May 30, 2010

Family Day Celebration

First thing this morning Kathy and I headed to Centro Emissor.
Kathy in one car and I in the pick-up.
The plan: pick up everyone who is coming to the main church in Dondo, for the Annual Family Day Celebration.
The vehicles were filled with singing and dancing! Yes believe it or not, the ladies actually dance in the back of the truck!
The service started about 8:30 with more singing and dancing, then the message. Pastor talked about the importance of the family unit. The need for strong families that include a mother and father. Families who attend church and follow the Lord and not the witchdoctors. The message was powerful and exactly what we would expect from Pastor Jeronimo.

Initially, Afonso was translating. You have to understand how this works. The guys sit beside us and try to wisper in English what is being said. The idea is to not disturb anyone around who is trying to listen to Pastor.
So as Pastor is speaking he doesn't stop for our translators. They need to listen while they translate, and not miss the next thing that is being said. I could never be a translator!
 Afonso who is in his first year of translating for us was having some difficulty. The next thing you know Fernando came to his rescue. Ever so casually he slipped him a small notebook with words to assist him. Words like sovereignty, faithfullness, perseverance, words that Pastor would be likely to use.
It was such a blessing to watch as Fernando demonstrated this act of kindness.
 I had tears in my eyes as I watched the fruits of the Spirit being demonstarted in their actions!
I praise God for these young men and pray that as they grow in the Lord He will use them to do mighty things for His Kingdom in Heaven.

Several church plants were present and each had prepared music and dancing for the was awesome. Kathy and I sat there like a couple of proud parents when the people from Centro Emissor had thier turn...they were incredible!!!!
Each year part of the service includes the married couples coming up front and exchanging some words of affirmation.  Then they all kiss for the's great fun and elicits quite a response:)

At that moment, God had me see Zito sitting outside the church all alone. Zito is the young man who was married to Ziara. She died about 7 months ago, and immediately my heart ached for Zito.
I knew what he was feeling, I knew this was one of those 'harder than usual' times.
 I went out and sat with him, explaining that God had told me to. I had no words that could help, except to repeat the words I had told myself after Jim died...."God's plan is always perfect, He never makes a mistake."
Zito actually started to cry a bit which is unusual and not acceptable here. In that moment I found myself frustrated. I wanted him to be able to cry, to express his feelings, to let it out! I begged God for the right words. None came.
We sat quietly together until the silence was interrupted by a friendly "bom dia"from someone passing by.
Please keep praying for Zito, that God would help him to see that the plan He has for him and his family is perfect.

The service ended just before 2pm then it was time to eat!

Everyone who wanted lunch had to sign up in advance and pay a small amount for the food that was prepared.  A heaping bowl full of rice, with a few pieces of chicken, some beans and a scoop of coleslaw. It was delicious and a real feast for everyone!
I think is was around 4pm when we loaded up the car and truck for the trip back to Centro Emissor.
It was like coming home from the game and your team had won!! They were all wound up....and still partying, all the way home!!

I have the very best job ever!!!

May 28, 2010

Clean water wells!

The past few days I helped out with the well drilling team from Tomball Texas. I haven't exactly drilled any wells, but they did need someone who was able to drive and so that's where I came in.

Over the last 2 weeks these guys have been drilling and repairing water wells at the Ray of Light project.
This week they have been working at the church plant in Savane. It's about an hour and a half drive, on precarious dirt roads.

The well is being dug about 200 feet from the new cement church being built there. There is much excitement and the people are thanking and praising God for His faithfulness!
We left early each morning and after spending time singing and praying with the ladies of the church, I watched the guys work.

I spend 2 days pretty much standing ( you can't sit because of the ants)  around watching them work, thinking "God you can't possibly mean for me to sit here and do nothing".

Shortly after that Agosta brought her daughter to me explaining that she had a problem and wondered if I could help. So the back seat of the truck became my clinic. Soon all the ladies asked 'Ela Enfermeira'? ( Is she a nurse?) Before long each of the women had some condition they needed to share with me.
So I did what I could with the supplies I had on hand, they were pleased,  and I was seeing God's hand in all of it!

There was another reason for my presence there. Quite simply, to bridge the gap between two cultures.
I am by no means an expert, but I have learned over these past 2 1/2  years that there are differences!
Besides the obvious ones you may think of, there are many not so apparent ones.

I was grateful to be there, to be able to explain why some things were being done the way they were being done.
These guys were working hard to accomplish the task at hand. Like most all of us, we tend to be so focused on the work that we forget about our surroundings.
I was grateful to be able to answer their questions and give some basic explanations.

So it was good that I was there, right where God meant for me to be at that time.
I was blessed by being with the ladies of Savane church whom I love!
Watching them clear a field while singing, or tend to their garden while preparing food and watching's quite simply amazing to watch how these ladies live their lives!

I suppose the bottom line is, no matter where God has me is where I am suppose to be. So while I was  'being bored' and thinking about the other things I was suppose to be doing, God opened my eyes to see the importance of each and every little thing He asks us to do.
They were good days filled with multiple mini blessings and as we prepare to head back in the morning, I am looking forwad to what God has planned next.
Thanks for reading....

May 25, 2010

Working for the Lord

I am not sure it's possible to do justice to explaining the day the Lord has arranged, but I will try.

My heart, soul, mind, and body have been stimulated since 5:15 this morning!
Mostly my days consist of multiple small jobs and errands. All very important and necessary, but some might consider them menial, in fact even I used too!

Praise God that He has shown me that what I used to consider menial is really quite essential to the work the Lord is doing here in Dondo with the Ray of Light project.

Today I made two trips to the market. Once in the morning( I do this everyday) to get the supplies needed for today and tomorrow. Then I needed to return at dusk as the plans for tomorrow had changed.
So,  I needed to get extra supplies for the water well drilling team who will be on-site all day.

It's not a good idea to go to the market late in the day, it gets dark early and quickly! But, I had just been informed of the change in plans and with the early start planned for morning, I knew I needed to get to the market tonight. I was not looking forward to this.

Our three newest translators ( we call them The Three Amigos) were finishing up some work in the yard and I asked if they would come to the market with me.
I love these guys! They are 17 years old and the nicest young men you could ever hope to meet.
They all eagerly agreed to come with me and instantly I felt a sense of relief.

So here it is getting dark fast and I'm driving to the market making my list in my mind. I wanted to get this done quickly and get back home.
So I decided to ask Fernando where we should go for the beans. I come to the market everyday and have my ladies I do business with, but now it's's dark out and there are no lights at the market!

Fernando puts the question to the guys and they start firing back and forth where I should go. It is so great to watch these three together, they are quite the team! I was loving the moment and the opportunity that the Lord had allowed me this night.

We enter the first shop, they had lights, we buy the beans and move on. The next shop had the oil we needed, and the guys were around me like 'what's his name' in The Bodyguard.
You would have thought it was my first day in Dondo and I had never been to the market before. The guys took my money from me and handed it the owner and then accepted the change and counted it making sure it was right. They were taking care of me and I was loving every minute!

Now we're further into the market, where the only lights are some sporadic little fires burning under some cooking pots.
I still needed tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers.
We ended up going to one of the ladies I've bought from before. I only knew it was Lucinda because of where she was located, and I recognized her voice.
I tell her what I need and as she counts out the vegetables I try to focus my eyes so that I can see. I have to tell you there is no 'checking for good vegetables' in the dark!
So I hand her a bill as she opens up her cell phone for light and begins the challenging task of counting back my change. My Three Amigos are literally at my side, carrying my purchases as well as recounting the change I was given.

I ended up taking my tiny flashlight from my bag to assist in this process.
As they continued to recount the change, I was mindful that perhaps she would think I didn't trust her.
I do trust Lucinda and I wanted that to be conveyed, but at the same time these guys were looking out for me. What was I suppose to do?
Our boys love us as much as we love them... they call Kathy and I 'mum', it is so sweet and blesses us beyond belief.

Okay so finally they are done with their counting, Lucinda had made a mistake only a few coins ( the equivalent of less than a few cents) but the guys were proud to have found the error and she promised to make it right the next time.

I was so blessed by the three of them, for being my guardians, my helpers, for simply being willing to come with me and doing so joyfully!
I treated them to a bunch of bananas ( their choice) and dropped them as close to their home as I could go at that hour.
As I drove the rest of the way home I was smiling and thanking God. Thanking HIm for a great day of small jobs and errands that need to be done. Thanking Him that He has asked me to do them, and that He has blessed me with the most precious people to do them with and for!

I love working for the Lord and I know that these young men have that same spirit, you can see it in their words and actions! Thank you Jesus for Fernando, Afonso and little Fernando!

May 20, 2010

Day off....well not quite

So today was to be our day off.
It started at 6am.
I got out from under my mosquito netting and made my way to the kitchen. Good news, we had electricity this morning, that means COFFEE.
Washed and got dressed. Coffee's ready, time for Kathy and to pray and get our day started with God in the lead.
Kathy was off to a meeting at 6:30am, I ran to the bread store and picked up two of our translators.
Back to our house where all our staff meet for prayer each morning at 7am.
This morning Maria one of our Empregadas lead our time with a devotional based on Psalm 23. Chico our gardener closed us in prayer and then the ladies sang a song ( the song is for my benefit:) I love listening to the ladies sing!

Instructions were given for the work to be done and meals that needed to be prepared and the translators were given their assignments for the day.
A quick trip to the market for supplies for our house and the team house.
Then with our to-do lists in hand Kathy and I went into Beira.
First stop Maukurara, what we call Sam's Club, because you can buy things by the case:) We are building relationship with the  Muslim owner and his wife, Ikra and their baby daughter Farita.
Then off to Nautica, a really nice place to eat right on the beach!
The sun was behind clouds and I was bummed, after all this was suppose to be our day off.

As we left Nautica I saw our friend Johnny. He is a young man who is cripple, deaf and mute. We  pay him to watch our car for us while we are inside. Then it struck me....

Initially I was looking forward to the day( at least part of it) off. In actuality we had about an hour and a half to get away for lunch. It was certainly enough and we felt refreshed, but there I was, bummed that the sun wasn't out.
 I felt ridiculous and ashamed!
There was Johnny, he was sitting on the ground beside our car.  As he scrambled to his feet using his smoothed branch for a crutch,  his all too familiar grin appeared without hesitation.

In that moment, the Lord helped me to see just how selfish and childish I was being.
I am so grateful that God used Johnny to help me see what He wanted me to see this day.

We left Johnny with his pay for a job well done and let him know we would see him again, then we were off to complete our to-do list.
I am so grateful that God uses everything and everybody to help us walk closer to Him as we head down the path He has chosen for us.

Thank you Jesus for a good day, which started "off" till you turned it "on" again.
Thank you Jesus for Johnny, I pray that you will continue to watch over him.

May 17, 2010

Wow....where do I begin?

Bom Dia!
 I told myself to remember at least one story each day, and sit down before going to bed and BLOG! So far  that has not exactly worked out, sorry.
I have so much to tell you!
I hope you all already Kathy's blog.....
Her last story talked about our visiting with Zito and the children for the first time since Ziara's death. We knew it would be hard, and it was. We know she is with our Lord, but our heart's ache as we long to have her back with us and her family. I prayed that God would help me offer words of encouragement to Zito, and I believe He did, even though the words were spoken through many tears.
We pray that Zito will persevere and continue to grow in the Lord as he leads his family, and his church family at Centro Emissor.

I have had many blessed moments and so much has gone on in just 5 days! It feels like we never left!

Let's see, on Sunday a police officer stopped Kathy and I  after church. He told us to take his friend to Dondo, about 6K down the road, so that he could buy his lunch for him!!!
Now what would you do?
We say no, and make the officer mad, and then what?  So, we said yes, and these two young men climb in the back seat and off we go. It felt a lot longer than 6K as my mind was replaying every murder mystery I had ever seen on TV! Only in Mozambique!

Saturday at the market I asked about my 'plastico' boy, Arlindo ( I told you about him last year) It didn't take long before he was standing right beside me with the biggest grin on his face! I asked about his vovo (grandma) and if he had been attending church. He said she was good, and yes he had been going to church. I know my smile was at least as big as his!

Today, we were out in the field with the water well drilling team who came in yesterday from Texas. One man got a gash on his hand. It was bleeding a bit and so I cleaned it up and applied some band-aids. Later Kathy was laughing  and said, "hey do you get it...the "field nurse" but on a band-aid, out in the field". She thought it was pretty funny....and she makes fun of me!

Today we had the opportunity to meet with many people we love and look forward to seeing each year. We saw so many precious faces, and got our share of hugs! Praise God! It was a great day!

Later in the morning, I saw Carlitos, the clinic manager, work along side the ladies who work in project life. They are planting a garden, with dreams of suppling vegetables to the people in project life.
You may remember Carlitos from one of my newsletters, he is an incredible young man, who always puts others first. I just love him!
 One of ladies, is my dear friend Maria  ( she was pregnant in 2008, I promised to pray for her and in 09  I met Tiago, James in English, I wrote about her too:)
Then there was Pasqua and Julia....I just love all these ladies!

It was a great day and God blessed me with His grace! Thank you Jesus!
It has been an amazing week, and I am so very blessed!
But now I need my rest:)  More next time.

Don't you just love what my "Interior Blog Designer"created?

May 8, 2010

Good, Godly goodbyes

It's time! After months of talking about and planning for our return to Mozambique, the time has finally come!
We are so excited to be returning to Dondo, to reconnect and to pray and encourage our brothers and sisters in Mozambique!

That also means that we will be leaving our brothers and sisters here in the states. That's the tough part of this "Best Job Ever".

It really is the "Best Job Ever",yet we hate to refer to it as a job, as it doesn't feel like work! To be in the Lord's presense and seeking His will for our lives, that is not work, it's called being blessed!

It is difficult to say goodbye, and it feels like that's what we're always doing, saying goodbye.
We learned at Missionary Training International, that you have to have a "good" goodbye, so that you can have a "healthy" hello.
It makes sense... how can your hello be truly healthy if you're dwelling on goodbyes that weren't positive and encouraging?

So, as we've been busy checking off our to-do list and packing and visiting and praying for wisdom, we have also been asking God to help us shine His light through us as we say "good" goodbyes.

We pray that they will be "Glorious, Godly" goodbyes, and that we will bless all of you who bless our lives!
Thank you for your love and support and "good" goodbyes!

Proverbs 2: 1-11

1 My child, listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
2 Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
3 Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
4 Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
8 He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.

9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
11 Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe.

We have all we need right here in His word, Thank you Jesus!
Lord willing we will see you all in October!