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!!!