Remember how I asked you to pray for Jason's bush outreach? Well he ended up having some extra company because our whole family went!! Oh yes, we did. God really surprised me in the way he changed my heart from having no desire to go to the “bush bush” to burning with passion to get out there. Some friends on base offered to keep Josiah and Annette, but we really felt God called us as a family. Besides, they have toddlers and kids in the bush bush too, super cute I might add! (:
To help my thoughts be more coherent and minimize rambling I will summarize our outreach in bullet points
-We drove about three hours in the back of a covered truck on paved roads and dirt road which turned into deeply pot- holed dirt roads. The pastor told us to pray that no elephants would be blocking the road.
-We didn't see any elephants, but our truck did hit a pig in the road. We went back to the village to apologize to the owner who settled the matter by selling the pig to us for 3,500 metz ($100). So the next day for lunch we had roadkill, I mean pork
-At dusk we arrived at a Muslim village that had never before been visited by a team from Iris. Our Mozambican “brothers” (our team consisted of 20 Harvest Students and 20 Mozambican Bible School Students) asked the village people to lead us to the chief's house. The chief welcomed us graciously and permitted our team to camp in his yard under a massive mango tree.
-After setting up our tent in the dark I began getting Annette ready for bed (diaper, jammies, etc) as I glanced out the tent window my gaze was met with 40 black eyes just outside my tent, silently watching my every move. (: The rest of the weekend everything we did was curiously observed.
-Jason went to the evangelism meeting where we showed the Jesus film on a giant screen and the Gospel was shared. 40 people gave their lives to Jesus that night. Alleluia!
We managed to sleep in until 5 am. Upon crawling out of our tent we were greeted with a fleet of village kids ready to play. We taught them a few games including duck- duck- goose and mango toss. The children are quite shy, which made Josiah and Annette much more confident. Annette loved to shake hands, give hugs, and generally get really close into people's space. A few younger kids cried in terror at the sight of our white skin (:
-We ate rolls and tea for breakfast, but were mindful of the village people all around just watching us eat. Mozambicans usually only eat only one meal at the end of the day.
-After breakfast we ran a program for a couple hundred children that were rounded up from the village. We played games, sang songs (very energetically!) had a drama, passed out bread, and taught them about Jesus. Annette and Josiah hung out and danced along with the kids.
-I joined some mamas in their daily chores; getting water from the well, pounding maize with a tall stick and sifting the rocks out of the rice and beans. It is fun how the work is done in community.
-There was a meeting with the men who gave their lives to Jesus the night before, one of whom is the village chief!!! A man was chosen to pastor (God has previously given Jason some prophetic words that this man was to be the pastor) and will be coming to Pemba to attend Bible School in the spring. Next the chief donated land for a church to the built. Our team purchased bamboo and the construction was started that afternoon! And right in front of our eyes a church was planted in a remote village called Kule!!
-In the afternoon we went from hut- to- hut praying for the sick, sharing the gospel and inviting people to the evangelism event that evening. People in the village speak Mackua so our Portuguese is not useful. Everything must be translated through an interpreter which made communication a big challenge.
-That night there was a full moon and around midnight we heard drumming, singing and dancing outside our tent. This continued on until 4:30 am when I surrendered the notion of sleep and crawled out of my tent. There I saw a big crowd of women jubilantly dancing and singing. Our translator told me that the women have been celebrating all night a girl's rite of passage into womanhood. Apparently the girl started her period yesterday, according to Mozambican tradition they conducted a female circumcision (horrible). The girl was then left at home while all the woman danced around spreading the word to the village that the girl is now a woman. They focused their celebration in our yard because they wanted to be sure that the chief heard the news (pretty sure he did!) The worse part is this girl is now “open for business” sexually. Truly horrid.
-In the morning we gave away some clothes we had along. We asked Josiah if he wanted to give away his Ultraman t-shirt (his favorite). After some consideration he decided he wanted to. We put it on a little boy his size and they were best friends after that, playing until it as time to say farewell and load up onto the truck.
-We arrived back at base around noon to the very good news that the water was on (the well issues have been resolved) and the most deeply appreciated shower of my life.
It was an incredible cultural experience and really a blessing to get to participate together as a family. Heidi Baker has been teaching us the importance of going “low and slow” into a new culture, and who better to do that than a child?
I was so impressed to see the passion, organization and effectiveness with which the Mozambican pastors reached this village. They made sure to say farewell to all the new believers before we left, with the promise of sending a discipleship team to them in the next month. The new Christian's pleaded, “please don't forget about us”. From this experience we could understand how Iris Ministries has established over 10,000 churches across Mozambique. Currently at Pemba there are 300 pastors from across the country being trained and equipped to pastor in their local villages. A lot of the teaching involves breaking off syncrotism (a blend of traditional spirit- worship with Islam or Christianity) and teaching people to follow the one true Way. In the villages people go to the witch doctor to receive healing or place curses over people. When they see Spirit- filled pastors performing miracles and healings (on our trip one person was healed of a tumor on her eye and another person's sight was restored) they see a greater power out- poured and cannot deny the cross.