Monday, June 27, 2011

All I need to do is Worship

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.

The fire

- 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.

Jewelry class

- 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!

tetra

To send a taz deductible gift to me send it here (Always listen to Him first):
P.O. Box 1543
Franklin, TN 37064


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pemba Life + Iris Ministries

My kitchen!

My room and cute little mosquito net!

Gracinda cooking coconut rice for me

Focas and Ossamo - Gracinda's sons. they are holding the groceries to make the coconut rice. - the place where we bought our rice!
Mana Geti, cutting wires as we prepare for the next day of class. she was teaching us a song in Makua at that moment.


My ladies in class making jewelry!





Hello all! My heart is stirring with the realization that I am no longer sharing with you all as a single entity, but as a member of the Iris Ministries Pemba family. This is a humbling, and exciting realization; exciting not only for me as I am thankful to be a part of this family, but for you as well since we are united and God is doing things. I believe that God is, and has been, uniting this movement with God’s plans in the U.S. and my home church family, Grace Center. God is certainly moving. He never stops. With joy I want to share what I learn from the heart of this amazing place, the Missionaries that God has assigned to be here for this season, and the people of Mozambique that I am already learning from.

My role as jewelry teacher/lover of Makua ladies, is being expanded to helping in whatever way that I can with Mercy Ministries. Nathalia, my colaborer in the Jewelry “Iris Arts” department, unexpectedly took on the role of head of Mercy Ministries soon before I came. So she has more on her plate than she expected! Mercy ministries is one of the many ministries on this large base, and it basically deals with the people: the needs that they have and all that that entails. This is everything from the jewelry class for the ladies which directly provides food for them, housing ministry, which involves roofing and providing houses, setting up visits to the locals’ houses for Internationals that visit the base, dealing with emergency situations– like giving milk to dads whose wives have just died, or if someone is truly starving giving them food. We also talked about how to deal with the many that come asking for different things on a daily or weekly basis. Nathalia, Geti (, another Mozambican man named Chafim, and I had a meeting with Mama Aida, Heidi B., Monday concerning all of these areas. (Iris is so amazing in that Mozambicans are meant to eventually take over the ministries that are set up by the International Missionaries, so there are usually at least two Mozambicans on the department teams. Geti is so amazing, and she trustworthy and a woman full of Godly authority. She is also my friend from last year! What a joy to work with one of my friends. She is the mother of Anna who I will always remember spent a day cooking an amazing local dish called Matapa for my friend Ruth, and I. So far I’ve gotten to see her a couple of times since I’ve been here. A visual for this is that she had her head lying in my lap as I was sitting on the floor at church this last Sunday, and I took her to get some pizza afterwards, which is a real treat for kids here!). Wow, it was amazing to see how these things are talked about and decided upon – I am so thankful for all that I will learn from Heidi, and am humbled that one of my dreams is becoming a reality; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked the Lord if I could learn under or be disciple by Heidi Baker! I am not quite being disciple, but I am directly learning under her as she is very involved in every ministry on the base and we have two meetings a week with her.

Some of the items discussed dealt with housing for the people. There are some that have had pauses on their houses being built due to lack funds or a change in leadership over the project. Heidi was saying how important it is that we fulfill our promises and finish these houses. I agree. So we are working on finishing the ones that have been waiting the longest, and a team from the Harvest School is going to be the labor force for the houses! We also decided that those of us in Mercy Ministries should start going with the visitors that go on house visits every Monday (visitors from all over the world are here at all times and visit houses of poor local ladies that we have on a list – these are also the ladies in my class) so that we can actually know the conditions of their houses and lives in order to see if there are some areas we can help with and whose are in the worst condition.

Basically, Mercy Ministries is doing what I learned from Heidi last year, but on large scale; making friends, seeing what their needs are, and out of relationship giving with labor or supplies rather than funds (sometimes funds when it’s appropriate). It’s also so important that they are given dignity in working for what they receive – so the jewelry class that I’m a part of is actually a job for these ladies. Wow – I love this model of ministry, and I can’t wait to see the ins-and-outs even more.

Jewelry Class

Oh my goodness I LOVE my class!! I am having so much fun with these ladies. I keep thinking to myself, “I knew I liked these people”. Haha! They are proving to be so kind, fun, and just interesting. Every morning we sing together, I already shared this, but this week they have done some songs I didn’t know that have been so fun! Some of the ladies get so excited and they start dancing and making their crazy shrill warbling sounds. I always dance with them, of course! Why wouldn’t I?? Ha! Every day I’ve been trying new Makua phrases on them and love seeing them laugh and get excited when they hear me trying. I’ve also gotten to lead two songs in Makua, which really got ‘em goin haha! Songs are sung in a call and response system here so the song leader sings loudly by themselves and everyone sings the response, so when I started leading these songs in Makua it was awesome to see their reactions. I want them to feel that there is no separation between us, and I want to show them, especially those that don’t know me yet, that I want to be their friends and not just their teacher or that I think I’m better than them. I think this is very important in ministering to someone. Since we are ALL saved by Grace and they are my sisters in Christ.

The class is from 8 to 10:30, but I am usually busy preparing for the next day until about 1. It’s been a lot of work this week, but its fun work. On Tuesday and Thursday morning I actually lead the classes, even though I just got here. It was a bit crazy at points, but again, I am seeing how much God prepared me for this over the last 8 months with my tutoring and teaching drawing classes. I actually preached a tiny sermonette on Monday and Thursday in Portuguese. So far we have made some necklaces and some really nice wire and bead bracelettes. They are having a little bit of trouble understanding how to use pliers with the wire, but they will get it. So far Nathalia and I are coming up with the basic design and letting them choose the color mixtures etc. so it’s a joint design.

By the way, Nathalia is so awesome! She is from Colombia so she has a South American spunkiness, which I love. I think we are a great team because she is a go-getter and I’m a bit more mellow; I help her not to stress and be happy, and she helps me to be more aggressive haha! You HAVE to be aggressive to live in Pemba or you will never get things done. Things that take one day in the U.S usually take 3 here…or a week. Ha! For example, last Saturday my refrigerator broke and it’s still broken, because there wasn’t a budget for fixing it, and now that there is, the mechanic hasn’t come when he said he would. I was thankful that I hadn’t bought groceries yet!

Miracles

Last weekend was a conference in Miezi, a close province. I got to pray for a baby who was blind. I didn’t understand completely what was wrong with him; the mother just said that he was sick in his eyes and body. So my friend Stuart and I prayed. I had no idea if anything happened. And I don’t think anything had happened yet, but it was an awesome test of faith. The next day I heard stories about a baby that couldn’t walk or see since birth that was able to walk and see after Heidi prayed for him. I found out from Stuart that it was the baby that we had prayed for!! I’m so thankful that the baby was healed; as you may know, when you pray for someone’s healing your heart really expands for them and you so want to see the healing. I’m so glad it happened, even if it took a while!

The team there also saw another blind and lame woman completely healed. They didn’t know she was blind, but saw that she was getting distracted while they were praying. They got annoyed because she was getting excited about a car passing by saying, “Look there is a car!” They realized afterwards that it was the first time in years that she had seen anything, including cars! Ha!

Adjusting some more

One of the main differences between life as an Iris Missionary rather than a student is that I am allowed to be alone, with caution, obviously. This is so freeing for me, because I’m always wanting to do things with people; They invite me places or to their homes a lot. Finding someone to go with you isn’t always easy. Especially now that I don’t have Ruth ( my roommate and close friend last year – where are you Ruth???), I don’t know of anyone right now who would come with me to all of these places. It has meant that so far I’ve spent more time doing things by myself than I’m used to here. I was definitely lonely the first couple of days. It’s quite different to have a room COMPLETELY to myself rather than shared with 5 other girls and then 3 other roommates in the other rooms.

So far I’ve taken some of the Iris boys (used to be orphans, but aren’t anymore woo!) to the beach (ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO YAYYYYY), and have visited the house of my friend Marilia, and Gracilda as well as do a couple other things around the base with people all unaccompanied. It’s been fun, but different.

Reconnecting with Mozambican friends!!

I didn’t get to share about this last post, but I got to see my best friend from here this weekend. Ahhh. How can I put it into words!!? She works in the kitchen, which by the way, when I saw the kitchen ladies and Phillipe, the head of the kitchen, I came in saying “Simpwanaka” (“friends” which is the word that I used a lot when getting to know them; it always delighted them that I would try to speak their language), and, wow, I had such an amazing welcoming – I was close to crying seeing all of them. I got hugs and kisses and laughter. One of the ladies, was so excited and every time I see her she goes crazy. But I’ve got to get back to my original point, I got to see Filomena on Friday! I walked up to the kitchen and asked if she was there after chatting a bit with the other ladies, then I saw her sitting in the back of the kitchen. It was so great: she saw me, but had a double take and then put her hands to her face in disbelief! Ha yay! I ran up to her and we were full of joy to see each other! The other ladies hadn’t told her I was here yet, and she was so surprised. She told me that she had prayed for me to come back, and that she missed me so much. She joked a bit like she usually does when we were catching up and she said that she was always thinking, “Tetra tetra onde fica meu Tetra?” meaning, “where’s my Tetra”. She actually sang that part. HaHA! I told her that was a great song, and joined her in it (as we have a few other times with a couple other ladies).

This is so amazing to me: even though I don’t speak Portuguese or Makua well, and I haven’t seen her for a year, she truly is my friend! We get each others’ senses of humor, and have tons of fun together. How special is that?! Ahh so amazing. And, wow, she showed me the necklace that I made and gave her when I left – it was on a different cord and the wire and stone were wrapped around with thread many times to make sure the stone didn’t fall out. Wow – I haven’t seen anything more beautiful. We talked about how I am going to learn Makua more easily now and she said she would make me a dictionary and I said I’d make her one in English too. It’s amazing. She said she was sad that I live at the other base, and joked about how when I lived there across from the kitchen she could so easily see me through my window and watch me eat, or sleep or go to the bathroom- Ha, just kidding!

Thank you, Jesus, for Filomena. For some context, she is the woman that put earrings in my ears when I was leaving last year; she took them from her own ears. She never ever asked me for anything and even refused to borrow a pair of my shoes when I offered them to her in a situation when it would truly have helped. She chose to stay barefoot in order to not take advantage of our friendship. She was the one who patiently taught me some Makua words every day. She works at Arco-Iris all week during the day and her husband works elsewhere during the night, so they only see each other for a couple of hours a week or on their rare days off that line up. She didn’t have a watch last year to get to Iris for work– she would just get up as early as possible to make sure she was there by 6 a.m.; the walk takes half an hour. I got to give her a watch, and that small gift did so much for her! She has a cheap cell phone now, which is amazing so she probably has an alarm! I’m so glad that Arco-Iris is providing a job for such an amazing woman.

Today, I visited my friends who Ruth and I visited many times last year: Focas, Ossamo, and his mom Gracinda. She cooked me coconut beans and rice, the dish that I’ve tried to replicate in the U.S. a few times (I never make it as good)! I went with her two sons into the village market to buy all of the ingredients like we usually do; it’s one way of blessing them because they get an awesome meal and left overs out of it ( even though she wanted to send all of the leftovers home). She takes great care to make it and it takes a few hours to shred the coconut, cook the rice, and then the beans. It’s totally worth it, it’s soooo good! In her prayer for the food she prayed, “Thank you lord that my daughter, “Mamwanaka”, is here eating with me.” And she made a little pot of part of the leftovers to send home with me. Ahh – I’m back in Pemba!

Visiting Marilia was really cool…all 8 of her children remembered me and were so affectionate. Her dad is living with her too, and they asked me to pray for him, which I was really glad to. He is fatally ill, but I’m not sure with what. His skin was tight to his bones and he was laying on his bed, rarely speaking. God told me interesting things for him, and that is that He is going to give the man joy despite his illness. That’s a bit of a tough thing to tell someone who is more or less on their death bed, but if theres one thing that Ive learned from being here, it’s that God truly can fill the “suffering” with joy (I’ve seen the blind and lame that haven’t been healed yet, and may never be, but they are full of joy and always smiling), and I believe that that is happening for this man. I had the children lay hands on him too, which is always fun. Those children have so much faith, they are usually quite powerful in prayer.

Thank you Jesus for the people of Mozambique. They are faithful friends and give out of their lack. May they be blessed 100 fold for what they give.

Joys of living in Pemba a.k.a. “Pemba equals patience”

Like I said, our refrigerator broke, and I hadn’t bought groceries, but we still had some stinky stuff in there belonging to my unfortunate roomate. And the ants that so love living in our kitchen had some fun in there. Ha – I opened the door and they were all over the chocolate bar that Iris gave to me as a welcoming present to the base (they had a basket with a Mozambican skirt, oranges, bananas, juice, a coffee mug, and chocolate waiting for me upon arrival to m house. Their generosity never ceases to amaze me!!!) . The ants have a little highway starting from the doorway and ending at our sink about 5 feet away. They like to go past the table for easy access to any crumbs or sweet residues. Haha! We keep trying to spray bug spray that smells really awful but it only works for about half a day. Catherine and I are going to start naming them, I truly have decided that I have to think of them as little pals, or I’ll just be constantly grossed out. Haha! We have one mirror in our house and it is a broken piece of an old mirror. Today it broke again and so it is about the size of a hand.

This week I needed to get a Sim card for my cell phone because it’s hard to function without use of a phone and mine is on global rates. I also wanted to buy a water purifier to save myself from having to pay $10 a week for water bottles, but I needed a ride to get this because it’s heavy and the usually way to get to town is to pay about 3 pennies to jump onto the back of a truck. I couldn’t organize getting a car without a phone very easily. It took me all week to accomplish both things! And now I need to somehow get onto the internet ( I guess I will have accomplished this if you’re reading this haha), which has been up and down for the past few days, in order to unlock my cell phone to use the Sim card! Haha, Pemba equals patience. I also keep getting stuck at one of the two bases at night; I live at village of joy base which is 10 minutes walk from the main base, village of joy and I’m not supposed to walk alone at night. So if I am at one or the other alone after 5 pm (that’s when it gets dark) I get stuck there, and I have to hope or pray that one of the Iris missionaries with a car will need to drive to the other base and I can jump into the back.

It’s quite possible that we will run out of water with all of the students here and the reservoir that only lasts a while. Here is a picture of my shower. I usually just use a little plastic 4 Liter cup to take bucket baths. The water is cold, which doesn’t bother me because It’s hot here!

This is an adventurous life and I love it.

Prayer requests

- The reason I have been able to make this nice post is that I’ve had a yucky cold today and left the other base early ( 12 - I’m usually there till 5). I know it will go soon, but it’s not fun for now.

- Please pray that God will show me how to handle the many relationships I have here. Some of the kids get jealous, and many of my friends here get sad when I don’t spend all my spare time with them. I have more responsibilities now than I did last year, so I want to do a good job of balancing these things. I also need to make sure I give myself alone time and don’t start booking myself every day with the people that want to invite me to their houses. I’m having to learn constraint.

- Please pray that the Glory, love, and joy of the Lord will invade our class with the ladies. I so want to see each of the ladies fall more in love with Jesus. The ladies each have an overwhelming amount of practical needs as well, which I need God’s grace to understand how to help with. I want to learn their names and learn more Makua as well, and my brain is already getting a bit tired! Our class starts at 1 am U.S. time, so maybe this would be a good one to pray before bed!

- As always, safety for me might be a good one as well. I am fairly safe, but there are banditos here that have been known to wound people when they steal. They don’t usually steal if you’re in a group, and I’m trying my best to always be in groups.

- I have been getting more and more hungry for God. Please pray that my intimacy will grow in this time. It has to in order for me to see breakthroughs in my relationships here– and I just really want it!!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mozambique, my old friend

Hello non-Pemba world! You are quite far away now! But I hope to make you feel closer.

Oh wow – I’m so thankful to be bringing news from my new home on the coast of Mozambique! God is good!! Aaalll the tiiiimmme!

I’ve only just arrived and barely gotten started with the things I’ve come for, but, wow, life is so completely different here and I feel as if I've been here quite a while already.

Adjusting

Things are quite different as a non-Harvest School Student (what I did here last year which prepared me for this (and the rest of my life)), and I am definitely still adjusting to that. I am living on another base which is down the road about 10 minutes walk from where all the Harvest students and the Iris Children live called “Aldea de Gloria”, meaning “village of Glory”= YES!! The Mozambican Bible students stay on this base, as well as other long-term Missionaries, which believe it or not, I AM. HA! I’ve been realizing what an honor it is to be a Missionary beside people that have worked here with Heidi and Rolland for years (or months) fulfilling the heart of Iris and furthering along the revival. It hasn’t really hit me yet, but I know for sure that I am so blessed and am going to be growing under the best example of how to serve/love the poor and lost that I have ever seen. Wow, it’s overwhelming.

I have a cute little house – I love it. My roommate is the amazing Catherine Restiau from Belguim who was in my school last year as well. She is a doctor of sorts and works in the clinic as well as hospitality. There are hundreds of visitors on the base all year round, and we have dorms and rides etc. for them - this is one of the ministries of Iris. We are both so laid-back that it's an amazing environment living together.

Seeing Friends!

So far I have had many many happy reunions. I’ll share a handful but you can imagine the rest of them. The night I got here I came to one of the Harvest School meetings; Randy Clark was speaking (he was also on my plane to get here. I love the way this place brings the “giants” and the people like me together at the same level of experience. It’s a bit of a rough journey to get here, and even harder to live here. But we all experience it together and learn from one another.)

The first Mozambican friend that I saw on the base was a little boy named JUMA!!! And He gave me a big hug – and then I saw someone running up to me and it was MESSIAJSE, my 12 year old very best friend out of the children here!! I picked him up and twirled him around laughing so joyfully and he was so happy too and he didn’t hide it!! Oh it was one of the happiest moments in my life! Then I was surrounded by familiar little boys faces and I kept breaking the no hug rule and getting so excited and telling them how much I missed them and love them and how I cant express how much I love them and am happy to be back here ( I had learned most of those phrases particularly on the plane before I came, knowing how I wouldt want to express so much to them when I saw them). And I got to tell them that im a missionary here now! Messiajse couldn’t hold his smile back, and I was holding his hand as we were standing just as I used to! And I told them about how much Elena (Ruth Atkins, one of my very closest friends from the Harvest School last year who had a similar heart to me and would go with me into the village with our Mozy friends as you aren’t supposed to go alone) misses them and told me to hug them every day! There were so many that would remember my name that I didn’t remember; they are amazing like that. Then jalia, my other really good friend from last year came up running too and we had many hugs. I saw another boy that I was close to, Javier, later that night. He usually plays it tough but, it was amazing, he couldn’t keep his face from smiling really big though you could tell he was trying. He was so happy to see me and it was such a blessing to my heart.

The Harvest School Session with Randy Clark was such an awesome time. I felt so immediately at home!! I walked into a crowd of people wholeheartedly worshipping the Lord, full of joy, no restraint, hunger for greater things written all over their faces. I saw my fellow classmates from last year who are staffing the school this time praying for each other and going a bit crazy with God’s presence was kind of hitting them in the face with a pie (ha), and they of course jumped on me when they saw me with partial hugs, and partially getting me shnonkered (a term coined by Mama Heidi for when you feel pretty silly in the presence of God) in the Holy Spirit. Ha it’s amazing; I just immediately felt God and I could barely stand and Joy was making me want to explode. I have missed this environment SO MUCH!!!!! I love how there are no restraints – everyone wants God’s love whatever it makes them looks like!! And that is an amazing place to be…the best place to be! God filled me with a peace and took away some of the striving that I was already feeling in realizing that the job placed before me here was somewhat intimidating. Thank you, Jesus. Yay – it’s good to be home.

Jewelry making Class

The next day I had my first classes with the ladies, and widows. It’s not just widows, but also the very poor women from the area. There are actually over 200 of them (I thought it only 90) broken up into different groups for each day. I went into the class and was greeted with the surprise of having TWO of my favorite ladies that I met last year in the class; Rita, the wife of Phillipe who is head of the kitchen (you can read stories about her from this blog – mainly she blessed me by dressing me like a local Mozambican when I left here last year), and Geti, who is the mother of Anna who I spent many times with at their house last year. I am actually going to be working WITH Geti, as she is one of the Mozambicans that Iris has put in charge of the class, along with another woman named filomena. Filomena is also the sister of the lady that taught me basket weaving last year. I am surrounded by friends!! Simpwanaka!! This means “my friends” in Makua, and I use this phrase all of the time.

Can I just tell you all how much this class is PERFECT for me? The more I find out what it is, the more I realize it’s what I was unofficially doing last year. I am basically hanging out with all of the widows and ladies, loving them and making friends with them as well as teaching the jewelry. But as the teaching doesn’t take too long, we sit together during the class and chat in Portuguese and Makua. AH! These are the ladies that I would come hang out with when I wasn’t in classes last year, and I can’t believe that this is why I am here now. And let me tell you, the ladies sing worship songs at the beginning of class; you’ve never seen or heard something more awesome and beautiful. They sing A capella with a song leader and a call and response style. They add rhythmic clapping and do fun dances as well. One of the ladies had tears streaming down her face during prayer – a beautiful sight of her receiving the Father’s love. Oh how I love sitting with the ladies, taking their hands to pray together, and learning their songs!!! It’s awesome guys – God is good alllll the tiiiime!

The woman I am working with, Nathalia, is amazing. Her heart for the ladies is obvious and amazing. We are really going to grow together, I can tell and learn a lot through being with these ladies.

Our classes are Monday through Friday 8 - 10:30 am and then we work on putting all of their jewelry into its packages and write the names of the woman that made them on tags. In my free time, which I'm not sure if I'll have much, I get to hang out with the other ladies in the kitchen or play cards with the kids.

I am out of time, but there is never enough time to share everything. Please pray that I will continue to walk with the holy Spirit, no striving, fully adjusting, fully loving from Him, and tghat He will use this time in ALL the ways He wants to.

Blessings my friends