Friday, April 25, 2014

April Training in Mbuzi

Mark and Brad headed to Mbuzi at the beginning of April for this months leaders training.  They continue to work through 1 Corinthians.  Mark was able to take a few videos while he was there.  Please continue to pray for the Pastors and Leaders as they study God's Word and take it back to their villages and local congregations. 



After the conference a few pastors went to the clinic to be tested for Malaria. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Phone Call We NEVER Expected!

In the middle of the night in January, I woke up to our Vonage (American Phone) ringing.  It is usually a sales call or political call and we always hope that it is not family calling with bad news.  I stumbled out of bed, grabbed the phone and crawled back in bed as I said, "hello."  I knew the voice and they were apologizing that it was so late but they needed to let us know something.  I continued to listen and this person said .... in the morning we would receive an email letting us know that we were given money for a swimming pool.  I remember literally pinching my arm.  Mark was still asleep and I started asking questions like, "are you sure" over and over.  They said that the money was only to be used for a pool and there were two stipulations.  One the gift was anonymous and two the pool had to be used not only for our family to be a place for others to come enjoy and fellowship.  As I continued to talk and say things like "thank you" and "I am shocked" Mark began to wake up.  The call ended and I told him we were just given a pool.  We just laid there speechless for an hour or so.  When we woke up in the morning, we checked our email and there was the notification.  
 It wasn't a dream!  

Well, here we are at the end of April and the pool has been completed for almost a month.  It has been a process to say the least.  Workers arrived the last part of January and began to dig it by hand!  Yup, they dug this whole thing by hand.  We were able to have the mission's 7 ton truck in our driveway for a month and it was loaded with dirt 12 times. The dirt was taken to the Mission Farm, and two other friends’ plots so they could all use it around their land.  Days were busy with nonstop people in and out from around 8am til 4:30pm.  We had many opportunities to talk to the workers and even had some opportunities to talk about our Faith in Jesus Christ.  One afternoon, when Mark was in Mozambique, one of the workers found a rod and asked if he could have it.  I told him sure and later I asked what he was going to do with that.  He shared that he was going to take it to church so they could pray over it and it would have power like Moses’ staff.  I began to tell him that the rod would never have power .... 
You can read the whole story here.  

The last few months and even now - we CAN'T believe that the Lord would provide a WANT like this for us.  Of course, we would have loved to have a pool and talked about it amongst ourselves and a few friends here, especially when it was so HOT in the summer.   I still find myself being shocked when I walk in the lounge and see a pool through the windows.  

The Lord took me on a journey through this process.  I have had thoughts of  “what will people think” and on and on ...  I spent a lot of time walking around this pool as it was nearing the end of the construction, thanking God for this and praying that HE would use it as HE sees fit.  Praying for people to come and not be caught up on why and how we were given this gift ... the bottom line the Lord allowed someone to have the means to bless us with a pool.  I have prayed that not only our family but people will come and be able to relax after a long day or week.  I have asked the Lord to create many opportunities for ministry and fellowship around the pool.  I have prayed that when people stay with us they will be able to find a nice quiet place to spend time with the Lord here.  My prayer is that people will see God's love and His grace as they enjoy this pool.  I know that it sounds strange to some for me to pray for that but Mark and I have desired for our home to be a refuge not only for our family but for others that enter, rather it be for a few hours or for a few days or even for a few months.  THAT IS OUR DESIRE!

Starting back in November we have had a few good laughs at our house regarding a “pool”.  One HOT afternoon in mid-November, Nathan and Brit were going to head to his house at the mission farm for a swim.  Mark popped off and told Nathan, “to bring me back a pool!”  Hours later, Nathan and Brit walk in and Nathan can’t keep a straight face as he hands Mark a “pool.”  

“I asked Nathan to bring his swimming pool to our house when he comes over tonight. Needless to say, he was thinking of me on this hot blistering day as he filled 2 liters of his pool and brought me a pool for my house. Now to start digging a hole and fill it in 2 liters at a time.”
Over the next several weeks, Mark would enjoy his "pool" and make sure Nathan knew how much he enjoyed his gift he gave him.  
“Decided to enjoy laying out by the pool Nathan brought to us. What a great day with the weather cooperating. Thanks Nathan... I think.”
“Decided to share a Coke at the pool. Thanks Nathan for the pool so we can share this coke.” 
“Alicia made some Christmas candy while hanging out by the "pool". Thanks Nathan"
Once we found out we were getting a pool, Nathan decided to start helping ...

“So I come home this evening and find Nathan has given me a finished in-ground pool. I think he is trying to discuss lebola talks with me. Gotta love the efforts of trying to be on good terms with me as he and Brit's relationship advances.”
Enjoying a relaxing and tranquil time with the "pool"(the one Nathan brought me) as we float about.
We would have NEVER thought in November that by April we would really have a pool!  Absolutely CRAZY! 

We are looking forward to this outreach season and hosting teams for meals at our house before and after their time in Mozambique.  We are praying for great fellowship and that people will be able to relax and enjoy the pool ... well since it is winter at least the hot tub.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Thank you for praying for me as I taught the lesson while Mark is in Mozambique.  The lesson was long but went good.  There were four ladies and myself.

As I prepared for this lesson,  I studied our curriculum we use from New Tribes Mission as well as reading the first chapter in a book titled Beginning at the Beginning by Graham Harrison.  This book is a series of sermons he preached from Genesis and Chapter One just happened to be on Genesis Chapter 3.

One thing that Graham Harrison said in the beginning of this chapter was, "You do not understand the rest of the Bible unless you come to terms with what is revealed to us here in Genesis Chapter 3."  This is so true.   My highlighter was working overtime throughout the first chapter.  I will be reading the rest of his book soon.  

Genesis Chapter 3 is the chapter that tells us of how man fell from a state of innocence and virtue into a state of alienation from God- rebellion against God, he is placed under the judgment of God .    

Genesis Chapter  3 
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" 4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself." 11 He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12 The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." 14 The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." 16 To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." 17 And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." 20 The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. 22 Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever--" 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

We went through the chapter verse by verse.  Mark did start Chapter 3 last week and went through 1-6.  I explained to them that we would spend a few weeks studying Chapter 3.  

The end of the lesson I shared that sin matters to God.  He does not ignore sin, He deals with it.  We can be physically alive but spiritually dead.  We had talked about how sin separates us from God.  How He knows all even what we do when we are alone and even what we think.  I shared that judgement takes place in this chapter and one day the final judgment that will one day come is when the Lord Jesus Christ returns. 

I shared that sin is rebellion, when we sin we are acting in rebellion against God, against the ONE who rules over us.  Basically we are saying we do not want God.   We are all born sinners and no one will escape judgment.  There is only ONE way in which sin can be dealt with. The Bible tells us how that way is possible... through the cross.  Jesus came into the world to take on our sin.  HE IS THE SUBSTITUTE WHO WAS SLAIN.  The Bible tells us that if a sinner (no matter what the sin is), admits he is a sinner, confesses with his mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believes in his heart that God raised him from the dead, then he will be saved.  

I ended the lesson with  John 3:16
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

We were finished and getting ready to leave and Jackinah spoke up and said, "I have a secret."  She began to share a sin in her life that she has struggled with for years.  She has wanted to stop but finds herself right back in it.  I can not even begin to explain to you what the next hour was like.  I will say that I praise the Lord for allowing me to be apart of it.  I also thank HIM that I did not get my way to chicken out of teaching since Mark is gone and just cancel the Bible study this week.  God has been working in Jackinah, He is drawing her to HIM.  She gets it!  She knows that HE LOVES HER!  She borrowed the Jesus Film from our friends (who she works for) and watched it.  She told me she realized then that Jesus loved her! That He died a painful death because of her sins.  Please pray for her.  She wants to be free of this sin she struggles with.  It is destroying her life and she knows it.  She sees how God has given her the job she has, provided her a room and even given her the opportunity to attend this Bible study.  I beg you to pray for her as she faces this temptation.  She desires to be able to stop.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

This started as a quick Facebook status but I realized it was too long!

I want to share something from my day today.  If you read our February newsletter, you may have seen that in late January, we woke up in the middle of the night to a phone call on our Vonage phone letting us know that we were given an anonymous gift for a swimming pool!  The only stipulation is that we must use it not only for us but for many fellowship opportunities.   We are shocked AND VERY THANKFUL.   Well the pool should be finished on Friday.  That is not what I want to share but needed to so that you would understand my interaction today.   (Sidenote: We still CAN'T believe this is even happening!)

I am not always able to go into Mozambique with Mark for trainings and since we moved here I have asked the Lord help me keep my eyes open so I can see and build relationships with the people I come in contact with in my day to day happenings in Polokwane.  I try to always park with the same car guard at one of the malls (he knows why we are here and always asks about Mozambique).  Meriam has worked at our house for four years and Jankie worked for us for over two years.  The Lord has given us many opportunities to share Christ and has even allowed us to have the Bible study with their family each week in Mentz.  These are just a few. 

Well with any project, brings a crew of people.  I have made a point to greet the guys each day (they rotate the crew and it is not always the same people).  I try to learn names.  Some are easier than others.  I usually have to give them a nickname (I don't share it with them) like Tall Man Pete - who is the tallest one.  Old Man Willard etc.  Simba has been here for a week working on the paving and then another guy, Brighton, came today to load dirt that needed to be taken away. 

Simba asked me this afternoon if he could have this pole he found somewhere in our yard.  I had never seen it before and figured they dug it up at some point.  It was dirty and looked like trash.  I told him I didn't know where it came from, it wasn't ours and I didn't care if he kept it.  A few hours later, the guys were all getting ready to go home and I was walking to the back to thank them for their hard work and tell them bye.  I noticed Simba washing the rod and it looked brand new except for a small curve.  I stopped and asked him what he was going to do with it.  He then told me it was for church.  I asked for what.  He was struggling to find an English word to describe it to me and Brighton was next to him.  They chatted in their language and then Brighton said you know "like that thing Moses used."  I said a staff.  They proceeded to tell me, "Yes, his church would pray over this rod and it would get power."  I just flat out told him that stick will never give him power, ONLY Jesus Christ!  He repeated they will pray and it will have power.  I told him they could pray all they want but it will never have power.  They asked why Moses' stick had power.  I explained to them that God chose to give Moses that to show the people the power that God has.  Then I went back to creation and started in Genesis Chapter one and went through Genesis three.  Time was short and I felt like I needed to share that with them.  Basically God had me share what I am teaching on in Mentz tomorrow. 

I asked them if they had Bibles, they said yes.  Brighton said he had a small one he was given in school (Gideon's Bible).  He made a point to tell me he still had that.  Brighton spoke up and said he had a question.  He said he read in Genesis that Adam and Eve were the first people and then they had two sons.  One brother killed the other one and then fled and married.  His question was, "Where did his wife come from?"  WHAT - where is Mark?!!?!?!?  Should this be a conversation Mark should have with them.  I was thinking, what, I am not good with words or explaining things, my mind was spinning.   Sharyn showed up about that time and it was time for them to leave.  I don't even remember everything I said but he told me he wants an answer tomorrow!  I told him I would study tonight.   Then before they walked out of the backyard, Simba asked me if I was a Pastor.  I told him no.  I also told him that I don't believe women should be Pastors.  Well, that brought more questions ... where does it say that.  I told them to read 2 Timothy and then I said maybe it is in 1 Timothy so read both!  :)

About an hour later Mark sent me a message from Mozambique  (I love that he has sporadic service and we can chat while he is gone!).  I was at Builders Warehouse and found a place to sit and type quickly. Excuse the typos I did not reread what I wrote (maybe like this post - it is after midnight here) but you get the point ...

 That was supposed to say, "I explained best I could but now I will give you guys (Mark and Brad) a topic to discuss for dinner time."

 I share all of this ONLY because I wanted to share an opportunity God put before me.  These guys may never hear anything different than what they are being taught and if it is that they can pray and a stick will get power than I can not sit there and smile and walk away.  God is continuing to show me HE is at work ALL around me.  I don't always have to "GO" somewhere, He even brings them to me (my own backyard).  He wants HIS name proclaimed and HIS TRUTH told.  Pray for me that I will be able to communicate clearly and that The Lord will give them ears to hear and eyes to see the TRUTH.  I will have my Bible by my back door tomorrow!