Sunday, December 9, 2012

Graduation Day!!!!!!


Wednesday, December 5th

It is here!!!!!

Today, we have our graduation ceremony with our Mozambican brothers who are graduating from Bible School!  Everyone is in great spirits and full of joy!  We have finished!  These last nine weeks have gone by so fast!  I remember being here for the first few weeks and feeling like I was walking around in a daze.  Not really knowing anyone, or what is happening or going on.  Now we really have become family.  Great friendships have been formed, amazing times have been had, laughter has filled the air and tears have flowed.  We really have been very blessed!

I know I have really only spoken of the things that I have done here in Mozambique, like events that have taken place, but so much more has taken place.  Honestly, I don't really know how to put them down on paper to share, which is why you have not heard of them.  God has done some great, great things in me!  He has spoken over and over.  He has showered me with His love!  I have been filled with Joy and Love for Him more than I have known before.  I feel as if I have just been taking so much in.  Like I am a cup that has been being filled up over the last two months.  Honestly, I feel as if I am being poured in so much, that it is hard to possess it all.  I have been doing a lot of soaking ... Just resting in His presence.  I am so thankful that it is not up to me to understand it all and to figure everything out.  That is why I just rest in my Jesus, and let Him do the work.

One of the first things God showed me was that I just need to rest in Him and give him control over my life.  He gave me this picture of me, riding a horse wildly through the fields.  Jesus was sitting on the horse behind me, with his arms around me, holding onto the reins.  Jesus was saying, "Esther, just lean back on my chest, and let me guide the horse."  This picture has been a constant reminder to me throughout the whole school.  Just resting on Him, and letting Him guide me and take me where He wants plans.  

This has been quite the journey!  It has been hard!  It has been good.  It's been a constant struggle with my flesh.  It has been an amazing time with my Jesus!  It has been both really good, and really hard.  Fun times and honestly, terrible times.  I am sad that it is over but at the same time, i am glad.  I think I am more happy that these nine weeks are over - it has been great, but I am ready to start living again!  Ha ha ha - I honestly don't really know how to put down how I am feeling.  It truly is a mixture of feelings! 

I have been very blessed, I have stretched so much and I would not trade any of it for the world! 



Happy Thanksgiving! And, Christmas with Sunscreen?

Friday, November 23rd

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  I am thinking of you all and how lots of you are out shopping today. :0)  I joked with my sisters that we should go shopping this morning!

Thanksgiving was so much fun here yesterday.  We had a great, big Thanksgiving party, potluck style!  I made a pot of mashed potatoes.  The spread of food was crazy!  We had everything from fish and chicken, to fruit salad, bread rolls, and stuffing.  What an amazing meal!!!  Not only was the food great, but there were so many people eating!  I honestly was praying God would multiply the food!!! Really!  I just kept thinking, This is crazy.  This is crazy!  Ha ha ha.  The great Thanksgiving feast was followed up with a dance party and the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving movie.  Yesterday was such a great day!!! I had so much fun!!!

It is now Christmastime!!!  Ha ha ha it definitely does not feel like Christmas here - well, Christmas as I know it.  I feel like I am living in a great, long, hot summer!!!  Sunscreen, sunglasses, swimming, sitting in the shade, and eating fresh mango are part of the Christmas season here.  Different, but just as great!

Sorry this post is short and sweet.  I honestly have been having so much fun doing other things than sit on my computer!  So you're just getting a little taste for now.



Immersion: An Overnight Stay in the Village

Saturday, November 17th

Today I got back from immersion.  This is where I spent the night with a mama and her family in the village.  I really had the most wonderful time.  So we (me and three other girls) met our mama on Friday afternoon at 2PM.  Because our mama did not live really close to the base, we got a ride to her house.  It was so beautiful when we arrived.  She lived on a steep hill leading down to the ocean.  The hill was covered in houses and she lived halfway down the hill.  The hill was so steep that the roof of her house was in line with the foundation of the house above her.  And the base of her house was in line with the rooftop of the house below her.  This being said, she had the most amazing view of the ocean!

I will tell you a little bit of her story.  (We know her story because she works for Iris a few days of the week and one of the staff she works with is my group leader.)  She has two kids of her own who are now in their late teens, but while she was living with her husband one of her sisters died so she took in her two children.  The only issue was that her husband was not too happy about the kids so he told her it was either them or him, but she could have have both.  So she left, taking the kids with her.  Iris was there to help her.  They built the house we stayed in.  And just a few week ago another one of her sisters passed away so she brought her four little children to live with her.  Her family was so welcoming and wonderful.  Of course, the little kids are quick to fall in love with you while the older ones hold back a bit more.  By the end, we were good friends (even though we could not speak the same language!).

We arrived a bit after 3PM to her house and after she showed us around we took a trip to the well.  I got to carry the bucket of water on my head ... ha ha ha this was so hard.  Not only to keep the bucket on my head, but also keep the water in the bucket.  All the mamas and the villagers were watching, cheering and laughing me on.  It took me a bit of time to get back to the house but I made it.  And yes, my neck and back hurt, though thankfully once I stretched out a bit I was great!

We spent the evening relaxing in the shade of her house, visiting with her neighbors, and painting the girls' nails.  We ate an amazing meal and went to bed.  I slept with one other girl on a daybed.  It's like a wooden frame with ropes woven across it.  Though I did not sleep the most amazing I ever have, I was happy that I got quite a lot of sleep.  There was a chicken in their house but it was in the other room, as were the mice we heard running around.

Of course, one gets up with the sun, which is at 4:30 AM.  This is really not that early being that you go to bed with the sun as well.  Well, not quite with the sun for it goes down at 5:30 or 6:00 in the evening, but we go to bed a few hours later.  We took a trip in to the village market to get some bread and sugar for breakfast.  Let me tell you, they put so much sugar in their coffee and tea!  It is like drinking a cup of sugar!!!  Ha ha ha.  Again we spent the morning relaxing in the shade of her house.  I braided one of her daughters' hair, African style.  Well, there is really no other way to braid it!  I was so proud of my ability; it turned out so good!  Ha ha ha.

We taught them some worship songs in English and they taught us some songs in Makua.  We prayed with them and blessed them.  After lunch we had to go, for our ride was there to pick us up.  The Mama invited us to come to their church on Sunday, but sadly we are not.  I would love to come, and go [to their church], but it is not going to work out.  Anyways ... That was my wonderful overnighter in the village.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mozambique: My Favorite Things

Friday, November 16th

Settling In

I have found that over the past few weeks things have changed for me.  Everything is no longer new.  The people are not new, the activities are not new; the weather is not new.  I am now in the swing of things.  The normal everyday has come.  Yes, every day is still very different from the other days with different combinations of things put together.  But no new events are taking place.  Just a difference set of different combinations of normal events.  :0) Hope that makes sense.

Favorite Things: Visiting the Village 

Let me tell you some of my favorite things!  {The first is] walking in the village.  Often when I go into the villages I am with a group of people and we have a goal in mind.  Like we need to buy some stuff or we are visiting a family, et cetera ... but I just love walking through [the city] with no agenda and seeing where I end up and what I do.  Because of the rules, I cannot go out by myself (if it were not for the rules I would go out into the village by myself often), so we are always in a group of at least 3.  I just love seeing everyone and talking with the mamas and children.  The other day we were walking to the market and a mama came up with a baby and just wanted to show us.  We got to bless and pray for the baby and the mama.  Honestly, I just love that the people are so welcoming and loving.  It is like their first nature, to love.

Medical Outreach 

Last weekend I went out to the bush-bush again but this time with the medical team.  This was very different from the first time that I went.  This time, I just set up the medical tent and hung out with the doctors and the villagers who came for care.  At first I honestly felt so out of place because I don't know how to treat anyone and I can't understand what they are saying.  But as the day went on I felt more helpful.  I got to clean and bandage some wounds.  I sat and just listened to the consultations.  It was a great time.  I asked to go again on the medical trip the weekend of the 29th; hopefully I will be able to go.

The Mozambicans 

I love this place.  God' presence is here!  It really is.  Jesus is everywhere.  His love, His joy, His presence!  Where two or three are gathered He is there.  And there are hundreds of people all hungry and loving and serving God.  He totally dwells here!!! I just love, love, love it!!!


My dear sisters in my house!  I have grown to love them all!  I will miss them so much when I have to head home!  We have become such a great group of friends.  I think we are from seven different nations: US, Canada, Holland, Wales, Sweden, Norway and Malaysia.  We do so much together and have so many great times!


Rain in Mozambique

Friday, November 2nd (I think) Hahaha, like always, I have lost track of time.

Today has been soooo great!  I woke up and it was all cloudy and cool.  I was like this is so great, for it reminds me of home.  Soon it started to rain and it poured buckets of water!  Ha ha ha.  It smelled so great and the rain was crazy.  My roomies ran in the rain and then headed down to the beach to just swim being that they were already all wet.  The rain is so nice for it makes everything very clean.

I am sitting with some of the Mozambicans as I write this; they want me to be sure to tell you what a great day this is with all the rain.  It really only rained for like 20 or 30 minutes but it poured really hard.  It makes the air all clean and fresh.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Best Day in Mozambique So Far! And, a Prayer Request!

Thursday, October 25th 2012

Thursday afternoon.  I think I heard that it is the 25th, but I am not sure.

I have had such a great week so far!  Monday I went to the hospital to visit and pray with people.  One of the boys that I met here got into an accident and is now in the hospital; so I went first to visit and pray for him.  He was happy to see me, I believe, and I was very happy to see him!  I really wanted to visit him earlier but I am not allowed to leave the base unless there are three of us going.  :0(  It is probably a good rule for my safety because I know I would just leave and go on my own!

The hospital was the cleanest one that I have been to outside of the US.  Well, I have only been to two others [outside the US], so maybe it's not a great comparison - but still, I was impressed.  I greatly enjoyed my few hours there visiting and praying with people.  I honestly received much joy from being there and interacting with the patients and their friends and family.  Because I was in the post-surgery room, there were many different ages of patients in the room, though they were all male.  We prayed with a little boy about 3 or 4 all the way up to an older man.  I know I said this, but I got such joy out of just loving the people!  Next time I go in, I plan on taking some sweets.  :0)

Yesterday, Wednesday, I went into town just with a couple of my roomies and a Mozambican friend.  I know I am not so great with words and explaining things is not my gift, so I just want you to know as you read my little story of yesterday that it was one of my best, if not the best day, that I have had so far here in Mozambique.

It started out as normal as any other day, taking a trip into town to visit my friend in the hospital and get some veggies at the market, maybe a little ice cream, and just enjoy the day.

Being that I have been to the hospital earlier, I knew where it was; but our wonderful Mozambican brother took us the scenic route.  He took us all along the ride so we could see the ocean.  It was so beautiful!  He then showed us a place to buy chickens for dinner (though there are places all through the villages where you can get live chickens to eat), and took us back to the hospital.  So apparently there are visiting hours, which I did not know, so I just go walking in to see my friend.  :0)  But we were soon told to leave because it was not visiting hours.  But we got to talk with friend for about five minutes before we were shown the door.  Ha ha, it was funny.

Once we got our ice cream and cokes, we headed to the veggie market.  But when we arrived our wonderful guide said he could show us another place that was cheaper,  And of course I was up for it (though I was not buying anything, I always love going to new places).  He ended up taking us to the real Mozambican market, where the locals shop.  It was amazing!!!!!  I LOVED IT!!!!  I was in heaven, I thought!  Ha ha ha!  There were so many barakas with everything from clothes, to ice cream, to car parts, to veggies ... It was so big!!!  So many little stands.  :0)  I just walked through in amazement.  I received many marriage proposals then!  Our guide just laughed and thought it was so funny!  The word wife sounds like how they say America, so at first we just thought they were asking if we were from America so we said, "Yes, we are from America."  Ha ha ha!! I don't know how we left without being married!  Ha ha ha now that I have been there I really want to go back and honestly don't think I want to shop anyplace else.  The only problem is that I am not sure how to get back.  I know the area in which it is and I am sure I could find it by wandering around, but there are so many little pathways that we took to get there and back I know I would be lost at least for a bit.

After we were done with our shopping, we walked back to Iris base through the village (we took a bus there).  This again was so great!  Just walking through all the villages and greeting everyone.  Always hearing "Akoonya, akoonya!" said with lots of excitement.  They want you to greet them and wave, and not just the kids or the men but the women as well.  They would just laugh and smile real big when we spoke to them in their language.  I cannot say it enough:  I loved it!!!

When we got back, I told our wonderful guide that I felt like it was Christmas day, and he just gave me the best gift ever!!! It truly was a great, great day!!!!

And i just want to note that our Mozambican brother did not go to town with us as our guide.  I was talking to him right before we left and he asked to come along, and I said of course!!!  He just ended up being out amazingly wonderful guide!  Again, I said this earlier, but this truly was one of my best days here in Mozambique so far!  I greatly love getting to know the people and living with them!

This is a little side note but I originally signed up to do the ten day bush-bush outreach in December, but I am not thinking I may just live in the village with one of the families for ten days.  Anyways, you could be in prayer with me for that if you would like.

Blessings, blessings, blessings on my dear family and friends!!!


Relaxing Weekend: Ice Cream, Soccer, Akoonya!

the 'lost' files: dear friends, Esther sent me, her stateside friend-with-a-computer, these journal notes possibly in October, but I somehow did not find them until now.  My apologies for not getting them up in real time!  

Monday morning. 

I just had an amazing, relaxing weekend.  I had nothing to do so I just relaxed and did whatever.  

On Friday morning, one of my Mozambican friends took me to his family's house in the village.  It was my first time walking through the village, and good thing I had a guide for I would have been lost.  It seemed like [there was] no pattern or real pathway at all, just little walking paths through the houses and bamboo-fenced yards.  I got an invitation to come back for dinner :0)  They want to make me matapa (not sure how to spell it, but that is what it sounds like).  I believe I said this earlier but I will say it again - everyone is so nice here. Everyone greets everyone else and has big smiles.  I hear akoonya all the time, ha ha ha, it means white person. Ha ha!  :0)  I just love it.  

On Saturday I took the bus into town/the city just for something to do.  I just enjoy getting out and being among the people.  And riding the bus is very cheap, and great fun!  Like always, the motto is, "One more can always fit!"  Ha ha, it's great!  Our Mozambican guide took us to get some ice cream!  It was so so so so good!!!!! For only 5 mets which is like $0.25.  I told him I could eat a big bowl of it and he was like, "What??"  He thought it was strange that in America we eat bowls of ice cream, not just a little cup of it.  

Also on weekends there are many games of soccer and basketball played.  They have great fun when it is the Mozambican pastors against the Harvest School boys!  The games are so fun to watch!  Ha ha ha everyone is so excited when their team gets a score.  Us akoonyas have yet to win, though this last game we tied 6-6.  So you can understand just how great this last game went.  

After the service yesterday (Sunday), my roomies and I just hing out in the shade talking and singing some songs with our Mozambican brothers.  I have said this before and will say it again, it was a great time!!!  Honestly, I have been enjoying it very much here and I don't like thinking about when I will be getting on the plane to head home so I try not to. :0(  But I know that God's plans are best so I will follow where He leads.  

Once the heat of the day passed, we took a walk down the beach and stopped for some ice cream at the Dolphin and got some bananas for chocolate-banana pancakes.  

The week always seems very full and busy so having weekends where it is open to do whatever is so wonderful.  I am writing this before class and once I head to class, my day is going to be very full and will pass by very quickly.  

Blessings until next time!