Sunday, April 26, 2009

Moving On Up!

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Well, when I see how big they are, I am amazed they were with me in my dorm as long as they were! In January (so, I'm a little behind on my blogging!), my oldest boys moved up to the next dorm. As always, it was a sad day for me as I said "ate logo" or, "see you later" to: Antonio, Tome, Silavio, Fauso, Marcos, Fabiao and Joao (l-r, above and the same order for the following individual shots).DSC_0853

The last year with the boys of Room Two were definitely challenging. They were the oldest group I've ever had in my dorm (due to space limitations in older dorms) and were entering adolescence, a trying time, no? My age range was from 4-12 and it sometimes felt impossible. There were DSC_0850times I thought I would be cheering as they left rather than crying! But we survived and pressed on and there were many, many more wonderful times.

This time of year is always hard for me, I hate to lose my boys to the next dorm, even though it's only about 100 yards away. It changes everything.

Moving of the dorms always reminds me that try as we do, we are not a real family. I know there are age-related transitions in all families so I try and take great comfort in that. But February 2009 029my biggest comfort comes from the Lord who alone knows how to console me when I am weeping on my bed after sending the boys off with their bags of belongings. (Oh, the backpacks were presents, the bags of belongings aren't pictured!)

Oct profiles and head shots 021 This year was especially hard as these are the last of the boys who were already living in the dorm when I moved in in 2004. They were the littlest ones then. So it's the end of a complete cycle for me. Most of them have been living in my dorm for 7-8 years so it was a bit traumatic for them as well.

But, as in most things, the lead up to the event was worse than the actual living it out. The boys have adjusted well to their new dorm. One of them Gorgeous Fausowisely told me that although he misses our dorm, he's now glad he moved because it signifies that he is growing up! Most of them come over to the dorm nearly every day and a few have become helpers for the little ones. Come to think of it, even boys that moved out four years ago still pop round most days to say hello or, let's face it, have a jump on the trampoline!

Transition times always bring out the potential for great regret in me. Did I do enough? Hug enough? Talk, teach, impart enough? Shouldn't I July 2007 016have had them in to play rather than read that afternoon? Did I tell them the right Bible stories that they will carry with them? Did I teach them to read??? Have I been a good steward of the responsibility the Lord has given me over their lives? Birthdays 003

Well, certainly I did not do ALL that I COULD have. But God is gracious and knows I'm not perfect! It's a good thing that these boys are his precious sons and he has all they could ever need and knows how to impart that to them. I thank God that he has allowed me to be a part of their lives and will continue to be as well!

Indeed, though, I do miss them in our dorm so much! Famba nai Jesu my little darlings!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fond Farewells

One of the realities of living on a ministry center in a foreign country March 2009 006is that you say a lot of hellos and a lot of goodbyes.  Iris Ministries has always had a heart to invite visitors to come and have their heart  broken for the poor and our location in Zimpeto has several hundred visitors a year.  So that's a lot of goodbyes if you spend any time with the visitors and make a connection.

March 2009 013But we also have "long-term" missionaries who come for a year or more.  (I know that's not considered long-term in a lot of places!)  They are the hardest to say goodbye to, people we have lived and worked with so closely in such an intense environment - we really become much of a family.   March 2009 012

So farewells for our missionaries are especially poignant.  We know that God is leading them on to something new but we will feel their loss keenly. 

In the last six weeks, we've said goodbye to four very special people in Zimpeto.   Yard Sale 009

Liz and Betinho and their daughter, Lena-Joy (top, with Liz's parents, our Directors, Steve and Ros), Erin (middle) and Anna (below) have been such an important part of our team, as well as my friends, and they will be sorely missed!

I'm thankful to have known and worked along side of them and look forward to seeing what God unfolds for them in the future!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Passear-ing with Pedro

Mozambique 122  I love having my little darling Pedro over for a visit!  He is such a delightful boy and I love his company, I really enjoy being with him!  He broke a tooth recently so I took him to the dentist, discovering he had another tooth that had broken some time ago as well!  So he needs two teeth removed, the first of which we'll do next week.  School is out for two weeks right now so this is a good time to take care of things like this. 


We ran into TONS of traffic on the way home as it was Good Friday so most people got off work mid-day.  It took twice as long to get home as it normally does.

So I took that opportunity to teach him a game I used to play with my nephew Sean when he lived with me.  It's quite simple - you choose four or five letters to give a person and they have to choose words that make some sort of sense as a sentence.  For example he gave me the letters T B N Q and I thought for a minute and chose "Tall Boys Never Quit."  Well, he did amazingly well considering he's still learning English and doesn't know how to read English fluently so there's loads of words he doesn't know how they're spelled. 

After the dentist,(and don't his teeth look great in THIS photo!) before going home, we had stopped at a little park IMG_5563 with a cafe called Surf.  That little stop is what put us in the heaviest traffic leaving the city.  So, I kept teasing him that he had made me take him to Surf and that's why we had to drive so slow, etc.  So, at one point, I gave him W D P M M T H T S?  And he exclaimed, "Nine letters!  You can't do that!"  And I told him the first word was "why" because he has trouble with "w" words because no words start with that in Portuguese (don't quote me on that!) and I encouraged him to think about it a minute.  Well, it didn't take him long to figure out, "Why Did Pedro Make Me Take Him To Surf?" and he laughed and laughed and was so proud of himself!  All the while exclaiming that HE didn't make me take him to Surf!

April 2009 100We had a yummy crockpot chicken meal for dinner which is always a hit.  We'll have leftovers for lunch tomorrow and whatever we don't eat, I'll give my Tias to enjoy.  I wonder if Pedro will in fact leave them anything?  He IS a growing boy!

Please say a prayer for Pedro's teeth and dental care - he will need two broken teeth out via operation because they're so decayed that they would likely come out in pieces if they were just pulled.  I'll have him with me for two nights afterward but am concerned about follow-up care when he goes home.  He had two nights of excruciating pain that I was able to help with baking soda, vanilla and chewing gum - all thanks to an internet search for "home remedies for toothaches!"   But they don't have those things at his home, he would have had to just endure. When he went home this week though, I loaded him up with a bit of all of the above so if he gets a toothache before he has  it removed, he'll have something to try.

By the way "Pass-e-ar-ing" means going out or hanging out kind of, there is no exact translation for such a great word.  And since I don't know my "ing" form well in Portuguese, I have gotten into the VERY unfortunate habit of adding "ing" on to every verb!  I actually forgot that Passearing wasn't the actual word!  I'm in trouble!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Is it REALLY ok to eat red, green or blue eggs???

April 2009 083This is what the looks on my Tias' faces were asking as well as quite a few of the boys when I proposed coloring eggs tonight after dinner.  Food coloring is not something people are familiar with here,  except perhaps people who make frosting for cakes.  When I thought to use that as an example of how it's safe to eat things with food coloring, they understood and it put them at ease.  Before that, I'm not sure they were going for it!April 2009 084

The boys thought it was so cool to see the shells such pretty colors.  And once they got over their hesitation, they loved seeing the little bits of color that had seeped onto their egg.  One brave soul dunked his shelled egg right into the red water!

I LOVE helping the boys experience things for the first time!  Sometimes I struggle a bit when I introduce something different from what is cultural for them.  But I also think, in the US for example, April 2009 098 most people want their kids exposed to things outside their culture (and comfort zone) as well so isn't that just a fairly normal thing?   Anyway, I think it's fun for them to learn and discover things they've never known of before. Honestly, it happens nearly as often for the Tias as well, which is just as fun.April 2009 088

Little Joao was just thrilled with how his egg turned out.  He didn't want to open it in fact!  But eventually the yummy-ness of the egg won out over it's beauty!

If you haven't dyed eggs in a while, I suggest you pull out some food coloring and have some fun!   You might be surprised how much fun you have!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Cooking for Cuties!

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You might remember Lucas, our little Christmas Eve present!  Isn't he adorable?  Somehow, we got a donation of a Darth Vadar helmet which I think is completely incongruous but still tons of fun!  The boys enjoy it and want to ride the skateboard with it.

Lucas is still quite underweight but he is growing.  I think, although he's 6, he fits better in 1-2 year old clothes now rather than the 6-12 months he was wearing when he arrived.  Yay! DSC_1151


I make extra food for he and Domingos  to receive on top of their normal food that the rest of the dorm is eating.  I thought I'd show you a few photos . . .


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Here's Feliciano (who is obsessed with food!) helping me stir the pot of chicken/potato/peas.  I did give him a bit!



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Here's the chicken all done and the ground beef ready to be made.  Spiderman has left his quad - perhaps he is sneaking around for a bite himself!



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The finished product!  Lots of little baggies of dinner supplements all ready for the freezer.  The ground beef made this many baggies as well.