August 29, 2009

A New Look

Well, I wanted to report on the exciting thing happening around our house lately. When we moved into our rental house in March it badly needed to be painted. The last occupant did some VERY funny things. The living room was bright yellow. I like yellow, maybe not banana bright yellow but to make it worse he never finished a room. So the last foot or so towards the ceiling was not painted and no it was not in a straight line either. So needless to say we have needed to paint since we moved in and finally we are managing to get it done. Well at least the living room/dining room area and the hallway. The whole house needs to be painted but we are not quite that ambitious yet. The landlord will allow us to deduct the cost of the paint but not the labor so Marc and a couple of his Mozambican friends, Alberto and Agusto have been helping him on Saturdays. Just wanted to give you an idea of how far we have come. It's looking nice thanks to all the guys hard work.

August 23, 2009

Ahh...The Sounds and Smells of Home

The more time we spend living here in Mozambique the more appreciation I seem to have for the smells and sounds all around me. It doesn't mean they are all pleasant but they are all representative of home and therefore comforting. Recently, I have taken notice of just a few I want to mention. Mango blossoms-by our clothesline in the backyard is a tree in full bloom and there is nothing much sweeter than the smell of mango blossoms while hanging out your laundry. Birds chirping-I know you can have these everywhere in the world but there is something peaceful about waking up to a chorus of them singing outside your window. Dust-it may seem strange because it's not that I enjoy dust because I actually loathe it some days since it seems to be that there is a never ending need to dust and sweep because of all the dirt roads, etc. But the earthy, moist smell has become familiar and therefore part of home. Repetitive Music Blaring-It seems that the music that can be heard blasting from local stereos is a constant thunder and repetitive and usually at the most inconvenient time of day-like 2 am. African sweat-I know this does not appeal to some and I never thought I would get used to it but I have. The smell of body odor of those that do not use deodorant is VERY familiar here. Fresh Baked Bread-Now this has to be one of my favorite. There is no Wonder Bread here and I am thankful. At first it seemed like a hassle to have bread mold on the third day or become hard as a rock. But now nearly everyday we go to the local store and buy fresh baked bread. You can start salivating for it before it ever meets your mouth. Yum I love it! Well, like I said these are just a few of the smells and sounds that are becoming familiar in our new home. Funny thing is I don't remember not really having them all around me before, kind of like they have always been there. Like home.

August 19, 2009

Raggedy Man

Today as we were going into town we went past a raggedy man. I call him this because I don't know his name or what else to call him really. He is not the only one in town. There are many. He was obviously mentally not all present. He staggered down the street. His clothes were literally rags falling off of him. Here in Moz. I find myself learning to not make eye contact. It is disturbing to me yet it is becoming part of life. I'm just not sure that I like it. Culturally when you make eye contact with those on the street wanting to sell things or beg you have invited them to come to you. And once you have "invited" them they will not leave you alone until you leave that area. I think like many when I come across a raggedy man I am tempted to not make eye contact, to look away or even ignore that person. Maybe even pretend I am not seeing what I am seeing or that he exists. But today, as I was tempted to do that, I clearly felt the Lord telling me to look into his eyes as he passed by me. My heart was overwhelmed. I do not know his story or how he ended up living on the street and becoming a raggedy man. But God, in that moment poured out His love for that man, His son, into my heart and I found myself filled with compassion. He kept walking past me and continued on his way but I sensed God's profound love for him and prayed for him. My heart was touched by him and by how much God loves him. My prayer is that I would not dismiss any of God's children but value them and love them like He does.

August 15, 2009

The Wedding

Well, I have just returned from spending 7 hours attending a Mozambican wedding. We were invited because we have known Manuel (the groom) since he was a kid at an orphanage that we worked at back in 1997.He is now 23. His new wife, Laurinda, is someone he met at church. She is 19 years old and comes from a bush area a couple of hours from here. It was quite the cultural learning experience. Quite different yet still quite the same. For now here are some photos for you to enjoy. (Interesting difference: It is difficult to get photos of them smiling because culturally they are supposed to be sad because they are leaving their families.)

August 14, 2009

Goodbye Fiona

Our girl puppy named Fiona died this morning. She had been sick for one week and we are not quite sure what she died from exactly. It has been a long week of trying to get help for her, trying to get the "vet" to help her but in the end it didn't work. Last night was a long night as she was suffering, crying and moaning and convulsing most of the night. The "vet" refused to put her down yesterday. It was difficult because although we have had pets die before we have never had to watch them die. Praise the Lord this mostly happened through the night so the boys did not have to see it. This morning just when Marc was thinking he was going to have to do something to put her out of her misery she took her final breath. Goodbye Fiona, we will miss you. You were a good puppy always looking for a tummy rub and eager to greet us. It's been a long day and although we are sad we are glad she is no longer suffering.

The Wedding Cake is Done

So here is my first wedding cake. I don't love it but it will do its purpose of feeding nearly 200 people tomorrow. It took me three days this week to make it. Two days to bake the different layers and then today to build it, frost it and decorate it. I am always so awed by God's perfect timing. We have a bread store in town that we usually buy our bread at called La Plaza. They carry a few other grocery items as well. But the other day when I went in guess what I found sitting in a little piece of styrofoam on the bakery counter. Roses made out of frosting for cake decorating. Are you kidding me? The were the equivalent of $1 each so I bought 4 to use as the main decoration on the wedding cake. Thank you Lord. I have never seen these anywhere before and probably will not see them ever again in town but I am thankful that He provided just what I needed. Tomorrow is going to be an interesting cultural learning day. It will likely be pretty long too as most events here usually are that way. I hope to get some great photos and share them with you at a later time so you to can see what a Mozambican wedding is like.

August 11, 2009

Our Agua

I thought it might be interesting to show you how we get our water. We rent a house in town but we do not get water from the city nor do any of our neighbors. We have to buy our water privately. Marc calls a delivery man who promises he will come in a few hours (we have learned that sometimes means the next day) to deliver water. Before coming the delivery man pumps his truck full of water from a "well" somewhere on the other side of town from what we have been told. Then he pulls in our yard with his truck and opens our cement tank that is in the ground and attaches a hose to his truck and turns on the water until it is emptied into our tank. We then have a switch in the house to pump the water up to tanks above the house and the water flows into the house from there. We pump every couple of days depending on how much laundry I am doing. I am so grateful for water that runs into the house. And we even have a hot water heater in the bathroom so we have warm showers. I still heat water in a kettle in the kitchen for washing dishes but hey I am not complaining because many a times we have not had running water and only the famous "bucket bath."

August 8, 2009

Wedding Cake Gitters

So I am supposed to make a wedding cake for next Saturday. I am getting nervous as I have never made one before. The man getting married, Manuel, was one of our orphans at Maforga Mission. We spent our one year internship there, back in 1997, about 20 minutes down the road from where we live now. The wedding will be a true "Mozambican" experience and I am just praying that the cake I make will fit well into the wedding and be enjoyed by everyone. The baking part is not a concern as I can bake without much trouble. Of course, it is going to take me several days as I have a "normal" oven for here but according to US standards it is very small and only has one rack and has no thermostat just a high and low setting so it's kind of a guessing game on the temperature. But the part that really make me nervous is decorating it. I have had a few discussions with the groom and the bride and others to try to determine what is normal but no one seems to be able to tell me what is acceptable or normal. I am going to try and keep it simple which shouldn't be hard since I don't know many techniques. We will see how it all turns out but I would appreciate everyone's prayers. Who knew part of being a missionary was being a baker.

August 6, 2009

Daily Manna

I have always struggled with having consistent daily devotion times with the Lord. Last week at the international church there was a message shared and just a small intro part to the message has stuck with me and been on my heart ever since. The speaker was referring to our daily quiet time with the Lord as His time to give us our daily manna. Like in the Bible when the Israelites received manna is was only for that day and they were not to try to make it stretch or last longer than the need of that day. The speaker made the comparison to our need for our daily bread and how He will speak to us each day the word we need for that day. We shouldn't go 2, 5, 10 days on that one word. His word is to be new and fresh and relevant to our need for each new day. Humm....this makes me excited and causes me to look with expectation to what word is the Lord going to give me for today that will be needed and powerful and relevant to my current need. Now I find myself longing for the daily manna from the Lord and meeting with him daily expecting Him to speak.

August 4, 2009

I'm in LOVE

I am in love with my washing machine. I know it sounds odd. But everytime I do a load of laundry in my washing machine I recall how many loads I have done by hand in a bucket and thank Jesus. For those of you that have done laundry in a bucket you know this causes you to be VERY grateful for a machine. I hang all my laundry on our clothesline because we do not own a dryer. I know in a lot of places in the world hanging your laundry out to dry is a lost art because people don't like the inconvenience or the time it takes but to me it is wonderful. It causes me to look back and remember the days without the washing machine and thank the Lord instead of regretting that I don't have a dryer. Many things in our life should cause us to reflect on how good we really have it because we can remember a time in the past that was more difficult or challenging. I want to remain thankful so even when rainy season comes and nothing will dry on the line and laundry is hung all around my house with the fans blowing everywhere I hope to still be walking in an attitude of gratefulness.

August 1, 2009

Nate's Baptism

On Friday morning, before Grandma and Grandpa left from the airport to fly back to the USA we were all able to witness Nate take a huge step in his faith. He asked Grandpa if he would please baptize him in the Indian Ocean before he left. What a blessing to see your youngest child confess his faith in an outward way and how special to have his grandfather be able to baptize him. Nate and Micah make the seventh generation of believers for the Pavkov family. We are so grateful for that amazing heritage!