Saturday, September 1, 2012

Living and loving ( from 3 weeks ago!)

This is a blog I wrote about three weeke ago that i never got to put up!! Thanks for reading.

Had a visit from two of my favorite women here in pemba. I cooked them a special spaghetti meal, and we had a wonderful time together!

This morning it rained. It doesnt rain this time of year often at all. Its beautiful, consistent heavy rain when it does and my tin roof amplifies the sound well. But the difference between my reaction to rain here and at home is that All i can think when it rains here is,"oh God please dont let any of our ladies' rooves cave in." That is a sad reality for a lot of the women in our program. We have a roofing ministry, but its very expensive, takes a lot of volunteers and time. But im so thankful that we are working at literally putting roofs over heads.

Sad cultural realizations:
Last week i was in the city running errands with Chafim. He was buying soap for our babies (ladies, and invalids in the program), I was buying cookies for the women in the ktchen (it was graduation day of the harvest schhol and i knew the ladies would have been working since 4 am to make food for the harvest schhoolers. The are usually sweets, but last year they were only for the harvest schoolers and my friends who had worked so hard, probably ready to keel over, didnt get any sweet treats. So this year God gave me the idea to get them a sweet treat and tell them how much theyre appreciated). As I got back in the car and was waiting for Chafim I noticed 3 little children staring at me. This is common; children either stare in amazement if they dont see many white people, or theyre more used to you and they run up and touch you, or theyre used to you at the base nd they pummel you with hugs and ask you for anything they can see ln your person. These were the first category. I thought at first they were looking at my candy wanting some, and to be honest,that made me feel slightly...tired. When you have people ask you for things all day, sometimes just thinking about it makes you emotionally tired. But i thought, "thats stupid!" got out of the car to give them some candy,  and they started making awful scared sounds and backed away like I had just hurt them. I tried again and the same thing happened and they actually hid behind some men all  standing around and the older had her protective arm around the two little ones. 
I thought they were just scared of white skin, but Chafim explained that some kids are taught that white people are going to kidnap them and sell them. I had no idea. Ive never encountered that before. It broke my heart. And to think I thought they were going to beg for candy. Sobering realities of the past. Thats why makua creates such a breakthrough for connecting to  people. portuguese is the white mans language and me trying to speak makua shows I want to honor them and understand them! I love it so much. God, i wont stop until I see barriers broken down!!

The all too real reality of death in Pemba:
On saturday I had two wonderful friends over for breakfast who were here for the Harvest School: Brittany Harrison, and Lauren Brown. Sandi, my sweet rommate and I were eating with them and having a conversation that was giving us all chills. We were talking about faith for miracles. We were sharing stories of people that had been raised from the dead, had been dead for hours, and either through a wuick prayer or 3 hours of prayer they woke up. One of those stories involved a boy whose head had been crushed  by a truck, his brains had been...more or less splattered on the road. When he was healed 13 hours later, his head somehow regrew, and he had no brain damage. We were so encouraged thinking about how the key to miracles is persistence regardless of what you see. Just keep trying - pray for the impossible things every time. 

Our conversation was interrupted by the sudden sound of sobbing and wailing outside of my house. As we are always ready to try and love those around us and as appaling things seems to happen on a somewhat regular basis here, we jumped to our feet to comfort whoever was wailing. We found a group of woman just a couple of houses away - literally right outside of my home - crying because an 18 year old boy, Alex, had just died. Right at that moment, they had recieved the news. All 3 of us were faced with the immediate reality of our exciting conversations in that moment. Wow. Such is life in Pemba. 

Brittany and I started timidly talking to each other..."I want to pray"..."we've got to pray". Why else would we have just had such a conversation if not to build our faith and prepare for this situation that landed on our laps?? W could have chosen a  illion other topics of discussion. Not a coincidence. Yet, this is the problem, and I guess this is why it helps To not be super emotional or worried about offending like David Hogan, there were weeping women and family members all around us, and we didnt know the boy!! It felt so offensive and rude to think of trying to pray for him. What if he didnt get up? I guess this is what everyone deals with in the face of praying for...a dead person. 

Brittany and I kept asking the lord - "what should I do?" because in the end, my job is just to be personally obedient - not paying attention to what everyone else has chosen to do. As a community who believes in raising the dead, youd think this wouldnt be a difficult request. But in the face of it, it is truly difficult to go there. But Brittany and I were as bold as we had guts to be. We asked. And they said no, that theyd already prayed. Then, we walked up to the door where the family was sitting, which felt rude, but we did it anyway. W kneeled at the doorway, trying to figure out what to do. 
Then they carried the body out, inches away from us wrapped in a sheet. Jesus. Can you imagine? A fresh wave of sobs and wails let out all around us. Tears were streaming down Brittany's face as she so wanted to pray for him. Finally, I said, " brittany, lets continue praying at my house. Remember the centurion in the Bible who said to Jesus, "all you have to do is say the word and my servant will be healed."' our faith was strong. We went and interceded for over 3 hours.  I felt as if a lot of things broke and happened in the spiritual realm. Sandi had had a dream the night before in which someone was holding a hand over Heidi baker's mouth, and we all felt it had to do with this situation....she is on a speakingtour right now, and we felt that this death was a discouragement meant to hold back her words. We prayed against that.

But he didnt wake up. Why? I dont know. But it doesnt shake my faith.  It says in the Bible that all we have to do is believe, and by the mesure we believe, it will be done. But that doesnt explain why they dont get up sometimes. Im not God. But I still believe what He says to be true. Im must keep trying and having radical faith. Im still believing for a complete healing of Victoria. David Hogan spoke her a couple of weeks ago and reminded us that he has seen 30 people,personally, when he prayed, get up after haing been dead. He reminded us that its hard when they dont...but that you have to keep trying. It helps to believe What God says regardless, and not to feel "failure", which,as Csey Long says, doesnt exist in the Kingdom. 

So. This is my life in Pemba. Very real things. Very real opportunities to test what you claim to believe. It was a hard day, but an amazing day, in which I learned what its like to live on this fallen earth - I wont stop until I see heaven's realities come here.

Life and ministry is going very very well. God was right when He told me not to fear and to go where He was sending me. Im already seeing the differences in ME this time - all that He has done to prepare me, and all that He wants to do through me. I see there is a lot of importance in me being here in this timing, and Im anticipating big growth in the ladies and the program over these months. 
Nathalia, my coworker in the Jewelry making class, and I are overhauling the program right now. She has given me the freedom do make almost any changes I think are necessary to make the program what God has planned for it be and put dreams in my heart for it to be. Im waiting to see if we will get to start paying the ladies per project (up to this point, making jewelry is a once a week job in which they recieve two weeks worth amount of food for them and their whole family.) 

God has been speaking to me a lot about giving them the chance to make choices, be adults, be respected, and be like artisans rather than...workers. In abut two weeks we are going to have a group discussion day where all the ladies, nathalia, Filomena (the woman who is on salary to help lead the class) and I talk through the reason we are doing this class/business together, what our dreams are for it, and give them opportunity to share their dreams, thoughts and concerns. I want them to realize that this is an opportunity to learn skills that can change their lives, if they take advantage of the training we are offering.Then we are going to give them opportunity to vote on which technique of jewelry making theyd like to sepcialize in: wire work, simple beading, bedweaving, crochet, coconut, and kapulana hand-sewing projects. They will then be broken into specific skill groups in which they specialize, and I will be working very hard to train these groups well, with a leader for each group. Im so excited to see this become more of THEIR project in which they are making choices, and are doing things that they enjoy (because theyl have chosen which technique they like the best!)
 I also am making plans to do painting with a small group soon. I dont know if anyone has the skills or desire to do it, but I cant wait to find out. God had so many specific words about painting, i cant wait to see how it goes. 

This week I have been very busy: Im organizing all of these changes starting wiht taking all thenJewelry we have been making and making it better qualitt and more durable. Then designign new pieces. Ive designed probably about 10 new pieces. But i also needed to have master example pieces of things we have been making, so Ive been making lots of jewelry. Its a bit time consuming! The  Ive been taking pictures of each piece and using a program on the Ipad to make inventory lists, supply info, and instruction sheets for each piece which im going to translate into portuguese. Ill also add some makua phrases. Then we will print These out for when we have visitors that want to help. This also all aids in them being able to work without me. Ivalso been reorganizing our supplies in bead sizes and trying to phase put any supplies that we dont use alot. I want to makeit somthat we have consistent materials coing drom specific places so that we can have consistent pieces of jewelry! 

Anyway, Im doing well. Spending good time with friends, mozambican and non-mozambican alike. Its normal to have incredible ministry opportunities daily by loving people around me- theres so much opportunity for ministry just walking a foot outside of my house. Everywhere I go there are hurting people that I see and i love seeing them light up with a smile or one Makua phrase constantly walking in the opposite spirit of the white peoples colonialism in the past.  

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