Friday, December 23, 2011

Mozambique Christmas

This Christmas there is not one pine tree in sight, no snow (we're used to that), no Christmas lights, no wrapping paper, in fact we can't even get our hands on construction paper!!

But there is lots of joy and anticipation building inspite of all that might be 'missing' in our eyes. Today is Christmas Eve and we have the pleasure of hosting a party for 300 children at the orphanage tonight. Christmas Day after church everyone in the community is welcome to a feast at Iris. Many people will queue up for hours in the hot sun to get chicken, rice and coke. We are anticipating 5,000 people!!!

I just wanted to share with you a few of Josiah's 'hand- crafted' Mozambian toys this Christmas. He couldn't have been more excited if they came in a shiny box from from Toys- R- Us.
Josiah's push car constructed from bamboo, a drinking straw, discarded pen, scrap wire, and cut up flip- flops.

his sling- shot . . . watch out!

Any guesses what this is? A ball made from plastic bags and string

Annette's favorite toys are her bottle cap collection and like any toddler a good

Hope your Christmas celebration is beautiful and full of joy. God, Immanuel, is with us even (especially) in Mozambique- Alleluia!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Hero- Heidi Baker

Seven years ago Jason and I lay in our bed in La Mirada reading aloud “There is Always Enough” by Heidi Baker. As we read we wept. We were broken by the heart wrenching stories and descriptions of laid- down love in Mozambique. Since then it has been a dream of ours to understand more what that kind of love looks like. I was nervous coming to finally visit Heidi (and Rolland) at Iris Ministries, fearful that I would discover that she was not for real or that her stories were exaggerated or no longer happening. Now, after three months under Heidi's teaching, my heart is overflowing to have found that while she is very radical, she is also for real. Here's a bit of what I've observed. . .

Radical Worship- Jesus is truly Heidi's greatest delight. She loves to be in God's presence and draw others into the secret place. She never speaks without first worshiping Jesus (usually on her face). She said once a church told her, 'worship as long as you want before you go up to speak'. She took them literally, until finally at 11:30 pm they tapped her to go up and speak. (:

Radical Obedience- I heard Heidi say once, “If God told me to walk off a cliff I would. By the way, I do it all the time”. Her life and ministry are so infused with faith and obedience that she is not afraid to step out in faith. Heidi has been shot at, stoned, shipwrecked etc. She lives her life in a place where she is daily dependent on miracles just to survive. Heidi has inspired other missionaries to run into some of the darkest places in the world. Right now there are Iris teams in the red zones in Congo, child brothels in Thailand, and drug dens in Brazil. Inspired by Heidi, they go joyfully because they know who they are in Christ.

Radical Power- Love has to look like something and often it looks like bringing God's power from heaven to earth. Heidi displays God's power through signs that point others to Him. She has seen many blind eyes opened and consistently (I wouldn't be telling you this if it wasn't true) sees deaf people healed. Several times God has multiplied food in their ministry and they have seen the dead raised. This is so surprising to some of us in the West, but should it be? Jesus said, you will do greater things than I.

Radical Generosity- Although Iris was having a financially tight month in November God told Heidi to give all of the money from one of her conferences away to another ministry working to stop sex trafficking. Here is Mozambique she is challenging us to share the food we have in front of us with the poor because “we stay poor when we don't give”

Radical Love- Heidi has taught us to ask “what does love look like?” Because love has to look like something to people. It is fun to watch Heidi love on her “kids” at the children's home. When we were meeting in her office some boys climbed over the wall into her office because they knew they were welcome in “Mama Aidia's” house. As she met with our group she held kids on her lap, cuddled them and reminded them how precious they are. Every weekend she has a slumber party at her house with 10 kids from the home. I just love that practical, tenacious love in the midst of so much fame.

Radical Joy- The joy of the Lord is one of Heidi and Rolland's core value as they live out the verse “in all our troubles our joy knows no bounds.” They are very honest that they could never have endured this long without a river of life and joy flowing from their innermost being. I have learned from them that in His joy we are all the more capable of compassion for others, unfettered by our own sorrows.

Radical Peace- I have observed over the last few months that Heidi Baker has one of the most insane, demanding schedules of anyone I've ever met. She speaks around the world half her life, has 10,000 children “under” her care on a daily basis, pastors a church, has 3,000 foreigners a year to her mission base in Mozambique (including 2 missions schools), trains hundreds of local pastors, plants thousands of churches etc. . . Yet, she truly knows that it is not her, that she is a “tiny paint brush in his hand,” just a “little lady in the dirt”. One thing that most hit me when I've been around Heidi is the way she is 100% in the moment. When she talks to you or hugs you, you feel like she is all there, focusing entirely on you. At graduation she called all the kids from mission school up on the stage and hugged them and gave them gifts. Although there was a lot of chaos going on, she was so peaceful and calm. She looked Josiah straight in the eye and could tell he didn't want the wooden box she first offered him so she traded it for an African drum. Heidi's motto is “stop for the one”. If you are the one in front of her, you can fully feel that she has stopped for you.

I am not saying that Heidi Baker is perfect- of course she is not- but God has touched my life so much through getting to watch her's.

**Family News- In case you are wondering what we are up to these days Jason has been on an outreach in the Bush Bush Bush Bush for 7 days now and has 3 more to go. He is in a village, as his leader told me “3- 12 hours away.” Very specific. I have got a couple texts from him. He said they planted a church and are discipling 70 new believers. He also asked me to text him a cake recipe that he was going to cook over the fire today for a girl's birthday (: I love Jason. The kids and I are on base living with a lovely missionary named Danielle. The days have been slow, but we are trying to enjoy an unhurried pace and our final weeks in Mozambique (we fly out Dec 26). If you are reading this we miss you and love you ****

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hi friends!!! Are you getting in the holiday spirit? We are wondering how the tree in Festival Walk HK looks and thinking about you beautiful California people stringing up lights on your houses. It doesn't feel at all like Christmas here as the temperature and humidity are building up to a southern hemisphere summer. Sweet Jesus! But on the positive side you will be relieved to know that in Mozambique Christmas is not at all commercialized (:

It feels like we have been in Africa for- ev-ver. It has been three months and long enough to get over the cultural honeymoon. We still love the people, but among things that are getting really old food is at the top of the list. We made up a game called “Matapas Muscles” to get Josiah to eat his Matapas (a spinachy sauce with lots of gritty sand mixed in) Here he is flexing!

Baby Update
Remember the mama who lost six babies? Here she is with beautiful, CHUBBY Margartia!!! Isn't she the cutest, healthiest baby ever?! We made history in milk clinic this week with the arrival of triplets!! In a country where 1 in 10 babies die before the age of one, triplets can be a real challenge. The triplets were 6 weeks old and named Berta, Bertino, and Bertina. Berta and Bertino were doing quite well (around 2.5 kg each) but little Bertina was only 1.7 kilos (under 4 pounds) and the tinniest baby I have ever held. Just skin and bones, but so beautiful. Please pray LIFE over this little one is Jesus name!!

Chickens in the Ditch
A few weeks ago Jason was coming back to the base from town with some bread and snacks for our family. As he passed the ditch where men had been digging all day in the heat a worker ran up to him asking for a piece of bread because he was hungry. Thinking about hungry kids at home and the hassle of getting to town he said no. To make things more convicting, Heidi had just preached about seeing Jesus in those that are hungry, thirsty, unclothed, and in prison. He sheepishly said sorry and walked on but asked God for mercy. Immediately God said “Jason they are going to be there for a few more weeks, go back and bring food for all of them and give them what you would want.” Usually they eat around noon (rice and beans out of the shovel) so Jason brought 30 grilled chickens and french fries to the workers last Friday. He had tried to arrange this in advance with the foreman, but due to language barrier and logistics was unable to inform him. So, Jason felt a bit silly walking down the road with our stroller piled high with chickens for men who already had lunch. But when he arrived the men were still working because apparently there was no lunch that day. You can imagine their excitement to see Jason and the “frangos”.

While they ate Jason (with an interpreter) thanked the men for their work and shared about the good news of the gospel. About 50 men (several Muslims) listened eagerly and 15 prayed to receive Christ afterwards! He was praying for some sick men when the 'boss' told him it was time to stop because the cement was ready to be poured. But when he realized what Jason was doing he lost his haste and asked Jason if he could please pray for his neck as well! They thanked Jason for coming because evidently it was their last day on the job. The verse he used was John 6:35 “I am the bread of life, He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. Jesus' words, “my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work,” became very real that day to Jason in the revelation that God could use him and some chickens in a ditch!

This week is the last week of school. Tomorrow is commissioning and Thursday is graduation. There are some really incredible speakers here including Will Hart, David Wagner and Mel Tari

Quotes from class:

You can never win what you do not love

Failure is never final where there's a Father

What would you dare to ask God for if you knew you would not be denied?

People need to see a dimension of love they have never seen before

The way you do things is more important that what you do

Live from the inside out

God does not call the equipped, He equips the called

Do we think church is a place where we do things or a place where God does things?

Revival is not a church full of people, it is a person full of God

The way up is down

People without a future will always go back to their past

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible

What is the other side of your obedience?