Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bible Study in Mentz

We continue to look forward to Bible study in Mentz each Thursday.  We have one week left for this year and will start back in January.  We continue to work slowly through the New Tribes - Building Firm Foundations curriculum.  The past 2 weeks we have been going through the days of creation.  It is amazing watching each week as they learn more and gain a better understanding of Our Creator and The Word. 


Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
Psalm 100:4

Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving at our house.  This is something I look forward to each year.  This year we cooked 5 turkeys and Carol brought the gammon.  Everybody brought a side dish to share.  We had 55 people here this year and it was a nice evening.  Once again we are so thankful for the house the Lord has provided for us to use.   We are also thankful for those who came to help get things ready for the evening.

(Pictures taken by Charles Stander)




Annual Pastor's Conference in Matsilele and Trip to Maputo

It is hard to believe how fast November went by.  I just want to take a few minutes (ok maybe longer than that!) and update what we were busy doing in November.  Our family loves to "see" where we go and what we do so most of this post is pictures.   (It is long but there are some great photos!)

I was so happy to be able to go with Mark to the Mozambique Pastor's Conference in the early part of November.  It has been a year since I was there and with the border finally reopened there was A LOT of excitement in the air!  

This year the conference was held in Matsilele.  We arrived on Monday, November 4th.  The conference was scheduled for the 5th - 7th.  The theme for the conference was Stewardship.  (Same as the conference last month in Zimbabwe.)

The topics covered were stewardship with:
- time,
 -The Gospel

When we were planning this conference, the mission had been asked to take our big trucks in and help deliver food that was donated by the World Food Program.  They expected the delivery to take 2 to 3 full days.  So the guys decided to do the food delivery at the same time as the conference.  We had planned to take our whole family and help with this.  Also, during our planning, Pastor Rocky Stevenson contacted the mission about joining us on a training.  He is a former student of Christ Seminary.  He also brought one of the members from the church with him.   Since Mark was originally scheduled to drive one of the trucks on the food relief Pastor Rocky was going to teach during Mark's session on time and money. 

The closer the time came to leave for the conference, we were contacted that somehow the officials in Mozambique made a plan and the food had been delivered.  So we didn't need to take the big trucks in and the kids decided not to go with us for this trip.  Mark was able to lead one of the devotions and Pastor Rocky was still able to teach while he was at the conference.  

Please check out the Samaria Mission Facebook page (by clicking here) to see photos highlighting the conference.

Here are a few more (personal) pictures of our time in Matsilele.

 We left Polokwane around 4 am.  Brad and Mark made a stop in Malamulele around 7 am for breakfast! 

Regina was taking care of the food for the pastors

first time to see Cassilda in over a year!
 It was so hot in the church that the ladies rested under a tree during the break.  I went to join them and practice my Shangaan.  Mark found an app for our phones that has basic phrases so I used that A LOT to communicate with the ladies.  It was so much fun.  The problem is we return to Polokwane and I quickly forget! 

Mark is practicing his Shangaan with Cassilda
One afternoon, Mark and I went with Cassilda to see her new house, which is closer to the church.  Nehemiah went with us so we could visit.  One of the first things we noticed was that her storehouse was FULL of mealies!  Even with the devastation of the floods earlier this year the people were able to take the new seed that was given to them and plant again and the Lord blessed them with nice crops. 

Cassilda showing me her photos.
we took this in 2003
she is holding her grandbaby
    It was a great visit with her.  Mark encouraged me to take the time and really get to know her on a more personal level.  I was able to find out how she met her husband and when they moved to Matsilele.  I also talked to her about salvation and the importance of following the Lord.  She says that she is a believer and loves the Lord.  Culturally there are so many things that pull them in different directions and we just continue to pray that the Lord will give her the courage to take a stand for her faith.  We also pray that her husband will come to the true knowledge and understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Daniel hanging out with Mark during the evening service. 
The sun was shining each morning around 4:30!  By 5 am people were busy preparing for the day and enjoying the little bit of "sorta cool" temperatures.  

the ladies preparing the kitchen for the day

Daniel gathering up the empty jug to go fetch more water

beautiful view in the mornings
preparing the nyama (meat) for lunch and dinner
Francesca busy sweeping the church
several of the Pastors reading before devotions
  On Wednesday, I decided that I would hang out with the ladies under the tree in the "kitchen".  I was able to help them prepare lunch and we practiced talking.  They want to learn English and I want to learn Shangaan.  I would pull my phone out and say "my shangaan" and look for the phrase I needed.  As the morning went on and we were chatting, they would reach in my bag and get my phone and hand it to me saying, "my shangaan."  It was a great morning with them. 

I am cooking the onions.

Evelina is showing me how to stir the pap. 

they take the pap and form it into logs for lunch
 Cell phones have reached the bush.  This is Meriam.  We met her in 2003 and our friend, Jackie Wolf, loves her.  We wanted her to see that Meriam is doing fine. 

Each day a group would go to the river with about 30 - 25 liter drums and get water for the conference.  Gordon, Mark and I went with them one afternoon.  This little boy is Luke.  He is Pastor Virgilio's (from Kunguma) grandson.  His mom handed him to me so she could gather water.  

She helped put him on my back and got busy. 

He was happy and content until he saw his mom.  She stopped and put him on her back and then got back to work.  

 On Thursday, Mark and I went with Gordon, The Crawford's, Brad and Pastor Rocky and Piet to Xicumbane.  The well needed to be repaired and Brad wanted to see how the garden was coming along.  The week before we arrived for the conference a huge storm came through the area and caused a lot of damage.  Check here to see photos of the damage to church building in Xicumbane. 

Mark and Brad walking around the church to see all the damage.

these two are too funny!
 While the guys were working on the well, Gordon took Debbie and I across the river to Ngala.  Ngala, is a special village for the Crawford's and it was great to go meet her friends and see the village.  Check out the Crawford's blog here to read her update about our visit titled  "And I Weep."    Please pray for Ngala. 

After returning from Ngala, Debbie and I watched the guys finish the well.  It was SO HOT - had to be well over 100F.  We would all go to the tank by the church and get our hats wet etc. just to stay somewhat cool.

I didn't have a hat but a wrap worked great. 

putting the pipes back in the ground - not an easy job
and it works - again

the ladies on the day we were leaving
On Friday, after the conference, Mark and I went with The Crawford's, William, Member as well as Pastor Robert from Matsilele and Bernardo from Xicumbane on a trip to Maputo.  The task was to find and purchase two water pumps and pipe for the church in Matisilele and Xicumbane.  These two churches will expand their church gardens so they can produce enough food to feed the orphans and widows in their communities.  We (Samaria Mission) are very excited to see the change in the Orphan ministry take place.  We will update about that as time goes on.  

The original plan was to go on Friday and stay at the Church of the Nazarene's Seminary Guest House in Maputo and then on Friday.  Then on Saturday go buy the pumps and drive to XaiXai and stay at Sharyn's cousins place, called Bethel.  They are missionaries for Youth for Christ.  Then we would return to Matsilele on Sunday and to Polokwane on Monday.  

Well, we quickly found out on Saturday that plans were going to change!  Even though we were told shops would be open on Saturday, we found the ones we needed were not.  So we knew then we would need to stay two days in XaiXai and shop on Monday.  Well, Saturday we found out that Monday was a public holiday in Maputo and we should not be anywhere near there.  Several political rally's would take place and the shops we needed would be closed.  So, we extended our stay in XaiXai until Tuesday morning.  Now, don't get me wrong ... a change of plans wasn't so bad.  Bethel is located 600 meters from the Indian Ocean.  So a delay meant time at the beach, which I LOVE!  

We were able to get the pumps on Tuesday and make the 12 hour drive back to Matsilele.  It was a long day, especially for Mark and William who were the drivers.  We left XaiXai just before 4 am and were in Maputo by 7.  Finished with the pumps and on the road by 3 pm.  Many traffic stops later (common to have police checks) we arrived in Matsilele after 1 am very tired and ready for bed.  Pastor Robert's wife had prepared chicken and pap for us for dinner.  

It was a blessing to get to go along on this trip and see new parts of Mozambique.  

this house is close to Xicumbane

Limpopo River

some of the damage from the floods in January

close to Chokwe

Bridge over Limpopo

Limpopo River

Cassilda was going to visit family in Chokwe and she got a ride in William's bakkie.
picnic on the side of the road

now that's a hot dog!

 These pictures are from the Nazarene Seminary where we stayed on Friday night.  It was a nice place to overnight.  While we were there, Mark remembered several of his friends from high school who attended Church of the Nazarene.

The next pictures are from our drive into Maputo looking for the shops that sell water pumps.  Maputo is a VERY busy and overcrowded city.  Mark followed William and he did a great job pulling the 2 ton trailer through the city.  I wish this pictures could truly give you a glimpse into how busy it really is. 

nap time

Saturday afternoon we headed over to First Baptist Church, Maputo to visit with Pastor Bento Matusse. 

 After our visit at the church, we loaded up and headed to XaiXai.

 What do you do when a bridge has a section that washes away?  You build a bridge over that section!

We arrived at Bethel in XaiXai after dark.  Let's just say Mark was a little tired!

taking a nap while waiting for dinner
view we found on Sunday morning when we woke up!
 Since the shops were closed and our time was extended in XaiXai we headed down to the beach.   We were the only people on the beach!

 This was Member's first trip to see the ocean.  William made sure he got wet!

 Sunday afternoon we decided to take a drive into XaiXai (since traffic would be less at that time) and see if we could find a place that might have what we need.  We were hoping we could find a pump in XaiXai and head back to Matsilele on Monday.  We did some window shopping and found a possibility. 
window shopping in XaiXai Sunday afternoon
 Monday  we went back when the shops were open but they didn't have what we needed.  Since we were going to have to wait one more night at XaiXai, several of us went to spend the afternoon at the beach.  

checking out a pump at one of the many shops


bottom pic is Bernardo and Pastor Robert

 We really enjoyed our time at Bethel.  Here are a few pictures where we stayed. 

Ablutions (toilets and showers)

restrooms up close to the kitchen and dining hall


dorm rooms

the thatch area is a toilet and behind that is the path to the beach
   Tuesday morning we were up before the sun and headed back to Maputo.  Hours of looking, praying and discussing we were able to come up with a plan and purchase two pumps.  

This past year, the mission has been seeking The Lord for direction concerning the Orphan Ministry.  When the guys were visiting the churches in September they had a meeting with several of the pastors and the orphan ministry was discussed.  Pastor Robert and Pastor Albert had discussed and shared that they would like to expand and use the church garden to provide food for the orphans and widows in their village.  The hope is that those who care for the orphan children will help work the garden and then receive food for their whole family.  As each church begins its own orphan/vulnerable children and widow ministry, then we will help purchase a more permanent pump and then take the pumps purchased on this trip to another village and help that church start the ministry.   The reason we purchased these pumps in Mozambique is because it is very difficult to take this equipment in from South Africa and it will be easier to find replacement parts when needed. 

two pumps we purchased
possible more permanent pump for the future