Thursday, February 26, 2009

This week in pictures.

I cuddle with one of the neighbor's baby at Grandma Venecua's house

Filipe- looking oh so cool as usual! Meet Magnum- the newest puppy in town! This week has been incredibly crazy. We started off the week by making the first of several Airport runs to pick up Nat and Salena Zook, visitors from the U.S. who were short term visitors here for quite a while before we arrived last year. They are here for a month. Then after one day at home, we drove back to the airport to pick up Ron, Barb, Tom and Mary and of course- Magnum- the newest member of the missionary team here in Mucombeze (he's under the security category). Then wednesday we turned around and drove Ron and Barb BACK to the airport, and spent two hours waiting for Nat and Salena's luggage to show up (it didnt!). Its been crazy with so many trips to town. The best part of the week though (aside from welcoming so many good freinds) has been the time we spent visiting orphan widow homes in the last few days. Here are some pictures from the last few days- they say more than I ever could. :)

Nat peeks out of Grandma Venecua's new home to say Hello! to Filipe.

Our reason for visiting was to install some nice new window shutters to put the finishing touches on the home. Here Gabriel prepares to put in one window.

Marco uses a chisel to make sure the shutters fit just right!

Mibia and Francisco were really excited to see Salena, who they had gotten to know during her time here in 2007. Mibia and Francisco are the two orphans who have moved to Chitundu to stay with another orphan and widow family so they can continue their education!

Tom (another visitor- Ron from mercy air is his brother in law!) finds out how much Filipe loves to give thumbs up!

Gabriel shows Francisco how to use the power drill- very cool for these kids!!!

Mibia and Francisco's food and cooking supplies.

When we came back today- Francisco had already decorated the window frames!!!

I had the priviledge today of handing out the nice t-shirts decorated by the kids at Dawson Settlement Baptist church- where several of my family members attend.

Esther and her mother Marosa were really excited about the shirts- Marosa kept saying Obrigada (thank you) the entire time we were taking pictures!

Gina and her Brother (not pictured) desperatly needed shirts. Almost EVERY time we see them they are in matching VBS t-shirts that were given to them by the mission over a year ago!

Mibia and Francisco are holding a picture of the kids who decorated the shirts!

Please continue to pray for us here- we are gearing up for a very busy few months, and also preparing for Dwight and Lynn's departure next week. We are excited to see what God has for us in the next little while. God Bless,

Rick & Heather

And finally- three beautiful smiles to finish out this post! Salena with Vira and Angelina ( two little girls who suggested she marry Nat- good idea girls!!! )

Friday, February 20, 2009

66 vs. 1

The son of one of our woodshop workers (Marco)- he looks just like his dad! This Wednesday I (Heather) took a trip down the driveway to Mucombeze community to visit our new preschool. I had heard there were A LOT of kids going, and wanted to check it out for myself. For those of you who dont know I worked for many years in Daycare and Preschool setting's, in particular with special needs children, when we lived in Canada, and I have a passion for preschool aged kids!

Excerise time - "upwards"
When I arrived, 66 five and six year old kids had nicely organised themselves along the walls and were waiting patiently for the teacher to come. Teacher Simon has to help the children cross the HIGHWAY in order to get to class, and due to a high number of child fatalities and injuries in our area every year, we felt it would be best to have a crossing guard on duty.
Simon organizing the kids- in his nice new crossing guard vest.
Once Teacher Simon arrived, he arranged his pupils into some fashion of rows, and began by telling a Bible Story. He used the book I brought with me, purchased with funds donated from Grunthal Abundant Life Kids Church, and an Awana Group in Charlettetown PEI. We then had excersise and stretching time, roll call( which was another brand of fun... three "Eva's" and not one of them knew which Eva she was!), coloring, writing practice and a game. It was amazing what Simon managed to accomplish with a box of crayons, one coloring book, four tennis balls and a donated story book! As I watched Simon work all by himself with 66 children I was amazed and humbled. I remember stressing out in Canada when staff members called in sick and suddenly I was called upon to be "in ratio" (1 adult to every 4 or 8 children depending on age) instead of one-on-one with my special needs child. And the crazy part is- 50 -60 kids is considered NORMAL class size in Mozambique!!!!
Reading about creation from a Portuguese Children's Bible.
Please join with us in Praying for the Preschool as well as our other Bushschool which has over 200 children attending daily! These children are eager to learn, and we are eager to teach! It is hard however, without books, toys, supplies and adequate help for the teacher. Not only that, but many of these children are not recieving adequate food, medicine or even sleep.
This poor little girl was so tired..she couldnt keep her eyes open.. she struggled to stay upright!
As I said before I was humbled and AMAZED, when I visited. I have never in my life seen such a well behaved group of children. Aside from the expected wiggling and whispering ( perhaps somewhat amplified by the presence of a "muzungu" in the room), they sat wonderfully, listened carefully and followed every instruction given! Not bad for a group of kids who only started formal education last week!
Eventually she lost the battle and rested on a friend's back.
Thank you all for your prayers for safe travel back home from South Africa. We made it thru the border, and up the LONG LONG drive without any problems, and even took time to slow the drive down enough to catch another milestone- 300,000 African Highway KM's for our Bakkie! This picture was taken right after we stopped videotaping the rollover (of the odometer not the truck) .. so its actually 300,001, but close enough right???
These next few weeks are going to be very busy for us- we are expecting two seperate groups of visitors, and we are expecting the arrival of .... OUR PUPPY!!!! We decided to get a large breed dog to help out a bit with "security" around the house and I'm sure he will help chase lizards too! He is flying up with Ron and Barb from Mercy Air on Tuesday (if all goes well getting his papers), and is a South African BoerBoel- (think really big Mastiff kinda dog)- with a bit of Great Dane in him. Aparently he is gonna be a BIG dog. Thanks to Barb who went out of her way to find us a puppy, knowing we wanted one, without even being asked- God Bless her!!!
Also in the next few weeks, we say goodbye to our mentors and team leaders Dwight and Lynn, as they are heading back for a short furlough to Canada. It will be hard to see them go, but Im sure we will survive!
Again, Thanks for all your prayers, until next time, God Bless, Rick & Heather

for those who said they wanted to see my hair from the front.. here it is!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Errands Errands Errands and a day of Rest!

Ron and Barb (the folks that head up Mercy Air) recruited us to help wipe down and shine up the Beech airplane before a trip up to Chimoio- they are staying at our farm for the night while we stay at their base!!! :) (and yes.. i did help too.. but someone has to take the pictures you know!!)
I think you missed a spot hun!!
Well, our time in South Africa is almost done. We leave Saturday morning for the LONG drive back up to the mission base. We have spent the last two weeks getting numerous errands done- picking up many different things. Trips down to South Africa almost allways include a long list of items needed on the farm- this trip we picked up 350 irrigation sprinklers, pvc elbow joints, and sheep vaccines just to name a few.
Just one of the items on the list of things to get done was a haircut for me- I went from hair way way past my shoulders to this!! AHHHH! Its so much cooler!! The bakkie attempting to make it to the fishing pond. (this "route" was labelled a 4x2 route, our 4x4 overheated and we had to stop and let it cool down. sheesh)
We also got a quote on a new truck for us- and will soon be making a video to help get out the word on our campaign to raise funds for a decidely more reliable vehicle! On this trip aside from minor repairs, and a check-up our truck has done ok, although it continues to overheat on hills and has recently taken up sporadically locking and unlocking the central lock doors every time we use the brakes- go figure!
Yes- this is a REAL roadsign- honest. And you thought hitting a moose was bad!!! (yet another reason why a good quality bakkie with "bull bar" is essential!!)
This past Monday night we headed to a farm about two hours from here- called Beth Shean (Hebrew for House of Rest). They have simple cottages to rent at really cheap prices- and they also have fly fishing, and (if you pay the trophy tag) plains game hunting. We went mostly to check the place out, and were delighted to find the place relaxing, peaceful, and exactly what we needed! We were only there for 24 hours, but we left feeling refreshed!
Rick loves to flyfish, so this place was great for him.. and I love to take good pics.. so this place was great for me too! Thank you all again for your prayers- we know that those prayers are what keep our Bakkie(pick-up) running safely on these long long trips on bad roads. We will apreciate those prayers this weekend as we drive the EN1 yet again!
God Bless,
Rick & Heather This little guy keeps invading our apartment here at Mercy Air- he's actually only about two inches long from nose to tip of tail!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Finding Beauty

T- shirts decorated by DSBC's Kids Church Kids.
Heres a pic of a pic of the kids and their shirts, and the pretty fall shots my aunt sent.
Strange the things that make us miss home. I have been pretty good so far here in Africa- but today I received a parcel intended for some of our Orphan kids from on of our sponsoring churches, Dawson Settlement Baptist Church ( New Brunswick). My mom's family is from just down the road "a spell" and several relatives attend there. My aunt included some photos of the pretty fall leaves and trees from last fall. So many beautiful colors! I love fall- its my favorite season, and the sight of that beautiful display brought tears to my eyes. (Thank You Aunt Judy, I really liked them!) If it werent for the fact that I see so much beauty here in Africa as well, I would be tempted to get really homesick! Every day I see another beautiful landscape, person or place that I comment on- Im determined to say something about each one.. so I remember daily how lucky I am to be living my dream, serving God in Africa, and enjoying some amazing sights that many will never see (unless they check out our blogs regularly!!!) Here is just a few shots from last week.. beautiful faces!
Tito.... such a charmer.
Jorge, Gina, Me, Farai and Granny Vaida- excited about new school supplies.
Beautiful Baby Girl... awwww. Filipe! We are in South Africa at the moment, doing some scouting for the new truck we will soon be in the middle of raising funds for, picking up some supplies for ourselves and the mission and enjoying civilization once again. Being in SA means we have decent internet- so this blog post gets lots of photos!!!
The isuzu... practicing it's offroading.. on the highway.
One of the supplies we picked up was a new mop. Now that we have tile in our main room Lovemore needs a good mop to clean with. Last week when I got a really cheap mop from town (which im sure will last about 1/2 of one more cleaning) I asked him to first sweep and then mop. He looked at me.. then at the broom.. then at the mop.. confusion. "Senhora" he said- "what is that soft broom for? Am I to sweep twice?" (in portuguese of course) Sometimes I forget where we are... and yes.. even us missionaries forget to think things thru. How would Lovemore, a young man who lives in a stick hut, with a dirt floor have even two clues what to do with a mop???!!!!! He'd never even seen one! I explained how to get it wet, wring it out... wash.. rinse. Rick and I had a good laugh this week when I bought the new improved version with a squisher lever wringer thingy, twistable extendable handle and foam head- Rick figures I'll have to give a few lessons for sure!
the new mop (i figured i had to have some sort of picture to go with that long rather pointless story)
This is where the "good" highway ends.. and the "hideous" one starts!
A not so good section of the EN1- mozambique's version of the trans- canada!
It was a crazy trip down... but we made it- PTL! I took some pics of the road this time... for those of you who are wondering what we are talking about when we get all excited about each and every safe journey! And along the way we saw some of that amazing beauty I was talking about up near the beginning of this post.
Vilankulo "harbor"- dusk on a stormy day.
Typical Mozambiquean vehcile.. only got shocks on one side, way overloaded, with people on top yet. Its a miracle more people are not killed than already are.
Uhhh... can anyone see the highway???
Yeah right.. this is the sign telling us to slow down to sixty km/h- we hadnt gone over thirty in 45 minutes!
Again, thanks for your prayers- and special thanks to Dawson Settlement Baptist Church Jr. Church kids- those shirts made my day!!!( and Im sure they will make the day of several orphans as well!!) stay tuned for pics in the next few weeks! God Bless, Rick & Heather
Sunrise over the Indian Ocean- Vilankulo