Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Preparations Have Begun . . .


I forgot to take a photo of the Christmas clothing prep but here is the beginning stages of assembling gift bags for 34 little boys who are so excited!  The first trick is remembering where I hid everything two months ago when I left for the US!  I also had someone staying in my house that I wanted to make room for so my usual hiding spots were taken up with my personal things I moved out of I predict the biggest hit will be the sunglasses!!!

What’s not on the bed?  For their bags, a soft drink, a packet of biscuits and a bag of chips.  For the dorm – a DVD player!  And a Tonka truck and some cool lego-like sets and a couple movies.  They will be excited as our current DVD player only works about 1/2 the time, not a fun way to watch a movie!



Thought I’d show you my major decorating endeavors!  Yep, that’s it, a snowman towel!  And let me say, that towel makes me very happy every time I look at it!

I DO have a couple other decorations, I think three or four items, but again, when I packed away to make room for Garrett, I don’t remember where I put those!  And it’s been a bit full on since being back so finding those things hasn’t been a priority.

Merry Christmas preparations everyone!  I hope your homes and hearts are not too harried and that you have time to enjoy this wonderful time focusing on Christ and family and friends!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I’ve got gas! Cooking gas that is!

IMG_0272So there has been a shortage of cooking gas in Mozambique for the last month or so.  Some of the missionaries bar-b-qued their turkeys for Thanksgiving!  My friend Becky very thoughtfully emailed me before I returned to warn me because she knows I always stock up on perishables in South Africa on my way home for the US.  I was grateful for the warning!

Because of the warning, and the heat, and trying to undo some of the damage done by my ridiculous eating habits while in the US, I was able to stock up on things that didn’t need cooking like salads and fruit and such.  And, I had some chili frozen in the freezer that just needed the microwave.  So I’ve been just fine this past week without a stove or oven.

But, it was really nice to get gas back in the house today. The first thing I did was put a pot of 36 eggs on to boil for the boys!  And now I know for sure I can cook my Christmas ham!

Since we’re on the subject, I thought I’d show you my gas replacing process:



Here’s the space where the gas bottle fits into, and the handy dandy tube that connects the gas to my stove.IMG_0274

Here’s the cupboard that needs to be emptied because the cupboard doors are nailed into the shelf unit and the whole thing needs to come out to put new gas in!  Yikes!!!  Good chance to clean after being gone two months!

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Here is the finished product, snug as a bug in a rug!  I hope it lasts for awhile AND that Maputo doesn’t run out of gas any time soon!





IMG_0249 (2)And here’s the best finished product – the pot of eggs, oh how the boys love em! 

See ya later!  I’m off to go hand them out!



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PS:  since I’m showing you pots and pans and cupboards and funky things, thought I’d show you my resourcefulness!  The handle broke while someone else was using the lid and they didn’t save the handle for me, so I had to get clever.  I remembered a piece of wire I had and – voila!  Good as new.  Well, almost!  Anyway, I was pretty proud of myself!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Maybe I should have been a nurse??

February 2010 059Good thing I'm not upset by blood - perhaps I should have been a nurse?  Antonio (in an old photo at the beach)just came with huge amounts of blood pouring thru his hands, both of them!, from what ended up being a smallish cut on one finger joint.  There’s blood everywhere, inside, outside, in the sinks, on the floor, on the clothes - I had thought for sure whatever was under all that blood was going to need stitches!  Glad for his sake(and mine!) that we don't have to hop in the car to the hospital an hour away! 

And I thank God for our CLINIC!!!!  Some of you might remember that several months ago, the government came in and shut our clinic down (shut as in padlocked and nailed shut!).  We were still able to have a treatment room elsewhere that allowed us to meet basic needs.  But sometime while I was in the States, our clinic re-opened, praise God!

I didn’t even know it, I was heading with Antonio and the Tia to the  treatment room, saying “I don’t think anyone’s there!” and Tia Marta responded, “no, Mana Laura, the clinic is open again!” 

After seeing that Antonio had in fact a smallish cut and wouldn’t need stitched, I returned to the dorm to help clean up and also finish my dinner.  All the other boys were gathered on our storage boxes, waiting for a clean floor before watching their summer-night movie.  So we decided to pray for Antonio to not hurt and the cut to close up and no infection or problems!  Such heartfelt little prayers for their friend!

Thank you to those who prayed for our clinic to be re-opened!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday Night Sleepovers Commence Anew!



One of the fun things I’ve done for years with the boys is Saturday Night Sleepovers!  If I’m home and free on a Saturday night, I invite 4-6 boys in and they get to watch a special film that the rest of the boys haven’t seen yet.  Usually I make them some popcorn but there is a shortage of cooking gas here in Maputo and I have none so I can’t make them the popcorn.  Anyway, they usually have that and a juice or a soda.  Then they pull their mattresses in to the living room and play themselves to sleep.  They love it and I enjoy it too!

The current movie I just brought back with me is Night at the Museum.  It’s a bit scary for the little ones so I will choose another film for the rest of the group.  But these big boys have enjoyed all the action!











Have a great weekend!

Thank you Garrett!

DSC_0226 (2)When I made plans to head home for Thanksgiving (and a few weeks on either end!), I wasn’t sure who would look after my boys while I was gone.  My wonderful co-worker in the dorm for the last year, Natalie, left just before I did and sadly, she won’t be back with us any time soon as God has her traveling thru South America with an Iris team.

But a young man named Garrett was just applying to come for a year’s time after graduating high school and before starting college.  So the directors asked if he would be willing to oversee my dorm and he said yes!

I want to say a big Thank You to Garrett for accepting this challenge and taking it on with what I have heard is his whole heart!  It’s a big work to jump into being responsible for 31 boys and work with the Tias when you don’t speak the language, and you don’t know the culture.

Good thing Garrett is fluent in at least one language other than English – boy wrestling language!  Garrett is a wrestler and I’m sure the boys just loved playing with him every day.  Mana Laura does not wrestle!  She tickles but she doesn’t wrestle!

It’s been great having a guy to be with the boys and I hope Garrett is able to carry on working with us for the rest of his time here as well!  It sure looks like Lucas, in the photo above, will be happy to keep him!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Two great books calling me onward!

Someone once said “you are what you read.”  I do find it true that what I read about, I think about and what I am thinking about, I am more likely to be acting on.  So while I love a good fiction book, I love to be challenged and inspired by non-fiction as well.

While on my many shopping trips at local thrift stores, I am always drawn to the book section.  Even though my mom and her partner Larry bought me a Kindle so I wouldn’t have to lug a ton of books around (Larry always says I am packing anvils!), I can’t resist the .50 cents or 1.00 books and the treasures they contain!

I bought two winners recently and I wanted to share a little about them.  They are both similar enough in nature that they complement one another.  However, one was written in 1975 and one in 2009!

Open Heart, Open Home: The Hospitable Way to Make Others Feel Welcome & WantedThe first, written in 1975, is called Open Hearts, Open Homes by Karen Burton Mains. (sorry, you can’t click and look inside, I got this cover photo from Amazon!) Her subject is biblical Hospitality.  Not matching plates and the latest impressive recipe, not a spotless house with cool new decorations.  But a home that says, “Come in world, you are welcome here, spots and wrinkles and all!”  The book is all about the biblical call that our lives, our hearts and homes would be used to share with people around us who are in need of help or encouragement or prayer or just friendship.  I loved the broad vision of this book mixed with the practical ideas as well.

Although Hospitality has often been relegated to the realm of women who like to entertain, this book broadens that application to include the biblical charge for men to participate in this as well. It isn’t only women, or excellent cooks, who can use their lives at home to change the world around them!

ref=sib_dp_ptThe second book is called The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns.  I am not finished with it yet but it has already brought me to tears more than once.  It begins with the story of his journey of surrender of his position of CEO of Lenox, a fine china and porcelain manufacturer, that provided him with a Jaguar, a ten room home on 200 acres and every luxury money could buy.  He left that position to become the president of World Vision, attempting to help the poor all over the world – what a radical departure!

He writes about how often and how easily many Christians neglect the portion of the Bible– the huge portion of the Bible– that calls followers of Christ to minister to the poor, the needy, the widows, the orphans, the abandoned, the captives, the “least of these.”  He does it more eloquently than I can!  (He calls it the hole in our GOSPEL, which I take some exception to, but I agree that this focus on the poor, so prominent in Scripture is largely missing in most teaching on discipleship.)

While neither book is perfect, if you read either of these books, you will be challenged to ask God what He would have you do with your time, your finances, your heart and your home.  Not that you aren’t already doing that, but we all could use the inspiration to ask that daily and with an open heart, ready and willing to obey what we hear in response!

Have any good books to recommend in return?  On any subject!  Please feel free to share in the comments, I love recommendations!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Back in the saddle again! I mean , back in the airplane again!

DSC_0041Hello from London’s Heathrow airport, on the way home to Mozambique, via a flight into Johannesburg and a shuttle journey to Nelspruit and a car to Zimpeto!  Whew!  I’m tired just thinking about it!

But, I’m energized too!  I can’t wait to get back to see my boys and enjoy life with them!  I imagine their shouts of joy and “Mana Laura! Mana Laura!” and I get so excited.  I miss them when I am gone.  I miss my home and my co-workers and friends and my work and routines.  I miss knowing where my my tape and scissors and nail file are!  I do not however, miss the heat and the mosquitos and the humidity and the dirt!  This photo is Shelton acting like a Mozambican Mama – just one of the cutie pies who await me!

At the same time, I will for sure miss being in the United States with friends and family and the conveniences of home.  It’s always hard to say goodbye and jet off half a world away, literally. 

I am so blessed for both the time I am able to spend in the US and the home I have in Mozambique.  I am deeply grateful to the Lord and the people he uses who help make it possible for me to be in Mozambique, loving on these boys and watching God work amazing miracles of transformation in them.  I’m so privileged to be a part of that process. 

(On a totally unrelated note except that I am in London, why does London insist on warm soda?  Has all of England never discovered the joy of a cold soda?  The cases they are in in the airport are not even refrigerated, they just are meant to look like they are, they’re just lighted cases.  More Englanders need to travel to South Africa whose name for soda tells us how it should be drank – they call all soda “cool drinks” or “cold drinks!”  Sounds perfect to me!  Enough of a tangent for you?)