Monday, July 28, 2008

Who will put the puzzle together first?

For the Afternoon Program this week, we talked about friendship and being stronger together than alone.  We shared some Scriptures with the boys during the program.  For the "craft" we had written out the Scriptures and then cut them up like puzzles.  We put the boys in pairs and gave each half the pieces.  They had to work together to assemble them. 

Who will put their puzzle together first???

 

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Will it be Tome and Elias???

 

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Fauso and Silavio are having fun but are they working hard?

 

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Antonino and Joao keep trying different ways!

 

But the winners are . . .

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Elias and Tome!

Well done boys!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Soup and Scrabble Sunday!

July 2008 002 For years now I've wanted to host a Soup and Scrabble Sunday with some friends and I finally did today.  It's winter here (altho usually warm during the day) so I've been making lots of soups - I have three different types in my freezer!  So I decided today I'd finally invite a few friends over.  Tracey and Anna came and we had corn chowder soup with brownies for dessert and a fun game of Scrabble!  What a peaceful Sunday!  (I should have taken a photo but Afonso helped prep for the soup, peeling the potatoes and onion.  He got a bowl as well and declared it very good!)

Friday, July 25, 2008

What $2 will buy you in produce in Mozambique

July 2008 015 I went to one of the local roadside markets for some produce and was so pleased to buy all this for only $2.  There were even a couple more potatoes and onions but I used them before I remembered to take the photo.  Believe it or not, these prices are higher than they have been, as is everything else here.  The fuel prices rising affects everything else (as in the rest of the world) and the prices of rice and other essentials have risen dramatically.

And although $2 is a great price for me for locally-grown and likely mostly organic produce, keep in mind - that's the average Mozambican's daily wage.  Imagine working all day and being able to buy that comparably small assortment of veggies for your effort. 

Happy Birthday Dad!

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(This post was meant to be on July 24th, not 25th!)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"A Real Missionary"

I read the following entry in a daily devotional journal comprised of stories about missions.  I could completely relate!

"A Real Missionary"

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  Philippians 1:21

"Missionaries are ordinary, everyday people.  I grew up thinking they were super spiritual: that they didn't need money to live on because they had an extra dose of Jesus and that their kids were delighted to receive old clothes and ragged toys because they were somehow "different."

Now I know better.  I fall under the category of "missionary" and I have one of those kids who is supposed to be different but really isn't.

I thought becoming a missionary meant that I would have great stories to tell that would wow my Christian friends back home.  My story, however, is of an ordinary person, struggling to learn a foreign language, frustrated because there is no such thing as privacy where I live, and battling thoughts of criticism directed toward the people I am here to love.  And my story is also about how God is changing this everyday gal, from the inside out, to live a life of divine proportions.

Mine is a marvelous story because He brought me all the way to 'Mozambique' to show me that I am complete in Him.  He is teaching this weak individual, with human limitations and hang-ups, that His power truly is manifested in weakness.  God's promises become real as I encounter the world outside or as I crack open the language book to study.

I am learning that it is not just about victories.  it is also about obedience that costs, unrecognized sacrifices and unanswered questions.  Ultimately, it is about following Christ."

Monday, July 21, 2008

You think US gas prices are high!

I STAND CORRECTED!!!!

My friend who read this same blog entry deduced that the person writing it must live in a more remote area of Mozambique and thus, pays more for gas than we do here in the city area. I also had another Mozmabican blogger comment that the last time she had calculated it, gas was about $6 a gallon.

I think it's gone up since then, I know non-diesel has, which is what I use. So, more likely I pay between $6 and $7 a gallon.

I apologize for not checking my information before posting it for the whole world!

Thanks to someone else's blog who took time to do all the math - liters to gallons and mets to dollars - I know now that I pay ($9.20 a gallon-wrong! Thankfully!) for gas!!!!

And it continues to rise, although not as quickly as prices were rising in the US while I was there. But the dollar is weakening so the exchange rate continues to weaken as well.

Factor in that I live 25 minutes from the nearest grocery store and 40 minutes from the heart of the city (in normal traffic) and that's a big chunk of change spent on fuel!

Wow. At least I know Who controls my pocketbook!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Vanguard Girls

July 2008 019This is Sarah and Naomi who are students at Vanguard University in southern California.  They committed to come serve with me in my dorm for two months, May 14 to July 14.  Little did they know that they wouldn't be "alongside" of me the first month and they'd be here Sarahs photos 065all alone!  They arrived while I was in the US with my mom and just jumped in with both feet.  They stayed here at my house and did whatever they could to be a blessing to the boys, even with no Portuguese!  

 

They did such a great job and theNaomi's Photos 219 boys loved them and were sad to say goodbye yesterday.  It was so nice to have them here, helping with projects and the  Afternoon Program and mostly, just lavishing love on the kids.  

I am so glad I had the chance to get to know them and work with them!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Max's look-alike Dad

July parties 014 What a surprise we had the other night when Max's dad arrived for a visit!  I didn't even know he had a dad!  Turns out Max has visited with him a few times at his sister's but never mentioned it to us.  His dad lives most of the time in South Africa.  Max had lived there as well with his mom, coming to live with us when his mom died.  We all thought the dad was out of the picture.  But there was no doubting this is his dad - they look exactly alike and even their voices are the same.  I wish I had kept a photo of Max with half-closed eyes because he looks just like his dad even in that pose.  July parties 017(Below, with his step-mom and dad.)

If you pray for my boys, please pray for Max.  He has such potential to make wise choices and be a blessing to others.  He's very bright too, learning lots of English and last year took top marks in his class.  But he often chooses poorly and gets into trouble.  Two weeks ago, he ran away and slept for one night on the street.  That was scary for all of us.Christmas 2007 235

I've often felt like Max is walking a tightrope and his toehold is precarious.  He just seems like a young man who can go either way, for good or for bad.  And if he chooses bad, here, it can get really bad.  So please keep him in your prayers, that his loving Heavenly Father will be able to break thru any walls around his heart and Max will hear and receive His words of love, peace, joy and life!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Welcome Elizio!

Joao hadn't even left yet when Elizio arrived!  July 2008 027He was brought to us by Social Welfare who found him abandoned a ways north of us.  But he says he's from Khongolate which is the district right next to us so I am hoping and praying that's true and we'll quickly find his family.  I pray this is a case of him being lost rather than abandoned and we'll be able to reunite them. 

July 2008 005 Elizio knows his full name, although I didn't quite catch it to write here, and he's five years old.  And, he is Scrappy!!!  They call him"esperto" here which means clever.  And that he is!  He has charmed us all immediately!

That's often the sign of a secure, well-adjusted child which gives me even more hope that he has a loving family who wants him July 2008 003 back!

Until then, we'll just have to try and keep Elizio and Elidio straight, both boys in Room 3!

(He got new shoes, a school shirt, toothbrush and cup and he exclaimed "Muitas coisas!"  which means "Many Things!"  )

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tchau Joao!

July 2008 011One of my little darlings, Joao Ruben Mathe, has left our family to be reunited with his own!  And while I rejoice with him, I will miss him.  He gives the sweetest hugs and kisses!  I'll miss that.  I'll miss his smarts, his grin, his kindness and his love.  But I won't miss knowing that he's separated from his family.  I'm so glad to know he's back with his mom and his siblings.  And he couldn't be more thrilled!

Joao has a bit of a strange story.  He arrived about two years ago with his dad, with a letter from an agency saying he had been living on the streets with his dad and could we care for him while they helped his dad find a job and a home.  If I remember right, and I wasn't present when he arrived, I think there was even a representative from this agency with them.June 2007 019

Well Joao would ask all the time if he could go home, could we call his mom or dad and can't he go visit?  He would ask me, the Tias here in the dorm and many weekends, would go ask Felipe, our Head Educator, with tears, "Can't I go home Mano Felipe?"

But we had never heard from the dad again (until recently) and all attempts to contact this agency to find information on him had failed.  Well, it's no wonder - it was a scam.  Joao's dad had actually taken him from his mom, forged the documents, probably had a friend pose as an official, and left Joao here without telling the family where he was.  His dad came back recently and admitted everything.  The staff here took Joao to his mom's accompanied by the dad, where he got to stay the weekend.  He came back so happy!

Now it's mid-year, school wise and Joao has been transferred to a school near his home and is living with his mom again.  His dad lives nearby, in waking distance but everything seems to have been forgiven and Joao is delighted to live near both his parents.  Some things I'll never quite understand. 

But I do understand that God created family and it's so important to support that whenever and however possible.

And I do understand that while Joao might miss us once in a while, he couldn't be more thrilled to be home!

(For some reason, I can't add any more photos into this post with Windows Live Writer right now.  I'll try and adjust it later but at least you can see how gorgeous he is!)

Friday, July 04, 2008

But brothers together make me happy!

July 2008 002 This is Simois, on the left, with his little brother Daniel.  Daniel lives in the Baby House so they don't see each other too often but I was talking with a couple people about wanting to invite Daniel over to play with Simois and Sarah took me up on it and brought him this morning.  Simois goes to pre-school two mornings a week so the other days, he's here in the dorm with Feliciano who is developmentally delayed and a lot of fun (but no verbal skills!) and Domingos who is blind and developmentally delayed and doesn't really interact at all.  So it's a double blessing for Simois to have his brother come for playtime! 

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Sick boys make me sad

July 2008 007 Angelo and Joao are both down with tummy bugs.  Joao's has lasted about three days, it kind of comes and goes.  They've both been tested for malaria and are negative so that's good.  BUT, the silver lining is, I now have a couch that they can lay down on!  It's wicker so it's not the most comfortable, but still, it's a couch!  I love snuggling with boys there! I'm glad they have a comfy place, out of the "fray" where they can sneak away when they're not feeling well.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

More of Geronimo!

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I couldn't resist posting a couple photos of Geronimo taken today in my house.  Isn't he a pumpkin???  He loves this hubcap, uses it as a play steering wheel.  He has us all charmed! Please keep praying that he does well in his adjustment!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Geronimo!!!

July 2008 003 That's the name of our newest little six year-old darling who's just arrived an hour ago.  He and his sister were referred to us by a medical clinic, our home visit team determined that they would indeed benefit from being here.  Although he looks quite healthy - and quite gorgeous, huh? - he's on a second-line treatment for medication.  That means the first-line treatment wasn't successful.  There are currently only three options so please pray that his body will respond well to these current meds. 

Also I ask that you would just saturate Heaven with prayers on behalf of him and his sister, Alciana.  It must be so hard to leave your mom and home and everything you know and suddenly be in a huge children's center.  Please pray that he will know God's peace and presence and will quickly feel at home here.  Please pray for God to speak to him in such a personal way, that Geronimo will be able to trust in Jesus with the faith of the child that he is!

I don't know his whole story yet, as he's just arrived, but wanted to tell you about him so you could begin to pray for him and his sister!