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.