Monday, September 29, 2008

Ups and Downs

This past week and a bit has been an emotional rollercoaster for me- Last Monday (the22) my mom was admitted to the hospital in Moncton, New Brunswick, with congestive heart failure. Tests revealed that her aortic valve is leaking and her heart was beating irregularly at upwards of 160 beats! The doctors tried a technique where they stop your heart and re-start it, with some success. Her heart rate was still high (90’s) but it was now regular and she wasn’t short of breath. Things looked good, and it looked like she might even be released on this past Sunday. It wasn’t to be however, as she took a turn for the worse on Sunday, her heart rate up around 160 again. Another round of stopping and starting and some new med combo’s will hopefully have her back into an allowable range soon.
It has been hard to be so far away and unable to be there for and with her. God has been good however, we know we have hundreds of people around the globe praying for us, and it is because of those prayers we have been able to continue on here, trusting in our Heavenly father. As Dwight told me, “nothing in this situation is a surprise to God.” I have remembered these words over the last week often. Please continue to pray with us for continued healing for my mother, peace for myself and Rick, my father and sister, and wisdom for the doctors. Also, my mother is scheduled for major back surgery next week, she has been waiting over three years for this surgery and we pray that if she is well enough it will still be a go, as her back pain greatly stresses her heart.Also, we have spent that past week nursing a tiny baby duiker (mini deer) back to health, she came to us via a local man who claimed he had found her on his farm. Most likely he had trapped her mother and figured he could make a few bucks of the silly “muzungus” who would buy the baby off of him. When she arrived her front two legs were paralyzed, she was dehydrated and very weak. Now she is walking on three of her legs, and can drink 200mls of milk in a sitting! It has been encouraging to watch her fight to learn how to walk, drink from a bottle and eat leaves.
All in all our last week has been a bit stressful, and combine that with four straight days of over 40 degree temperatures many of us here were beginning to feel a bit worn- me especially. But again, God is good, and some exciting things have been happening here, progress on Dwight and Lynn’s place has come along nicely and I have been able to get a lot of work done in organising the orphan program. We are excited to be where God has called us, and even though there may be some major bumps in the road, we know that all things will come together for good. Again, please pray with us, as your prayers mean so much to us, especially now. I’ll leave you with a few pictures from this past week so you can see some of what we see every day.
ok.. we dont see fire every day.. but this one was REALLY close to the farm and our homes- praise God that the last rainy season was wet enough to keep the riverbed full of green green grass that didnt burn

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Farming God's Way

This past week we had the priviledge of hosting a group from an organisation called “Farming God’s Way.” They led seminars for our workers, community farmers and also some folks from another mission not far from here. As previously mentioned, farmers here burn everything on a yearly basis- destroying valuable nutrients in the soil. To try and combat this, the “Farming God’s Way” method has two basic principles. 1. Do not burn. (simple enough!) 2. Do not plow. (simple... what??? Hey wait a minute... don’t plow???!!!) The basic idea is that by plowing we are disturbing the soil’s God-given ability to retain water and nutrients. Instead, they have developed a method of planting and replanting in the same holes, year after year, taking advantage of the previous year’s roots and stalks as “mulch” for this year. Sound complicated?? It’s not really, it makes a lot of sense when you see them do it, and in theory, the method is much easier to maintain. We have planted a small sample section to see how the method produces. It remains to be seen just how much more yield this method will bring about versus the traditional plowing and fertilizing method. These last two weeks have been a whirlwind of getting situated and adjusted. I have a feeling it will take us awhile longer before we truly feel at home, but we have a good start! We spent several days last week visiting orphan homes and gathering information to make a central database for the details. Because so many people have come to help with the orphan program over the years, information has been compiled, lost, found, re-organised, given to someone else, re- filed, un-filed, copied... and on it goes. The Amigo Orphan Program will be one of the areas I will be focused on, and so with all the changing of hands and the loss of info with Lynn’s laptop going AWOL, we decided to just start fresh and get it organised once and for all, so everyone will have the same info. Although it sounds simple- it’s a lot of work to track down all these kids, get the info we need, and input it into the various spreadsheets and profiles we have created to track our progress. It has been encouraging to meet the widows and orphans, hear their stories and see what the mission has been able to help them with. Every home we visit has new faces to fall in love with! Here are just a few of the ones we have met so far! Rick has jumped full steam into getting some work accomplished on Dwight and Lynn’s new place- pulling the rest of the guys along behind him! It’s a slow process but we are excited to see some progress, as door frames and windows are being installed, and Kim begins putting on the first base coat of paint. Please continue to pray for us as we get settled. We appreciate your continued prayers for health and safety, as well as for our finances and especially for our ministry here. We have uploaded our newest slideshow/video for September- a link will be available soon on our resource page! God Bless, Rick and Heather

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bem Vindo!

Today(sunday) we went to Pastor Ricardo's church near Chitundo. Chitundo is about 15 minutes from here by car, and Pastor Ricardo is the local guy in charge of the pastors training program. He invited us to come to his church today as they wanted to officially welcome Rick and I to Mozambique.
The "youth choir" singing and dancing!
I love African music and singing, and I knew this would be a time filled with much music! I was not dissapointed. As we drove up to the seemingly deserted church yard, women apeared out of nowhere, began waving their wraps around their heads and singing to welcome us to their church. Lets just say it was a special moment for me. We of course were asked to bring greetings from Canada, and to share a word... and then Dwight shared a "couple" of words, and then Pastor Ricardo translated, and then reiterated the sermon once Dwight was done. You just have to love African church services!
Little girl dancing during the worship- her feet moved so fast they appear as a blur! This church is just an amazing little church, its nothing but sticks, thatch and some mud, and they squeezed an awful lot of people into this tiny room, but they have heart! They run a feeding and "sunday school" type program every saturday for over forty children from the area, and they are directly responsible for helping out several families of orphans and several widows. It is amazing and humbling to see. Pastor Ricardo's wife also made a delicious lunch of chicken, rice and salad for us, what a blessing and how humbling it is to be served by those who have so little to give. We even learned a thing or two about cooking and a new spice from the pastors wife! The inside of the tiny church, and our meal. Another suprise was to see Marta's grandmother at this service, she had to come quite far to reach this church. If you remember from a while back, Marta was the little baby who passed away. She had recieved only mashed peanuts and corn for food and her little three month old body just couldnt survive. Today Marta's granny praised God for the help she is recieving, and for the knowledge she has that her little grandaughter is in Heaven, rejoicing with the angels. Baby Marta's grannie describing to the younger women what happened to her granddaughter. All in all.. it was an awesome day.... Ill end this post with a nice little pic of Jack. Jack is Kim's pet baby chameleon. I have to admit... reluctantly... that i sorta like jack. He's just about as cute as a lizard can get. And... much to everyones shock im sure, I have actually held him. Now dont go getting all excited- I still have no use for any other lizards, snakes or creepy crawly things. In fact the big chameleons have no hope of being held by me... and the geckos in our house creep me right out. But Jack... i have to say... I like. :)

Jack on his favorite branch

Please pray for us this next week, Rick is hosting a group from "farming God's way" who are coming to try and offer some practical advice for improving our sustainable agriculture program... which we have yet to really see! But Dwight will be gone teaching at extension schools so the job of hosting falls to Rick! Also please pray for the farm as well, Rick and Dwight had to go out today to fight yet another fire. Not only is it bad for the trees and land, but it is dangerous for our guys to be out there fighting fires, with no water, only sticks!!!! Thank you for all your prayers. God Bless,Rick and Heather

p.s we hope to upload another video this coming week- we cant promise.. but we will try!!!! so keep looking out for it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

We have arrived!

This is going to be a long rambling blog entry... There is just so much I want to say, but I will try to post lots of pictures to keep your interest! soooo......
After two VERY VERY long days of "fellowship" in our very stuffed truck we have arrived in Mozambique. Late sunday night we rolled into our new home and havent stopped since. Our trip up was, as mentioned, LONG, but we managed to keep ourselves fairly entertained. Border crossing was a breeze, despite the line-ups over a km long! (we had to wait a while.. but we didnt have to pay ANY duty so that was nice!) The second day was supposed to be about a ten hour day with stops, but turned into a 13 -14 hour day when we discovered the the back hatch on our truck had opened at some point after we stopped for lunch on the side of the road. We had to backtrack nearly and hour and half, and despite our best efforts, were only able to recover one of the lost bags. Although, none of our personal belongings were lost, we do feel quite badly for Lynn, who lost her laptop computer, and a bag full of newly purchased medicines. Please pray with us as they try and figure out the best way to replace the lost items.
After that long long long day in the truck- we arrived here at the farm. It is such a blessing to finally be here, but so overwhelming when we think of everything that we personally need to do to get set up, as well as the things that we need to learn! So many new faces and places. We are currently staying in a "almost done" cottage, that will eventually be home to some missionaries from Mercy Air in South Africa, we hope. Once Dwight and Lynn are finished their house, we will be moving into the cottage they are currently in. We spent most of yesterday in town (about an hour away) purchasing food and supplies. Its a crazy town, but we managed to find most of what we needed. Here in Mozambique, food prices are comparable to Canada, but items that are "luxury" items are more expensive. For instance, cans of whip cream costs more than ten bucks!

Hot water heater! First you make a fire.. then you wait a while.. and presto .. HOT WATER. The system is called a Donkey (i dont know why).

As in many countries in Africa, the rural people here have a terrible habit of BURNING the dry grass. Traditionaly it was done to help make hunting easier and to be able to see lions better. But now, there are few hunters and fewer lions. And for some reason, they choose the driest, windiest time of year to burn in. Every year countless crops and homes are destroyed and this year is no different. Today we heard that one of our mission employee's family lost everything last night - their homes and their entire supply of food for the year. Please pray for them.

Ricks feet after two hours fighting fires.

Rick, Dwight and our two guards spent over two hours last night fighting a kilometre long stretch of fire that had crossed the fire break boundary on the farm. And by fighting, I mean beating it out with sticks. I had one very tired, very dirty husband come home! We were all grateful for their efforts however, they stopped the fire before it burnt too much of the farm, and no one was hurt in the effort.

Lynn &Co. trying to see an Xray, with no lights, and no sun to help!

Taking Enia's blood pressure.

Today I went with Lynn to visit an elderly lady with leprosy. It was my first home visit, and I really enjoyed seeing Lynn, doing what she does best... NURSE!! Im sure the next few weeks will be full of suprises, new people and so much learning. Please pray for us as we adjust. We do appreciate your prayers sooo much. Another prayer request is for our vehicle fund. The mission vehicle that we are currently trying to get in running order is quite old, and we will soon need to be thinking about raising funds for a new one. Vehicles here ( as in the rest of the world) are quite expensive! We want to say thank you to everyone who prayed for our journey to Mozambique. God bless. and Ill try to post more soon!