Sunday, August 30, 2009

Here's Little Jose'!

August 2009 012This little guy, Jose', is feisty!!!  And although he IS little, his name is because we already have a "big" Jose'! He came to us in late June when his  GREAT-grandmother (I couldn't believe it!) brought him to us to ask if we would care for him.  He was living with her because both his mother and his grandmother had already died.

She was trying to care for him but is elderly herself and he is quite sickly and needs a lot of care she wasn't able to give.  So we've taken August 2009 006him into our home and hope to give him all the care and attention and love he needs.

Please pray with us that Jose' will quickly feel at home, that any lingering illness will quickly be healed and he will feel content and secure here with us!  And pray for his teeth!  I don't know if you can see in the photo but they are rotten!  He needs healthy new teeth to come in! (That makes two new Jose's in one month, both with horrible teeth! Strange.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Introducing Zeca!

August 2009 011Zeca has arrived in our home as well!  He came while I was in the US,  in late July.  His little sister and his two nieces, who are twins, live in the Baby House.  The twins are quite malnourished and needing a lot of care but thankfully, Zeca is healthy and well-fed and seems age-appropriate in his development. 

Zeca even knows how to write his name!  For six, in first grade, that's quite an accomplishment here.  I think this boy is quite clever!

August 2009 007He has been so polite and helpful and all the boys seem to like him.  Whether because I've encouraged them to, or because of his personality, they are always inviting him to play, and tagging along with him with their little arms around each other.  So cute.

I'm really enjoying Zeca living here with us!  Please pray that he grows to be all that God created him to be!  And for his little nieces to grow healthy and be restored to where they should be!

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Sometimes I hate this place!"

Did I just say that out loud???  Did I even just think it?  What a horrible missionary I am!  And now I'm admitting it to the whole world - what's wrong with me?

"Sometimes I hate this place!"  I said it three times in a row on Monday of this week.  Did I say it because of seeing another small child pick through the garbage for something to eat?  No.  Because of hearing about yet another young girl used for a man's pleasure?  No.  Because another person I know has died from lack of proper medical care?  No.  All good reasons, those, to "hate" a place. (perhaps)  To feel such frustration that a place drives you crazy.

No, it was none of those good reasons that caused me to say three times, out loud, "sometimes I hate this place." 

It was because I was inconvenienced.

Because things didn't go my way.

Because I didn't get what I wanted.

Because, if you must know, the shop owner wouldn't take my card to pay for phone credit and the ATM machine wouldn't give me any money.  That's it.  That was enough to cause me to not only lose my joy but disparage a whole nation!

As I walked to my car, repeating this over and over, I felt God stop me in my tracks with conviction over my selfishness.  I had recently read yet again that we are to take every thought captive to Christ.  Well, this presented a great opportunity to live out this Scripture.  So I sat in my car and repented of this ridiculous behavior.  Then I asked God, "what's really going on here?  why am I so upset?"

I think it was because what I was overwhelmed by, as I have been time and time again here in Mozambique, is a loss of control.   I couldn't control these situations and it left me feeling vulnerable and therefore angry.

I was irritated that the shop owner wouldn't take a card for a semi expensive purchase.  Nothing I could say would sway him.  In my true capitalist nature I thought, "well, I won't give you any of my business in the future and we'll see how you like that!"  But I was powerless to change his mind and accomplish my goal.

I did give in and try the ATM but twice, it took my card, my PIN, asked if I wanted a receipt, then spit back out my card and said my transaction was being processed but no money ever came out.  I did this twice.  That would be about $240!!! This happens to people so often here, they don't get their money yet they are charged for it and there is no recourse.  The bank here says "deal with your bank in the US" and the US bank says "it's nothing to do with us, deal with the bank of the ATM."  So THAT left me feeling REALLY out of control! 

This whole "no recourse" thing is what I often find the hardest.  I'm usually able to take things into my own hands and try and resolve something.  Not here in Mozambique, that rarely works here!

What was I left with?  Relying on God.  Sound familiar?  Praying.  Ring a bell?  I had to simply pray and trust God that the money wouldn't be gone from my account and that if it was, he would somehow cover it.  I had to pray that I would find another way to buy the phone credit I needed.

I had to yield to God once again that he would take care of my needs when I couldn't take care of them myself.  This is one of my greatest lessons from living in Mozambique.  I'm pretty sure there will be a few more tests of this nature ahead!

This may sound a bit absurd to the reader, that I would make such a big deal out of not being able to get money or phone credit.  I agree - it IS absurd!!  Shouldn't I be mature enough that these little things don't send me over the edge?  Yet, it's often the little things that do.  The little things are where I need the most refining.  I'm not about to go murder anyone but I would slander a whole nation in my mind with my words and thoughts. 

I thank God that I CAN trust him, with every need!  I thank God that he is faithful to convict and refine me.  I am thankful that my tantrum lasted only five minutes instead of five hours and that I listened to his voice calling me deeper. 

I am thankful that when I am not in control, HE IS!

And I am praying that in his kindness and grace, he will make me more like him so I don't freak out every time something doesn't go my way!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A Death in Mozambique

"Mana Laura, can you come?"  My phone rang at 5:00 am on that Friday with my darling Pedro asking me that question - could I come?  He could not wake up his grandmother.  There is no 911 here, no ambulances to call to rush someone to the hospital.  So they were calling me, who lives 45 minutes away, to come to take her to the hospital, another 30-40 minutes away. 

By the time I arrived, it was only to take her body to the morgue.

Pedro's grandmother died that day and it was one more death in Mozambique.  As the photo below will attest to, there are many deaths each day in this country.  The workers at the cemetary dig many graves, side by side, waiting for the days' funerals to begin. 

But this death was different for me.  This was Pedro's grandmother.  And since his mother lives in South Africa, this is who he lives with, who takes care of him.  An already difficult life just got harder.  And a family mourns the loss of their mother . . . grandmother . . wife.

June 2009 015This is the last photo we have of her.  It was taken about two weeks before she died.  Along with Pedro, her son Raymundo is in the photo, as well as her other grandson, the baby, and two step grandchildren she was also caring for. 

Pedro's  mother has been living in South Africa with her husband, where he works.  She has returned to be with the family for now but I'm really not sure what the future will hold.  The talk seems to go back and forth between her returning to SA or staying in  Mozambique.   

I miss Pedro's grandmother.  Pedro does too.  Please pray for him and his family that the decisions they make now will be in line with God's plans for their lives.  That Pedro and the other children will have a safe home, well protected and well cared for. 

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The next row of graves expected to be used that day.100_4631

Pedro's mother and I laying flowers on the grave.

June 2009 018 June 2009 020

This is Pedro's mother with her youngest daughter.  And my darling Pedro, praying during the service at their home after the funeral.