September 29, 2009

In Honor of Fall in New Hampshire

I am a New England girl, from New Hampshire to be precise. And right about now I am missing it greatly. Fall is my favorite time of the year for so many reasons:

  • Apple Picking

  • Smell of Woodstoves Burning

  • The Deerfield Fair

  • Cool, crisp, Sweater Wearing Days

  • Hayrides

  • Pumpkin Patches

  • Gorgeous Leaves Displaying Brilliant Reds, Oranges, and Yellows

Although, I am far from Fall and actually entering a HOT summer soon I decided to honor my roots. Today, because I was missing home and the idea of visiting the Deerfield Fair and because it was a rainy, cool day I made Potato Soup Bread Bowls. Yummy!

I guess the important thing to remember is although we have sights, smells and people that remind us of home this earth is not our true home. Heaven IS. I can't imagine what type of sensory overload I will experience when I get to Heaven all I know is that I long for it, my true home much more than my earthly one. Can't wait, can you?

A Great Book!

I never was a reader before I moved to Africa but now I love to read a good book. Maybe it is because here I have time for it or maybe because I don't have as many distractions calling for my attention but regardless I enjoy it like I never thought I would. Through out my school days I hated reading. In high school I only read through ONE book and it wasn't even for school. Even in Bible School I didn't read as much as I should have...sshh, don't tell anyone. Now though, I love to read a good book and I just finished one that I would highly recommend. My in-laws left it when they visited in July for me to open on my birthday. It is called "Same Kind of Different As Me", by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. It is a true, fascinating, inspiring story. You should check it out and even if you don't like to read maybe this book will change your mind.

September 27, 2009

She's a "BEAUTY"!

Our friends were needing a new home for a girl German Shepherd puppy named Beauty so today we added her to our family.We have been thinking about getting another dog since our girl dog died last month, our male pup Bowser is lonesome and we could use another one for security. Beauty seems to be the perfect addition since she is mellow, good with kids, not a brand new puppy but not too old and set in her ways, oh and she happens to be Micah's favorite kind of dog, a German Shepherd. Today we introduced her to Bowser, our male pup and immediately they have become friends. So far we're not having any problems with them getting along. We will see what tomorrow brings but for now it looks like she fits in great.

September 26, 2009

A Day At The Beach

Today we took the boys to the beach. It takes us about 2 1/2 hours drive one-way to get to Beira which is the coastal city. We needed to take some friends to pick up there car they were buying so we decided to make a day of it and let the boys enjoy the Indian Ocean. We accessed the beach through a place called Club Nautica which is a restaurant literally on the edge of the beach.

It was a fantastic day in so many ways. Let's see I could talk about:
  • a safe, relatively non-bumpy car ride ( so we hit a few potholes but they are hard to avoid when they nearly cover the entire road)
  • the great food at the club restaurant(best we have ever eaten in Moz)
  • the view of the ocean and the fishing boats (so peaceful and relaxing-just what we needed)
  • watching our boys enjoy themselves doing something very familiar-playing in the sand and the waves (after all they are kind of Florida beach boys)
  • the neat treasures the boys found (sand dollars that will be bleached and turned into Christmas ornaments)
  • the service at the restaurant (it was pretty quick and non-confusing and they even had what we all ordered which is not the ordinary here)
  • the sunburns the boys now have (thank goodness the local market sells aloe vera lotion)
But I think I will talk about the BATHROOM. Yep, you heard me I said the bathroom and although I know to you that may seem strange to me it is something to celebrate because they had a GREAT bathroom. You may ask what makes a great bathroom, ok maybe you aren't asking that but I am going to tell you anyway what I think makes a great bathroom.
  1. A toilet seat and to top it off it was even attached
  2. Running water to flush with AND in the sink to wash your hands
  3. Toilet paper
  4. Unsoiled floors
  5. Pleasant smelling
  6. Soap to use to wash your hands
  7. A working light
What a delightful experience and by far the best bathroom I have EVER used in Mozambique and lets just say I have some stories behind that one.

I thought I would share some photos of our day with you and NO I did not get a photo of the bathroom. Sorry I should have been on the ball and documented it. Hope you enjoy!

September 24, 2009

Teaching in Nhamatanda

Last weekend Marc spent Saturday in a small village called Nhamatanda about 70 km's from our home here in Chimoio. He was a speaker at a church conference. He spoke about growth and how to grow in the Lord. It is so neat to hear how God gave him the confidence and insight to share with the local Pastor's about growth referencing them growing a mashamba (fields of food crops). Being that he is not a big agricultural man we know the Lord led him and helped him to minister to the local men in a very relevant way. What a blessing! He had a great time (although he did complain of a sore bottom after sitting on bamboo poles for 8 hours). He took a couple of photos for you to enjoy!

Peanut Butter Heaven

Our family loves peanut butter and it's a good thing since it is readily available and sometimes it is our protein for the day since meat is so expensive here.
  • For Marc it's peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
  • For the boys it's a peanut butter & strawberry jam sandwich anytime.
  • For me it's the combo of peanut butter and chocolate together.
So the other day the financial administrator of our sending mission, Commission to Every Nation in Texas, said she heard from another staff member that I love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and was missing them greatly. So she emailed me a recipe that she used for her son when he was stationed in Japan and missing them. (See the delicious photo above.) They were wonderful and about as close as you could get without the orange outer wrapper that says Reese's.

Thank you JOANNE! And ANGIE thank you for mentioning it to Joanne.

Let's just say that it is so great to come from a mission that understands what missionaries truly "need" in more ways than one. I think I need to go freeze half the pan before we eat them all tonight and make ourselves sick from the sugar high. Yum, yum, yum!

September 22, 2009

Eva's Weeping

Last week I posted about a lady named Eva that showed up at our house looking for help to get to the hospital where her ill son had been taken. We were able to help her with the transport money to get there and honestly didn't think we would ever see her again. We were shocked Sunday night when she showed up at our gate wanting to see us. Sadly, she had come to let us know that her child had died. As she stood weeping we really had no profound words of comfort or dramatic answer to offer for her suffering. We were so sad for her and can't even imagine her pain as this is the third child she has lost. All we could do was be with her and weep with her.

We prayed for her and her remaining children (2), tried to comfort her, encouraged her the best we could, gave her transport money to get home, a plate of rice and beans since her and her baby had not eaten that day, and a blanket for her to take with her to the bus stop where she would spend the night waiting to go home in the early morning. It is difficult to express how heart wrenching it is to see this type of suffering day in and day out. It is a constant thing here in Mozambique and our prayer is that we would not become immune to it from seeing it so much. Our only true comfort is in knowing that God is present in the midst of it all and he has restoration and healing for those that weep and suffer such great losses. We pray Eva and the many others that suffer such heartbreak would come to know God in a personal way and that He would be given opportunity in thier lives to restore hope and heal hearts. Will you please join us in this prayer?

September 17, 2009

To Infinity and Beyond

The boys have been studying planets, space exploration etc. for science in home schooling this week. We brought a model with us from the USA (thanks to our friend Wanda that always gives the boys awesome gifts) that the boys have been dying to break into. It was a really cool model to put together and the boys thoroughly enjoyed it (although we have been toting it around for so long the glow in the dark glue had dried up). To top off this weeks learning their dad decided to show them an amazing video by Louis Gigglio about the universe and God's amazing design. Now of course being that we do live in Mozambique and although we are extremely grateful that we have internet connection at home it was an all day event to download the short video. He had to do it in sections (download for 1 1/2 hours and watch for 5 minutes, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat) until it was finished. The boys loved it and afterwards at the supper table Nate shared how his imagination interpreted it all. He said I imagine that Jesus is laying in His bed and on His night stand is our galaxy and he can reach out and touch it easily and then on his ceiling are all the other galaxies glowing in the dark. Not sure what to say except he has a good imagination and although his concepts of God don't always make complete sense to me I do not have any doubt that He has a powerful connection and image of His heavenly Father.

Somedays are Long

Today has been a LONG day. Nothing spectacular happened just one of those days when all of the little aggravations of living here and the bureacracy of living in a corrupt third world country was getting on my nerves. The never ending paperwork and unwritten rules and cultural expectations at times become to much. Yes, I know I am called to live here and that God has placed this people and this country in my heart but I am human and get frustrated. I went to my good friend Jenn's house today for coffee and a sanity break. She is also an American missionary, has two boys and is married to a Brazilian so we have a lot in common:) We were laughing and trying not to cry at the frustrations we encounter here that are so hard to share and communicate to someone that does not live here. For example; why is it not easy to just help a national because we want to help them without there being power struggles, ungratefulness and jealousy. AHHH, it is these days though that although I am extremely frustrated and honestly at times think "I can't do this," that the Lord reminds me that I can but only through His strength and that I am going to because He's called me. Thank you Lord that you always gently remind me that your strength is made perfect in my weakness, hallelujah!

September 15, 2009

Helping Eva

This afternoon a lady came to our gate needing help. She was carrying her baby on her back and hauling a small plastic bag with a few clothes and a burlap sack with something else in it. She shared with us that she is from Catandica (about 2 hours away) and was trying to get to Beira (3 hours from here in the opposite direction on the coast to be with her 7 year old son that was transferred to the hospital there yesterday. It was obvious that she was very poor and troubled that her child was sick. She said she has other 2 other children that she left in Catandica because they couldn't come with her and that she needed to be with her son because she is very worried about him. Last she saw him he was having trouble breathing. We asked her if she has a church where she is from and she told us she had to be honest "she doesn't pray anywhere," which means no. Then she said "maybe God brought me to you, I don't know." We shared with her that God loves her and her son and asked if we could pray for her and her children. As we prayed we asked God to bless her, heal her child, give her peace, provide all of her needs and for her to sense how much He loves her and her children and that we know He brought her to us today and that it wasn't an accident. We shared with her that we were helping her because of God's love. She gladly received the prayers and was so thankful. We gave her some bread and water for her journey and the money necessary to make it to Beira on the local chapa (minivan taxi). Of course, once she walked away our hearts were moved and although we will probably never know how it all turns out we can trust that God has her and her children in the palm of His hands.

September 14, 2009


This is our dog Bowser. You may remember a few weeks ago our other puppy Fiona died. What a fiasco. Marc had to have a set of rabies shots after her death because her symptoms resembled rabies and they were not sure or able to tell us what she died from. So $120 later he has had his shots and is apparently rabies free. And so is our other dog Bowser. Since Fiona died he has not been sick even for a day other than heartsick and lonesome. For the first few days he would her the dogs next door on the other side of the wall and houl and cry because he was missing Fiona. Now he is doing better and loving all the attention. I have to say we have gotten quite attached to him and are enjoying showering him with attention. He is a strange dog. Nate says to me the other day, "Mom, I think Bowser is a vegetarian." Why?? He eats lettuce and carrots from our garden. I don't think he's quite a vegetarian though since he loves to chow down his dog food and meat bones just as rapidly. I would say he is definitely a Mozambican dog though since he has his daily portion of sudza (the local staple food similiar to corn meal porridge). Tonight I was greeted by a lovely big frog on our front porch. Bowser took quick notice and then I took quick action to try to distract him and keep him away from Mr. Toad since it is a poisonious variety that doesn't kill dogs but does make them sick and foam at the mouth which isn't very enjoyable or attractive.

We love you Bowser and hope you stay with us for a very long time.

Mudzingadze Church

Yesterday we visited a nearby church. It is in an area called Mudzingadze which is technically in our city of Chimoio but an area or village within the city. I think because it was in town I was kind of expecting more of a city church but it turned out that it is on the outskirts of town and is more of a bush/village church. It was a simple block building with a tin roof and one light bulb. Outside was a small mud and thatch building that they use for Sunday school. Also on the property were two latrines. The church is located in a village surrounded by homes.

It was a traditional Mozambican service. By that I mean there was lots of LOUD dancing, singing, clapping, feet stomping, and drums during the worship time. I was both amused and amazed at a little girl who couldn't have been more than 4 years old that did an awesome job of keeping in rhythm and step with the older women as they danced. There were probably about 60 people in this little building which makes it a little warm but I was just thankful it was not yet the HOT season. There were people of all ages predominately children and women but some young men and older men as well. We have been told that there were not many children there that day (about 30) because some Sunday's there are about 100. I'm just not sure where they put them all when they all show up. The children were enthralled and curious about our boys as they had not really ever seen white children before. But hey at least they didn't run away crying which has happened before because they are so scared. The pastor preached a good message in Portuguese that was translated into Shona, the local dialect. It was good to hear a solid, biblical message as many of the churches here do not necessarily teach that way. Praise the Lord that this church seems to be thriving and reaching out into the community with the Gospel.

Trying to upload some pictures but our computer keeps crashing! I'll keep trying.

We look forward to visiting again soon sometime.

September 12, 2009

Lived Here Long Enough

As of today we have officially been back in Mozambique 7 months! I thought it would be fun to share some of the ways I can tell I have lived here long enough. Long enough for me to be a little changed, long enough for my choices to be a little different and long enough to start to feel like this is home.

You have lived in Mozambique long enough if:
-You make your own brown sugar from white sugar and maple flavoring.
-You get bored on long, smooth stretches of roadway because you're not dodging pot holes.
-You hide away and save a bag of M&M's your friends send from the states and then when you finally pull them out to bake with decide it is too extravagant to use a whole bag like the cookie recipe calls for because you would rather be able to do this again sometime, in a few more months of course.
- You don't crack your eggs directly into a bowl with other ingredients but in a separate container because you're not quite sure what you might find or how long that egg has been sitting around.
-You are not worried about being punctual anymore because even when you are late your always one of the first to arrive somewhere.
- You can't remember what kind of containers juice or soda comes in back in the US anymore.
- You can't imagine why you always used your dryer even on warm, sunny days.
- You think you actually would much rather go to the open air fresh fruit and veggie market than take your chances of old stuff at a Walmart.
- You don't think it is odd to be in a room where there are at least two languages being spoken at all times.
- You discover you are quite a good from scratch baker which you never knew before with all quick mixes.
- You are saddened by the lost art of written letters that you now notice because you hardly ever get any (hint, hint).
- You don't think it is odd to have to visit 3-4 different shops to buy your groceries.
- You can't imagine enjoying prepackaged sliced loaf bread after eating fresh out of the oven bread just about everyday.
- You are thinking "Yep, we've been here long enough it's time to treat our family for worms."

Is Anyone Reading This?

Just a question? Is anyone reading this blog? It seems I never have comments on here so I was wondering today if anyone reads it or not. Not that it really will change anything because for me this is kind of a therapy to process my life here and all that goes on that some days seems so foreign yet strangely familiar. So I will continue to write but I just wondered who I am writing to?

September 11, 2009

Driving in Moz

To me there are three things a person must have to drive:
A Car

Driving in Mozambique is no different. Oh wait a minute it is VERY different.

First, you have to have a vehicle and lets just say we are grateful that we now have one. Last month we were able to purchase (ok we still owe some) a Nissan Terrano which is the equivalent of a Pathfinder. It is a 1996 but new to us and we are loving it. It is great to have a 4x4 to get around in. So far, I say that because it doesn't take a long time for inevitable things to "happen" to your vehicle here because the roads are so rough and there are so many invariables, we have only had one problem. That happened one day coming back from another missionary's about 45 minutes away when we were driving along at a good rate of speed and an oxen that was nearly across the road decided to change directions rather dramatically and his horn smashed our side mirror. Thankful it wasn't worse and of course we have done the missionary thing and fixed it by getting a new mirror cut at the market and Marc has glued, sticky tacked and taped it in. What are you going to do when you don't have Auto Place down the road??

Second, you have to have ability. Now here that is not just any normal driving down the road to Walmart ability. We are talking about ability to dart any imaginable thing (potholes, people, carts, goats, bicycles, firewood, etc) that may enter the road way at any time. My least favorite time to drive is at dawn or dusk as there is literally hundreds of people on their way to work/school/mashamba (garden). It takes some practice and some supernatural confidence and alertness to be safe on the road that is for sure.

Third, is you have to have fuel. Now of course you need money and fuel. We have the money but it isn't always as easy to find the fuel. The last couple of months Mozambique has been going through a fuel shortage. Who knows exactly why. First they said the Fuel tanker for our province got stuck in the port and couldn't be unloaded but that was resolved a long time ago and there are still shortages. There are also rumors that pump owners are making it difficult to make more money since it's an election year and rumors are that the government is controlling the prices so they still appeal to the local people. I don't know what the problem is but I know part of life around here is waiting in long lines to get fuel. So far we have been blessed that it seems God favor always goes before us and we "happen" to drive in at a good time.

So, for all the difficulties there are in driving here I am still grateful that we have something to drive, that we have not had any major accidents or mechanical road induced mishaps and that we have not had to go without fuel to date. Actually, sometimes I even forget how different the driving experience is here until I hit a huge pothole, have to slam on my brakes because a goat has entered the roadway or just nearly miss a push cart. Oh the joys of African living:)

September 5, 2009

Casa Msika-Chicamba Dam

My husband has been asking me what I would like for my birthday which is next week. There really is nothing to buy that I want or need here so after spending a little time thinking about it I decided I would like our family to go away somewhere together for the day. We decided to visit a place called Casa Msika that is located about 45 minutes from our house towards the Zimbabwe border at Lake Chicamba. It is a simple place and the road to get there is a simple dirt track. It was so peaceful and great to sit and take in the beauty that God had created all around us. It is a weird place in the sense that two different worlds and cultures seem to collide in that very spot. The surroundings are the Mozambican bush and coming in the road you drive by mud huts etc. But once inside you are confronted with the Western world. It is a place that white Zimbabwean's like to use as a recreational hangout for fishing, camping etc. It felt odd sitting there and not hardly remembering you are in Mozambique anymore. There was a small swimming pool which the boys LOVED and a restuarant where we had lunch (chicken and chips aka french fries). All in all it was a wonderful day just watching the boys have a great time together, sitting and chatting with my hubby and staring out at God's beautiful creative design. Hope you enjoy the photos!

September 4, 2009

Precious Daughters

My heart has been stirred lately for the young girls of this land. They do not know they are loved as daughters of the King. They do not feel or sense His protection, His passion for them, His desire to care for them, His great plans for them. How do you make them know and see how valuable they are to Jesus. How do you break the curse of generations in this society that have abused, forsaken, neglected and devalued girls. Most often they are; undereducated, physically and sexually abused, undernourished, sold as girl brides, very young mothers, and the one that does the majority of physical labor (the field work, collecting firewood, collecting water, caring for the children, doing the laundry, cooking, etc.) The Lord has inspired me to reach out to these young ones that are His daughters. My plan is that by next week I will be done writing a short Bible study that can be done with the young girls to help them see, feel and understand that they are loved beyond measure, considered important, and a daughter of the King of Kings. I would appreciate your prayers as I endeavor to share the study for the first time in the coming weeks with two little girls (both age 9) at a nearby orphanage.

The Sweet Things in Life

My family loves strawberries. We love them fresh, as jam, on shortcake, in fruit salad, on cheesecake, pretty much however you would want to serve them. So today I was excited when a friend of ours from across town called and said "the strawberry man is at my door do you want some?" We can't buy them at the only grocery store in town but there is a local man that has decided our friends house is a good place to sell strawberries so every once in a while he stops by to see if she is interested. It's actually pretty amusing because the news about the strawberries spreads like a wildfire to the missionaries in town and only those that are quick to respond get to enjoy the reward of their speediness. Today, I was a lucky one and scored 4 kgs of strawberries. We will eat some for dessert, freeze most for later and most importantly have strawberries on a cheesecake mix that I have been hiding since my mother-in-law brought it in July to have as my birthday cake on Tuesday. So although, we definitely can't get everything we can in the USA we do get a chance sometimes to get special, sweet treats we just have a different way of going about getting them than driving to the local superstore.