December 21, 2010

Out of the Bush!

I went with a group of 36 missionaries from over 10 nations into “the bush” of Mozambique for 10 days this past week. We did home visits in the mornings and showed the Jesus film in the Makua and Makonde language and prayed with many people after the film—many of whom were healed from physical diseases, prayers received to stop their addictions to alcohol and drugs, and others who simply wanted to commit their lives to Christ. One man begged us for prayers to be freed of his prolonged alcohol addiction. “My family is suffering! I am spending all my money on alcohol and I can’t stop. I know God is the answer, please pray for me—I want to stop.”

My favorite day was the last day. We happened upon an Ethiopian refugee on a street corner. A group of 45 of them had just arrived on a boat the day before and were starving. I bough him a sack of ground nuts and bread and as we prayed with him, he began weeping. My heart broke. Two more Ethiopian men showed up and I bought food, and we prayed. Once again, their brokenness and desperation was so evident—but their humble faith in God was indescribable. As I prayed in English, which they could not understand, they would passionately say, “Hallelujah! Amen!” with tears in their eyes.

Later that night, a group of us cooked up our remaining rice and beans and arranged with the police of the refugee camp nearby to feed the 700 men and 1 woman, many who had been there for several months. When I arrived, several missionaries had already organized a few things, but couldn’t get them to sit down and sing before the meal. I walked amidst them, spotted a man whom I’m seen earlier that day and somehow communicated to him that we can sing his songs. I sang, “Halleluajah..” and his eyes then lit up and he began singing in his mother tongue and I nodded enthusiastically and motioned, “More! More!” And from that moment on, the place became heaven on earth. Over 300 men that were gathered at that time began singing in their language the most beautiful Ethiopian songs, dancing, eyes lifted to heaven.

They had left the refugee camp and their hearts and minds and souls were in a different place. We danced and sang with them until we were fully drenched in sweat, smiling and encouraging each other without words but in our spirits. Tears filled my eyes most of that hour—tears of joy that these men could be comforted by God amidst such desperation—tears of sadness that they and their families are suffering so unimaginably—tears of mourning for all the refugees that didn’t make it and died along the way.

After singing, they sat down and one of them preached to the others and we began praying for the sick. One tall man who was very thin had a very high fever. His face, chest and arms were burning. After praying his fever broke and his face, arms and one side of his chest became cool. Others with headaches and joint pains also felt well after praying. One sweet 17 year old boy, after praying, I just hugged like a mother would her child. Culturally it was inappropriate, but I couldn’t help myself and he just cried and melted in my arms. Poor boy to have to endure such things at such a young age!

Please pray for these refugees and their families! I will celebrate Christmas here in Pemba helping to feed some 3000 children and also spending time with my leper friends in town. Then I’ll be off to Nairobi to renew my visa and then back to Mozambique to join a new mission team down south. Thanks for your continued prayers and support! Much love to you!

December 11, 2010

Amazing time in Mozambique!

Amazing last few weeks here in Pemba at Iris Ministries. The classes have been challenging and drawn me closer to God and given me new strength for my mission work ahead. Thanks for the prayers in regards to where I will go in January. I will visit a mission team in the Manica province of Mozambique with a well established ecumenical mission that does medical and prison ministry and faith formation for people of all ages. I’ll tell you more about it later!

I had another amazing time at the center for leprosy treatment here in Pemba. The small group of recovering lepers are always so happy to see me, as I am to see them. This week, we prayed for Ernesto who complained of several months of blurred vision. As we prayed, we asked his friend Manuel to pray and lay his hands on Ernesto’s eyes. After that, his blurriness left and he said he was completely fine now. They were all so happy including me!

On our graduation day of the Iris school here, I had an amazing gift. The class gave out ‘awards’ for people who stood out among the 140 of us students from over 22 countries and they were all quite funny. The last one, however, we announced as “this is a serious honoring”. It was for the student who exemplified the most love and care for the poor. They chose me. I couldn’t believe it! They gave me a standing ovation. I still am in shock, but I trust, somehow, that God is using me to be an inspiration somehow profoundly in people’s lives.

Please pray for me to keep growing, learning, loving and being faithful to this mission call He has given me, especially as I transition to this new mission site. I fly to Nairobi to renew my visa then back in Mozambique on January 2nd. God bless you all and thanks for your prayers!.