May 30, 2010

Coming of Age

I have two sons. The oldest, Micah, is 12. He will be 13 in November. How that happened, I do not know. Where the time has vanished, I will never know.

As he approaches manhood, and believe me he is approaching...he has the pimples and body odor to prove it. I have been contemplating some type of "Coming of Age" ceremony or process for him. I am praying about it. Wondering what it should look like.

Today he had an introduction as his dad invited him to attend the Men's Breakfast with him. He was a little intimidated at first but also excited. His dad explained that if he decided to go he would need to be sure to know it was not a playtime. He understood and agreed to go with a huge grin on his face. Partly, I think because it was something special for just him and dad to do but also because dad considered him old enough to be part of the men.

I realize I am partial but I am pretty sure he is about the most handsome, kind hearted boy young man out there.

Seasonal Confusion

I suffer from an unusual's called "Seasonal Confusion." I realize you may not have heard of it before but believe me it IS real. It starts out as improperly placed desires for particular activities and smells associated with familiar times of the year. Then you find that your body revolts against the idea of a particular season because it doesn't feel right temperature wise. Then you find yourself asking questions. What season is it? What month is it? What holidays are we supposed to be celebrating.

I think for this New England New Hampshire girl it all started many years ago when I first moved to Florida. I went from four distinct seasons, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring to two...Hot and Hotter. Even though at times it didn't feel like a particular season I could convince myself otherwise by observing all of the holiday pharphenalia in the stores and diving head first into the celebrations.

Here in Africa it is a different story. Again, I find myself with two distinct seasons instead of four. We have HOT, rainy season and not so hot, dry season. On top of that I have changed hemispheres which means I am exactly opposite of what I have always known. I do not have reminders all around me. I forget holidays. I get confused about what season we are in. I feel as though we should be preparing for Summer, the beach, picnics, barbeques, fireworks, etc. Instead, it is getting cold. I am finding myself adding extra blankets at night, more layers of clothes during the day, SOCKS, and warm drinks. We are heading rapidly into Winter. How can this be? I should be smelling flowers in bloom, wet mud from the after snow thaws, the beach.

I guess it all just takes time to get used to it. Somehow though, I think this New Hampshire girl will always long for Summer barbeques, Autumn leaves, Winter snow and Spring flowers. It's just part of who I am.

May 27, 2010

Grateful Days

 Sometimes you have those days.
The ones where you realize you must remember to be grateful.
Today was one of them.

I am grateful for two healthy, strong boys.

May 23, 2010

Call to Worship

People singing.
Rhythm clapping.
Feet stomping.
Drum beating.
Shakers rattling.
It's a call to worship at the local church we attend.

No need for modern conveniences or instruments.
Worship is about the heart!

May 21, 2010

10 Things I think I Could Live Without

  1. Sleeping under a mosquito net every night of my life.
  2. Picking up food at the grocery store and watching the weevils and cockroaches scatter.
  3. Dodging people, goats, chickens, carts, bicycles and who knows what else driving down the road.
  4. Filtering my drinking water.
  5. Scrubbing my feet every night before bed because they are caked in red dirt.
  6. Heating water in a kettle to wash my dishes.
  7. Having malaria as a constant lurking threat.
  8. Dodging huge potholes while driving down the road.
  9. Being in a room where several languages are being spoken and not understanding any of them.
  10. Dealing with a constant layer of red/brown dust on EVERYTHING in my house no matter how much I dust, sweep, or wipe counters.
Then again, when I really get to thinking about it these are the things that keep my life ummm.....interesting. I am not sure that in light of where I live and the suffering and poverty surrounding me that I should let these things concern me. My life after all is very comfortable and pleasant in comparison.

May 20, 2010

A Forever Family

You may remember seeing this face before...

This is adorable, sweet little Tendai.

She has much to be excited about...

today she is no longer an orphan but now the daughter of our friends, Rick and Heather and officially part of the Neufeld family.

Thank you Father that you've smiled on Tendai and her mommy & daddy and made them a forever family.

May 17, 2010

Little Dresses for Africa

I just wanted to take a minute to share about a great organization called Little Dresses for Africa. Recentlly, a pastor's wife from New Hampshire that I knew through my former job emailed and asked if I knew of this organization. She also asked if I would be interested in distributing dresses that her and her ladies group would make for us. I had never heard of it until she introduced them to me. It is an organization that distributes dresses made primarily out of pillowcases and ribbon to little girls in Africa with the motive
"To plant in the heart of little girls that they are worthy."

I can't tell you how special it is going to be to be able to distribute these little dresses on behalf of this special ladies group in New Hampshire.
 And for our little girls we work with to receive their very own, new dress that tells them they are worthy of Jesus' love.

Maybe you or a group you belong to could get involved in a similar project??

May 16, 2010

Easily Entertained

The cutest thing happened this past week. I was scheduled to meet a friend for coffee and a chat at the local "fancy" hotel in town and decided to invite my boys along for the experience. They have never been to the hotel. It opened last year and I myself have been a handful of times to meet friends for coffee. They were excited to come. I had them change into decent, clean clothes instead of play clothes, told them to bring along a book and explained that they were welcome to sit in one of the comfortable couches near my friend and I while we visited and they could order a soda. Did I mention they were really excited? I know this may seem silly but here in Mozambique my boys do not have exposure to constant entertainment or posh things so for them it was a big deal. We headed off to the hotel. The boys did a great job reading and enjoying their drinks while my friend and I visited. Nate then asked me if he could go to the bathroom so I explained where it was in the hotel. Needless to say bathrooms here can be a traumatic experience....I can't explain all that right here. Nate returned from the bathroom with a look of sheer excitement and delight on his face. When I asked him what was up he went on to tell me how cool the bathroom was to visit. It had a light that came on automatically when you entered. The sinks and soap dispenser were also automatic and then there was a hand dryer that was like an "airplane engine." Both boys disappeared so Nate could show Micah the treasures he had found. Then they took a ride in the elevator, all the way up two floors and back down. One thing is for sure they were entertained. I, for one am glad that my boys can find such joy in the simpliest of things these days. It makes my heart smile.

May 15, 2010

American Comfort Food

Sometimes it is fun to make a family recipe and enjoy the taste of American "comfort" food.
This week that took the form of a batch of my Aunt Gloria's recipe for old fashioned homemade donuts. Yummy!

May 11, 2010

Mob Justice a Little too Close

I know I have written about the problems we have here in Mozambique with "Mob Mentality", vigilante justice in earlier posts. It does not take much to get a mob going and ready to do bodily harm to someone here. Today, we had a closer than I would like, experience with this personally.

This evening a man jumped our back wall. That is amazing considering it is a 20 ft high cinder block wall. He was out of breath, sweaty, shirtless, and had torn pants. He was running away from a mob that was chasing him and wanting to kill him. When the mob realized where he was they began banging on our front gates, yelling for us to put him out on the street so they could burn him because he was a thief.

Occasionally, someone that's accused of being a thief will be caught by a mob, beaten, have a tire put around their neck and then lit on fire to burn alive. It is horrible. It is heartwrenching. It is scary. It's disgusting.
It used to be unimaginable to us but we know it happens. We hear testimonies of it from time to time around town.

How do you react to such a thing?
Marc immediately ran outside when our guard began yelling, "Boss, boss. A thief, a thief." He assumed that the man was a thief since he had jumped our wall. I locked the door, locking Marc out of the back part of the house. He could still get in the front if he needed. I ushered our boys into a middle room that is not visible from the street and closed the drapes on the windows closest to the street. They were scared and immediately set to putting on their army gear to "protect" us. Our dogs were going crazy and did a great job barking and cornering the guy. (Note to self: We had a smart idea in having dogs for help in protection against intruders) Bowser, our male dog even grabbed a hold of the guys leg when he tried to get up suddenly just to let him know he wasn't supposed to be moving. Marc called the police to report the mob and this guy that had jumped our wall. At first, they tried to get us to bring the man to the police station, which by the way is the normal procedure because usually the police do not have vehicles. Marc refused and said he was not leaving the yard with this man and facing the mob. Finally the police came once they got a vehicle to use. It took a while for them to find our house because it was dark and we have no street name to describe where we live. By the time they arrived the mob had dissipated. Marc gave a report of what had happened and the police took the man with them to the station.

Sometimes, I think this place is crazy! I should say sometimes I know this place is crazy.
But, then I remember there is crime everywhere. There are problems everywhere.
Because there is sin everywhere.
And the safest place we can be is right in the center of the WILL OF GOD which for us is serving and living in Mozambique, Africa. 

HUGE Praise

WOW! I am always in awe of God's faithfulness.

Today we are so pleased to say that paperwork we have been waiting and praying about for the last ten months is finally finished.

Be encouraged. Never give up even when it seems fruitless.

My "feelings" are often my problem.
I get distracted because I feel things are not going my way, I feel desperate, I feel out of control, I feel hopeless, I feel tired and I feel drained. Really those are the problems aren't they? I and feel.
I - is about me
Feel -is based on my heart that so easily deceives me.

God wants our trust in who HE is and in HIS character.
Not in ourselves.

Heavenly Scent

These wonderful delights were in a recent package my mom sent to us here in Mozambique. I LOVE THEM.....not because they are so handy with detergent, fabric softener and anti-static agent all-in-one but because they

They are the new (at least to me although I think they may have been in the US for a while now) all in one laundry sheets. She sent the Purex brand and I think I am in love. When we lived in the States I often bought Purex not because I thought it smelled lovely but mostly because it was affordable compared to others like Tide etc. I have always loved the smell of good, clean laundry but after being separated from that smell for 15 months it seems I am now having a serious love affair with these new laundry sheets. I think my husband may be getting jealous. For the first two days after receiving our packages all I did was sniff them without even opening them. There lovely smell had saturated everything in the box and I nearly drove my family crazy talking about how good they smelled. Then I put them in my bathroom, where our washing machine lives and still did not open them but enjoyed their scent everytime I walked into the bathroom or down the hall next to it. 

We have two or three brands of laundry powder here when the grocery store has a good stock. I had picked one of the three that I liked and thought that things were sailing along pretty well in the laundry department. That was until my new love, I mean gift from my mom arrived. How long have our clothes been stinking like this nasty local stuff? When did I not notice that? How did I ever forget this glorious American smell?

I have come to a place of resolution in this dilema. I have opened the new fandangled all-in-one sheets. I am using them SPARINGLY! I used the very first one to wash a load of clothes just to test it and revel in the beauty of it. I even put the clothes into a dryer (our friends that are on furlough in the states lent us theirs while they are away)  instead of on our clothes line. My goodness it was great. The clothes were soft, fresh and clean smelling without that ever present underlying dust and dirt scent that our clothes normally carry. But from that moment on I knew I was going to have to ration the goodness. So we have resorted to only washing our sheets with these beauties and still washing everything else with our local powder.

What a FANTASTIC idea. The washing the sheets, I mean. Last night as I crawled into our bed on our freshly washed sheets next to my honey I thought I was in heaven. There was lots of sniffing, sighing and cuddling going on - with the sheets. It was wonderful.

Thank you MOM! It's a touch of heaven underneath my very nose. And just because you are brilliant you sent along a refill pack and I am determined to make them last the next 16 months until we return on furlough to buy some more.

May 9, 2010

Back Online

Well against all odds and all recorded estimates we are back online here in Mozambique. The papers have said from 4 weeks to 4 months so we were not quite sure when we might join the technologically connected world again. But as of this afternoon we are back online! Praise the Lord!
I thought I would share some photos of what we were up to this past week.

This week we headed off into the bush to make a delivery.
We ended our journey in the village of Mucombedzi.
It is about an hour's drive from our town past many local "markets."
At the foot of some lovely mountains.
Our destination was across from the village water pump
 the village health post,where these two young men provide the only medical care for their local community
they were happy to help us unload donated medical supplies that will be a huge blessing to their community and the work of the local health post.

Along the way Marc found this amazing Walking Stick bug.
It was huge,amazing, beautiful, soft and squishy and perfectly camoflouged.

May 3, 2010

Electronic Problems

Just taking a moment to let you all know that we are without internet, cell phone coverage and international banking for who knows how long. A fiber optic cable was damaged in the Indian Ocean and there is no telling how long it will take for it to be repaired. We are visiting our friends who have satellite interenet so we are able to send out this and check basic email. Hope everyone is doing well. Hoping it won't be too many weeks before it is reparied.