for everyone. But we gifted the church leader and his wife 75kg of rice and  5 liters of oil and other things. They will prepare food over the next few days so that everyone will get something.

It’s so hard to accept, we are satisfied, our stomachs are full, and everyone else hasn’t eaten today.  I know God knows, and I know we can only do so much…. I wonder, are we doing enough? I find myself asking that question all the time. Are we doing enough?

The goodbye’s were difficult as the church leader and his wife, were truly sad that we had to leave, and they begged that God would bring us back to them soon.
I hugged and thanked some of the women who had been at the bible study yesterday. I also wanted to say goodbye and thank the women who taught me how to cook like a Mozambican in the bush!

As we drove off, the women were all singing and all the children started running behind the cars. They kept this up for quite a ways, singing the whole time. Once we had gotten far enough away, no more kids, no more singing. I was struggling to watch the path as I maneuvered around giant ditches and holes. I realized that I was still smiling!  Praise God!
 Then several minutes later we passed a group of people who had been at church, they all waved and called out to us, it was great!
We drive for over an hour on a narrow dirt path. How narrow you might ask? The people on bikes need to stop and get over into the weeds to let the car pass by.

It was a great trip, the cars made it back home with no further issues, and we got home before dark, Praise the Lord!
Please remember the people of Matundo in your prayers, please!

Jul 15, 2010

Lunch at the beach

Today after taking care of a few pressing issues, Kathy and I headed to Beria. I had taken inventory of both our house and the team house and now with my lists in hand we were off.
The day was gorgeous, sunny and warmer than it has been. This is to be expected as we are now headed into the beginning of the warmer months.
The plan was to get as much done as possible before the stores close. Most everything closes from 12-2pm give or take 20-30 minutes either way.
We had a plan and as we headed south the warmth of the sun gave us yet another reason to praise and thank God. We pray as we go, often distracted by the sights, trucks that look like they are coming at you sideways. People carrying loads on their heads or on their bikes, crazy loads! You'd think we'd get used to seeing some of this, and just when we think we've seen it all, bam! A guy on a bike carrying not one but 2 live goats! Or the man that was riding his bike while balancing a large plastic wash tub full of tangerines on his head!
You wonder why we love life here!? It's amazing, everyday!

So after sucessfully buying many needed supplies, we headed to the beach for lunch.  After all the shops were going to be closed for the next 2 hours, right?
As long as we needed to take a break and wait, we might as well do it on the beach.
We went to a place called Biques. Pronounced Beeks.

We love this place, the food is consistantly excellent, and they generally have Coke light on hand:)
We either get the chicken or go for fish. Kathy gets the fish and me, always the prawn! They are giant, you get the whole deal and I mean all of it.... head, tentacles everything!
So as we were enjoying our lunch we noticed some children walk past on the beach. There were 6 of them, the oldest was maybe 9 or 10 years old. As they played they would glance in our direction, it was almost as if they knew that we were talking about them.

There are always poor children around to pull at your heart, I am always talking with God and trying to rationalize...why? Yet I also have His assurance  that He has everything under His control.
It doesn't make it any easier when you sit there filling your belly and wondering when was the last time  these kids had anything to eat.

Once again, Kathy and I were tracking with each other and before we knew it we were ordering 5 large rolls. I covered each one with a thick layer of butter and then put the left over fish in each one.
We motioned to the older girl to come over, and Kathy walked to the end of the patio and explained that we wanted to give them lunch.
Kathy must have asked if they knew Jesus, and the one boy about 7or 8 years old, pointed up to the sky and said yes, he's up there.
Kathy told them that He, Jesus wanted them to have lunch today. It was such a sweet, blessed moment. The children were beaming, their smiles as big as any you have ever seen! Praise God!
I am so glad that the stores close at noon, and because of that we were here at this particular moment.
                 What an honor and blessing to be God's hands and feet here in Mozambique.

Jul 8, 2010

Update from Dondo

I am trusting that at least some of you have opened my blog looking for an update over these past few weeks. Well, here it is...finally.

As I look back over my last blog entries I see that I neglected to mentioned the fact that I was having some health issues. The most likely explanation for not sharing this would be my unwillingness to give in to being sick, I just hate letting it get the best of me.

So I guess I need to rewind to June 14th, that would be the day I felt a bad pain in my back. I had been going non-stop for several weeks and thought that I must have strained it. My plan was to hang in there a few more days, as the team we were hosting were scheduled to leave on the 17th.
 I would really rest it then, as we would be without visitors for almost a full month, due to the limited flights available as a result of the world cup. So we had been looking forward to this lengthy respite since we arrived in May!

First one week then the next, my back was not letting up, actually it was getting worse. Now I can honestly say that I am the furthest thing from a hypochondriac, but it was starting to get the better of me. I was not sleeping and the pain was pretty constant. The thing that concerned me the most was the thought that I may have to return to the states.
Then finally during the night on June 30th I was awake all night. The pain was incredible, like none I ever remember, and so I prayed for God to stay with me and show me what I needed to do.

At the Lord's prompting I sent an email during the night to Dr Brian, an American doctor I know who teaches at the University in Beria. He called me that morning and after we talked he agreed with my concern that it was probably my kidney and not my back after all.
 He said he needed to examine me but wouldn't have access to an ultrasound machine until the next day, so I needed to wait.

Friday morning we headed to the University clinic to see Dr Brian. Examine and ultrasound done.
( details of these procedures are a story in and of themselves, trust me)
He said he felt that  "one shadow area" was either a stone or cyst which may have burst. He said I needed to have an IVP done to be certain.
He instructed me on what I needed to take for the pain and said to notify him when I had the results from the IVP, x-rays and blood work he ordered.

That all happen one week ago.

I couldn't have the blood work till Monday the 5th ( there's another story :) The x-rays would be done the next day ( Tuesday) and the IVP needed to wait till the following Monday the 12th.
So as the days passed, I am waiting, and I'm praying for God's direction in all of this.

I started to notice that the pain was much less, was it because of the medicine or was I getting better?
By Sunday I had stopped taking the medicine to see if I was pain free without the meds.
I was! I still felt nothing like myself, sleeping the entire weekend away....but I was better!

I continued to pray for God's direction through all of this, as I wanted to follow where He was leading.
 I know many of you were praying for a healing and I thank you! He heard every one of those prayers and I am here to tell you He has healed me!
My blood work on Monday showed nothing out of the norm. I am still not sure about the x-rays. Here you are given your actual x-rays, you then take them to your doctor for interpretation.
As far as the IVP, because I am almost back to normal, I am not planning on having the test done.

Needless to say I never expected the events of these past few weeks to occur. I really was planning on taking things slow and getting some good rest, honestly! But, clearly God had other plans for me.

 I have been humbled and blessed by the events of this past week.  God has blessed me with increased wisdom as a result of what I have experienced. He has shown himself to be faithful, even when my faith was lacking.
He has helped me to see how blessed I am to have a dearly loved friend with me on this journey. He has helped me to see first hand the power of prayer, and His ability to heal.

He has also given me insight into how the medical system works in a Third World country. How the people here endure daily, things that would never be tolerated or even imagined in the states. How absolutely blessed we are to be wealthy, privileged Americans, with every comfort and convenience!

This experience has given me a deeper understanding of just how intimate God's wants to be with me, and with each one of us.
He has taught me the power of prayer, not just "saying the words" prayer, but the kind of prayer that you believe can and will be answered.
He is the only true Physician, who is able to heal all sickness.
Thank you all for your prayers!!!!

 ...the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ( James 5:16)

Jun 27, 2010

Only God could write this story...

My son Sean is once again part of the Internship program here in Mozambique this summer.

Mostly we get to see each other in passing as we have different schedules, duties, and responsibilities.
This past week however, has been a different story.
When Sean complained of not feeling well, I thought maybe he just wanted some attention from mom,
as several of the other interns had complained of not feeling well this past week.
As it turned out he had very bad case of tonsillitis, we had medication on hand and treatment was started right away.
The bad news was he wasn't getting better 'fast enough', at least not fast enough to go with the interns on retreat. So as the interns were packing and preparing for a 4 day teen retreat, Sean was trying to accpet the Lord's plan for him.

Friday was a national holiday here in Mozambique, their Independence Day.  With basically everyone gone for the long weekend, and Kathy and I still in 'resting' mode, it was a great opportunity to spend  time with my son.

On Saturday morning Kathy, Sean and I traveled to Beira, to meet an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor that Noemia Cessito ( Pastor Jeronimo's wife) recommended we see.
Sean was actually feeling much better, but Noemia had made the arrangements for us and we needed to honor her kind gesture.

As it turns out, not only did the doctor recommend an additional medication, we were able to purchase what we needed right there at the clinic!
This doctor spoke some English as did his nurse/assistant!
Sean was evaluated by a doctor, and we were leaving with just what we needed.
Not to mention that I was thrilled to have made this connection! You never know when we might need to return here.
Everything God does fits together so perfectly!

On the ride home we had plenty of time to talk, mostly about the special lady in Sean's life. A subject that up until now has not been fully discussed. This time was perfect. I kept smiling as I thought about God's total control of absolutely everything!

Once home, I made some chicken quesadillas for lunch.  We spent the rest of day together, watching movies, eating popcorn, and just hanging out.

This morning ( Sunday) we headed to Centro Emissor where my son was scheduled to give the message.  He was only 'scheduled' to preach after it was determined that he would not be going on the retreat.
He did a great job and I was of course blessed to watch him share God's word with people I have come to love.

So once again as I look back over this week I am struck by the perfect faithfulness of God.
My son spent the weekend in my home in Mozambique....unbelievable!
Only God could have arranged such a time, thank you Lord.

Only God and His perfect plan for our lives could possibly write this story!

Jun 21, 2010

Baby Dedications and Deaths

As I mentioned in my last blog, our beloved friend Maria had her baby girl, Ester last week. Kathy and I got to visit them, ahead of everyone else this past Friday. We also had the privilege of giving this precious little one her name!
So yesterday (Sunday) at 2pm was the baby dedication.
 Our plan was to drive to our translator Simone's house, park the car there and walk to Maria's home. Simone had agreed to act as our official guide, as it's not easy to find a home, on a dirt path....when all the dirt paths look the same!
Kathy was driving, there was myself, Cindy, Christa and her daughter Ava, and Chel ( one of our Interns)
What Simone had neglected to tell us when he agreed to let us park on his property, was the only way to get to his home was to drive through a futebol ( soccer) game! I am not exaggerating when I say 'drive through' the game!
We started heading for one path, and I told Kathy it was further down, that meant actually driving down the side lines of this game!
We were all laughing so hard it hurt, then we saw this very agitated ref. blow his whistle and make some angry hand motions at us! Fortunately we were turning off the field at that point, thanking God that the crowd that was watching the game didn't decide to come after us!

So now we are on foot headed to Maria's house, it's alittle after two and so we are right on time. When we arrived the men in her family were lined up sitting in chairs waiting for the event to start. They all stood and gave up their chairs for us, as each one shook our hands and expressed their pleasure at our coming.
We all sat down and waited as ever so gradually a few ladies started to arrive.
Now we are used to waiting for events to start here in Mozambique but today seemed to be longer than usual.
At 4pm we heard that the delay was due to a death, a baby had died the night before, and the funeral was taking place as we waited.
As we sat, waiting and watching children, from 2 to 10 years play and entertain themselves, another family was burying their baby.
I'm not sure how a person is suppose to comprehend this. It seemed too natural, or casual maybe is a better word.  "It is what it is" I smiled as I thought of this remark.

Then I thought of a song I remember hearing after Jim died. It goes... 'He gives and takes away, He gives and takes away, my heart will choose to say Lord blessed be your name'.
 I thought about all the children playing in front of me, how many will live to become adults? How many will then bury their children? How can any of it make sense?
I sat their thinking, fighting back tears... He loves each one of us the very same, so why does it seem so lopsided?

Finally the other ladies of the church arrived and so we could begin.
It's always the same, the women, as many as can fit went into the house, go in and start the singing and praying. Then the baby is picked up by one women and handed off to another to bring out of the house and present to the women waiting outside.
Kathy and I had been given the 'signal' by the women in charge and so we got in the house!

Today our little Ester was given to Kathy to pray over and bless. Praise God!!! It was such a blessed time.
While Kathy was saying a few words, there was something going on, and a few ladies left. It wasn't until after that we were able to find out what had happen.
Someone had come to report that another baby had just died.

One baby, her name is Ester was dedicated to Our Lord this day, and two other precious babies are with
Our Lord this day.
Thank you Jesus, that we can trust your word.
                         Psalm 46:10       Be still and know that I am God

Jun 18, 2010

Today is the first day in several weeks that we have not had team members here to assist, the last of our visitors left yesterday.
So the first thing Kathy and I did, was head to the beach! We had lunch and a chance to talk....we need to do that...review, regroup, assess and pray. The food was great,  but there was little sun, so according to my calculations :) we need to return...soon!
After lunch we went into Beria where we bought a few necessities and did a little 'window shopping' for the people we love back in the project. One day soon we hope to take the 3 Amigos shopping for some much needed clothes.
We got back home long before dark, and as soon as we were showered we made some popcorn and watched a movie. We even had a bottle of Diet Dr Pepper!!! Compliments of Jason and Lindy Pieratt, thank you guys!!!

Today we started the process of cleaning and organizing our houses. Even though we have several weeks before the next team comes in, there is much to be done.
Of course all the washing is done by hand ( no easy task, when you're talking about heavy thick bath towels and blankets!) Our ladies are amazing!
We have had some issues with Bed Bugs....let's just say they are eating well at house #6! So our strategy is to wash and spray everything in sight!
They have won several battles but we shall see who will win the war!

This afternoon, Kathy and I had the privilege of going to the home of Maria, one of our emprigadas, she had a baby last Friday. A precious little girl, who is absolutely beautiful!
We brought a bag full of gifts the Texas team bought for her. Kathy and I were able to give her some money which will be used to buy pop and make fried cakes for the party!
This Sunday afternoon will be the baby dedication, Maria will 'officially' bring the baby out  and announce her name and dedicate her little life to the Lord! Praise God!!!

When we asked what her name will be Maria said that she was waiting for us to pick the name!! Can you even believe it??
I have loved Maria in a special way since I first met her. She has helped me to understand Portuguese, and has been ever so patient with me as I try to speak with her. She simply has a beautiful smile and I just love her!
She is actually an amazing young women with now 5 children. She works all day for us, cares for her growing family, as well as attends night school where she is taking 9 classes!
It was hard to believe that I was sitting in her home, deciding what her baby's name would be! Maria simply said she wanted her to have a name from the bible.
So, Kathy and I had no problem coming up with the name Ester. They pronounce it Esh-tar. It sounds so beautiful, and when we said the name to the baby she smiled! Seriously!

On our way home home we got a call from Zito explaining that his daughter Noemia once again had malaria. Praise God we were able to stop by the clinic and pick up medicine and bring it to her. We encouraged Zito to spray around his home with Baygon, a familiar bug killer, in an attempt to stop the cycle of malaria that is going around his home.
We arrived back home, the smell of Baygon still in the air.... and put our clean sheets and blankets back on the bed. We shall see who wins this next battle.
We won't ever take the saying 'sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite' lightly again, they hurt and itch big time!
Thanks again for reading.....

Jun 15, 2010

Today, I was driving our visitors around the area to deliver items for some of the children that go to school at El Shaddi.
At one point,  I decided to wait by the truck and keep watch over the rest of the items in the truck.

As, I waited I lost count as to how many times the words "good morning, how are you, and thanks be to God" were spoken.
Either I would start the exchange or the person approaching would beat me to it. One way or the other, these words were expressed with every person that walked by.
 They would slow their pace and some would shake my hand, while others had their hands full.

One young women was walking with a large washtub on her head full of bananas. She was eating a banana as well as nursing the baby that was strapped to her chest!!! Unbelievable!

Several young children passed by, many in school uniforms, they were no more than 6-8 years old. Each one spoke politely to me and smiled....I was so blessed!

One young man approached me, and I was slightly apprehensive as he seemed to 'be in my space' so I backed up a bit and then he asked who the truck belonged to.
I explained that I worked with Pastor Cessito's at the Baptist church.
He told me he knew how to drive. I said that was good, and then he asked if he could have the truck!
I smiled to myself as I remembered something I had read, while studying about the culture and the way they ask for things.
 So I told him the truck was not mine to give, it belonged to the Pastor.
Not knowing what his reaction might be, I prayed to God and then smiled as the man said "okay, goodbye now" in perfect English!

I love the people here! I love living life in Mozambique! Thank you Lord for this day!

Jun 10, 2010

God uses everything and everyone!

Early this morning I decided to ask if a few of the ladies from the Texas team wanted to go with me to the market.
They agreed and we were off. It's not terribly exciting but it was fun to see their enthusiasm and answer their many questions.
First to buy bananas, I decided to buy along the road this time as they had already experienced buying them in the main market area yesterday. Bananas bought, next stop the bread store.
I was excited to introduce them to Manuel, the young guy at the bread store. He has the biggest smile, and is always quick to share it.

A little side story....last year I had been given a t-shirt ( I love t-shirts) by Esau the man who makes wood carving, that the American visitors buy.  Manuel commented on more than one occation that he really liked the t-shirt ( it was from a local church and said something about Jesus being the Only One). Anyway, I  decided that before I head back to the states I'd give him the t-shirt. So about 2 weeks before we left last October I gave him the shirt, he was very grateful, and I felt good to be able to bless him.
 I found out several days later that he had been arrested and spent the night in jail because of this shirt! Someone had seen him wearing it and accused him of stealing it! The matter was settled and he didn't blame me, but you can imagine how awful I felt!!!
So I am praising God that he still likes me after all of that!

So we bought our bread then headed across the street to see about buying a new fan. As we left the store with our purchase a man approached us. He was not someone I recognized and so as he spoke I kept on going and unlocked the car.
The ladies were a bit nervous as I put the fan in the car and motioned for them to get in. I turned to see where the man was, I could see Manuel standing outside the breadstore with his arms folded across his chest watching everything that was going on.
I gave him a big smile and a thumbs up sign and he smiled back and waved indicating it was all okay!
He had been watching our back all along!

Can you see why I love it here? More later...

Jun 9, 2010

On Monday our next team arrived, they too are from Texas. Ten young people from the Dallas area, who raised a ton of money to make this trip and are totally excited to be here!
On Tuesday we started by taking them on a tour of the project. That included going to the preschool and the clinic, the nutrition center and our school, ElShaddi.
The tour ended early afternoon and then it was off to the beach. Some of the team will be leaving on Sunday and they have a lot planned to do between now and then. So, we decided to get the trip to the beach in first. You won't hear me complaining.........
We go to an 'oasis' of sorts, this place is beautiful, clean, really great food, good service and a view of the ocean that you will not soon forget.
So, we spent an enjoyable afternoon at Nauticoa. I got the prawn, gigantic prawn, heads and all! They are huge, grilled and the most delicious prawn I've ever tasted!
God is so very good to me!
We let the team shop for some souvenirs and then we were on our way home. Everyone seemd to enjoy the day of rest.
Today we were all up and out early. After our prayer time with the CRI staff and our Mozambican workers we all had our assignments.
 Some were off to work on the Green Door home they are building. Others were teaching at El Shaddi, or teaching a baking class. Some walked Project Life and then served soup at the hospital.

I was asked to assist with the baking class this morning. All the needed supplies were gathered and we were off to the church where the baking class would be held.
Although 8 people had signed up only two actually came. Kristen the young women teaching the class was a bit nervous initially, so I was along for moral support.
Lindy Pieratt, Jason's wife and the team leader was there also.
Once the oven was started I asked Lindy to set the temperature for me. After a bit she checked to see if the oven was warm enough and saw that the dial had been turned down. Everyone denied turning it down, so Lindy reset the dial and we thought nothing more about it. Once again when she went to check on the oven it had 'turned itself' down!
That was when we discovered that the dial she had been setting, was actually the timer!!!!
Needless to say we got quite a laugh out of it.

Everyone comes back to the team house for lunch and then they are off again for their afternoon activity.
It was a very full day for everyone as it's quite a job to feed, transport and schedule 12 visitors. Not to mention coordinating and directing 15+ staff.
The thing is it's great being here doing this work. Because even though some days are incredibly long and busy, there is always opportunity to connect with someone and build relationship.
Today for me it was when I was waiting at El Shaddi to bring some of our visitors home from teaching.
One of the teachers, her name is Rosa stopped to talk with me and we ended up having a 30 minute conversation/ Portuguese-English lesson!
It was so very cool to be able to speak in Portuguese and to actually be understood :)
We ended our time by speaking of God and His faithfulness, especially when we are in need. It was simply a sweet, blessed time with a Mozambican sister who loves the Lord!

Well I suppose that's enough for now. Tomorrow is another day and I can't wait to see what He has planned.
Thanks for walking with me...thanks for your comments! Love to you all!

Jun 7, 2010

The week in review...

I will do my best to summarize this week in as few words as possible.
The days have been long and full, and I have chosen sleep over blogging.
So here it is Saturday afternoon and relatively quiet.
As I thought about this past week and tried to sort out what to comment on I realized it has been one full week.

Let’s start with Sunday, the 30th
First of all, thank you for your comments and words of encouragement regarding my blog entries, it really is encouraging to read your remarks!
Sunday was an awesome day!
Monday, I don’t remember much about, so we’ll skip itJ
Tuesday, we said good bye to the drill team.  We needed to cars to go to the airport, because as the drill team left the Interns were arriving.  That would include my son Sean! Very excited to see him and get a hug! I am also looking forward to 8 weeks of having him kick around Dondo with us!
Let’s just say we had quite an experience driving to the airport as there was a procession in front of us on the only road to the airport….. on foot!
So we sat, and I mean sat in traffic for over an hour.
Praise God that both Todd and I had taken cars with 4 wheel drive !!
 Eventually we  got off the main road and traveled a treacherous path, where  cars and dump trucks were stuck in 6-8 foot holes filled with water.
Following Todd’s lead I managed to maneuver around and through each obstacle. It was crazy!!! Never in my life would I have imagined that I could do what I did this day!
The best part was we made it to the airport just in time to get them checked through and on their plane. Praise God!
The Interns arrived and we were on our way.  I pray that will be the last time we need to take that detour to the airport.

Wednesday and Thursday were busy with getting the team house ready for the team arriving on the 7th.  Each day was full with running errands, fixing mosquito netting, buying 25 kg sacks of rice, and 50 kg of beans.
We also had the opportunity to bless our staff with several items that came in with the Interns. Our ladies received dresses and sandals. The translators all got matching T-shirts.  We were able to give each of the 3 Amigos a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, a nicer buttoned shirt and a pair of sandals.

They were all so very grateful and I’m sure we were more blessed than they were! We gave them their gifts at our prayer time in the morning. Each day at 7am we meet with the entire staff, to pray and sing and then give them instruction for the day. It’s been a really great way to start the day!

Friday was more of the same, taking people where they needed to go picking up water at the farm. The usual trip to the market, and bread store.
The hard part this week was trying to help do Kathy’s job as well.
Last Sunday she complained of feeling tired and I knew that she was getting sick. Sure enough on Monday she tested positive for malaria and was down the rest of the  week.
So besides trying to get things ready for the next team, I was trying to keep up with some of her work as well. God continues to stretch me, that’s for sure!

I am most thankful for the people God has chosen to work with CRI, they are people who truly love the Lord. They continually put others before themselves, and are quick to serve rather than be served.
I am so very blessed to be allowed to love and serve the people of Mozambique!

So I am finally finishing this review…it is now Monday of the next week!
I pray that I don’t fall behind again with my blogging. Mostly it’s too hard to remember what I did yesterday, let alone last Tuesday!

May God bless each of you and thanks for praying for us!!!