Friday, August 22, 2008

Our Journey to Mozambique ... Part 2

Tuesday, July 22 we woke up early and enjoyed coffee, hot chocolate and rusks. We begin each morning with a group devotion and prayer before breakfast. Sean lead the first devotion. He shared with us Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Philippians 2:13, "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Job 42: 2, "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted." He shared with us that we need to be sensitive to God's work in our lives. We are not here by chance. God wants to do something in our lives and we need to keep our eyes and ears open - listen to what God is saying in our lives. He also shared that faith comes by hearing the Word of God - our response is to bring the Word of God to the people in Chilefu.

Our team praying before they go on hut to hut evangelism.

After breakfast several from our team went out on hut to hut evangelism. Mark and I stayed at camp to prepare to teach that afternoon. Each afternoon we have men's, women's and children's ministry. During our ministry times we have one person in charge of teaching the lesson and then the others in the group help with the games and crafts.

Mark taught the men and I taught the children. Several men came to the men's study, including Osvaldo. He is the young man we met last year that has a desire to lead and pastor the church in Dindiza.

Men's Ministry

In Children's ministry we started out with around 20 kids. We played a game of jump the creek as we waited on the kids to arrive. After the lesson I went through the plan of salvation with the Evangecube. I shared with them that just saying the words will not save them. God knows what is in their heart and if they truly believe they will be saved. I shared with them a little of my testimony. At the end several kids stood to pray to receive Christ as their Savior. It was amazing and overwhelming. I continue to pray for the Lord to protect these kids as they grow and that their relationship with Christ will be strong. At the end of our ministry time the kids made pinwheels and colored. We had around 45 kids at the end.

Each night we have a service. Sean preached the first night. We had over 100 men, women and children at the service. Some of the people were talking and moving around during the service time. The enemy will do and use whatever he can to cause distraction while the Word of God is being preached.

Wednesday, July 23rd ...
Mark led the morning devo. He shared from Isaiah 55:8-13' "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways ," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seeds for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led in peace; the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed."

He reminded us that our job in Chilefu is to sow the seed. He talked about the importance of God's Word and prayer. He shared some things he has read from John Pipers book, "Let the Nations Be Glad." Piper says that, "Prayer is a walkie talkie. God designed it and gave it to us for use on a mission." (p.49) "When missions moves forward by prayer, it magnifies the power of God." (p.67)

I went on hut to hut evangelism with Brad, Jill, Jeff and Sharie. We went to five different huts and shared the Gospel. Several prayed to receive Christ. Mark stayed at camp, he spent the first several days not feeling so great. In fact one night he woke up with fever and chills in the middle of the night.

This man is blind. Sharie shared the Gospel with him and he prayed to receive Christ. We also were able to pray for him and his wife. Later that day his friend helped him get to Bible Study.

Kathy taught the kids. We had 88 come that day.

Through out the week I noticed that several times, rather we were visiting with a family at their hut or teaching a lesson during ministry time, that the wind would pick up as we would ask if they would like to trust the Lord as their Savior. To me it was like God was sending a breath of new and peace to this village. It was peaceful and refreshing.

Before the service we gathered around Jeff and Brad and prayed for the Lord to work through them. We also prayed for the crowd to be quiet tonight and not become a distraction. That night during the service Jeff shared his testimony and Brad preached over Lazarus and demons. He also talked about ancestors and the fact that they don't come back form the dead. That we should not worship them but worship the ONE TRUE GOD. At the beginning when Jeff started to share his testimony the crowd got very quiet. Praise God.

Check back for part 3 in a day or two.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our Journey to Mozambique... Part 1

We are so thankful God allows us to go to Africa to share His good news to the people there. We love it and are amazed each year at all God does. Our prayer is that as you read these updates you will see God through it. Thank you again for your love, encouragement and support.

We left San Angelo on July 18th at 6:00 am and began our journey to Mozambique. Everyone on our team had to check 2 bags that were all maxed out at 50 lbs. They were able to check all our bags all the way through to South Africa and we did not have to pay any extra for the 2nd bag since we were an international flight. Praise God!

Each of our flights went fine. The flight from Houston to JFK was delayed 30 minutes due to weather. We arrived in JFK at 4:00 pm to catch our flight to JoBurg that was scheduled to leave at 5:20. We came off the plane and found out that our connecting gate was only 20 feet away at the next gate. We couldn't believe it. In fact as we were checking in I had a voice mail from Erin at the church and she said South African Airlines called because they knew our flight from Houston was running late and they were going to hold the plane. (Last year our plane from Dallas was late and they gave our seats away so we stayed an extra night in Atlanta.)

On the flight from Houston to JFK Mark and I sat next to a lady from Brooklyn, NY. Her name was Naomi. About half way through the flight we started to talk. She asked us where we were headed and we were able to share with her about our mission trips to Africa. Mark pulled out the lap top and we showed her several pictures from last years trip. At the end she asked if I would give her the address of the church she could send a donation to for us. As I pulled out a pen she got out her checkbook and wrote us a check for $25.00 for our full time support! She also gave us $1.00 and told us we could exchange that. (I was sharing this with a friend the other day and she said that $1.00 was like God saying he would provide every dollar needed, just trust Him!) This was just another piece of confirmation God continues to show us along he way.

Our flight to South Africa was fine just very LONG, 17 hours! We arrived at 4:40 pm (South Africa time) on the 19th of July. It only took us1 hour to get off the plane and go through imigration. We went to get our bags and for the first time in five trips some of the bags did not make it to Africa. Nellie was missing one of hers and we were missing 3 of our 4 bags that we checked. The one bag that came was mine. Mark did not have anything except what was in his carry-on. Mark went to go make a claim and I started to pray for peace as we figured out what needed to be done. I was determined the enemy was not going to have any part of this trip. Our team circled up to pray and thank God for getting us safely to Africa and go before us as we continue our journey. As we finished praying a lady came over to us and handed us a business card. She said she noticed us praying and said she was with the ACSI (It was an assocaiton of Christian Schools.) Jill told her that we were staying an extra week to interview for Full Time Missions and that we were looking into a school in Polokwane. She told us to contact her if we needed anything. Amazing, another piece of confirmation for us!

We just got off of the pane in JoBurg, South Africa.

Mark returned from the claim center and said that our bags never left JFK. Since we were going to drive 2 days into Mozambique we would not get our bags until we left Mozambiuqe. The airline would deliver it to the border. As we were leaving Mozambique at the end of the outreach, we stayed the night at the base camp in Xicumbani and when we arrived our bags were there. One of the guys from Samaria Mission came into Mozambique while we were in Chilefu and he took our bags to the base camp so we could have clean clothes when we arrived there.

Our 1 bag turned into a present. I had 1/2 of the clothes I packed for the bush. Our shower caddy and our lantern made it as well as some of the ministry supplies we packed. The rest we lived with out and made it just fine. Some of the guys gave Mark some clothes and we used one of Samaria Mission's air mattresses. (Thanks Rulof!) Packing on the last day in Chilefu didn't take us near as long sine we didn't have much to pack!

We were traveling from the airport in JoBurg to Polokwane and stopped for a bathroom break and as we pulled in to the parking lot something punctured one of the tires. The guys put the spare on and we were on our way again. We arrived at the Golden Pillow Hotel in Polokwane 12:40 am (July 20th). It was nice to take a hot shower after traveling for so long. We went to sleep at 2:40 am and up at 5:50 am. We left the Golden Pillow at 7:00 and headed to the Mission Farm to fix a tire so that we would have a spare going into Mozambique.

The guys tried this "new" way of putting a tire on the rim. (It was Sunday and nothing was open.) They used acetylene and matches. Kathy recorded a few attempts. Watch the video.

At 10:00 am we left the farm and headed for Mozambique. At 4:00 we crossed the border. (Border closes at 4:00 pm we were glad we made it.) We also had a heavy load and the weigh station on the way to Mozambique just happened to be closed when we passed by.

We arrived at Xicumbane at 8:30 pm. We set up the church with air mattresses, had a snack, made road food for the next day and went to bed.

This is the church in Xicumbane (Samaria Missions Base Camp in Mozambique).

Monday, July 21st we woke up at 5:00 am. We cleaned up and loaded everything back on the bus and left Xicumbane at 6:20 am. We didn't have any real problems crossing the river. Some guys from Xicumbane have built a "bridge" and we were able to use it to get across for 100R. At the end we did break a few pieces so we paid another 200R for repairs.

I took this picture from the window of the bus.

Kathy took this picture from the window of the bus. That is what the "bridge" looks like.

We arrived at Chilifu at 2:20 pm. Rulof, Logan, Derrik, Timbe and Isaac were there. They arrived early to set up camp for our team. We unloaded the bus and got our "home" in the bush set up.The guys are unloading the supplies off the back of the bus.

Our home while inMozambique.

Check back in a day or two for another update.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Update still Coming Soon!

Sorry we have not had time to update everone on the trip yet. We flew in this past Saturday night and then went to church on Sunday morning. After lunch at Francos, we just rested. Monday morning we both went back to work. So all that said we are still a little tired and still trying to unpack, do laundry and clean up the house so we can get back on some kind of "normal"schedule. Keep checking back for updates and pictures soon. Sorry it is taking us so long. We love you all and thank you for your love and support in our journey.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

We are Home!

43 hours of travel and we are home. We will update later on the week. Now we are off to bed! We praise God for safe travel.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Our week here is almost over

We have had a great time in Africa. Our outreach was incredible. We love the people of Mozambique so much. They are so hungry for the Word. Our week here in Polokwane with Sean & Gena has been great! We have truly been blessed. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night we ate with 3 different families from the church. The food and the conversation was great. Tonight Jill, Gena and myself made homemade Mexican Food. It was yummy. We begin our LONG travel home tomorrow. We are ready to see our kids but are very sad to leave. We have felt at home here and that is nice. We praise God for all HE is doing in our lives and for choosing us to join His work in Africa!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Another Busy Day

We went to check out one of the Private Schools here in Polokwane that some of the missionaries and several church members send their kids to. We visited with the Director and then she took us on a tour. The school seems nice. Everyone, including the kids, were very friendly and very respectful. They have several sports for the kids to participate in as well. They have Rugby, Tennis, Swimming (nice pool), Cricket & Soccer. They just added girls soccer in the past few years. Brit should be excited! We were also told that they give the missionary families a scholarship (1/2 price). We are praying God will show us what He wants us to do.

We are going to have dinner at Pastor Johan's house tonight. He is the director of the Seminary.

We are doing great. The weather is so nice, cold nights and the days are in the lower 60's. When we get home we will post some pictures from the outreach. I can't wait to share all the amazing things God did in Mozambique.

Monday, August 4, 2008

We had a busy day!

We went out to look at furniture and appliances this morning. Looks like shipping our furniture might happen. Things are not so cheap!

All four of us interviewed with the Pastor and Elders of CBC. It went really well. We then had dinner with an American family that has lived here for 2 1/2 years. He is a teacher at the Seminary. We were able to get a lot of info about moving. It was really good.

In the morning we will go to the school and then have dinner at another Pastors house tomorrow night.

Thank you for all your prayers. We love you all and miss you.

My Man is Back!

Mark and Brad returned from JoBurg about 1:00 am this morning. It is good to see him and talk to him.

We have a busy next 3 days. This morning we are going around to look at furniture and appliances to see what prices are like. Mark and Brad will meet with the Pastor and Elders at Christ Baptist Church today at 3:00. We will have dinner tonight with Steve and Karen (who moved here 3 years to teach in the Seminary). Tuesday night dinner with another family from the church and Wednesday night dinner with Pastor Nikki and his family.

This has been great last few days. The Lord has taken me to a point where I am totally dependent on Him! It is a good place to be. Being here is good and a little overwhelming but in a good way. I want to live my life sold out for Christ and serve Him however He wants me to.

More later we are getting ready to go.

We miss the kids bunches and can't wait to see them!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hi from Africa

Well it is Saturday at 11:45 am in the morning. Jill and I are at Sean and Gena's house. It is a girls morning. Sean and Andrew (their son) went out to a shooting tournament. It is Gena, Jill, Stephanie, Hannah, Nikki and myself. We have had a nice relaxing morning drinking coffee and hot chocolate and slowly getting dressed for the day. Sharyn is going to pick me and Jill up in an hour or so.

We found out this morning that the other team that is flying in from the states today was not able to leave Atlanta yesterday due to the weather. It looks like William, Mark and Brad will not return from JoBurg until late Monday night. We are trusting God through this. One thing is it gives the two of them more time with William. We do need to pray for the other team trying to get here. They were supposed to go into Mozambique on Sunday but now it looks like they will not be able to go in until Tuesday.

Please continue to pray for our team as they should arrive in JFK in an hour or so. (I think it was around 7:00am New York time.) They will have a long day of travel ahead of them. They are due to arrive in San Angelo at 8:29 pm tonight. I know that they are tired. The travel part of the trip begins to take a toll on the body. We left the village of Chilefu on Tuesday morning at 8:00 am (woke up at 4:30 to tear down camp). We traveled to Xicumbane (base camp in Mozambique) around 4:00 pm. We showered, ate and went to bed. On Wednesday we were up again at 4:30 and we left at 6:00 am. We got to the border at 9:00 am. The roads in Mozambique are very rough dirt and sand roads. When we crossed the border we drove in Kruger National Park to the Mopani Lodge where we stayed for the night. We had a nice dinner in the restaurant. The restaurant overlooks a small lake that has crocs and hippos in it. On Thursday we got up a t 6:00 and had breakfast in the restaurant. We left the lodge at 10:00 and drove to Polokwane (town where Samaria Mission is located). We arrived there around 3:45 and went to the mall and then to our hotel for dinner. We had great steak. Friday we got up at 5:30 and had breakfast and the team left around 7:30 to go to JoBurg.

While we were driving through Kruger we saw elephants, giraffes, zebras, hippos, crocs, monkeys, impala, buffalo, wart hogs, lots of different birds, wildebeest and a few other animals. It is always amazing to see all the different animals God created.

There is so much to update you all on but it takes me a while to process everything and put it into words. I will try over the next few days to highlight some of the great things that happened while in the bush. God is so good and the people are so hungry for the truth in that village. Right now there is not a local church for the people and we are praying that a man that we meet last year by the name of Osvaldo will continue to meet and teach the people. Samaria Mission is going to spend some time praying and make a plan for future ministry in this area. Please pray for the leaders in Samaria Mission as they continue to reach and serve the people in Mozambique.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Update from Africa

We are in Polokwane, South Africa. Brad and Jill as well as the two of us are staying with Sean and Gena for the next week. Today Brad and Mark drove to JoBurg with William to take our team to the airport. They will stay the night and then return on Saturday with William's next team. Our team should be getting on the plane in the next hour .

We had a great outreach. There is so much to tell and I will try to update our blog over the next few days. We stayed in a village right outside Dindiza and it is called Chilefu. The people in this village are SO hungry for the Word of God. Several people accepted the Lord. Our largest day of children's ministry was 125 kids. The women had between 16 - 25 in their Bible Study and there were 8 or so men that came to men's ministry each day. Around 200 or so people came to the services each night.

We are good. We are looking forward to our week here. Mark and Brad are using this time tonight in Joburg to visit with William (head of Samaria Mission) since William will go back into Mozambique on Sunday. Jill and I will visit with his wife tomorrow and help her with any last minute things she needs as she prepares for their next team.

They said next week we will meet with different people from the church and the mission.

That's it for now. We will update later on. Thank you so much for your prayers and support for this trip. God is amazing and it is incredible to be apart of the work He is doing here in Africa.