Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bringing Hope... and Maize Flour!

The dirt road to Sena- not to bad for the most part- but there are allways the herds of goats to contend with! We even ran into herds of goats on the EN1 on our way back- the EN1 is similar in concept ( not in quality) to the trans- canada! Other animals we swerved for included a four foot long monitor lizard and a group of baboons. Much to Ricks dissapointment he didnt see any of the Impalas all the signs promised we would see crossing the road.
Once again, Rick and I were blessed to be the "agents of hope" by delivering food to some pastor monitors this week. We travelled up north to the villages of Sena and Chemba, along the Zambezi river and met with 16 of our monitors. The gifts of maize flour we were able to deliver were made possible by generous donations from many in Canada. We now have maize in our storage room to hopefully cover our work for food program needs for the next two "hungry months" as well. God is Good.
It truly was humbling and eye-opening to visit with these pastors and hear their stories. The first group we met with in Sena, had been waiting for our arrival since the morning, and had not eaten all day. I took a lot of pictures, and perhaps its better to just explain each photo to tell the story.

Many of the monitors had to travel long distances on bicycles to recieve the food aid- some as far as 45 Kilometres, including travelling over a several km long pedestrian bridge over the Zambezi River.

Two of the monitors securing 50 kg sacks of maize flour to their bikes. each monitor received 3 sacks, or enough to feed their families for roughly two months.

After spending the night in the "hotel" in Sena (it had no running water :) ) we followed the missions four ton truck down the "road" to Chemba. Again- we were blessed to find that several days of dry weather had made the 45 km's of dirt road drivable- if there had been rain, the truck never would have made it!

This really is a road sign right outside of Chemba town. It is located next to the path where folks go down to wash clothes and bathe- hippo and crocodile attacks are a regular occurance.

The monitors in Chemba arrived late in the morning- after paddling for more than four hours across the Zambezi River in a canoe similar to this one.

I love these pictures- Here the monitors are listening as Pastor Ricardo explains that only those who work recieve payment- and because they have faithfully served God, He has provided a miracle of food donations to help them in their time of need.

Here (about two seconds later) the pastors listen as Ricardo explains that they will be recieving food. You can see some of them are starting to understand ....

Here Pastor Ricardo explains they will be receiving three sacks EACH. (see his hand in the corner??) I think the smiles say it all- after this point I switched to my video camera because they started clapping, hooting and saying Obrigado (thank you) over and over again. I thought Pastor Piri (white shirt, right hand side) was going to cry!

On the drive home we got to see an amazing storm roll across the sky, and I managed to get some really neat pictures.

All in all it was a great trip, and we were glad for the opportunity to meet and fellowship with the pastors. The rest of this week is just flying by as we attend the opening ceremonies for our primary school as well as the escolinha (preschool). Saturday we will be attending ASAM's annual general meeting and then on Sunday we head down to South Africa one last time before Dwight and Lynn leave for a quick furlough in early March. Please pray for safe travel down the EN1- which I promise to take pictures of this trip! We have a lot of errands to get done, as well as checking out possibilities for a new vehicle. After a quick two weeks we will be heading back up here- just in time to start preparing for Dwight and Lynn's departure- ahhhhhh! Im sure we will be fine! God Bless, Rick and Heather

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday in Honde

Rick and Joao giving much needed Maize flour to Pastor Paulo
This Sunday, Rick and I had the privilege (because Dwight was sick in Bed with Malaria)(hes getting better now!) of driving up to Honde, a community about an hour from here, and delivering much needed maize flour to one of our Training school moniters, Pastor Paulo.
Pastor Paulo's son helps Rick with an illustration.
Thanks to generous donations from many back home, we have been able to purchase maize flour to help during the hungry months. Aside from our work for food program, there was money donated specifically to purchase flour for our training school moniters, who are often working two jobs, as well as pastoring local churches so they can continue with their studies and provide for their families.
the drummer.. just a young boy- but look at those muscles!!
Benevolent (Pastor Paulo's son) dances up a storm.
Delivering the flour to Pastor Paulo and his family was a great experience, and we were able to enjoy a time of fellowship with them afterwards. Pastor Paulo's church has experienced some difficulties recently, and combined with this being the rainy/planting season, only his family and his parents and siblings arrived for the service that day. We had a great time of singing and dancing with them- and Rick spoke a word of encouragement to a very weary congregation.
Rick bring a message of encouragement to the small congregation- you can see the half finished church in the background The ladies dancing- even the littlest one was getting right into it!
To make our trip even better- the road between here and Honde (which is being "repaired") is usually a nightmare to drive- but this time, thanks to several days of sunshine, the temporary road was almost mud free, making it much easier to drive! We thank God for these little blessings!
An amazing rain storm rolling in. It was sunny where we were, but just across the valley you could only see half the mountian as the heavy rains came! "Main Street" in Honde
We are no longer alone here at the farm, Dwight and Lynn have arrived safe and sound, as have Francois and Alta. Its good to have everyone back here again. These next two weeks will be busy ones for us, as we are all preparing budgets, & reports, organizing food delivery, and continuing with the numerous projects here at the farm. As I write this, our cottage is fairly shaking from the pounding, scraping and sweeping as the workers prepare our floor for the tile to go in! This is big news for us- it is next to impossible to keep anything clean here, as our floor is rough concrete and cleaning it is very difficult. Even sweeping seems to just make it more dusty as the floor disintegrates. I am looking forward to having a clean-able floor- especially since Rick says we can get a "guard puppy" once we have a decent floor.
Tiles waiting to be installed.
We are also gearing up for a supply trip down to South Africa in the beginning of Feburary- it will be our last trip for several months (unless there is an emergency), as Dwight and Lynn leave again in March for an abreviated furlough trip to Brazil and Canada. So... we know we have to stock up on neccesities while we can! We appreciate your prayers for safety as we continue to travel in our borrowed Isuzu bakkie- Rick informed me the other day that it now has over 294,000 Kilometres on it- and those are AFRICAN bush "highway" kilometres.. not TransCanada Highway km's!On this trip down to South Africa we will be scouting out and pricing a new truck, as we begin to fundraise for a more reliable vehicle. We are looking at fundraising for a Toyota- for one thing parts are more readily available for Toyotas, and secondly- they seem to last forever (or almost forever!). Stay tuned for updates on our search!
God Bless, Rick & Heather.

After a long day of driving... Rick crashes in the hammock!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thumbs Up!

Last week on food delivery day we got lots of "Thumbs Up's!" That's kinda how I feel about our experience so far here in Mozambique. There have been tough times, and times when we have been lonely and tired, but for the most part- Thumb's Up would describe how I feel. We know this is where God has called us, and it is exciting to see how we are fitting into the work here. As we enter this new year we can look back (and forward) and give a definete Two Thumbs Up !
This week we have been here alone on the farm for the first time since moving to Mozambique, with both Francois& Alta and Dwight & Lynn in South Africa. We have managed to keep things going and nothing has been destroyed yet so I guess we are doing OK. I thought this week I would simply post some pictures from the past week, to show you what goes on around here!

The new roof on Liria's house!! Its almost done! If you would like to contribute towards the cost of this let us know!

Another crazy rain storm brought our river level WAY up.

Gabriel ( aparently taking my concern for his safety seriously) tied a rope around his waist before going down to take out our river pump in case the water rose any higher.

When it rains so hard the river turns a chocolate milk shade of brown.

A work-for-food program participant works to clear land for our training centre with a young baby tied to her back.

Rick installing ceiling board in Dwight and Lynn's place- now THIS is progress!!

And of course... here is a pic of the giant spider rick killed for me..

and the machete he used to kill it!!

Have a great week- and thanks again for the prayers. We have had several crazy storms recently, with a lot of lightning striking near here. We apreciate your prayers for our safety! God Bless, Rick & Heather

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bringing in the New Year with a Bang! (& a kaboom!!!)

The wind blowing Lynn's hanging chairs around like wind socks- it was crazy!
Yesterday evening we celebrated the coming New Year with Dwight and Lynn, here on the farm. About half an hour before we were to start our meal, the heavens opened up and let loose- I am quite sure God must have been emptying a lake somewhere! The Thunder & Lightning were amazing, the winds incredible, and the rain was so heavy we could hardly see our house from Dwight and Lynn’s verandah- only about 50 feet away! Lynn and I- ever the photographers, busied ourselves taking pictures of just about everything we could. I guess God decided if we couldn’t see the fireworks at home, He would provide a grand show for us to see here!
Me trying to take pics out the front door... as you can see their was a bit of wind.
Can you see our house??
About half way into the worst of it, we hear the outside bell ringing- and there stands Luckmore, one of our sponsored orphans. He had walked several kilometres to bring the papers that prove he and his sister have passed their grades so they can continue on to grade six. He was soaked to the bone and shivering, so Rick went to drive him home, barely able to see out of the windshield, even with the wipers going full tilt- the rain and wind were so strong. Rick... not so impressed with having to run around in the pouring rain and howling wind!
We were eventually able to enjoy our meal, with the rain providing nice background music. Rick ran over to our place to get some dry clothes on, and discovered a large tree had fallen in our yard- hitting the house, but Praise the Lord, no damage was done. This is our new view from the side window- nice.. but a bit close..
After supper Rick and I braved the elements (it had almost stopped raining for a few minutes) and went to check out the water level in the river. The water had risen over a metre and was threatening our river water pump. Thankfully it didn’t get high enough to pose a critical threat... but it was getting there! Here at the farm, last night’s storm caused only minimal damage- some shade cloth fell, a few trees toppled but for the most part we escaped any serious damage. Some of the families we help were not so lucky. Mae Liria looks on as we come to assess the damage! The roof blew off in the middle of the night. Rick trying to sort out the mangled peices of zinc sheeting.

Mae Liria and her three orphaned grandchildren live in a house that was built for them by the mission. Last night’s storm was so fierce, that one entire side of their roof was blown off- the timbers actually SNAPPED in half, and the zinc sheets look like twist ties!

Mae Liria explained to me how it all started with the wind blowing the window in and off it's hinges... with a big "hrahooom" (her sound not mine)

On the old frame of an ancient thatch roof they had all their clothing etc spread out to dry.

Everything they own was soaked, some of it destroyed. The children’s school notebooks soaked, and other supplies blown away. As she showed us around the “wreckage” Mae Liria waved her arms and made howling and banging noises.. describing the force of the wind. Then she pointed across the yard. I had been so distracted looking at her mangled roof that I hadn’t even noticed Enea’s house. This huge tree narrowly missed Enea's home!

Enea is one of our mercy ministry recipients. She suffers from leprosy and several other illnesses, her home is situated quite close to Liria’s so that Liria and the children can help her with her daily needs. Liria showed me how a HUGE tree had blown over in the middle of the night... falling just metres from where Enea sleeps. Also, the thatching on Enea’s roof had pretty much been blown off, and is in desperate need of replacing.

Angelina and Vira sort thru their soaked school notebooks and recently received christmas presents along with some neighborhood friends.

Fixing Lyria’s home will cost 400$, and with the current food shortage we are dealing with, our mission funds are stretched to the limit. We Praise the Lord that no one was hurt in yesterday’s storm, and that the damage that did occur is nothing that cannot be fixed. Please join with us in prayer as we seek how we can assist these families. It was definitely a crazy way to begin the year-We hope your New Years celebrations were slightly less “eventful” than ours! Have a wonderful week as we begin another year! Happy 2009! Rick and Heather

This beauty managed to survive the onslaught of rain and wind last night... so pretty.