Saturday, June 07, 2008

A New Season--Pemba Mozambique

I made it safely to Mozambique, with bags intact, which is pretty much a miracle, so yay God J I’m not quite adjusted yet---wishing I had brought a big thing of olive oil for all the beans and rice—but glad I brought my Nyquil for sleeping as the body has not yet gotten used to the time difference. Our first day we were pretty much thrown into the chaos of Children’s day (dia de credenza sp?). I’m trying to learn Portuguese, which is sort of like Spanish, only not close enough so that I understand only here and there. We fed probably over 2,000 children, which was amazing. Lots of them were kids that live here at the base and get loved on and fed and go to school. But we had a ton of people from the village. Lots of young mama’s with baby’s so I spent some time saying how beautiful their babies were (que linda or bonita!) So some of the things in Spanish are the same which is nice!

The feeding of children sounds a lot more glamorous than it was in actuality, I was responsible for marking children with black X’s (which isn’t easy on black skin J) so they couldn’t get back in line for the food a second time, which was kind of a sad job to have in the first place, but it’s the biggest day of the year here in Mozambique for the kids---they had chicken for lunch and fanta, which is a huge treat! I wanted to be more excited about it, but it was hard looking at all their little faces, and seeing them shove each other in line---that’s the reality of missions work---its not all Hallelujah’s. The kid’s desperation is real. And poverty is still rampant here. This Makua tribe is one of the most un-reached in all of East Africa, and they’ve only seen churches and pastors spring up here in the last 5 years due to Iris Ministries’ work and all that God has done. There are over 600 churches here now, which is badly needed. It’s a culture that thrives off the banditos stealing from tourists and each other. And I heard a story today from a man who used to be one of them. He used to rape and kill, and now he is the worship leader of Iris’ church on the mission’s school base. It’s so amazing what the love of God can do in changing people’s hearts. I’m excited to see the change in the children here over time.

It’s also so amazing to me all God has done here in Pemba through Iris in 5 years! How I long to see that miraculous power of transformation happen in Uganda. I wait for the day.
While I was standing in line marking big X’s, praying my little “O Jesus let this marker miraculously multiply” as it was running out…. throwing my frustrated prayers up to God, I was wondering all of a sudden---what am I doing here? Because as much as this is Africa and as much as I love it, and am blessed to be right near the beautiful turquoise Indian Ocean, my heart aches for Uganda and all my friends there, my heart aches to say a greeting in Acholi and to see the faces I left behind. It’s hard trying to love another culture that is not home for me. But I felt God say “whatever you have done for the least of these….” And these are the least of these. They may not be MY least of these, but they are someone’s. And as much as sometimes being here feelings like dying to my own self, I know that I am supposed to be here for now to learn and grow, and I’ve accepted that it isn’t going to be easy. It is never easy to grow. But we must grow nonetheless. So I’m growing…. Sort of. I still wish I had a big old fan in my room and some coffee. We have it so easy in America..its hard to conceive that like 3 days ago I could have just walked to a store and gotten whatever I needed. But its good for me. Hey, I’m trying! I’m excited for the school to start. Heidi is amazing and just being around her I feel chills just thinking about how God took her life and multiplied it and now she has this beautiful, thriving amazing family here. I get excited thinking about the dreams that we lay down at God’s feet so that He can make them come true. Or even better. I hold onto that.

Communication will be mostly nonexistent. I’ve been here for 3 days and its hard to get to the internet café. My cell (if it works) is 011 (Mozambique country code) 828786447 But with classes not sure how much I’ll be able to talk J But the girls here are awesome…quickly making friends, as we’re in pretty small quarters with four women. I feel a little old as a lot of the girls are in college or fresh out and I’m quickly approaching my 27th year ;) But they are sweet. I am excited to build friendships.
Sending my love from Pemba,
*Pray for sleep for me (its so friggin hot)
*Pray for stamina for my exhausted body
*Pray that God would show me my purpose in being here and change my heart to be more of a servant to these people
*Pray that I could use all I am learning here and apply it in Uganda

ps--some of the kids are really lovely...I had two little girls hanging all over me during worship today who just wanted to be loved don't worry, I still love kids :)

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