Monday, February 23, 2015

One or two years–or TWELVE!

I’ve been here in Mozambique twelve years today!  Wowza!  How did that happen?

(This photo is actually from nine years ago – I don’t have any older ones at hand. But I did wear that skirt over the weekend!)

When I prepared to come work with Iris Ministries in Zimpeto in 2003, I had in my heart that I wanted to spend “a year of my life, maybe two” working with orphaned, abandoned and abused children.  Well those precious children captured my heart and haven’t yet let go so I am still here!

And while they are here with us precisely because they are orphaned, abandoned or abused – or something is not right in their home setting – to me, they are basically just precious children.  Whom I have the privilege of loving on, pouring into, praying over, believing for, hoping for . . . with a generous sprinkling of tearing my hair out over thrown in for good measure!CD group cropped

(I am wearing that same skirt as I type this – this photo was from 2007.  Maybe time for some new clothes??)

I wonder how many little boys have passed thru my dorm in the last 12 years?  Sometime I will have to try and figure that out, I haven’t kept a running list or anything.  I would guess hundreds.  Some for a few months, some still live here – one is coming to visit me this very morning with his girlfriend and one year old baby who is named in my honor!  (I wish he would have waited to have a baby but they don’t all listen to my advice to wait until they are 25 and have a job and home to get married and have kids!!)

Each one of these boys is created by God for a purpose and is uniquely gifted for their part in this world.  I hope to see in them who they are and help nurture that into fruition. 

That isn’t easy with, on average, 30+ of them at one time, the precious ages of 4-8.  This remains my greatest challenge and frustration, how to parent them when there are simply so many.  I’m not trying to pretend things are perfect or easy – far from it.  But it remains my hope and goal to be used by God in their little lives to lay a foundation of raising them into the young men God created them to be.

Thank you so much to each and every one of you who has supported me in this adventure these 12 years.  Whether it is through monthly support, one-time or occasional giving, prayers, encouraging words and scripture verses, creative ideas, visits, care packages, a listening ear, a kind comment – all of it serves to provide for me to be here in tangible and intangible ways.  Without you, none of this would be possible!

Christmas 2008 090

(I wore this skirt this weekend too!  That’s it, I’m going shopping!)

Much love,

Mana Laura


pamela maddox said...

wowza! is right. Mana Laura, you are so precious and amazing to give the love of the Lord to these precious boys and to be a part of this missionary endeavor to make a difference. Love you and thank you for serving! <3

The Reeds said...

12 years?? Wow!! and I'm impressed you can wear the same skirt from 12, 9 or even 5 years ago... Like seriously impressed. ;) Not as impressed as with your life's work. It is important and valuable. Thank you for all you do!

daysease said...

The skirts are still good, right? I have most of the same clothes I had when I first got married. Well, not that they all fit well,(some things till do) but... I still have them. I am going to eventually learn how to sew. Then I can make them wearable for my daughter. hahahhahahaha... At least some summer play dresses or something. Congratulations on 12 years!! That is amazing. 12 years of seeing God's miracles, provision, care, help, and grace. Eventually, you could write a book. :-)

You are right, by the way. Even with my own kids, all I can do is pour into them, and PRAY my heart out for them (and shed an immeasureable amount of tears begging Jesus for help). The rest is up to God. I plant seeds, God brings the increase. He grows them. He waters them. He fills them. I can give advice, I can console the best I can, I can recommend scripture advice. I can remind them, encourage them, etc... But, ultimately, before they can experience the fullness of His power, they have to surrender. It is a personal thing. He knows how to convince a soul. He knows how to draw them. He knows how to get their attention. You do the best with the time you have, and trust the rest to God. That is where He has you, for the time you have them. So... there is purpose in it. You may long for more. You may think it isn't enough what you have done, or what you have so far. He knows. He knows what it has meant, your obedience, to every one of those boys. They will remember. It will impact them forever. Why? how do I know that? because God's Word does not return void. That is what I cling to in moments of desperation, fear, worry, insecurity, etc... That HE has ALL of my times in His hands (Ps. 31:14, 15). That He is in control. That He makes everything beautiful in HIS time. That He makes "beauty for ashes". That HE IS SUFFICIENT!!! For EVERY need. Hang in there. He has you; and He has every one of those boys. Trust in, cling to, rely on, and believe in Him. He is faithful, good, and able! Lately I am encouraged as I cling to Psalm 27: 13, 14

Amen!!! Hug!

Celita in Italy

Mana Laura said...

Hi Ladies! Thank you for your kind words! And the skirts have elastic bands! :)

Celita, thank you for that. Somehow, although I've heard similar things before over the years, something is shaping in my mind as I read your words. It's a subtle difference - every single person is on a unique journey with God and he calls them a variety of ways, including their circumstances. So although I may not be able to parent them each individually the way I would like to, or how they deserve, God see their circumstances and doesn't "hold it against them" so to speak. So although I feel it isn't enough, it can be. in Him. I'm going to meditate on this in a slightly different way than I have in the past. Thank you!