Friday, October 28, 2011

Crazy God Stuff and a Worm Story

The weeks are really starting to pick up speed now as we get into a routinue with school, ministry and hanging out with new friends. God has been teaching and showing us some really amazing things. Here is a glimpse of what is going on. . .

Josiah's Dream
It has been incredible to see Josiah's faith grow in our time here. This was certainly not our expectation in “dragging him along” but God loves to do more than we can ask or imagine. Annette fell down the other day when they were playing outside and I overheard him comforting her than touch her knee and pray, “pain be gone in Jesus name”. Last week he told us he had a dream where he went to heaven with Jesus. We asked him what he did and he answered that he went fishing with Jesus. He said they caught lots of fish and had two pieces of bread. Then they brought the fish and bread “down here” and gave them out to everybody. “To the black people, white people, everybody, there was lots of food for everybody”. It is amazing how easy it is for Josiah to have childlike faith, since he is a child! His dream was an encouraging reminder to us of God's abundant resources.

Quotes from Class

All fruitfulness flows out of intimacy with God.

How do we make God happy? By trusting him.

We are totally bankrupt apart from God.

The only way forward in the Christian life is lower still.

We are here to thrill God and if we miss that, we miss the point.

Life always comes from the Spirit.

There is no misery when you know who you are. You can run into dark places when full of joy.

Joy is not overrated.

Go low and slow.

If we lay down our lives for Jesus in service, but don't enjoy him, we have failed completely.

Out of reckless abandonment comes exhilarating joy.

Last Friday Jason asked God if he should go on the afternoon village outreach. He heard God say “yes”. Then he asked God, who should I look for? God told Jason “find a girl named Anita who is deaf and pray for her”. So Jason, with Annette in his backpack, headed into the village with a team from Harvest School. They began asking people in the village if they knew a deaf girl named Anita. Eventually some kids led them to a hut where a girl named Kanita lived. Kanita is eight years old and deaf. The team prayed for Kanita and God opened her ears!! A big smile spread across her face as they tested her hearing whispering the word “Jesush” and she repeated. The team ministered some more to the family and invited them to church.
Sunday morning we were greeted by a beaming Kanita and her sisters. She ran up to Jason, giving him a big hug and even bigger smile. All we could do was tell her over and over how much God loves her. We had an extra fun African dance party that morning and it was beautiful to watch Kanita dance to the music she could hear!! After church we celebrated with chicken and coke at the beach. Alleluia!
The crazy thing is this type of miracle is common here!! The last weekend outreach team saw two deaf people healed and cataracts fall off the eyes of nearly blind people. We cry out, “more Lord!”

Worm Story
Both of the kids have had some funky Africa skin rashes. This week Annette developed two zit- looking bumps that we thought were possibly spider bites. After five days they weren't improving and we had the doctor take a look. He told us they were worms that had crawled under her skin. He stuck a needle in and before our eyes pulled a worm out. The other bump wasn't “ripe” yet so we waited a few more days for the worm to come to the surface. When he opened this one up we were shocked at the size of the worm that poked up from the hole!! He said it was the biggest worm he had ever removed (don't go wild in your imagination it was probably ½ long, but still in my baby- ewww!) Here we are outside the clinic, you can see the red bump on her back where the worm was hiding. This is Africa baby!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Meize Milk Clinic

On Fridays I drive out to a village outside of Pemba called Meize. Meize is my happy place. Every week 40 precious babies gather under the mango tree for a Milk Clinic run by Iris. The purpose of the clinic is to distribute formula to babies who cannot breast feed exclusively, because their mother has died or is HIV positive, or she does not have enough milk for whatever reason. Buying formula would be completely unaffordable and out of the question for these families. At the clinic we hang a scale from the mango tree and weigh the babies to chart their growth. Then Bridget (the missionary nurse) determines the formula and rice to be allocated to each baby.

One woman came to us last week with a two week old baby. The woman said she had no breast milk (she didn't) and the baby had lost 40% of its birth weight. Bridget asked the woman how many children she had. She told us that she had six babies, and had lost six babies. Each one of her babies had died. Six pregnancies, six labors, six funerals. It was the most amazing moment to watch the smile spread across her face as she was given a bottle and three tins of milk. Hope. Without the milk she would more than likely have had a seventh funeral that week.

This past week was really intense for me and I was flooded with a wave of nausea as we faced several emaciated babies covered in sores with blank, listless stares. My heart especially went out to the caregivers, fathers and sisters, who have just buried their wife/mother and now are fighting for the life of their baby. We have been talking in Mission School this week about what Good News means to the poor. Certainly to these families Good News can look like a tin of milk.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled"

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Day at Harvest Mission School

5:00- Sun- up! Outside our compound walls mamas are cooking or carrying water and children are laughing while we, inside, are desperately trying to convince Josiah and Annette that the day has not begun.

6:00- Jason or Christine go for a run on the beach with a friend (it is not safe to go out alone).

6:30- a bell rings and we go to collect our breakfast of rolls, to which we add bananas, peanut butter, coffee, vitamins and malaria tablets

7:00- dressed and out to play! The student compound has these amazing 2,000 year old trees which are perfect for swings.

8:00- Class starts! There are over 300 students in the mission school representing 25 countries. We are crammed in the student hut where we sit on ground. The morning usually has two worship sessions and two teaching sessions. The teaching ranges from understanding our identity in Christ to lessons in cross- cultural communication. Sometimes we have combined class in the church with the Mozambican Bible Students. Josiah and Annette come to class with us and we do our best to entertain them using crayons, sticks, bottlecaps, food, movies etc. We bring Annette's pack 'n play and she naps in the nearby prayer hut. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays Josiah gets to go to a special class for kids where he learns scripture, Bible stories, games, and how to hear God's voice.

1:00- Class is over. Lunch in the dinning hall is either rice and beans or beans and rice (: We like it, but I think you can tell from this picture it is getting a little old.

1:30- 5:30- In the afternoon we sometimes have meetings with our small group or language learning classes (Portuguese). On Wednesday Jason ministers in the Pemba prison. Friday afternoons Christine helps run a baby clinic in a nearby village. Two of our favorite activities are hanging out at the beach (just in front of our compound) or the village (just behind our compound). Isn't Mozambique beautiful and full of treasure!?!

6:00- Dinner in the dinning hall is usually rice with either fish, spinach or cabbage on top. On Tuesdays we have “family time” with our amazing house mates from Australia and the UK. This week we cooked chicken stew, yum!

7:00- Dirty, dirty kids bathed and snuggled under their mosquito nets to bed. There are optional evening sessions of prayer, worship, speakers or African dance parties (love it!!!) Other nights we hang out on the porch talking with people we've met here. There are 8 families and 18 kids, in fact the there are 4 three year old for Josiah to play with!!

9:00- Feels very late and we usually crash early but not without thanking God for the incredible privilege to be in Africa and to get to know Him better. I took this photo of a sunset here on the mission base (called Village of Joy). Isn't that horse majestic posing there?!

For those of you who aren't familiar with Iris Ministries you can learn more about them from their website. Heidi and Rolland have been missionaries for 32 years and have stood fearlessly in one of the world's poorest countries through civil war, floods and famine. They have seen massive revival sweep the nation including many miracles such as healing of the blind and deaf, food multiplication and the dead being raised (crazy). They have been teaching us that fruitfulness flows out of intimacy with God. The message of Iris is simple but powerful- love the one in front of you.

1. Ants. Our bed was completely invaded our first night by thousands of biting ants and we still have an ongoing battle with them.
2. Workmanship. Things here just break easily so it feels like we keep rebuilding. For a week there was a sewage leak outside our door and twice our bed has completely collapsed! This is Africa baby!
3. Prices. Western items, such as toilet paper, shampoo, peanut butter are so inflated. A package of toilet paper is $20, a liter of milk is $5 and you don't even want to know how much cheese costs.
4. Rambunctious Kids. The village kids are so precious, but quite aggressive. We have to careful because some of them will yank at our kid's limbs or grab their blonde hair. ):

1. House. We have one of the best houses on the compound with the fewest number of people and an incredible ocean breeze blowing into our room
2. Laundry Lady. The families have access to a beautiful laundry lady who twice a week hand washes all of our clothes, so I only have to wash Annette's diaper.
3. Infinite Babysitters. Jason and I could go out every night of the week (we don't) because so many people have offered to watch the kids. There are a lot of young, single girls at the school so that is amazing.
4. Health Care. I had to laugh when we got here because health care was one of my greatest fears and we probably have better health care here on the base then we will anywhere else this year. There are 25 doctors or nurses in the Mission School, including our housemate Mollie who is a doctor!! Someone is always on call and can respond quickly with loving care, prayer and medicine if necessary. The kids have both already had colds and eye- infections. Josiah vomited one night and Annette is raging a fever at the moment- please pray, doubtful that it is malaria. But, God has really given us a peace that we can trust Him and that he can take care of us. Alleluia!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

update pemba

We have been in Pemba now for nearly 2 weeks and are thriving. It was nice having already been in Africa for 3 weeks we felt like we could hit the ground running. The Iris base in Pemba is the headquarters for the ministry and is a beehive of activity. It is really amazing what goes on. They are constantly growing not just in the base but in northern Mozambique as well. For instance they just broke ground on a hospital on the 10th and are building a baby house for the 30+ children under 3 at the same time. Heidi and Rolland flew in taught a week of classes and are now spanning the globe again going to conferences in Norway. It has been amazing to hear from these guys speak about their perspective while going 100 mph!! Just in the last 10 days these events give testimony to ministry in Africa and continual revival.
1) One of Heidi's adopted sons accidentally hit a boy, escaped a mob trying to kill him, and was held in the police station. While in the station the other prisoners started rioting shouting that he is a murderer and should be in with them. While at first terrified, in the power of the Spirit he told the chief of police to let him in. The chief refused exclaiming that the mob would kill him. He responded with "Greater is He that is in me than the rouser of the mob." He proceeded to enter the jail, quieted the mob, preached the gospel, calling on them to repent. Within 30 minutes 40 prisoners gave their lives to the Lord. The rest of the night was spent in worship.
2) 18 year old was taken up into a vision of heaven for 3 hours
3) Rolland was at the verge of death after Christine and I had just seen him running on the beach.
4) A diamond fell in the midst of people while they worshiped.
5) Witchcraft was found in the vehicle of the base leaders vehicles.

The reality of the spiritual is very real both in the Kingdom of light and darkness.

The greatest experiences we've had though have been worshiping African style, hearing about living from a place of love, and ministering with and to other students.

Josiah and Annette have been doing great. Josiah is at home with the children, sticks and dirt. Annette goes with the flow and melts the hearts of visitors and Africans alike.

Christine will be going on weekly outreaches to a nearby village to help with the babies and mothers's breastfeeding. Jason will be going to the local prison and ministering every Wednesday.

When there is no class we have taken advantage of going to the beach and the village. We saw whales breaching just 400meters off shore!! Josiah likes to poke the jellyfish with his sticks and Annette enjoys clanging the shells together.

Christine will hopefully be able to upload photos soon.

Thank you all for your prayers and support.