Monday, January 25, 2010

Thank You Everyone!

Well the Mozambique trip is over for now, but my life is just beginning. God has put me threw the rigger a few times in the last few months, I have cried more than I thought possible, I have laughed so hard my stomach stayed in a constant state of sore, (unless that was the worms) I have screamed so loud it hurt my ears, I have loved and let my heart break, I have fully given over my life to a God that loves me to death, and then breaths life back into me again. I feel that I now have had time to process, I've had time to readjust, and I've had time to organize some photos.

Thank you to everyone who has been apart of this journey. Weather before, during, or after, you played a significant role in my life and I will never forget it.

Here are links to a Pemba slide show:

and a Tete slide show:

Hope you enjoy the taste of adventure, passion, love, pain, sickness, joy, heartache, and most of all the overwhelming presence of the one true God as you see images of the last 3 months of my life.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tete part 2

Sunday Deccember 20th, 2009
I’ve been fighting a cold of all things for the last couple of weeks. The sore throat, sinuses, cough thing. Some days are worse than others and this morning was a bit rough as far as sickness but a “beautiful” display of true friendship. I woke up with a cup of water and a bread roll next to my pillow from Deb and as I stumbled into the hallway I took next in line for the bathroom behind David. He brushed his teeth and then informed me that just that moment the water turned off. I stood in the hallway more than ready to take a shower yet too exhausted to be disappointed. David then grabbed the empty water bucket and fled the house. I had a cup of tea to try and sooth my sore throat for the next 30 minutes, and David then presented me with a bucket of water. “Here’s your shower.” I almost cried I was so thankful. David, Deb and I have become the 3 amigos, peanut butter, jelly and bread, the 3 musketeers, and most importantly the comedy club. Everyday I am thankful for them. Everyday I laugh harder than the day before, and longer than my stomach mussels thought possible. When I finished my bucket shower I put on my last clean t-shirt and skirt and the house boarded the camion for Sunday morning church. I feel like a little girl again at home with my family as we all fight for a turn for the bathroom and yell at each other to leave the house because we are already late. This Tete church has become home to me. I know the faces, and look forward to greeting certain friends. Pastor Carlos preached and I sat on the cement floor with six children laying on me in the heat all excited about laying their head on my lap or having my arm around their little body. It didn’t matter to either of us that it exaggerated the amount of sweat our bodies produced. Beads dripped from every pore in our body and mixed together in pools staining our clothing.
After lunch and a walk with Deb I grabbed my ipod and a cup of coffee and sat on the hood of the Land Rover. Rain delicately touched my skin as I took in my surroundings. Just over the wall was a tiny mud hut with rusty tin roof smaller than our bathroom. People carried on their everyday life as I sat like a fly on the wall watching the simplicity. 3 hours passed of listening to only my favorite music. In being here your brain is going all the time, analyzing, comparing, and meditating. So for 3 hours today I turned my brain off. I didn’t think about anything and it was wonderful. I returned to my room to journal and continued my solitude. It was well needed. Merari came in to tell me that we were all going out tonight for dinner to celebrate as a team. We had a nice time at a bakery in the city together. We walked along the city street and each heart broke as we gazed at a little boy of merely 7 sleeping on the sidewalk. His hands covering his ears and his body curled into fetal position each of us acknowledged there was nothing we could do. We reached the car and one of the girls decided to go back and give him some food. Things escaladed quickly and what began with good intentions became a scene of drunken idiots relentlessly ridiculing the child and convinced that the only reason why white people would want anything to do with a street kid would be to kidnap him for slave trade. People stopped as they passed, police came, crowds congregated, and the group of white people who only intended good left dejected. This is reality. This is why we need that children’s center. My mind again is forced to meditate on such intense matters as I sit at the kitchen table journaling. The house is quiet and the slap of how good I have it stings my face.
Monday December 21st, 2009 - Tuesday December 22nd, 2009
These two days are the last two days of visiting the bush bush. Last night God clearly asked me to fast these next two days in intercession for the brothel. I have spent the majority of the morning in discussion with the Lord. He has been giving me specific scriptures and is teaching me how to pray. Deb felt called to fast with me as well and God’s grace has been thick. In the school I tried fasting a few times and the Lord told me to stop because I wasn’t doing it for the right reasons. In these two days fasting has never been easier because I know clearly that God is asking me to do it. The other marvelous thing about fasting on outreach is that someone who is hungry gets the food that you chose to not eat. I heard Kris Valloton speak on fasting once and he made a comment about if we chose to go without food we should give the food to someone who needs it.
The first village we visited was actually 4 villages gathered together for our visit and they truly were excited to see us. One of the pastors from a visiting village was there in his Sunday best. He had a button up, a tie and a vest. He even dressed up his son of maybe 3 with a little tie. After the introduction we set up our tents and not even 10 minutes later it began to rain. It rained hard till almost 11pm. All we could do was stay in our tents to stay dry and the locals all huddled together under the church roof. However, when the rain stopped instead of everyone walking to a near by school that offered to let the visitors sleep there for the night. Everyone began singing and dancing. They sang, banged away on drums, and danced till 3am! By 3 they decided they wanted to watch the Jesus film. Us missionaries came to visit the party for 10 minutes here and there, but our Mozambiquan team from the Tete church some of them were out there the whole night. They are amazing and their passion is incomparable. I couldn’t help but think of some of the all night worship things that I have been to and by 3am it usually dwindles to only a handful of people and mellow worship playing in the back ground. The dedication and excitement of these people is more than inspiring. They walk all day, dance and sing all night and still are eager to hear what you have to say the next day. Tuesday we did the usual program I told the children’s Bible story today and we introduced limbo. Pi then loaded all the visitors into the camion and gave them a ride back to their village. We later moved onto our second village for the day and upon arrival Deb and I joined the dance party again. Merari then asked me if I could share a testimony after the introductions. I felt like it was appropriate to share about the goodness of God and to hold onto that one truth with everything we have. I gave examples of when really bad things happened in my life I got angry with God and blamed Him for the bad things at first. But God proved to me that He is good and no bad thing comes from someone who is 100% good. He can’t give something He doesn’t have. I had to chose to acknowledge I didn’t know all the answers but that I would not get angry with God for those things I didn’t understand but instead continue doing all I can to counteract the bad things in life.
Wednesday December 23rd, 2009
Today was Christmas prep day! We went to town and purchased flip flops for all the kids, and with the money that was given to me by my children’s church class back home in Whitefish, I purchased dolls and cars for the kids. That night we celebrated our last night together as well as Willie’s 3 year old birthday at the bakery again. We had a great last meal together and we then went home to debrief and take a group photo. We all gathered outside on the front porch for the photo and the last one out closed the door behind her accidentally locking us all out of the house. Classic! Pi found a long stick and ended up reaching the keys though his bedroom window. We all had a good laugh about it though. Cake waiting for us on the table, fans blowing, lights on and the whole house locked outside.
Thursday December 24th, 2009
Christmas Eve!!! This morning began with saying good bye to Ruthie and Quewni. It was sad parting with my two little sisters. The rest of the morning was cleaning and packing the Land Rover in prep for our journey to Dondo. By 2 we arrived at our Tete church for a big Christmas lunch celebration. My last meal of eating schema and chicken with my hands, sitting on grass mats in the dirt with sleeping babies and Mozambiquan mammas, all shaded by a cardboard roof. We gathered in the church to pass out the toys and sandals and it all began quite controlled. Not long into it that all changed and Deb leaned over and said to me, “the children are multiplying.” I looked back and said in a monotone unsurprised voice, “it’s a miracle.” I traced down my two girls and the pastor’s daughter Ida got a doll and sandals, my other little girl only got sandals and therefore I went to the Land Rover and pulled out a necklace my niece Jasmine made for me. I held my no-name child and placed the necklace over her head. I’m not sure what happened to her sandals but she no longer had them on her feet. I’m hoping they are just at her house and didn’t get taken away. Her baby sister then came over to the two of us crying. I put down the 4 year old and picked up the crying 1 year old. She was comforted for a short while but I had to put her down to join the adults in the church. As I placed the littlest sister on the ground her older sister took off the necklace and placed it around the neck of her crying sister. This is break your heart material. I ducked my head and entered the little cement church and found a spot next to Mamma Fatima. Yesterday I gave Doca a skirt and scarf as a “I love you, Merry Christmas, I’ll miss you, thank you gift,” and as I sat next to Fatima today I gave her a scarf trying my best to say in gesture everything I wanted to say in words. She received it with gratitude and a sat close leaning into her as she gently scratched my back. Tears welled in my eyes as Pi spoke to us missionaries. This was yet another moment I will never in my life forget. “Everyone in this church wishes they could tell you how much you mean to them, there are so many thinks they all wish they could say to you,” Pi tells us as each on of us says to ourselves “me too.” He thanks us for the encouragement we brought to the church and we part being blessed. I couldn’t stop the tears from sprinting down my cheeks while Mi held me and in broken English says, “Don’t go, stay here.” The Land Rover fills up once again with missionaries ready to hit the road and at the same time not wanting to leave. There is not a dry eye in the vehicle. We had to make one last stop at Pastor Jeromnio’s house to say good-bye to our host. We thanked him and prayed a blessing on his health and family and again made our way back through the village market and onto the main road. We drove into the sunset as I listened to “let it snow” on my ipod in celebration of Christmas Eve.
Friday December 25th, 2009
Christmas Day! We arrived in Dondo at 2am and we greated the base director with a “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas” Deborah still half asleep sits up and shouts “Happy Birthday!” and with that we lost it. We were so goofy tired that we couldn’t stop laughing. After finding rice and beans, a welcome note, and some cookies waiting for us on the table, we found a bottle of water and a pack of cookies waiting on our pillow. It didn’t take long before I was asleep in bed. The first bed in 3 weeks! The rest of Christmas day consisted of laying around the Dondo base. I made egg sandwiches for the group for breakfast and Ron and Jan blessed us with real coffee! What a Christmas gift! We had a chicken lunch with the Dondo staff and boys. I talked to my parents while laying under a mango tree and gazing at a spider larger than my fist, as they sat by the Christmas tree watching snow fall outside the window. I will never forget this Christmas.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tete part 1

How can you possibly sum up 3 weeks in Mozambique Africa that forever alters the course of your life? How do you put to words days that mark the worst and the best at the same time? How do you explain love and heartbreak, when you are unable to speak the same language? I will do my best for your sake and for mine to tell the Tete story. But I know that I will fail to do it justice.
Tuesday December 8th, 2009
5:30am the alarm goes off and I know there is no ignoring it today. I crawl out of bed and begin the final stages of packing. By 6:30 my bags were packed and it was merely time to wait. By 9:30 it came to the point were it actually looked as if we were going to leave. I said the last of my good-byes, and gave the last of my hugs. We piled 8 girls into the back of the Land Rover and David, Pastor Carlos and Willie, made up the driving team. I pressed my face against the back window, watching Lisa and Jess walk behind and the Land Rover exited the gates of Iris Ministries Pemba. I knew that even when we return 3 weeks later the base will never look the same again. The first day of driving ended in a quiet peaceful village. We were all tucked snugly in our tents safe from the “mother spiders” by just after midnight.
Wednesday December 9th, 2009
Rain gently tapped my tent to say good morning. We all quickly loaded the truck and drove away within the hour. In desire to keep the party moving we have not really stopped for food the last couple of days and so by lunch we actually got out and had a meal. Trying to estimate time is near impossible because of road conditions. In looking through the window I feel like I am watching a arcade driving game. “Drive a Land Rover on roads in Africa trying to avoid children who run in front of the car, tire-popping pot holes, and vehicles driving on your side of the road.” It was again midnight as we were nearing our destination for the night and in all honesty I was not excited about the 2 hours it takes to get the bags and set up camp. But then we experienced a miracle. We pulled into the Dondo base to find out that they had beds made for us and food on the table. I was so shocked all I could do was walk around with my mouth open trying to take it all in.
Thursday December 10th, 2009
This morning I took a shower! It was so glorious I didn’t even care that I shared it with 2 cockroach things each bigger than my thumb. I truly have stopped caring about the extremely large insects. I walked out of my room, feeling cleaner emphasis on the “er,” and another amazing surprise walked into the visitors’ center, Ron and Jan Brunk! This is a couple I met before coming to Africa that went to the school 2 years ago and own the bike store in my tiny town of Whitefish, Montana. Out of a town of maybe 6,000 full time residents we met up in Dondo, Mozambique by surprise. Now because Ron would come into the coffee shop that I worked at almost every day and so him and Jan then had me to their house for a cup of real coffee. French pressed, and served black in a real ceramic mug. We left one of our Mozambiquan girls, Fatima here in Dondo for holiday with her family and the rest of us didn’t make it on the road till around 2pm due to some Land Rover issues. Today’s road I no longer felt that I was watching a video game I felt as if I was in a movie. Truly it was surreal. I begin to write the story in my head to entertain myself for the next 12 hours. Midnight had come and gone and construction roads stretched an unknown length. The African bush was dark and encircled all around us. The air smelled of cigars and clouds of dust would choke your breathing with every passing semi. David, 25 years old, 6’5” wearing a Patagonia plaid button up with the neon driver’s vest was the only one talking and it was never more than the few phrases of, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” or “ Oh, come on!” Pastor Carlos the Mozambiquan guide sat next to him interpreting the road signs for David, with his little son Willie almost 3 years of age asleep on his lap. The road was littered with reflecting road signs but it was a mystery to all of us what any of them meant. It looked as if they had just put every sign they had on the road to say “yes this is the main road and not some abandoned bush bush trail.” In the back the seven girls sat in silence. Amy with long blond hair braided into a million tiny braids and a big Canon camera around her neck at all times was the official photographer. Debora, 6’2” could be mistaken as a New Zealand super model over the inquisitive student that she is always has a huge smile on her face and always excited to take in all the new experiences. Ruth Ann, with long brown hair always pulled back into a braid has been put in charge of food. She is wonderful for the job considering her Amish background. Tuweni, also known as “queweni” is from Malawi. With no fear of speaking her mind and her desires she is a valuable asset to the team considering she speaks the local language. I can be summed up as the young inexperienced nurse, and Natalia is from Tete and we are transporting her back to her family. Merari a firery Porto Rican co-leads with David and Pastor Carlos and serves as the Portuguese translator. The Land Rover jumped and shook after every pot hole and everyone did their best to find a handle to hold onto during the ride. As we came to a bridge again littered with construction signs one man stood in the center with a red light saber waving back and forth.
Now if you take this team and exaggerate all of our personalities, gifting, and backgrounds this would be a crazy good film. We made it to Tete around 2am yet again and Maria Jose and Roberto greeted us with open arms and a hot meal. Our Tete home has a weird familiarity to it. It honestly feels as if I’m staying with my Brazilian Aunt and Uncle, and my siblings and I just did 3 day road trip to get here. The house has 4 empty bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen the size of the bathroom. There are 2 chairs and a bench in the living room along with a few African nick-nacks. But there is not much else in house. Mi and Pi don’t even have a bed. And yet we are so grateful to be living in such luxury, because in Africa this is housing of only the rich. I believe many Americans would break down in tears if they had to live in such poverty conditions. After unloading the luggage from on top of the Land Rover we placed our air matrices close together on the cement floor and slept as best we could in the suffering Tete heat.
Friday, December 11th, 2009- Monday, December 14th, 2009
The first few days spent in Tete concussed of just spending time with “family.” Each day we went to the small one room concrete church. There is a brothel right next to the church that we are trying to purchase to turn into a children’s center. However, it is currently still in business. We have walked all around the surrounding village in prayer and Saturday night when we showed the Jesus film at the church many of the prostitutes came over and came up to turn they’re lives around. Many of them were at church the next day as well. The Tete church is amazing and these people truly love the Lord. They are far more mature spiritually than most of the churches here in Mozambique and that is all thanks to Mi and Pi (Maria Jose and Roberto). I have gravitated toward two little girls in particular here at the church. They must be about 5 years old. One of them is the Pastor’s daughter named Ida and the other I never was able to get her name. They are best friends and are always scene together. Each time we show up they run over and are attached to each side of me the entire time I’m there. They remind me of my best friend Nicole and I when we were that age.
Tuesday December 15th, 2009 - Thursday December 16th, 2009
Bush bush visit- Singorah: The camion full of our missionary team and a group of Mozambiquans from the Tete church arrived to the sound of singing and dancing. One by one we jumped down from the back of the truck and joined the celebration. Singorah is the most beautiful village in Africa. Ok, well as far as I’ve scene. Green grass covers the ground as goats, cows, chickens, and donkeys roam. Ducks and Hogs enjoy the watering hole shaded by a large mango tree. Even in the little church the women have hung dried flowers from the roof. Everything is clean and beautiful including the people. They are all so inviting. One women walked us to the market and tried to buy us sodas. We managed to buy the drinks and so she bought us a pack of cookies.
When we visit the bush bush, during the day Mi and Pi split up the Mi’s and Pi’s and talk about AIDS, sexual purity, and relationships while the rest of us take the kids. Typically the we paint the girls fingernails while the boys play soccer. We sing songs, and dance, play games, and tell a Bible story. Tuewni is so good with the kids and we are lucky to have her. She has a billion songs up her sleeve all in their language. We visited another visit on Wednesday as well and did the same thing with them. Except Maria Jose and Roberto kept the Mi’s and Pi’s together and talked about relationships. They had the pastor and his wife give each other a hug in front of everyone and even the children turned around to witness the most awkward hug. They simply do not hug. We have enjoyed bringing the concept of the hug to the people. Even with the children, it takes them a little while before they melt and embrace the embrace.
When we got home to Tete Thursday evening upon entering the bathroom we found the bathtub was completely covered in cockroaches. This discouraged the excitement of showers mildly, but not much. We killed them, removed them and got the shower line moving. 12 people sharing one bathroom means that it takes a while for everyone to get a turn. After everyone got their shower, we went to town to buy supplies for the next bush bush visit. I got some time on the internet, which was a wonderful surprise and after collecting a small donation we sent our leaders out to dinner.
Friday, December 18th, 2009 - Saturday December 19th, 2009
Back to the bush again. These two days were openly some of the worst days I’ve had in Africa and at the same time two of the most amazing. At the first village it had to be 50 degrees Celsius. Upon arriving to the first village I got serious stomach cramps. We set up our tents and I went to bed almost immediately. Sleep was not an option however. This was indescribable heat. The ground is mainly coal and therefore it was radiating heat all night. I was drowning in pools of my own sweat. I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life and I will be honest in saying I don’t desire to ever experience that again.
Once Saturday rolled around, and I gave up the idea of sleeping at all. I’m sure no one slept at all Friday night. We played with the kids again while Mi and Pi took the adults. At one point I looked over to find a little boy of maybe 3 laying in the dirt crying. I went over brushed him off and took him in my arms. He stopped crying and calmed down as I gently rocked him. He had a necklace placed on him from the witch doctor, which meant there was something wrong with his health. I began to sing blessing over him, and canceled all curses placed on this boy in the form of the bondage around his neck. I sat down and cradled him in my arms and Roberto and the local pastor came over and noticed the witchcraft symbol as well. The pastor begin explaining to this boys mother that the witchdoctor doesn’t have any power to bring healing and blessing. Witchcraft only brings curses and destruction. The Holy Spirit is the real healing power and there is no required fees, or negative consequences. In the end the mother couldn’t care less, but the little boy changed. He was held and loved for an hour. He experience the peace that comes only from Heaven and the enemy could not touch him while he was in my arms. I don’t mean to sound mellow-dramatic but the spiritual world is a reality here.
We left Saturday afternoon and went to another village. Again we were greeted with singing and dancing and Deborah and I joined in on the party. My eyes focused on the amazing dancers and my hands clapped along to the beat and too quickly for me to understand what was happening my capulana fell off! Grabbed it faster than I knew I could move and Doca, my sister from the Tete church, and I had a good laugh. Yep, one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I flashed the whole church! The local pastor took a small group of us on a little tour after the welcome party, and we ended up hiking up a mountain in capulanas in the heat of the day. Not something I would recommend. It was beautiful though. He then took us to the chief’s house to introduce us. This is probably the farthest into the bush that we have been yet. There is no electricity, no roads, no cars, nothing remotely close that gives hint of the modern world. However as we neared the chief’s house Michael Jackson’s “Beat it” drifted from the radio. It simply didn’t fit the scenery of hippo skulls, and mud huts.
We came back to camp to find that lunch was ready. Deb and I helped Fatima and Doca with the dishes. We had a blast washing the dishes African style, using the dirt as a scrubby sponge, and brown muddy water from the river to rinse. When we were all finished Doca and Fatima took off our sandals and began washing our feet. Not long after this beautiful moment, Deb and I decided to join the dance party. We learned the Tete dance to the best of our ability, which resulted in a lot of laughter by all. That night after the rain, the film, the prayer, and salvations we jumped back into the camion to head back to Tete. No one really packed the gear for the drive home and Deb and I were sitting at the base of the pile and it was not long before DVD players begin crashing onto our heads. We did our best to hold everything in and with sweat pouring down my face and my body getting tossed worse than some crazy earthquake it became mandatory that I make it to the end of the camion. After falling onto Mozambiquan laps, and worrying about my capulana falling off again, I made it to the end just in time to hurl over the side. Yep, again the worst and the best wrapped into one.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Last days in Pemba

Saturday, December 5th, 2009
Happy Birthday Meadow!!! I love you sister! This morning I woke up barely past 6am to a text message from my good friend Jenna back in Whitefish. This is the first time I’ve talked to anyone besides my parents on the phone and a few tears were shed from pure joy. I know I was an emotional wreck in the beginning of the school and now at the end of school I am the same wreck, but really I promise I wasn’t this way in the middle. Anyway Jenna was watching 5 out of 6 of the nieces and nephews and the phone got passed around to all of them. It was wonderful. This afternoon we I said good bye to Henk. He has been one of my favorites from this school and we had our reentry meeting where some really good things were said. Then Jess, the dutch, James, Esther and I all went to the Nautilus for lunch. I had rice and beans at home and just used the internet for a bit but sat and enjoyed the convo with the rest of the table. Then us girls ran into the water then sat on the pier in silence while the boys stayed chatting and drinking cappuccinos, Ha a little reverse roll hey? Us girls laughed about it. Once back on base I showered and changed into clean clothes, borrowed some bobby pins and pinned up my hair, and even get this… put on makeup. Yeah I went all out tonight baby! Anyway then Mandy, Alice, Sherri Lynn, Spencer, Chris, James, Eric, Tiago, Martha, Rallo, John, and I went to the Navel for dinner. Later Jerome and the other Eric joined us and then Esther, Desi, Lisa, and Dan joined our table as well. I had some great convo with Spencer tonight which is fun because he is one I didn’t ever get that close with while being here. Well, in all honesty I didn’t get close with any guys. To a certain level yeah, but I still feel like I am at week 2 with all of them. Alice and I also got some good heart to heart tonight. Oh a noteworthy tragedy today was after I woke Carrie up to inform her that our medical meeting got bumped up to right as I woke her. Carrie and I came back to the house and it was about 9:30 at this point. Carrie had 2 Starbucks instant coffees left and had water boiling with her cup of coffee sitting right next to the stove. Krista who just got back from the chicken shack with a soda that she just purchased came in the door and added a few ice cubes to a cup and then started pouring her soda in the cup. Then she freaks out and says, “Uhh… why can’t people learn to do the dishes!!!” Her soda was a nasty brown and I realized what she had just done. I then said gently, “Krista you just poured your soda into Carrie’s coffee” All Carrie could say was “its ok, its ok” at that point I knew our house had then reached a new level of “oh gosh!” and I said see you later.

Sunday, December 6th, 2009
Happy Birthday Jillian!!! My oldest niece is 13 today! Today was a wonderful day. Last night was a late night I didn’t go to bed until 12:30 or so but I was up at 6:30 with Esther at my window asking if I was awake. We made our breakfast plans for 7:30 and I threw on some clothes and spent some time in the word. I felt like God was extremely clear this morning. I just stayed in bed listening to Ave Maria and reading from Luke. I read the story of how Jesus appeared to the disciples after He rose from the dead and they didn’t recognize him the whole time and it wasn’t until they began to eat together that he recognized him and He had to open their minds (Luke 24: 45). It then made me think about the last supper and when they ate, He then said do this in remembrance of me. I thought well they sat and ate together all the time and then the last time they eat together Jesus says when you break bread an drink wine do it in remembrance of me. I just couldn’t help but think of what a crazy mess of religion Jesus made of things. Here He was one man that showed up and says that He alone is fulfilling the law and that people don’t need to do this whole sacrifice thing any more and we are in a new covenant with God where we can feel Him any time we ask. It is so drastically different than everything that everyone knew back then. Anyway I just had some interesting convo with God this morning. I’m still dwelling on all this obviously.
By 7:30 Esther, Alicia, and I went to the Nautilus for breakfast. I had a pancake, it was tasty and a cup of tea. Oh and our server gave me a free muffin just because.
Once back I put together my medical box and then went to the truck to say good-bye. I did tear up just a little once she was in the truck driving off. I adore the girl, I feel she is my sister. By then it was house cleaning time. All of us went to town on our dirty house. We did a crazy good job and now I am sitting at the clean table walking barefoot on clean floors with flowers on the table and the smell of bleach still in the air as I journal in an empty house listening to my music. I don’t care if I am a dork who eats a candle lit dinner alone, because I enjoy it.
My gear repair kit has come in quite handy since being here. I have yet to use it for myself but I helped Henk the other day, I helped Spencer today and I have helped Johan twice.

Monday, December 7th, 2009
Today I had to say good bye to two trucks full of friends. Some I know I will see by the end of the month, others I know I will see at some point down the road, and some I know I will never see again. It is hard but I know I don’t know how hard it really is yet.

Shout out to all y’all!!!

I just want to say that I will be in the bush bush now for the next 3 weeks but I will be back in Montana before you blink an eye. Thank you to everyone who has sent emails and quick messages of love. They have gotten me through this far. I can’t wait to see you or talk to you once I’m back in the states. I will fill you in on the rest of the story in a month. I love you! God is with you! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Graduation week!

Monday, November 30th, 2009
Today was the first day of the last week of school! Weird! Today really was a great day. School began with worship and graduating the Young family and Jesse and Tanya because they leave tomorrow to go back to La Shinga. Then Mel Tari spoke, which was so amazing! Man he is one of my school favorites! Then Amy spoke! She is an amazing, wonderful woman that beat us up with her honesty in a good way. I really respect her when she talks about not whining, and enjoying the luxuries that we have. Mel too, I respect him so much and find him relatable when it comes to talking about how we need to go about our day to day lives. This morning God put Nina Landis music in my head when I woke up. So I listened to it as I did yoga and read my Bible. God started talking to me about same things that Mel and Amy talked about later. That is God for you! For lunch Esther, James, Alicia, Chris, John, Mandy and I went to town had Chinese food, ice cream and did some grocery shopping. It actually was a wonderfully enjoyable town visit. I had a lot of fun and was able to get a little bit of peanut butter and mangos and bananas. It was great. Alicia, Esther and I made tuna sandwiches for dinner because the Iris base ran out of food so they did not feed the mission school students tonight. They fed the kids and the bible school students. Then Mel Tari spoke again at the evening session and again it was wonderful. God is good, day after day, after day! AMEN!

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
Today marks exactly one week till I leave for the bush bush, and exactly one month until I am home in Whitefish, Montana! Crazy!!! It is all exciting, and wonderful, yet sad and terrible at the same time. I will be saying goodbye to my family here, my home here, and my life in my bubble. Yet I will be embarking on an incredible adventure that will last for 3 weeks and then I will be heading back to Montana to bring all the wonders of Mozambique home with me. God has not given me a spirit of fear, and yet I know believe that it is good to acknowledge the fact that difficulty is around the corner. Because when I headed out to my first outreach I didn’t believe that it would be hard for me, and with that I got a slap in the face I was not expecting. But I am admitting that this will be hard even though I am so excited for it, and I know that it will be hard once I’m home as well even though I truly can’t wait.
Today Mel Tari spoke in the morning and he is amazing I’m telling you. He is such a papa and ridiculously funny! Then Heidi spoke and she always has many incredible stories to share. As soon as school got out I went and got my rice and beans and went to the meeting for outreach. David made creeps and oh man were they good! I’m looking forward to more of those! I had to leave that meeting even before we were totally done because I had color group meeting with Heidi. We sat in her office with kids coloring, walking around, and interrupting and we went around the room and shared how we got to Iris, how we liked the school, and what we are doing after school. I have to tell you about Dan and Lisa! So I don’t think I mentioned it at the beginning of the school but the first day the first group of us were here, we were all chatting and Lisa mentioned that her and Dan were engaged and Esther asks “so do you have a dress yet?” Lisa casually answers “no but I’m not worried about it, I’ll just wear my favorite dress if it comes down to it.” Well Esther then says “well I have a wedding dress, God told me to bring a wedding dress to Pemba, do you want to try it on?” Lisa tried it on and it is the perfect fit, and it is exactly what she had been looking at online that she knew she couldn’t afford. Wow! So ok here is what happened today… As Dan and Lisa tell their story to Heidi, Heidi then asks “do you have rings?” the answer was no and Heidi then responds “well do you know I have a ring ministry? Yeah people give me rings and then I give them for wedding rings. So what do you like, gold, silver, white gold, diamonds?” Come on!!! I started crying right then and there. God is just so ridiculously good!

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
The last week of school God never intends to leave you with what He has done in the last 7 weeks. He always wants to give you that last bit more. This morning Mel Tari spoke and then Papa Roland. They are both awesome! And worship was incredible too. The afternoon was pretty mellow and after dinner and a little gathering of ice cream for those who helped Roberta with the book reviews. The evening session started shortly after that. All we did was worship and at one point the Lord layed the burden of Whitefish so heavy that I was in a ball on the floor rocking, and tears pouring out of my eyes, snot dripping from my nose, and I was screaming! Everyone around me was loud and in their own world so no one really noticed my crying and screaming. As when I have a intense intense cry this was it and all I could do was ask God to visit people now. I would call people by name as God gave me the names and I believe that God is coming to Whitefish. I feel a bit vulnerable telling you this whole story but I promise in the beginning that I wanted to tell you even the times that I am a mess on the floor. After the evening session I put on some hot water and Jess, Anna and I sat and had hot chocolate and talked a bit. We had a wonderful talk with Anna and just loved and encouraged her tonight. I think it was really good and I felt that we bonded over it as well. We talked about what a testimony she is and if there are things that she still needs to cry or scream about that she needs to do that and not feel stupid about it.

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
This morning after getting dressed and grabbing a cup of Ricoffee, only the best, I washed all my clothes. Once every item was hanging on the line I grabbed the remaining of my coffee and walked to the last class! Mel Tari spoke first and then Mamma Heidi. After class I had a meeting and then Jess and I made two batches of glory balls for graduation tomorrow, then two batches of Jello, cleaned house, made dinner, and then an apple crumble. We had a very domestic evening. There are times in which I step back and think, “what time period am I living in?” I have to haul my own water, I spent all day washing laundry by hand, cooking and cleaning. And we have to do it all in a floor length skirt

Friday, December 4th, 2009 Graduation Day!
Wow! What a day! Just after 6am Jess came in and woke me up. I made some rice porage from rice that I saved from the night before and we were out of the house by 7am. We walked up to Nathan’s casa (Nathan is the school director), to do some gardening. There is a large garden area up by the prayer hut and the school hut that is beautiful but the horses are free range on the base and therefore they have fully destroyed the garden. At one point goats got into the garden and did a lot of damage as well. But Nathan has been working on it for the last 2 months or more and a wall has been built surrounding it so the horses cannot get in and today a group of us planted trees! We planted coconut trees, mango, orange, and papaya trees, thorny bougainvillea flowers along the wall to keep the banditos from jumping over. We cleaned up garbage, and watered. It was so much fun. Even in just 2 months you can see such a transformation of our garden enclosed! It is beautiful and I can’t wait to come back in 3 years and see the coconut tree that I planted, tall and bearing fruit!
So I didn’t get to stay long today because I had a meeting at 8am for medical training. I volunteered to be the on sight nurse for my 3 week bush bush trip. We are a group of 7 with two Mozambiquan pastors. We will be driving in a Land Rover for 3 days to get to our destination. We are going to a place that doesn’t yet have a children’s home. A Brazilian couple from the last mission school just moved there and are pioneering this new city. They just got there and we will be there first visitors, so this is truly going to be exciting. Iris Ministries just bought what used to be a brothel and the plan is to fix it up to the point in which it becomes a children’s home. From what we have heard there are many, many abandoned children. Street kids are everywhere and currently there is no where for them to go. I will be here for Christmas unless we decide to start driving back to Pemba Christmas day, but either way I’m also the “Christmas Director” for our team. I’m so thankful for my children’s school class back in Whitefish. Before I left they did a bake sale and raised money for the kids here. The Lord told me to hang on to it for a while and I didn’t give it to the base here right away and now I know it is for the street kids for Christmas in this new town I will be living in for 3 weeks. Thank you kids! Just a little side note it is rainy season and the town we are going to is on the Zambezi river and there are big possibilities of flooding so please keep Mozambique in your prayers in this regard. I have scene what one day of heavy rain can do and I don’t to see it get worse. Moderation of rain please, no floods!
Ok so after the medical training I went home put on a bright red t-shirt with the Iris logo on the front and back, a long skirt and my purple bandana to signify what color group I’m in. Graduation here is definitely not get in a nice dress, take a shower and put on makeup it is more like just wear what everyone else is wearing and don’t bother showering today because it will end up being pointless and hey no one wears makeup any other day there is no point in putting it on today and then crying and sweating it off 5 minutes later. I walked up to the school gazebo looking like I went back in time and am now 10 again with my baggy tee, my hair pulled back, and my skirt. Once there all of us students gave a standing ovation for our wonderful staff. We stood shoulder to shoulder completed the circular gazebo with a wall of bodies in red, blue, black, and green Iris t-shirts. The staff walked around to each of us praying over us and blessing us with authority to go out into the world. We started up there at 10am and by 1:30 we glanced at the clock and realized we were supposed to be at the kitchen a half hour ago. We were just having too much fun.
At the kitchen we broke up into our color teams with a group of the Mozambiquan Bible school students in each team as well and we had a chicken dinner feast! Each house made a few batches of no bake cookies and after passing those out the competition began. We played the simple egg on a spoon game and I know this sounds funny but it was such a beautiful sight! Mozambiquan mommas and papas and mission school students from 17 different nations dancing on tables, screaming, and getting so excited over a piece of chicken, rice, a juice box, a cookie, and a simple egg on a spoon game. Music blasted the sound of gospel hip hop something, “get down get down get down…” and I there was not one body not dancing. Mamas carried the egg on the spoon with babies strapped on their backs and I can truly say it felt like family.
After the massive lunch party we all walked down to the church and Papa Roland, Mama Heidi, and Papa Mel Tari were waiting for us. The dancing continued once we reached the church and a all students from both schools were up on stage doing the follow the leader dance to some African worship song. That building is HOT and dancing only makes things worse. Like I said earlier no point in taking a shower. Everyone is soaked with sweat at this point. Mel Tari then preached with his Indonesian accent heavy and his Pentecostal mannerisms even stronger, and a Portuguese translator did his best to keep up with him and the Makuah translator did his best to keep up after the Portuguese. Heidi then read each a group of mission school student’s names as they stepped onto the stage just to fall to their knees while Mel, Heidi, and Roland prayed for each person. Brian, the leader of the Bible school, then would read a group of Bible school student names and they would come up and do the same thing. I believe we started this process at about 3 and when I reached the front door of my house it was 8pm. I know this might be really hard for you to imagine but God is a lot of fun! It was not a horrible sit through the reading of names and clapping for 5 hours it was a quick mention of the names and then lots of prayer. And again this might sound strange to you but the prayer was not quiet whispering, with classical music playing in the background it was tears and laughter, it was shouting and dancing, it was fun! At one point after everyone’s names had been called and we were all now on stage and the music was going again as loud as ever a Mozambiquan woman picked up Mamma Heidi and carried her around our “dance circle” then a Mozambiqan man did the same to this guy Eric, a mission school student from New York, and then my roommate Krista runs across the room and picks me up. I felt as if I was in some Jewish wedding or something. It was hilarious! We both then fell to the floor in laughter and stayed there for probably 2 hours.
Once we mustered the strength to walk back to our house we discovered that the party continues! All of us mission school students then sat around a fire roasting hot dogs. Yes I had a hot dog and coke and didn’t think twice about it. The evening has dwindled to an end at nearly midnight and everyone here can testify it was quite the day!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving and Rain

Friday November 27th, 2009
This morning I set an alarm and was awake by 4am. The sun wasn’t quite up so I waited till nearly 5 to wake up Krista. I threw on the same dirty clothes I was wearing yesterday (I don’t think I have ever done this in my life before coming here) and the two of us walked 20 minutes to the Nautilus. By 6am I finally connected with my family via Skype. I was able to see a blurry image of the whole crew. The image on my computer screen skipped glimpses of the all the faces I love crammed in a corner of my parents warm house protected from the chilly winter air. They gaze at me sitting on the pier with the ocean in the background, squinting from the intensity of sun that is making sweat roll down the back of my tank top. I couldn’t have been happier to see my family, and I know I am so incredibly blessed to have them. I am only 1 out of 17 and they love me enough to want to stay together and talk to me as a family. How could this not brings tears to my eyes?
After time on the internet ran out, Krista and I walked further down the beach to a little restaurant to have a cup of coffee. We sat with our toes in the sand as we enjoyed the still quiet beach. We exchanged wisdom and concerns as clouds slowly covered the sun and a warm rain began to fall. We walked home with thunder booming behind us and our feet kicking the surf. I swear by my Timbuck2 bag so we walked without worry for our computers were safely tucked inside my treasure bag.
We made it home bodies soaked, computers dry, and put on a pot of tea. Today is the day after Thanksgiving which means it is officially Christmas season. The Christmas playlist on my ipod was the beginning of what I would like to think of it as “if you give a mouse a cookie,” example. It started with a cup of chamomile tea and Christmas music, then once on the subject of Christmas, Carrie, Krista and I grabbed scarves, Carrie’s beanie (don’t ask me why she has a beanie in Mozambique) and Krista’s gloves (again don’t ask) we took a few “Christmas” photos and then it escaladed to the idea of Christmas cooking. We don’t have much to work with in our cupboards, so some peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk, and coco powder made a truffle that we then rolled in cinnamon and instant coffee! Yeah they were amazing and extremely rewarding! It then escaladed to wanting a Christmas tree. I left the house in claim that I would find one. Well I came back with what I thought was a good “tree.” The next few hours were spent decorating the tree, making popcorn garland, and singing along to the classic Christmas songs. The “Christmas party” did not remain just me and two of my roommates, it grew with every girl that walked by the house, or heard the music. I passed out cups of tea to our guest in only our finest china, (emptied peanut butter jars) and in return each new guest added to the energy of the moment.

Knowing we got a little ahead of ourselves, but it was a ridiculously funny challenge of our imagination to imitate Christmas as we know it. A giant palm tree branch and a “happy birthday” banner found in a random drawer, transformed into “happy Christmas” with help of some magic, created the foundation for our “Christmas tree.” And earrings, popcorn, headbands, and whatever else people came up with trimmed the tree before finishing it off with a giant leave in an abstract shape of a star at the top. God continued to bless us with rain all day and although it wasn’t cold outside it still helped set the mood.
The rain continued as Carrie, Krista and I put on skirts and rain jackets, and walked to meet up with the rest of the group for village outreach. A group of us went to Theresa’s house which I was excited about. (She was the woman that gave me the necklace the last time I went on village outreach.) The last time we were there we noticed the roof on her house was in really bad shape. When we visited today we noticed that her roof was brand new! Iris ministries came last week and gave her a new roof! We sat and visited for a while and then continued onto a new house. Here there was one almost blind woman and her husband and children and this 18 year old girl that had no other family that now lives with this family and helps with the children. I know I have said this before but the sense of community is incredibly provoking. Time moved extremely slow while we sat on grass mats with children on our laps. I held this one boy for about 2 hours and we just played clapping games, and I let him and his older brother play with my hair Occasionally their mom would laugh at my stylish new do and at one point she leaned over and rubbed oil in my hair and face. A kiss on each cheek and a “ciao, ciao” sent us walking back home.
I have to be honest I just wasn’t into the food from the kitchen tonight, consequently I had some crackers with butter for dinner. I cannot possibly describe to you how messed up my eating habits are here, but I’ll give you a little idea. Yesterday I ate a burger for my thanksgiving meal (first one in almost 2 years). Chicken night on base is the best night of the week. I have had nothing but instant coffee this whole time. I have had multiple sodas (I absolutely never drink soda at home except an sporadic ginger beer). The other day I didn’t have milk and therefore I had orange juice in my cereal. And the other day I accidentally missed the breakfast roll and ended up eating a cracker/cookie thing that tastes like cardboard with fake butter and honey on top. And to think that before I left home I was concerned with drinking out of plastic water bottles, that is the least of my concerns at this point. Now you know that when I brag on my cooking of good food it really is a rarity. This is a more accurate description of everyday.

Saturday, November 28th, 2009
The sound of Thunder shakes me awake and the sound of rain on the tin roof lulls me back to sleep again and again through the night. I end the cycle by deciding to get out of bed and grab my raincoat. I walk out of my bedroom in my Kermit the frog jacket ready to walk to the kitchen at the top of the compound. Before I make it past the threshold of my bedroom door, Krista walks in drenched and holding all six bread rolls. Turns out there is no need to challenge the rain after all. The house remains dark and the only sound is the rain increasing his authority. Krista and I put on a pot of water to make our pot of instant coffee and sit at our dinning room table. The rain is no longer gentle and kind as yesterday but powerful. I don’t have a worry in the world except for when the rain comes in sideways and through the windows. For the windows have no glass on them which is not usually something we think about until you are sitting on the toilet and getting rained on at the same time. Yet again I say this is all that we could possibly worry about, while there are thousands of families surrounding us who live in a one room dirt floor hut and the rain becomes a cruel god that invades their houses, through their poor conditioned grass roofs. He turns their floors to mud and soaks everything in his supremacy. The cardboard walls of some houses wither away leaving individuals exposed to the rain’s wrath, and there are no coffee shops or cafes that the locals can take cover in while they wait out the storm. It is just man against rain.
By noon I walked to the Navel with the “Dutchmen” (three people from Holland). The walk over there was interesting. I had a hard time walking because I was laughing so hard at Jerome getting stuck in the mud. There was no avoiding walking through the garbage filled mud puddles that tried their best to eat your flip flops. We sat there till after 5pm and I ended up reading over 200 pages in my book. We walked home along the beach to avoid the river of garbage that encapsulated the road, and still we were challenged in avoiding mud and trash as much as possible. I am close to finished of another one of my books and good thing too considering it is the last week of school starting on Monday. Weird! All of us can’t help talk about it frequently these days, and yet we all know that there is no predicting just how the future will pan out. I know I will experience culture shock upon entering the US and I know that I will miss my new family that I have here and yet there is nothing I can do to prepare myself for this except to acknowledge it is coming quickly.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Beach, Snorkle, and Matapas

Saturday, November 21st, 2009
The beginning of the day was pretty mellow. Just Lisa and Jess and I hanging out at the dinning room table, talking, looking at photos, listening to music, reading, sleeping. I didn’t even really ever get dressed today. I stayed in my sarong till we went to the beach at 3 and then got home and changed into a dress. The beach was a blast though. Jess, Hannah and I walked to the Naval side with our 2 in 1 shampoo conditioner and lathered up. After washing hair and body in the waves we sat on the edge of the water and exfoliated with sand. The waves were strong today and I felt like I was 4 again playing on the beach. We just let ourselves get tossed and twirled, pulled and pushed. At one point Jess and I were getting pulled toward the sea and a whole school of fish were caught in the wave. There must have been more than 200 small fish jumping up out of the water and we couldn’t help but scream and do our best to crawl away. I have not felt this clean since I left home. My skin is soft, my hair is washed, I was getting exercise and I wasn’t sweating! Once we got home Jess and I decided because of the sick bug going around we wanted to clean house really good and do our best to get the sick germ out. Jess, Lisa and I swept, mopped, cleaned the bathroom, filled water buckets because the water came on for a little bit, we cleared and wiped down every surface. Man it feels good. I have been not feeling great for the last 3 days, Jess is not feeling great, and Carrie has been sick for the last 2 days. Right now there are more than 20 people in the compound that are sick. It is absolutely crazy! We have increase prayer and worship exceedingly and are encouraging others to clean like mad as we did. We had one group get back from outreach today and 4 came back sick. We still have a team out till tomorrow and I am praying that non of them are sick.

Sunday, November 22, 2009
What a day! Late last night the red team got in from outreach and all day today everywhere you look was a sick person. I want to say almost 80% of the school has been sick in the last couple of days. Some are worse than others but like I said almost everyone has been hit. We looked like some hospital in the student compound. Every back porch had three sometimes four people laying on matrices, and camping mats with buckets and cold washcloths.
However, there were a few of us who were better by today and a group of us rented a boat and snorkel gear through the Nautilus! A group of 9 of us loaded into a rusted, leaking, motor boat that has scene some battles with the ocean and headed on a 15 minute boat ride to a coral reef located off the coast. I have never done anything so amazing! The whole time I really felt I was living a dream. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I was seeing fish and sea creatures I had only previously scene on TV or the pet store. But I was swimming with them, inches from touching them. We snorkeled for just under 2 hours, hopped back in the boat and pushed through the water back to shore. Once back we sat on the pier at the Nautilus’s restaurant and ordered a fruit salad with ice cream to top off the afternoon.
Lisa and I had dinner plans tonight so once back I rinsed off the sea water and we began cooking. Lisa had already begun cooking a chicken that she bought at the grocery store the other day and I started on the sauce. I bought a jar of mixed spices, green mangos, and other kinda Thai spice combos and mixed a few spoonfuls with a jar of coconut milk. We got rice from the main kitchen and had a feast. Sunday night they serve matapas on the rice which is not my favorite and therefore Sundays are a great night to make our own topping.
I can’t help it I had to include a picture of matapas. After dinner Lisa and I were still feeling the cooking mood and we then decided to make an apple crumble. It is amazing the creativity that comes out with such limited options. It is also great living in a little community because we were just a bit short on oats and so we had to borrow some. Then our stove ran out of propane and so we had to go and borrow a neighbors oven. We finished off a great day by bugging a different neighbor to borrow a movie and sat in the kitchen with Jess and Daniel and watched Narnia.

Monday, November 23rd, 2009
This morning I grabbed my breakfast roll and tea walked home remembered about our empty propane container so therefore grabbed that and walked back up to the kitchen to replace it. Once back home I did my best to put it all back together to be honest I’m not sure if it is completely right even now. After class Lisa, Jess and I grabbed our books and walked across the street to the beach. There is a resort not far away and this is my favorite beach to go to. They have the grass roof umbrellas, and chairs scattered around a bit and so we picked our spot and spent time just listening to the ocean. I got up and was able to go for a bit of a walk alone. Yes Lisa and Jess are in sight but not sound and you feel as if you are alone. I was able to just talk with God a bit and have a good one on one time with him as the ocean water tickled my toes. I feel so blessed to be here. We walked back to iris because I had an appointment to teach the book “When Heaven Invades Earth” by Bill Johnson to some of the students in which English is not their first language. This is a hard book to give a brief summery in 30 minutes with translating into Portuguese; but I did my best for the Brazilian couple and the Sinhye from South Korea. The rest of the evening was yet again full of much silliness with my housemates. The laughter never ceases.