January 28, 2010

Zimbabwe Mess

I don't often speak about Zimbabwe and the difficulties going on still in that country. In some ways life is now continuing as "normal" because they are operating using foreign currency (the US Dollar and the South African Rand). But today I received an email that stood as a not so pleasant reminder that many are still suffering in Zimbabwe. This is from a special, Christian lady that I met several months ago while she was here visiting in Mozambique. Please pray for her and her husband and their situation of having to completely start their lives over after having their land seized.

"Dear Friends,

This email is to inform you that we have been chased off our farm on the 6th of January, 2010.

My husband was beaten over the head and I was hit in the face and kicked in the stomach and my right ring finger was badly injured .

With the help of the embassy, we managed to pack some clothes - everything else is still in the house and all our cars, motorbikes, tractors, livelihood,etc is still on the farm. We are temporally staying with friends until we can decide what to do.

Please inform all our others friends."

May God in His mercy intervene for all those that trust in Him.

January 27, 2010

Creative Minds

One of the things I love about my boys is that they can easily entertain themselves. They have always been able to do that but as they get older it is fun to see the things they come up with to keep themselves entertained. We are not a household that has banned TV or video games, although I have thought about it from time to time but we have always been pretty restrictive about how much they can do those things. Since they were little we pushed them to be creative and come up with things to do on their own which comes in very handy when you live on the mission field. Today, I had a great time "watching" my boys come up with activities to keep them busy.

#1 They decided to make "Sun Tea" in my tea pot outside on a charcoal burner and an old piece of metal that the guards use for keeping warm at night. Now there was no fire involved, remember it was "SUN tea" but they thought the metal would act as a solar power object. Well it worked. I guess I should say it seemed to work since I didn't actually get asked to try the tea. That was left to Dad and Manuel, our Mozambican friend. But even if it wasn't good they did a good job of faking it which made the boys day.

#2 They played monopoly all afternoon. We did not bring Monopoly with us from the US but a friend of ours recently gave us the South African version. I am glad they did since at the local grocery store it costs $60 USD for the game. I don't think so. The boys played all afternoon even though they told me "this is good for your math skills," with a look of sheer surprise on their faces. I guess they had a hard time believing they could love something that involved learning at the same time. Oh my!

#3 They set the table for me for dinner. Now this happens a lot, nearly every night but tonight we were having a guest for dinner. The boys had a conference about it and decided just how they wanted the table and asked me to let them do it how they wanted. So I did. I really didn't care as long as we were able to eat when it was all over. So the boys set out about every dish we own, measuring where things should be with a ruler. They picked some mint and put it along with a seashell on each napkin. And to top it all off they picked some lemons and sliced them up and displayed them beautifully on a plate so we could add them to our drinks. I have to say I was impressed when I wasn't giggling.

I love my funny, creative, imaginative, resourceful, inspired boys.

Cultural Frustration

Today has been one of those days that as a missionary I don't love to record but somehow find myself laughing at otherwise I may just go insane. You know before coming to the mission field you do your best to read all about the adjustments you will have to make moving into another culture. In all that reading so often I would see the phrases "Culture shock" and even "Culture stress" but today I want to add another one to the books and call it "Culture frustration" because somethings just don't make sense and never really will.

Frustration #1 Electricty
I am used to the fluctuating electricty supply here in Mozambique and that in itself is not enough to get me frustrated even when I am in the middle of baking something and the oven shuts off or I am sweating like crazy because it's hot and the fan disappears. Today though brought a new adventure with the electricty. Actually it starts yesterday when the local electricity workers decided to come to our rental house and install a new electricity meter. It is a pre-pay type of meter where you have to go stand in line and buy credit, receive a code and then come home and punch in the numbers for the credit to go onto your meter so you can have access to electricity. So yesterday it went in with a freebie of 5 credits (which I can now tell you doesn't even last one day) and by evening time we knew something was wrong. First Marc went to the office down town to get credit so we wouldn't be without power but they said our account was not activated yet and the only thing we could do was come back tomorrow and try. I love that answer....ok, not really. So Marc came home, we shut off all the lights and continued with the remainder of the evening by candlelight so we could try to conserve the couple of credit we had left to get us through the night with a fan since it was 90 degrees in the house. It worked because the credit ran out at 5:45 am this morning after a decent nights sleep with the fan. Anyway, this morning Marc was off to the electric company again to see if our account had been "activated" yet. Nope it sure hadn't he was told. Marc asked to speak to whoever he needed to so it could be activated but they said sorry you can't go upstairs to see them because you are wearing shorts. Huh? Apparently it is disrespectful to see the people in that part of the office in shorts instead of long pants...ok whatever you say. Anyway, to keep the story short my brilliant husband managed to get an employee to take it upstairs for him and after being passed along through several different people came to find out that the system isn't working. Their solution-they will send the same guys out that came yesterday and have them take out the new system and put back in the old regular meter. Hey, I don't care how they did it but we have power tonight.

#2 Tribal Thinking
The second frustration of the day came when our friend and worker Manuel showed up at our gate only a few minutes after leaving to go home for the day. He stepped into our house and immediately burst into tears. I have never seen Manuel cry. He has been through the war, grew up as an orphan, gone hungry, and had many family members die and I have never seen him cry. He explained to us that the husband of the women that helps me in the house a couple times a week had just confronted him and accused him of saying "Good morning" to his wife. Culturally we know that means he is accusing him of trying to get her attention and steal her. The whole thing is frustrating because first of all it is not true and the only time he talks to her is when we are asking him to translate something from Portuguese into dialect so she can better understand a situation and mostly because Manuel is newly married and a Christian and these accusations are hurtful to him. There is not much to say except culturally this husband believes he owns his wife and he is allowing his own paranoia to blind him. It is frustrating for us because in order to avoid a cultural catastrophe we will now need to fire her and find someone new to fill her positon. She likes working for us. She has no children and I believe having a job to bring in a little income was helping her to feel valuable. Pardon me for being so blunt but perhaps that was the problem-she was feeling like she is a person, that has skills and abilities and that was a bit too threatening for her husband. Women being treated as objects, slaves and property of their husbands for sure is one of my biggest cultural frustrations.

Anyway, I would ask that you pray for us as we go day to day and deal with these CULTURAL FRUSTRATIONS. They sure can be frustrating...

January 26, 2010

January Pavkov Praise Update

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! We pray that it has started off well for each of you. We have been enjoying it and can't believe that the month of January is nearly over. Here's a quick update of what we have been up to lately. We would love to hear from about how your family has been lately as well.

Orphan and Widow Visits: We have enjoyed going out to the local village recently to make visits to widows and the orphans they are parenting. Most of them are very old grandmothers caring for their young orphaned grandchildren. It is humbling to see how these women live in such destitute conditions. Very small, dark, dusty mud or cement houses with grass or tin roofs. They are doing their best but often struggle with the basics like finding enough food, clean water, clothes to wear, staying healthy, or funds for schooling. We are prayerful about how we can help them. Our goal is also to help the churches recognize and work to meet their needs. We would appreciate your prayers as we visit, encourage and minister to these dear ladies and children.

Hungry Season Quickly Approaching: Unfortunately, Mozambique has not received the normal rains that usually saturate the land in December and January. We have yet to have a real rain storm therefore the crops are withering and the people are fearful that they will starve this year. It is not a unlikely scenario. Nearly every year there is a gap time when the crops have run out and the people suffer for a short period of time because they never seem to plant enough. But that is not what we are talking about this year. We are talking about a complete lack of harvest because the maize planted back in November has withered and likely died by now. Most of Mozambique depends on the crop of maize (corn) as it provides the staple of their diet and without it there will be suffering from hunger, malnutrition and starvation. Even those that have access to money will have a difficult time affording the inflated costs of foods in the next few months to come. We would like to ask that you pray with us for the rain to come soon and that the crops already planted will not have been done so in vain. As a preventative measure, we have pre-bought 1,100 pounds of ground maize while it is still reasonably priced. Our goal is to make it available for our guards and their families to buy it at cost or below depending on the situation when it's needed in the coming months. As well, we have purchased a portion for us to give away to the orphans and widows we minister to in the local village who will surely be the ones to suffer the most. Please pray that we wisely steward the maize we have been able to purchase over the next several months as there will be many in need looking for help.

Our Family: It is unbelievable to us but we are approaching the one year anniversary of our arrival in Mozambique. It has been a challenging year since we arrived in February 2009 but also a blessed one. It has gone very quickly and yet at times it also seems that we have been here far longer than just a year. For the most part we have been healthy. This past month has been our toughest so far with both Nate and Andrea having malaria and Micah having a bad ear infection. We are so grateful that there is decent medical care available at a private clinic in town and that we have access to medications when needed. Please continue to pray for us to remain healthy.

How blessed we are to look back over 2009 and know that so many have given so we can be here serving. You have stood beside us in so many way; praying, giving finances, encouraging us, sending us packages, sending us letters. We can't express how grateful we are to have such an amazing support team behind us. Thank you! We praise God for you and your willingness to sacraficially give towards the ministry here in Mozambique!
As a Mozambican lady said to us the other day, "I pray that the best of 2009 will be the worst of 2010 for you." Amen.

Blessings from Moz from the Pavkov Family!

January 24, 2010


Electricity is a beautiful thing. It's not necessary but it is so helpful. This past week has not been so good for us in the area of electricity. Most days it has been going off in the early morning between 4-6 am, staying off all day until about 4 pm then coming on for the evening. I am trying to look at it in the right way. Being grateful for the times that we do have it. It makes cooking and doing laundry challenging as it is off during the daytime hours mostly but then I must just plan ahead. But we have had it for most of the nights so we can run our fans for sleeping which is a delightful thing when the house is in the 90's. Tonight I took full advantage of the electricty being on. I made supper, a mango cobbler for dessert that was delicious, a pan of baked oatmeal for tomorrows breakfast, and did a load of laundry to be hung in the morning. It amazes me after living without electricity how dependant I am on it once again. I am always amazed when I make visits to the Mozambican people that daily the majority of them live without electricity and instead operate by kerosene lantern or firelight. Like I said it's all a matter of perspective and being grateful for the times we do have it and that I can afford to have it.

January 21, 2010

Orphans Being Kids

Today we went to Chitundo, a village about 40 minutes into the bush from where we live in Chimoio. The purpose was to visit some orphans that our friends, Rick & Heather (and their adorable baby Tendai that they are adopting) minister to with their mission. I love seeing orphans just enjoying being kids and not having to worry about their heavy burdens for even just an hour. It's priceless!

January 20, 2010



January 19, 2010

Please Pray for Rain!

We are weeks into the supposed rainy season and the land is still dry horribly parched. Our guards have started bringing their water containers on their bicycles from home to be filled with our well water. Their wives get in line at the community pump that is shared with hundreds of others in their villages at 3 am every morning. Even though they wait their turn for hours lately the water has been finished because of the low water table and they return home empty handed. How is a wife to cook, wash clothes, bath the children with water if she can not find any??  Water truly is the source of life here in Mozambique.

There is lots of talk of failed crops and hunger for the coming year. In the last two months we have only had odd days of very light momentary rain. It is not enough! We are asking that you would join us and the people of Mozambique in praying for abundant rain. It is difficult to explain the necessity or the desperation people feel. If the rain does not come it will be a VERY difficult year with most suffering from hunger and malnutrition. I have witnessed children suffering because they are starving. It is heartbreaking! I have had a child die because she was too malnourished to survive. It makes me furious and sad! It invades every portion of daily life and society here. Not only will many suffer and some even die but the costs of the food we do have will rise dramatically making it near to impossible for those that do have money to purchase what they need. It's a horrible cycle of poverty. May it be broken in Jesus Name!

We trust God and know His plan is bigger than anything we fathom. We look to Him for wisdom in how to best help those in need. We are considering the idea of buying a large quantity of farinha (maize flour), the main staple diet, to keep on hand so our guards and those we minsiter to will have access to food in the coming months. We realize we can not "save" the world but we can not stand by and do nothing either. We have the financial means (which they do not) to be able to "prepare" for such a time as this and must do what we are called to do. Thank you for joining us as we pray for rain and for us to make wise, faith filled decisions.

January 17, 2010

Sweet Relief in the Heat

The boys were so excited yesterday because this is how we stayed cool when it was 98 degrees.

Micah enjoying his treat of an icecream cone.....

Nate (and Jonathan) playing for the camera.

Jonathan and Daniel (other missionary kids) join the fun!

Daniel REALLY enjoyed his treat!

Nate pretending to be the Statue of Liberty.

January 15, 2010

Staggering Statistics

Today I was doing some online research and came across some staggering statistics about Mozambique from the CIA Factbook website (2007).
  • 12.5 % of Mozambicans are infected with HIV
  • 18% of the population is Muslim
  • Life Expectancy is average of 40 years old
  • 23% of children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition
  • 101 out of every 1,000 children die at birth

Sobering to think of the difficulties that Mozambicans face on a daily basis!

January 13, 2010

The Grandma's (Vovo's)

Our hearts desire, here in Mozambique, is to reach out to orphans that are living in poverty and see them healthy and whole. To do this we have come to understand we must also reach out to the orphans main caregivers, their Grandma's. Many, many children have lost both parents to death or abandonment and remain with their Grandma's as the only relative willing or able to care for them. These are often very old ladies struggling for daily survival. Their needs are many and overwhelming; food, clothing, emotional support, clean water to drink, basic healthcare, medication, and school fees. We often wonder where do you begin? We want to see them encouraged, fed, healthy, clothed, supported and blessed, and sensing the love of God. 

Today we made a visit to some Vovo's. This is Esquita. She is alone with no living relative to help her raise her 9 year old grandson. She is very old, judging by her white hair as she does not know her age. She lives in a rustic, dark, dusty, two room house with a tin roof. She has no furniture other than a grass mat for her and her grandson to sleep on. She struggles to find them food. She can not grow a garden since she has no land and is too feeble to walk a long distance for a plot of land outside the city. She struggles to get her grandson to go to school or obey. It is a very hard life. She prays often and attends church. She tells us how she dreams of flying to heaven with her grandson. I can't fathom her struggles. I will never truly comprehend. I admire her strength. I long to help her. I struggle with having so much when she has so very little. I need to help.

It is overwhelming when you see such desititue living situations. Your heart aches. Your senses can hardly take it in. Your mind races. Your spirit longs for heaven where there is no suffering.
It is difficult to explain in mere words.

We need GOD in all His fullness! We need His wisdom to only do what He desires. We need His strength  to meet the challenges before us. We need his courage so our hearts are not overwhelmed with the needs. We need His resources to meet their practical needs. We need emotional resilience so we don't give up.
And we must say we need YOUR prayers!

We know with confidence that God has His hand on Esquita and Antonio and He alone is their Provider.
We are simply called to pour into their lives in the ways He shows us.
We help meet practical needs. We speak words of encouragement to them. We pray for them.
We LOVE them.

Church in the Village

I did not take my camera to church in the village this week yet some things are captured in my mind regardless of a photo to prove it.

A little girl, barely able to stand up and walk, dancing her little heart out to the beat of the drums and singing.

The elderly widow lady that removed her wrap (capulana) to brush the youth singers as her sign that she was blessing them.

The deep, loud, quick beat of the drum.

The sweat rolling down my back because of the heat of the day as well as having 50 people crammed into a very small building.

The ladies dancing, incredible footwork and loud, sharp clapping that didn't miss a beat.

The children huddled in the opposite corner of the small church giggling and pointing at our boys since they don't often see white children if they have ever before.

The heat beating on the tin roof causing it to crackle and pop.

The pastor preaching in Portuguese that was then translated into the local dialect, Shona.

The trees, drooping to the ground outside, filled with avocados .

The smell of dust stirred up by the dancing feet of the congregation.

The uncomfortable wooden bench that my bottom protests against.

The amazing greeting by all the women in the church as the Pastor explained that I don't yet speak Portuguese.


January 7, 2010

Behold, I Make All Things NEW

I for one am grateful that God promises to make all things new. All things includes me with all my faults and failings. How wonderful a promise that we are a new creation in HIM and created in HIS image and being made NEW into HIS likeness. It is exciting to know God is working to bring about His purposes.
I believe 2010 will be a year of NEW.

Speaking of new, I have done a new thing. I have always wanted to grow a Sunflower and this New Year that has happened. Like most things the planting and preparing were done beforehand (2009) but I had to wait patiently for the "fruit" and it has come.

May you have a "NEW" Year as well!