Waka waka "esto es Afriac"

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Friday, May 3, 2013

It's Been a Year

Hard to believe it's been a year since my life changing trip to Africa. It's been a hard year, a year of change, stress and unknowns. But as always God is faithful and He is seeing me through. Growing in my relationship God more than in any other time of my life.

I have struggled with trying to lose weight for the last 20 years. For whatever reason it has never worked for me. Now that my weight has started to show up in the form of health issues, I need to get serious about it. Found out I don't just have a few lbs. to lose, I have 70 lbs. to lose! Not a good feeling to hear that from your Dr.

Through the help of my best friend and my Dr., I have found a Dr. that specializes in weight loss. I went through all the pre-medical testing and have been cleared for the program. Happy to say, no surgery's and no drugs. Just a seriously ridiculous strict diet and lots of hard work. I have decided blog my journey over the next 6 months. It's not going to be easy and at times I'm sure it will be embarrassing but I'm willing to journal so I will have a record of how God has worked in my life.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mocuba and Jim & Susan Oetter

Cheryl, Jessica and I went about 2 and a half hours from Quelimane. Something I have found interesting, the land here is lush and green. Not like the pictures of dry desert and one lonely tree. Here there are many kinds of beautiful green tree's. The coconut tree looks very much like our own Phoenix palm tree. But, on our way to Mocuba the elevation got higher. There were rolling hills and even some small mountains like we have in Phoenix.

We arrived in Mocuba after dark. It is winter here being in the Southern hemisphere so it turns dark around 5:30 pm. Even though its winter it is still quite warm.

They live on a corner lot. Susan has a house helper and a outside helper. The outside helper is there 24 hours a day. He has several jobs. He guards the house, does the shopping and is also the gardener. He has planted a beautiful garden for Susan.

Inside the house Jim and Susan have spent many hours making it liveable.. Actually it is quite beautiful in side and out.

The following morning we went with Jim and Susan to the reading group. Susan is working with the local church and community teaching women how to read. She has developed such a wonderful thing. She said, once they learn how to read they can read the Bible. So her ministry is two-fold, teaching them to read then showing them Gods Word and sharing Jesus Christ with them.

Susan teaches them in a beautiful environment. Jim and Susan have a South African friend named Bernadette. She is the Jane Goodall of orphans. This woman is amazing. She is a Christian. She owns and operates a day care for orphaned children. She has quite a bit of land. There the children are given a place to learn, play, eat and are taught about Jesus. Then they go home to an extended family member who has agreed to take them in. Most of the parents die of HIV

Also on this land is a ranch style building with several rooms. Susan uses one of these rooms. Jim also helps. Jim takes the more advanced readers outside. There were about 10 beautiful African women there the day we visited. Please pray for Susan and Jim as they teach these women to read.

In another room is a gift store. Some African women make things like dolls, pot holders and clothes. The money helps them build huts to live in. I purchased some items as gift so you may be one of the lucky ones to receive such a special gift.

Bernadette's property is really beautiful. The orphan children are loved on by peace corp workers and full time staff. Bernadette gets some funding from the Dutch.

She has a beautiful healing garden. She plants herbs, scrubs and trees that have medicinal qualities to them. She keeps the children very healthy. Susan and Bernadette are going to plan a day when some of the local women come to the property and learn about the healing power of the maringa tree. Look up the healing qualities of this tree. It's amazing. I'm for sure going to plant one

After the amazing time at Bernadette ranch we went back to Jim and Susan's where Susan fixed us lunch. She made pizza and avocado salad. Everything is home made here so, everything taste so good. Susan's pizza was as good as anywhere in the US. The avocado's here are the size of a grapefruit. And have such great flavor. Susan cut up the avocado, put some seasoning and tomatoes in it the chilled it for a while. Yumo! Susan also makes these incredible sugar peanuts. The peanuts here are very small like a pea. They heat up sand then bury the peanuts in the sand to cook them. John brought home a huge bag of hot roasted peanuts. They are great that way but susan does something to them that makes them taste like Boston Baked Beans but much better

After lunch Jim took us on a drive. He took us over the bridge to the district of Lugela. He said the Marayawa people have never heard about Jesus. His hearts desire is to somehow get over there and start teaching them. Can you imagine NEVER have heard the name of Jesus Christ! Jim has asked that we bring back this message to our church Royal Palms Baptist Church as a prayer request.

The next morning we woke up at 4:4 to travel back to Quelimane because we were helping teach reading to the church kids at Coalane. It was a great time with Jim and Susan. Our time was way too short. Please pray for Jim and Susan. For continued good health, for Susan's reading group and for the Marayawa people of the district of Lugela.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday Church

I was looking forward to going with John and Wanne to church. John said he needed to go visit a church in the area that he hadn't been to in a while. Part of the job when you are a missionary. Wanne went with him so Cheryl and I went to Jessica's church with her. Jim and Susan were here in Quelamnte visiting and were going to take us back with them to Mocuba for two days after church so they came along with us.

I didn't realize "church" was that little village church that we played the games with the children until we got there. A problem arose along the way. The pastor didn't show up , which in this area means he most likely came down with a case of malaria, Sally is out of town and there is a sub Sunday school teacher and Wanne isn't there. It was amazing to watch as things started to unfold.

Paisano, who is a fairly new believer taught the Sunday school class for the kids in Sally's absents, Jessica taught the Sunday school class for the adults

Jim, who is also a missionary and a pastor agreed to preach for the church service. It was incredible to see everyone fill in. Paizano took the kids, Cheryl assisted him. They colored a picture and learned a memory verse. Eph 2:8 For it has be through grace you have been saved- through faith and this is not from yours selves it is a gift of God.
Jessica did a great job filling in for the pastor teaching the 16 adults. They loved her. It's so amazing to hear her teaching and talking in Portuguese .

The two groups came together for the church service. This church only has a roof and some posts up. No walls. There are coconut wood benches to sit on. Paizano also filled in with the announcements and singing. This guy has such a sweet dispassion. The Gift of teaching. He also brought his wife and new baby girl.

Then Jim got up to preach. I love to hear Jim preach however, I quickly realized I wouldn't get to hear him, he too was speaking in Portuguese. Once again amazed to hear him up there preaching in Portuguese! Jessica sat next to me and tried to translate as best she could without being distracting. Oh, I almost forgot, Susan got up and read Psalm 23 to everyone also in Portuguese! Aren't they amazing.

Jim spoke on Psalm 24. He asked them, who is the King of Glory? Do you know him? It's Jesus/jay-zeush or in Chuabo it is Yezu/yea-zoo.

He said, you can't call him master if he isn't your master! Jesus has it all and wants to give it to you. He won't force himself on you, you have to ask him in

Jim did such a great job. Both children and adults listened carefully.

These people, these very poor people gave money in the offering plate. Its really quite a testimony.

It was a great day of church African style

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Indian Ocean Day

Jim, Susan, Cheryl, Jessica, Wanne and my self went for a day of fun at the Indian Ocean. The area we went to was a little more modern. They rent cute little bungalows you can stay overnight in however, we just went for the day.

As we arrived boys started running along side the car. I asked what they were doing? Wanne said, they are going to watch our car while we are on the beach. They ran along side the car for quite a while. The sat at the car the entire time we were at the beach.

I have only been to a beach a couple of times so when I see one it's like seeing one for the first time. So much to look at. Sights, sounds, and smells.

They use bamboo mats here to sit on. We laid out our stuff and it wasn't very long before the locals are bringing things over for us to purchase. One guy brought over coconuts. They are coconuts before they are truly ripe ( I forget the name) but you drink the milk inside and eat the meat like you do a ripe one. Funny thing about the milk, it isn't white it's clear and it has a carbonated taste to it. It is suppose to be hight in electralights ( not sure how to spell it) and the meat is very soft and mushy. I like the milk but didn't care for the meat. The local carries the coconuts in a pale then under his shirt tucked in his pants is a huge knife that he uses to open the coconut. Wanne bought us all one.

After that Jessica and I went in the ocean a little ways. I have only actually been in a ocean up to my knees before so swimming in the ocean was a first for me. I took a picture of Jessica that ended up being one of my favorite pictures of the trip.

Jim decided his coconut wasn't open enough for him so he tried to bang it on the mat for a while. He finally got it open.

Jim and Susan are new missionaries here. Jim came on a mission trip with some men from Royal Palms Baptist Church a few years ago and felt God calling him to be full time missionaries here. They live just a couple of hours away from John, Wanne and Jessica. Cheryl, Jessica and I are going to stay a couple of days with them tomorrow

I took a walk up the beach alone. I was praying and looking around. I realized one thing that looks like home is the sky. No matter where you are when you look up you feel like you are in a familiar place. Funny, God says the same thing. Always look up, keeping your eyes on Him. I'm learning so much about my self here.

Jessica, Wanne and myself went back into the ocean one last time before we left. We went in kinda deep. The waves were hitting us and caring us for a ride. We started laughing and couldn't stop. I would look up and all I would see is Wanne's head bobbing toward shore. She knew how to body surf and was really good at it. She tried to teach me but every time I tried the wave would turn me topsy turby. Jessica has a talent of jumping as the wave cam so she would miss the pounding. We had so much fun it felt like I was a kid again. I was laughing so hard I got a mouthful of sea water... We were wore out by the time we drug our selfs to shore. It was a great day.

We are going to church in the morning at one of the villages. I can't wait to see what it is like to have church African style.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Zambezi River Day

Yesterday John had budget planning meeting with several church leaders along the Zambezi River. He asked if we wanted to go along.

We left home at 7 am and headed out of town. As you leave the "city" you see the rice fields. Men and women work the fields all day. Bent over all day long. Somehow, their backs adjust. If they aren't bent over a rice field they are bent over cooking, cleaning or making charcoal. They are constantly caring huge bundles of everything on their heads. Walking for miles daily. Back breaking work.

Anyway, the boundry lines for each prerson's property is usaually a banana tree. From the air you can see the property lines are not at all straight. But it works for them.

They dont live at the rice field because it is flooded most of the time so they walk there from their villages.

You can see the villages along the highway. They all have crops there too. They all grow sweet potatoes, coconut, mango, pineapple and sesame seads.

There is a difference in the huts in this new area we are going. They use grass instead of coconut leaves as roofs.

I kept noticing this hugs mounds of dirt. I ask John what they were. He said, ant hills. Some are a big as a house. John said there is something in the dirt after the ant processes it that makes it a little sticky so they use it to cover the sticks that make walls for their huts.

They all cook outside so there is alwys a fire going.

Make shift stands are all over the side of the highway. They are mostly selling charcoal. They make the charcoal. John said they dig a pit. Put a tree in it. Cover it with dirt leaving a few holes Somehow catch it on fire and let it smolder all night. In the morning they have charcoal. They bag it up and take it to their stand.

Even on the highway there are still lots of people walking and riding bikes. Barley room for two cars to pass each other without having to watch out for children, pedestrians and bike ridders.

We had traveled about an hour and a half when we came to another "city" where we picked up a man named Choozy... What a delightful man. He speaks several language in the area. He has been ridding his bike for years way back into the village areas to teach them about Jesus Christ. When my husbad Kris was here in 2005 he filmed the ordination of Choozy. He remembered Kris. He was caring a bag that said Golden Gate Seminary on it. I guess he probably got it from David Johnson.

Choozy had lost a wife and several chilldren. One of his adult children just passed away from HIV. HIV is pretty bad here.

Back on the highway we went. All of a sudden we came upon tree limbs in the road. John said that mean there is a acciddent a head. They use the tree limbs like cones to warn people to slow down

Another hour and we stopped at another "city" to pick up many more men. There was an open market there John let me walk around. Smoked fish was on most of the tables. All kinds of fish. Flies all over the fish. Wasnt too appetizing for me.

Tables with fresh fruit. I purchased some bananas, maybe 10 or 12 for less than a dollar. I didnt know a banana could taste so good. Fresh really makes a difference

Off we went back down the highway. All of a suden off in the distance John says, do you see it? See what? look the bridge! The Zambezi bridge. I guess its new and quite a big deal around here. They had to use a fairy until the bridge was built. The bridge got closer and closer but we turned off before we got to it. We had to take John to his meeting.

Off the highway now and back on dirt roads with huge potholes again. We come across a beautiful resort with well manicured lawns. Huge pastures with water buffalos and cows. White birds riding on the backs of the buffalos. Awww, I said to my self... As we drive right by and keep going deeper and deeper into the village. We arrive at the church some 3 hours or so from when we left.

For some reason when John said he had a budget meeting with some church leaders I didnt picture this.
Again, a one room church with mud walls and a grass roof. But, what was different about this church, from the minute we pulled up the entire church came out and were singing loudly to welcome us. Wonderful Africa style music with drums and women using their tongs to make this yell sound. It was all to welcome us to their church. It was very emotional for me. I had tears in my eyes. They escorted us into the church. Once in they sang even louder! It was powerful. Then they asked us to introduce our selves. Hello and good bye are very important in this culture. After we were introduced Wanne, Cheryl and I were allowed to leave and they continued with their planning meeting.

Well, we went back to that resort and had lunch. We sat on a huge porch. It reminded me of Gone with the Wind. We looked out over rolling hills of Africa leading to the Zambezi River. Another emotional moment. Another tear. Lunch was so good. Cheryl and I ordered a beef and shrimp cabob and Wanne ordered fish. They leave the head on the fish here. I hope I can download the picture later.

After a relaxing lunch we returned to the village church to get John. They were just finishing up however, when your finished here the church wants to feed you so we waited as that great church fed the men

Soon we were on our way home. Dark came pretty fast. It's really dark hear with no lights. However, it doesn't keep the people from walking and riding their bikes along the highway.

After a while John pulled over and we all got out. He pointed out the Southern Crux (cross) That is a sight to behold. I felt like God was saying, I'm here with you and so is my son... Another emotional moment. We got back in and traveled home. Once home I saw that the Southern cross was still there. It is just right out their back door just above their house. God is here! And HE is with me!
What a glorious day at the Zambezi

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

4 Wheeling Momma

Did I mention there are a few pot holes in the streets around here. I think it would be safe to say you can not travel 50 feet without hitting multiple potholes. And not just the kind of potholes you know of. These are the kind of pot holes quaders long for. The four wheel jeep guys kind of pot holes. The let's go four wheeling kind. Not just here and there. The are on every street. You never get out of 1st gear.

Add in a billion people walking, (not really a billion but you get my point) and then some bicycles and motorcycles, some guy caring 12 matrices on a cart and women caring wood, huge bags of rice or 5 gallons of water on their heads on narrow streets and you Quelamnte Africa.

Wanne has been driving us around and may I just say, she can out drive any man I know in a 4 wheel situation. This woman doesn't take anything from anyone. She swerves, dodges, honks passes better than anyone. She owns the road.

Something funny happened today. When we travel through the villages the kids sometimes chase the vehicles that come through. As we were leaving one of the churches I noticed there were some kids hanging on the tailgate of the truck. I told Wanne, oh Wanne ( in a panicked voice) there are some kids hanging on the tailgate. Our sweet, sweet missionary lady said, hey not my problem, they won't be there for long!!! Of course she was kidding, but was she? She never slowed down.

I'm here to tell ya, she is one tough missionary 4 wheeling momma.

It's A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood

Today we traveled to a village called Coalane. There is a new church plant there. On Tues. Wanne and Sally read Bible stories to the children. It has quickly grown from just a handful to 150 plus, which is what we had today.

Sally is in Zambia doing some training so Wanne decided the kids would play some games. Sobrinho, Zurall and Piezino all local leaders and pastors in other villages helped. Good thing too. More than 150 African children ranging from 4-12 came.

When we first got there all the kids were really staring at Cheryl and I. We all went into the church. The church is wood posts, a metal roof and some bamboo. Wide open and has dirt floors. It maybe is 30 x 25'. Some tree logs as benches for seats.

It's so amazing how all these kids just show up sit down and listen. There were no discipline problems.

This is a very poor area. Most of the children were barefooted. Most had torn clothing and also most of the time the clothing was 2 or 3 sizes too big.

Several of the girls ages from 5-8 were caring their baby brother or sister on their backs. These are babies themselves and they are caring for infants. I asked Wanne about this, she said the mother most likely has to work in the rice fields so the older siblings have to help. It's a different kind of life here

I quickly notice that the "African" part of this faded and all I saw were children. Children are children no matter what culture they are from. They were laughing, crying, playing hop scotch, playing soccer, tag, blind mans bluff, duck duck goose, etc... Just kids

After game time they came back in the church for memory verse time. Today they learned John 14: 6, Jesus said, I am the way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Sobrinho would have half the room repeat him then have the other half repeat him. Then he would have them say it by them selves.

They sang a couple of songs which they loved. There is something so sweet about 150 children singing praises to God. It was beautiful. They dismissed in prayer. Nearly everyone one of those children bowed their head and were quiet. It's just amazing. Then they all ran off to their huts. I can't wait to show you their faces in the pictures I took. And, by the way, if you want an African child to warm up to you just take their picture! They love it...

I was talking to the pastor of that village church Zurall/ John for us Westerners, and asked him how he reaches out to all the village. He said, he teaches the kids Scripture and songs then tells them to go home and tech it to their parents. He has some parents showing up at church now.

Pictures to follow if I can ever figure out how to add them.