January 23, 2011

Loving the one...

Stop for the one. This was Iris school’s motto. I did it today in the clinic I now work in 4 days a week in western Mozambique. I see about 30 Mothers or Grammas or Auntie or Dads with a little one or two who needs milk and food for the next two weeks. Most are HIV+ parents with sickly children who are either HIV+ themselves or so weak from TB or lack of food.

We treat their pneumonia, worms, diarrhea or skin rashes, along with the Momma’s illnesses. This is our alternative to an orphanage—we care for the families to do it in their own homes. That was Maria’s concern today. She is the Auntie to Fernando who is a 22 month old with AIDS. His parents died and Maria’s husband did too—likely from AIDS. She cares for her two kids and Fernando—but it’s hard.

When I questioned why he lost a pound, she tearfully said, “All I ate this week was the greens I could find in the fields. That’s why he lost weight. We have no food in the house and I can hardly work in the fields because I have to care for my kids. I am alone.” I took her hand and said, “Estamos juntos, Maria.” (We’re together with you) We try to provide such families a small sack of maize flour and beans when we can afford it, but it’s not that much in light of feeding a whole family, but I offered her this little bit.

“Can we pray with you, Maria?” She softened and with begging eyes said, “Yes, please.” We both wept as we prayed together, asking the Lord to provide a way for her to provide for her kids. I don’t know what the answer will be, but I trust God does. He cares for ‘the one’, and we are too. There are so many “Maria’s” we meet each day at the clinic—so many.

Pray for us to keep being God’s hands and feet and food for these beautiful Mozambique families. More and more I’m feeling God’s peace to serve here in this coming season of my life. It’s a privilege, and I have so much to learn in regard to what it means to love amidst such challenging situations when we don’t have much materially to give. Pray for us to have the strength physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially to care for these people with HIV and their complex needs.

It’s one person at a time… I pray for each of you also to reach out to the outcast, the sick, the lonely in your neighborhood also. I wish I was in my hometown to do that for our poor, but I trust my brothers and sisters there to reach out one person at a time also to help transform my city.

God bless you and thank you for your love and support!! I feel it all the way over here!

January 07, 2011

January Newsletter

I made it to my new mission in western Mozambique in a village near Gondola. Let me tell you a little about this mission.

Africa 180 is the name of the group led by Tracy Evans from Bethel Church in California, and they have about 800 orphan infants who are on a health and nutrition program based in a relative’s home. They felt it was best for the children to remain with a family member rather than put in an orphanage as it was with Iris and many other groups because then the kids can maintain their culture and family ties better.

The mission also care for their care-givers (sisters, grandmas, aunts.) with food as needed. There are 5 missionary nurses/staff, hailing from S. Africa, USA, Ireland and Germany (plus the
Mozambican staff). They have two prison ministries serving 200-300 men. They have a pre-school and have just secured the government's permission to build a Christian high school.

A couple on the staff have also established an excellent Christian primary school, serving 600 local kids. They have a 9 acre farm, to train ex-convicts agriculture. The foundation is laid for a hospice unit/recovery center, and soon for a high school and 2 or 3 duplexes (to house more missionaries).

So, it’s quite full! I am planning to write a few project proposals, particularly for the HIV clinic because this mission is supplying the $12,000 in milk and food and medicine PER MONTH because HIV positive women are not to give breast milk after 6 months according to World Helath Organization WHO guidelines. But, sadly, WHO will not provide any milk along with many NGOs!!

Terrible- so the malnutrition is subsequently rampant along with the fact many have HIV or their parents do. This mission is the ONLY group in at least a 150 mile radius that is even attempting to supply milk and support for these vulnerable families. They tried goats for milk and other means, but this is the cheapest and most culturally acceptable means. But what a challenge!

We had enough milk for today, but on Monday when Jackie goes to pick up the order of powdered milk for the next 2 weeks, she doesn’t have the $3000 needed YET. They said they literally live hand to mouth each day but God has been providing for the last 7 years! I can’t wait to see what happens in the next 3 days!

I’ll stay here indefinitely—so thanks for your prayers, especially for these little ones who need their milk provided. I will ask someone to help me write a project proposal for some NGOs to see if they can help us. Please say a prayer we obtain their favor for this and next year. I applaud this mission for taking on this challenge of providing milk and food for these forgotten little children who are malnourished and who have HIV or are disabled. It’s really the heart of God they are living out.

Lots of love to you and thanks for your love and support, especially all the prayers!