Blog 6 Pemba
All I need to do is worship.
I want to always be sitting at Jesus’ feet pouring out my fragrant oil. I pour out my life at His feet – Lord, all I have to give is my life, and I pour it out willingly. may it be fragrant. I want to wipe your feet with my hair and tears what an honor to be able to wash your feet.
I have been thinking – some say that we need Marys and Marthas and that both choices that the ladies made are necessary, but I don’t think that is readable in what Jesus says in that scripture. He says Mary made the better choice to be at His feet. Wouldn’t that mean that she ultimately made the right choice; or rather – would any of us want to choose the option that Jesus says isn’t as good?? In that case I would feel sorry for the “Marthas” because they would be called to live in such a way that Jesus says is the lesser *place. I think the key to it is that we often don’t realize that we can serve like Martha, but with the heart posture of Mary. We can constantly be surrendered at His feet while in the areas we are called to serve. God I want to always be sitting at your feet. I want to be dancing before your throne as I go through each day. I want to remember that I am always in the secret place at any moment - I can reach out and grab your hand.
It’s easier for me to remember that He is with me if I actually stick my hand out and act as if Jesus is walking with me. J I often truly feel His Holy Spirit presence when I do that. I’m going to do that tomorrow – I find that the more I get to know these ladies, the more I NEED God’s presence. You just can’t do this Mission work stuff without eating and drinking His presence. That’s one of the reasons that I like it so much – I have to be hungry and have to get satisfied. When I have to need Him, I see Him move more and feel His presence more and know Him more. Thank you, Jesus, for blessing me with hunger and need. Also – I get to see the direct use of worship and Joy. I wouldn’t be able to handle ANY of what I learn about these ladies lives if it weren’t for the Joy of the Lord. I would just be crying all day. But Joy is medicine.
Many things have happened since last I posted – Wow! It seems like each day here is like two U.S. days because sooo much happens – so the two weeks since I last wrote is kinda like like 4 for me. I’m getting to a point where I think I need to just share stories with you all, and let them speak for themselves. It’s hard to think of trying to sum up the things God is doing here, and I think stories do that well.
Some of the major events I want to share about include: Our Jewelry office being broken into and robbed, the door to our office randomly not opened and us having to drill a hole in it to get in (this happened twice within a few days), selling our first round of jewelry (!), finding out that one of the amazing Mozambican woman that works with us is in an abusive marriage, finding out that one of the women in our class died last weekend, helping rescue children from a fire next door to our base at a home for disabled children, seeing a lame woman’s legs be healed and feeling the muscle grow in her legs, preaching and teaching my ladies as well as a group of 7 girls about 14 yrs old, having a mini reunion from my Harvest school 2010, also being reunited with another one of my best friends Lurdes (the widow that prayed me back to this place), and some amazing home visits. Woo that’s a lot! And it doesn’t include all the many many MOMENTS of Mozambican/Pemban life that explain so much but are hard to express in only a few words. I wish I could put Pemba in my pocket and bring it to all of you, because I so want everyone I know to experience it.
The lame Woman
Bertina…I was sitting right behind her during our Monday morning devotion with all the base. They were sharing testimonies of the outreaches this weekend and I kept thinking, I wonder what these guys that are lame are thinking…a tough thought, but I know God is stronger. So then he asked if anyone needed prayer – a crowd rushed the stage and I and a few other people went to pray for the two in wheelchairs including Bertina. When we were praying I was asking God to help my unbelief over and over because I really didn’t believe it would happen. But then as we were praying for her, her body started SHAKING all over – something that she physically should NOT be able to do – there was no way to get the leverage without using muscles that she didn’t have function of in her legs etc. And she said she felt fire in her legs, she hadn’t FELT anything in her legs probably her whole life, but I’m not sure how long. Her legs were little sticks with NO muscle and she had little clubbed turned in feet. As we were praying. Her right leg started getting FATTER!!!! AH! I’ll never forget this – muscles were growing in her legs. It went from obviously just bone and ligaments to having some muscle – and her feet turned more straight to the front. Then we tried to help her start walking, and she couldn’t yet – the other leg was still not functioning. So, they sat her down and her left leg was obviously thinner than the other ha – because the muscles hadn’t grown yet. And the left foot normally sat at about half a foot away from the other in length when she sat with her legs straight in front of her. As they prayed I SAW that her left foot was all the sudden the same length as the other. AH! And then the toes uncurled more. But in the end she didn’t end up being able to walk. And I think most of the people were discouraged. They prayed for a long time – probably an hour. And Her legs obviously were having reproduction happen, but she wasn’t strong enough to stand yet. So – I just believe that she will be able to stand and do it on her own. God won’t leave it undone.
- Monday was such a crazy day. We had our multicultural class which is a mixture of my ladies, the Harvest School, the Bible school, and any visitors, all singing and sharing testimonies together.. Then I tried to prepare for the whole week of my jewelry class in the afternoon, but only finished about half. I got super tired as the day ended and I went and got on the internet at in the student compound, which is a blessing but I can rarely do. As I was sitting there someone ran up and said “Everyone grab buckets, there is a fire next to the Glory Base”. I love on the Glory base. It is down the road from where I was, the main base called “village of Joy”. And then everyone was just chaotically running; it was such an immediate change of environment, and I was amazed at everyone’s action. I put my computer up in someone’s house immediately and hopped on the back of a truck. I was so worried about the families that live on my base and wasn’t sure what to anticipate. As we pulled up I saw the flume of smoke coming from right about where my house is, but don’t worry, it wasn’t on my house at all. But I was worried for a minute.
Then all of the sudden I was helping the babies from the area where the fire was get to their home – the place that burned was actually a home for disabled children. Wow – terrible. I was all of the sudden in the back of a car with about 10 children 4 and younger – all disabled. Wow. The road was bumpy so their Tia (“aunt” which is what they call the children workers) were holding them and keeping them from falling over in the truck bed. Wow, what an experience. These kids were scared, and they had just lost their homes. The children’s home has two locations and we were bringing them to their second location. Ahh it was really hard to see. But I was so thankful for Iris! Man – if we hadn’t been there to help with cars and buckets the glory Base would have been gone, and these kids may have been hurt. We were immediately on the scene, and there are 240 of the students that were able to jump in – wow how amazing. Thank you so much Lord for saving all of the babies from the disabled home, and all the families and Missionaries’ homes on the Glory base! Hallelujah! The fire ruined their houses, but no one was hurt. It was started by some village children, but I’m not sure why. A hole was burned into our water container for the entire base, so we didn’t have running water for a few days. But, that was an easy sacrifice to make in light of the situation.
- When I said that it only takes a bit to teach the ladies the design and that I can sit and fun the rest of the time, I was completely wrong! After we worship and pray together( which I LOVE SO MUCH!) I usually spend the jewelry –making portion of class having a few women all asking for help at the same time. So I am either helping fasten or straighten a messed up piece of wire or am helping them understand how to think ahead with the design of two equal earring pieces. Some of them are naturals and others get a bit confused. I am in pulled in many directions at one time, but it’s amazing to see how God has prepared me for it. The little bit of teaching I’ve ben doing over the last few months which was usually with age groups that are so easily distracted and takes a lot of energy to assist really prepared me for this. Wow it’s so cool to see how God makes you good at things that you aren’t naturally good at, but He is constantly shaping us and causing us to grow. HA – I’ve been so good at delegating, coordinating, and being in charge! Hallelujah, God does miracles! Haha!
- Preparing for the projects has been taking a lot of time as well, but it’s awesome how perfect the work is for me. Ive been prepping for class by trying out jewelry designs and making sure they work, and then choosing color schemes of beads etc to provide for them – basically I’m doing stuff that I love to do. It’s a lot of work, but it’s amazing. I’ve been cutting out pieces of leather in the shape of Africa for keychains and necklaces and cut out about 100 of them, making my finger numb. I’ve missed lunch a few days, and I need to make sure I can stop myself when working and get balanced. But I’m just praising the Lord that THIS is what I’m doing.
I think I’m going to start preparing for the whole week of work on Mondays instead of daily.I’m still figuring out routine.
- We sold almost all of the items that we had this last Tuesday and wednesday– our first times to sell! It makes me realize that if we want to expand the business to online etc. then we will have to really think of how to make more pieces of jewelry per week! Nathalia and I are still working out so many of these details. My heart is also so desiring to be using local items like shells, coconuts and seeds so that the ladies can continue to use the techniques that we are teaching with local resources. I feel like there is so much to work on, but we have such a good place and good heart that we are starting from. Oh, I just feel like God is giving me ideas and plans nad realizations of potential for the ministry!
- I think my plan to try and make them know how much I want to be their friend is working out as well! I’m getting to know names and faces, finally (there are about 90 within the two groups to learn ahh!) and many of them finally know my name too! Many of them have been calling me “Apmwanaka”, which, of course means “friend”. They call me that almost tongue and check because of the fact that I call a lot the same – but there is so much love in their joking about. I feel as if I really am understanding the culture of these women, and again – I see that God prepared me for this when I was just sitting, talking, and laughing with my friends here last year.
- As Nathalia is fairly overwhelmed, I have needed to lead the class many times. I have actually, thank you Jesus, been preaching tiny sermonettes in Portuguese! And He has been helping me think of how to make us feel like a family and to provide a safe environment for them: a solice. A few times we have spent the first hour of class, after singing ( I LOVE their singing), just asking for the Holy spirit to come and fill our little Mercy Ministry home. Oh wow, we have been having amazing class times. The woman who I shared earlier about with the abusive husband has been singing and leading prayer with me for the group and I have seen God bringing comfort to her heart as we do this. I truly believe that God is going to redeem and restore her hurts, and I see her as a symbol for the rest of our ladies to also receive their complete restoration (I’ll explain more in a bit).
- I have asked the ladies for testimonies a couple of times to create an environment where we are all speaking rather than just me or Nathalia. Last week I shared first by telling about the fire and how Jesus saved all of the kids and the Glory base from being burned. A few women shared about sicknesses being healed. And then a girl that has been coming to class for her mother whom I have never met stood up. She shared about how her mother died over the weekend. That wasn’t a joyful testimony obviously but a prayer request and definitely a response that I was looking for; I want to know what’s happening in their lives. This girl has been coming to class instead of her mother because her mother is sick. She is 14. She has 2 other children as well. So we all gathered around her and prayer for her – I hugged/prayed for her and she had tears running into my collar bone. I have to shake my head right now thinking about it – how do you….what do you do with moments like that. This is a hard life here – these ladies do not have it easy I am realizing more and more all of the time. I can only hope that our group is a solice, place of joy, and a place where they can feel free. God, please let this time actually be affecting these ladies. I know it is, but I pray nonetheless.
My heart is starting to break for the Makua Women of Pemba
- One of the Mozambican women who leads the class with Nathalia and I expressed to us a week and a half ago with tears that her husband regularly beats her. She needed to tell us because of the fact that he had broken her phone in a fit of rage and so we wouldn’t be able to get a hold of her. I hate this so so much. She has six children and pays for the house herself. She works very hard and he doesn’t have a job. So, she would need him to leave in order to keep the house. But I think we are going to try to figure something out to fix that. She showed me the BITE mark on her hand that he had inflicted. She wore a pink little jacket that day with sleeves to cover it up. I thought it was just a cute jacket – I had no idea. She is the kind of woman that you want to open up to you because she is always composed and keeps to herself, but has such an amazing, beautiful and serving heart. Everyone likes her when they meet her. Obviously this has been a really hard realization, and it makes me so want to know more about the lives of my other women in my class. The fact that she is one of our own workers and we didn’t know this was happening makes me a bit worried, but Nathalia and I are going to do all in our power to change that. If she can’t run to Iris, then what good are we?? We have to take care of our own!!
- One of the things that will help, I believe, is visiting these ladies. I’ve already started getting invitations to their houses. I have to plan ahead by two weeks at this point with my house visits because I only really have time on Friday and Saturday afternoons! I think visitng the ladies in my class will really open my eyes to their lives and characters even more.
- Also, God is giving me some more jewelry ideas. He gave me an earring design that has a hammered piece of designed wire that resembles a woman with a design of a heart inside of that. It represents the amazing love that these women carry and share. That is an aspect of their character that most can notice when encountering them. And when we sell these earrings they will be prayer reminders. So, whenever they are worn, our ladies should be getting prayer from all over the world! I taught the ladies how to put the wire together and curve the ends etc with beads etc and put these little makua ladies on the ends to dangle. It was very delicate work and different for them. I am SO proud of them because they did such an amazing job, with only a few exceptions. I am SO excited about this design - I feel like this was God’s idea, and it delights me very much.
Foot washing – A multicultural experience
A week and a half ago we had foot washing between the Mozambicans of the Bible school and internationals of the Harvest School. We did this in my Harvest school on the last day of class – I remember it really really humbled and wrecked me. I was crying so much and these amazing, humble, and so poor Mozambican pastors that I had gotten to know were washing my feet. (the harvest School coincides with the Mozambican Bible School and there is a big emphasis on unity and friendship between those two schools which is awesome).
Pamela Maxwell and Nathlia and I washed Mama Albertina’s feet; she is one of the three Mozambicans that works WITH us in teaching the ladies and is the wife of the pastor of our church here on the base. Oh MY GOODNESS – this was amazing and so messed me up. As we were praying for her I just got overwhelmed for my ladies and realized how amazing it is that this woman is living her destiny in ministering to the other ladies in our class. She has an amazing husband, a pastor, and she has not only overcome the issues that the women deal with here more or less, but is a leader and is a shining light of the gospel and of God’s love. Ahh! I was crying a lot at this point. Pamela started blessing her as a stand in for all of the women of Mozambique and was calling her forth to wholeness, full life, overcoming woundings of the heart and the body, and so many amazing words of life were pouring over her. Oh my goodness, it blessed me so much. And I told her that she is a promise to me for all of the other ladies that we minister to; They will come into their destinies as well! And then I saw a picture in my mind’s eye of her being in a kapulana sling, like the ladies here make for their babies, and she was on God’s back. But at the same time she had a very big sling on her back that was to carry all of the hurting women of Pemba. But the weight doesn’t go to her shoulders, it goes to God’s. This was an amazing picture of how she is going to continue ministering to our ladies here, but the weight doesn’t land on her – it lands on God. Wow! So awesome.
Attacks of the Enemy
Like my pastor at home says, I don’t want to give the devil any Glory for what He tries to do. But I do think He hates what our class is doing for these ladies, and he has been trying his hardest to get us down. But we won’t stop!! So two weeks ago our office was broken into by village kids, and they stuck a bamboo stick through the chicken wire in our window that they had cut with a tin can, and they grabed about 25 of the bracelettes and earrings that we had made over a two week time period. AH! So terrible. And they were trying to sell them to people in the area. Since then we have been much more cautious about what we leave out at night, and have had the guards watching the church building better (our office is IN the CHURCH, which I love!!)
Last week our office door randomly wouldn’t unlock with any of our 3 keys. Ha! An hour before that it had been opening just fine. Chafim tried to get in through the roof, haha!! But we eventually had to drill through the door to get in. We were glad it was fixed, but then we had to do the same thing again a few days later because it didn’t work again. This time it was during my class on Friday. Nathalia was sick, so it was just me and the ladies and our Harvest school students who help us on Fridays. What a crazy day! Ha! Pemba life is adventurous and always surprising! Hah! So, he replaced the lock this time. And we have been warriors in prayer this week.
Visiting friends in the village
- I got to visit Filomena’s house last week! She has been asking me to visit since I got here, and we have been working around our schedules (she also wanted her husband who works all week to be home when I visited because we have never met). On the way to the villae she lives in, I told her that I had heard that Lurdes had Malaria – Lurdes is my amazing friend from last year who is a widow of an Iris Pastor. He was one of the first pastors that started this Pemba base with Heidi and Rolland. I hadn’t gotten to see Lurdes yet, and I had soo been wanting to.
- Oh man what a visit. How do I express this…
I prayed for her when I got there and she did feel a bit better. Then she told me of how she had cried and prayed when I left, to which I responde, “ Thank you for that because LOOK what God did!” And as I was telling her about how much I love my class and how I have even been leading songs in Makua, she looked me in the eye and said, “Tetra, God has called you here.” (In Portuguese). She then said, ”Last year I had a vision of that – that you are called here. And then I kept praying that you would be able to return because I believed that you are called here.” Wow. And then I told her to please keep praying because I need to decide whether or not to stay. And I told her about all my concerns surrounding whether or not I should stay here (mostly that I am worried about my mentee at home)– I haven’t told any of my other Mozambican friends about this. I have just been saying that Ill be here 3 months so that I don’t have to disappoint them if Im not staying. But I really trust Lurde – I think more than any other friend I have here that she truly is after the heart of God and is an amazing woman of God. She has such authority, joy and strength - its amazing!
So as soon as I finished explaining my worries and prayer requests she said,”ok lets pray about this right now.” Wow! I love it. She prayed with such power and fervor for about 10 minutes saying things like, “I know you have a plan, Jesus. We trust you and thank you for bringing Tetra back here. I couldn’t really understand the rest, but I could sense her heart and its an amazing one. I feel such a sisterhood with her. Thank you Jesus for Lurde thank you thank you – and thank yu that her malaria is gone now! A
nd then she talked to me more about how her daughter recently died over the last few months. Her daught was married to Supresa Sithole’s nephew. Ahh – so sad. Supresa’s brother was murdered years ago. Oh man such amazing people- - how can I even compare my life with that – being joyful though youre a widow and your daughter has died.
The following day I brought her some chicken for lunch and she was feeling much better.
- Filomena and I bought kapulanas for my jewelry projects (we are making necklaces with them) and then walked though the market trying to find chicken. We couldn’t finda any, and this is what I love about filomena: I was asking what we should do or what could we make to eat instead? And she said maybe we should just do it another day. I said that I could still buy something for us to eat! She said, “whatever you think – we can just do it another day if you want.” It was like so polite and so NOT Mozambican. It’s very hard to find people that want to be around you without the added benefit of getting stuff from you. People are very often begging for something or anything. (I know that this is a complicated subject and hard to understand, but let me just say that it isn’t hard to receive from people like me if you don’t ask for it. We try so hard to give room for generosity without a losing of dignity from begging).
- This is a women who, I found out, is actually feeding the children of both of her sisters who have died. She has four children and the rest of these kids live with her – so to casually turn down food is an amazing feat. She is amazing. I ended up buying spaghetti and she made it with oil and tomatoes.
- I gave presents to all her kids, and her husband and then a few others to the kdis that were around that I didn’t know. What fun! And oh wow – I gave her some reading glasses. How awesome was this – every day I have noticed that she has to squint to see her text messages on her phone (one day I read a message to her). She got so excited when I gave her these glasses – she tried it out with her phone and it helped so much! And I made her a little dictionary of portuguese to English words and phrases only a few pages long – but she got so excited. She usually says she doesn’t care to learn it, but now I know that she actually really does want to learn. Ah it was so cute.
- And I gave her a heartshaped locket with a little picture of me in it ha! Cheesy gift and bad picture too, but I know it means so much to her – the fact that she has the necklace I gave her last year all wrapped up and on a different string and wears it every day makes me know that she cares very much. Ahh – I love her. We had a nice time. I finally met her husband who they actually do get to see each other for a full day every week – Sunday. They are both off. Usually they only see each other a few hours other than that a week. He asked me to buy him a cell phone. I didn’t know what to say. That’s always hard. But it was great to finnaly meet him, and he does seem kind – not harsh – which is really comforting.
- At one point her son looked at my flip flop that has a strap breaking and I said, yeah I need to fix that – in Portuguese (ive had two other people say that they wanted me to pay them to fix that bah) and then I just looked over and he had a needl and thread and was fixing it for me. ahh what a moment. So amazing.
- Then Filomena put a little dish full of pastries in front of me and said they were for me to take home. She also set a plate with a whole papaya on It for me to eat right then and there ha! It was really delicious. They have a papaya tree I ate some and took the rest home and had it for breakfast today. She apologized to me a couple of times for not having more food to give me or presents for me (even though she has already given me a little ring and a bag that she sewed at Iris). I told her very fankly how much she gave me something more special than food or gifts – she gives me a real friendship. She more than most anyone here – I told her that its hard to find people sometimes that you can really trust and that I truly trust her. I told her how faithful a friend she is and how I love that we can talk and joke together. I hope she believes me – I think she does, Then I said that she has to come to my house next time yay!
There is always soooo much more to share, and I know hardly anyone can read this whole thing (who has that kind of time and patience - I wouldnt! ha!) But I love you all and bless you!
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