Friday, June 11, 2010

Manchinana Jesu

Manchinana Jesu (Makua for the "In Jesus Name")

-top left picture: The pemba, Mozambique airport -top right picture: The Pemba Iris Ministries Base. The church is on the left. the road that the car on is the entrance in and out of the base. The beautiful beach is directly across the street from the base (from the direction the car is coming from)
-right:the tiny luggage belt in the Pemba airport.

The thought of trying to decide what to say and how to say it overwhelms me. There is too much!...An overwhelming amount of goodness and new life. And I am right where I’m supposed to be. At the end of this second week, my task has been not to miss anything due to weary mind and/or body. I will try to relay a bit for you, my dear friends.

I am full of joy and am eating gulping up all that I can – mentally, physically, and spiritually.
My initial reaction to life here has been that this is exactly the way I have been wanting to live. All of my normal ways of life are not only overshadowed but more or less made complete. I wake up in community – living simply (six girls in one small room. I have made little cabinet shelves to fit under my bunk bed in which I store my clothes but have no other room to myself.), then I walk out of my little house and am immediately surrounded by dirty little brown faces of beautiful wonderful, rascally, kids. There are Iris’ kids, who live on base; they are a little more shy and clean. But they are all beautiful and you can spend all of your day just spending time with and getting to know them. Then I sometimes walk to the beautiful Indian Ocean beach and read and talk with the Lord. I see fisherman, little crabs, and reflecting waters.
Then I have a class at 8 which has involved so far – Heidi sharing her heart with us and telling us about her adventures of living in China, Indonesia, England and here. She really did just come here by herself and sit on a streetcorner with children for months. She told us of how she ate cat. Haha – the children would share their food with her. Also we had Rolland Baker, Will Hart, Dan slade, and Don Weike (A Mozambican pastor who has prayed for people when they are dead and seen them rise) It has involved us getting to know the 200 or so pastors from all over Mozambique who speak only Portuguese and Makua.

-Above: Our little bedroom for 6 girls. These are two of my roomates, Laura and ruth. The blue in the background is the mosquito nets over our beds.
-Right: Ruth and I with the large Mozambican fruit that is quite delicious. behind us is an example of the houses that we lived in.

I am learning two languages at once. I have no books or even understand how to spell most of the Makua words I’m learning, but I have many lovely teachers. ( I will talk about my favorites of these teachers in a moment). So far with the pastors we have learned their Makua African songs and dance – we have had major amazing wonderful worship times – all of us in my school from 20 different nations (Australia, Finland, Belgium, South Africa are just a few) singing and dancing with African jimbae as our percussion. We have yet to hear their stories, but we do know that they are very poor and have walked or ridden on busses very far to get here. Their hearts are humble and beautiful (though there have been a few that seem to be looking for wives L ha – and I have had an interesting time trying to let them know that I am only a friend. Cultural understanding has been a small trial, but a necessary and good one).
After school every day I go the food hall which is one of my favorite places. The people that work in this place are my good friends:Widows who speak mostly Makua. I eat my little beans and rice and sit with these ladies who are my teachers! I have learned the word for friend, “ampwanaka”, and I wear it out with these ladies. One of them, Marilia, has invited me to her house twice, and I think it might be a regular outing for me. She has 8 children and they live in a bamboo house that is far from finished. You can see through the walls and it has no roof. She is a beautiful beautiful ampwanaka of mine. It is also great to eat with all of the Iris kids and pastors at meal times. There are 120-ish kids living on the base, and it has been quite an adventure to try and remember names of all the kids (Iris AND village) plus the pastors and the widows who are always on base. Just a few of the things that I do in the afternoons involve visiting the girls’ dorms (the girls that used to be orphans but are not longer!) They are shy, but they love visits. I have gone three times now, and have also visited the toddler house to hold children, and I am getting to know some the girls better. I love doing this. I think that soon I will bring some nail polish or a craft and do this with them.
Another option in the afternoons is to visit the house where the widows have sewing classes. They have a shop, which is where I will be doing most of my shopping. The money goes straight to them and their facility!!
There is also a children’s feeding and church that I have yet to visit because my class hasn’t been done in time, but I want to visit soon.
This base amazes me!! They are doing so much, and there is such love everywhere. I feel as if I am being stuffed with learning about God and the way He works, and also how to get lower and be more and more humble. I spend most of my time trying to walk from one part of the base to another and being bombarded with friends (kids, pastors, Makua ladies). Sometimes it takes me half an hour to walk a couple hundred feet.
-top picture: the hut that we had our classes in Monday through Thursday. These are some my classmates from 20 different nations!
-picture: My ampwanaka, Marilia, and her children in her house with Ruth, and I . We took this after helping her build her house (putting rocks in the walls)

Here are a couple extra highlights:

My first day of being here was a holiday,
"Un de Junio",which is basically a celebration of children! We had a lot to do – we made 1000 balloon animals :) little bags of candy, helped with the feeding of about 5000 children (…!!!...) (there was rice absolutely everywhere), washing dishes and cleaning.
-One night we had a huge worship night with the Mozambican pastors and the kids with Ben Dunn and a Makuan songwriter named Helder. We danced like crazy. Heidi was dancing holding hands with the children.So was I! It was a beautiful sight. And I believe it had deeper meaning in its unity.

- right: The children enjoying their chicken, rice and fanta soda. this is huge treat for most children.

I’ve run out of time. I have limited time to come into town and use the internet!
Two interesting facts just to throw in for fun: 1. one of my classmates is name Francis. He was murdered a couple of years ago. He was raised from the dead the day after. He is my classmate. More on that later. Please feel free to freak out, like I did.
2. (on a more silly and personal note) Heidi’s personal assistant, Helen Enga, is Bjork’s cousin. I was talking to her yesterday and she told me this. (ah!!)
I miss you all, but I'm mostly glad that I'm here. I hope that doesn't hurt your hearts.
I so want to share with you in the ways my hearty is changing. Please please RUN TO GOD - cling to Him! He is all that there is. I can see the apathy and commonplace in the U.S. lifestyle much more easily from here. :) And it is debilitating. Please get yourself desperate for more. For my sake. :)
Love you all so much