Friday, August 28, 2009

Our Journey

(This was taken at Mopani Lodge)

We have been in South Africa for 2 months now. Time has flown by so quickly. We had a warm welcome from Christ Baptist Church members as they had prepared our new house in a cozy fashion. Since our belongings will not arrive until mid to late September, some of the members gave or lent us some cooking and eating utensils, pots, pans, plates and such. Small bunk beds were left in the house for our kids to sleep on while another church member lent us a full size bed so Alicia and I could sleep on it. They furnished us sheets to keep warm since we are in the winter months here. The church had bought us food to help us get started without having to worry about what we should buy. We were planning to sleep on air mattress for a couple of months until our belongings arrived but with the church helping us the way they did, we only have to sleep on the air mattress while we go into Mozambique.

We were in Polokwane for only 3 weeks before going into Mozambique. Our first outreach was to Mabuzane with the PaulAnn team. This village has a well established church body and seems to be growing. PaulAnn members did several hut to hut visitations in order to share the Gospel. They invited several people to the daily Bible Study that was conducted. Women and children had a great turnout, but the men’s study was lacking considerably. Please pray for the men of this village, as they need Christ so that they can become Godly leaders in their church and home. The pastor of the church in Mabuzane is attending Christ Seminary so that he can be well equipped to preach the Gospel and be a Godly pastor of the church.

(We had a flat on the bus about 20 minutes away from arriving to Mabuzane. Mark is helping get the spare down.)

It was so good to be on outreach with our friends from home. Alicia helped Gena and Sharyn in the kitchen and Mark was able to help out with the day to day tasks of running a camp. He was also able to travel with William to Xiculacula and register the Mabuzane church. Brit and Luke enjoyed being with their friends from home. They participated in the hut to hut visits and children’s ministries. They got to help make bricks for a widow’s home and also help strip the bark off of tree trunks for the church structure that was put up. They also enjoyed helping fetch the water from the well.

On one visitation, PaulAnn members found a widow in need of building a house (hut). They came together on two days to begin to build bricks for the hut. The bricks are nothing more than water and dirt set into a rectangle form so they could air dry until it is time to use them for the building. The widow said she had to pay a couple of gentlemen with homemade brew in order to have them for their work. Nearly two hundred bricks were made by the team so maybe other local members will come along side the widow to finish the job so she won’t have to make the homemade brew for payment.

(Brit is making bricks)

A group from Christ Baptist Church in Polokwane, South Africa joined PaulAnn in the village to help build a church building. The church is going to be like the thatch roof huts in the area but on a much larger scale so that they can fellowship and worship God together in a shaded area.

(Luke is taking the bark off of tree branches to use for the church buildings.)

(Mabuzane church)

Leadership training took place at the village as well. Some church leaders from Zimbabwe walked to the village to attend the two day meeting. God is really working in the hearts of people in this area. Continue to pray as they grow in their faith.

We were able to go through Kruger and stay at the Mopani Lodge with the PaulAnn team. The highlight of our travels through Kruger was seeing a male and female lion. They crossed the road right in front of the bus and then stay right beside the road which made for some great pictures. We have been in Kruger 6 times and we have only seen a female lion one time and we have never seen a male. So to say the least we were all very excited.

When we arrived back in Polokwane the team came over to our house to have pizza. (I should mention that we came home to no water – 2nd time water was cut off in this area since we arrived.) It was nice to show them our home and spend several hours with them here before they left.

The team left on Friday for the airport and we had only that day to get clothes washed and repacked to go back into Mozambique on Saturday. Since we didn’t have a washer yet 4 different families allowed us to have some of our clothes washed at their homes. What a blessing that was.

Saturday morning we got up early and left for Mozambique again. We were going in early with Joseph (another missionary) and 3 translators. Our job was to set up camp before William arrived with the team on Sunday. We arrived to Matsilele around 3:30 and quickly set up the kitchen tent and our 4 tents before the sun went down. Sunday we got up and got busy setting up the rest of the tents, getting the showers and toilets ready and organizing the kitchen tent. It was a very busy day. The team arrived around 3:30 and helped with the finishing touches.

(Loading the Land Rover getting ready to head into Mozambique)

(Putting up the kitchen tent in Matsilele)

(The days were really hot in Matsilele - William would wet the kitchen tent down in the afternoon and the kids enjoyed it.)

Alicia was in charge of the kitchen and Mark helped William with all the day to day duties. Brit helped mom in the kitchen. Each day she had to get the towels wet that we kept over the fruit and veggies, make the juice in the morning and at night as well as help with anything else that was needed. Luke stayed very busy around camp. One of his favorite things to do was to go to the river to fetch water. Of course he always managed to swim in the Limpopo while he was there.

(Cleaning out the freezer)

(Pastor Robert and his family)

(Brit feel in love with this little girl - we were told she is one of the many orphans in this village)
(This was our view from camp)

(A Boabab Tree)

On Wednesday the team helped to pack up camp and they left for Kruger and we stayed to load up the trucks and drove back to Polokwane with all the supplies. We had dinner at the mission farm with the team on Thursday and they stayed at the Golden Pillow. Most teams fly out on the Friday but this team wasn’t scheduled to fly out until Saturday so they got to stay the night at our house on Friday night. It was fun to be able to use the house again. God has blessed us with a big house and we want to use it as often as we can.

After this outreach, we came back to South Africa for a few days to prepare for another trip into Mozambique. This trip was for the August Leadership training. Mark and Joseph went to Dumela, Mozambique where they met with nearly 30 men and women from that area and 12 of those were from Zimbabwe. This time a chief from Zimbabwe attended our meeting. He did not talk too much until the last day when he spoke up in appreciation to reveal the truth about such matters of ancestry worship, witchcraft, and idolatry. They showed the group God’s word about such matters and explained that rituals and generational things need to be reviewed by God’s Word so that Pharisee mentality does not occur. This type of training is what Samaria Mission will do on a monthly bases. We are not going in September but will go in the early part of October because Mozambique will have elections in late October, which could become very disturbing for political reasons.

(Leader Training)

(This is the camp they set up.)

(Joseph teaching)

We are busy getting settled into our new life here. The kids attended ministry times on Fridays, Mark is going to attend a men’s bible study on Friday mornings and Alicia attends a ladies bible study on Wednesday mornings. The kids are going to start school next week. Mark is looking into starting Seminary in January. We will also attend the CBC Family Camp in mid September.

Our shipping container will not arrive until mid September. In the mean time we are hoping to get as much of the remodeling done that we can. It would be nice to get the mess out of the way before our furniture is here. We have started tearing out the master bathroom and taking the wall paper out of the master bedroom. We are excited to see the house transform from a hostel to a home!

Thank you for your prayers and we ask that you continue to pray for our family and Samaria Mission.

Prayer Requests:
for our family to remain healthy
for our kids as they adjust to a new school
for our family as we are still getting settled in our home
for the church leaders in Mozambique and for the monthly training that goes on
for the support of Samaria Mission’s support and for the independent missionaries involved at Samaria Mission.
Above all, pray with us for God to be glorified in and through us!

In the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior,
Mark and Alicia

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Settling In

Here is a quick update on things ... We returned from Mozambique on the 12th. The Whispering Pines team did not fly out until Saturday the 15th so they stayed the night at our house on Friday. We love that the Lord has allowed us to use our home 3 times already since we have been here.

We had a great outreach in Matsilele. It was much hotter than the outreach in Mabuzane. It was good to be back in that village and see the people we meet in 2003. Alicia was not able to see her friend because she was in another village visiting her mom who was not well.

Mark left this morning for Mozambique and he will be gone for 4 days helping with Pastor Training in Dumela.

We bought a washing machine on Thursday and picked it up on Friday. I was able to start doing laundry yesterday. This morning I did 4 loads and now I am out of clothes pins and room on the line. I still have several more loads to do. We are waiting to buy a dryer until we find one with a decent price. Things are not cheap here. To get a "regular" sized dryer here it will cost around $600. So I think we will wait since we have so many other things that need to be purchased first.

We received word that our personal belongings will not arrive for another month. This is fine really because it will give us a chance to get some the things fixed around the house before it arrives. We need to redo 2 bathrooms and take a stage out of the living room and plaster and paint to walls. Most of the house is just face brick and it is dark so we are hoping to plaster and paint soon.

We still do not have Internet at our house yet so my updates are short. We are all doing good and we miss you all very much.