Sunday, December 19, 2010

From Tendai's point of view.

Hi All.. recently for her 2nd Birthday, Tendai was given a kid friendly camera. Nothing fancy, it doesnt have a flash, nor special settings, and according to the box it has a whopping .3 megapixels. (yes.. POINT three). Its the cutest thing though, and takes decent enough pictures in good light.  Tendai loves it, and managed to take quite a few shots before she got fascinated with the beeping power button and completed ran the batteries down making it beep on and off ( i should have known something was up when it was quite in her bedroom!). Anyhew.. its a great little camera, and it got me thinking. Im gonna do a blog post every once and awhile from Tendai's point of view. With HER pictures. This could be fun i think!
So heres a smattering of the first batch of pictures I managed to get off the camera before she ran the batteries completly dead.
"daddy is hard at work on his computer... 
mommy is too. here is her keyboard that I smash every day at least once (even though i know im not supposed to.. its just so much fun!!!)
this is a christmas tree. its much bigger than the mozambiquan one we have back home. it has tons of pretty lights and I love it. do you think it will fit in my suitcase?
this is me. mommy took this one because when i tried myself it did not work at all. not even close.
this is one of my favorite dollys. my aunty gave her to me. she smells like strawberries. Here in Canada there are TONS of dollys. Everybody has at least one or two!
another fun toy that i got for my birthday. it makes all sort of noises. They say that animal is a sheep but they obviously have not seen "REAL" sheep before. the sheep back at our farm look nothing like that cotton ball!
Thats all the good pictures i have for now. I tried to take some of the snow but they all just turned out very blurry white. Its hard for me to sit still long enough! When mommy buys me new batteries i will take lots more pictures! I cant wait to take pictures of my friends back home in Africa and of my house and yard. I will even try to remember to take a picture of a real sheep so you all know what they look like. Mommy says it is almost Christmas time so I should also say Merry Christmas."

Now.. you all know Tendai cant talk, much less type, but i think the whole idea will be fun.. and since she really is taking the pictures it will be a bit of a challenge for me to come up with things to say that base around her pictures! 
We had our first Christmas Family Gathering today and enjoyed it so much. We are blessed to have such an amazing extended family who support us in so many ways. I hope your Christmas season will also be filled with friends and family, memories and laughter.
God Bless,
Rick, Heather & Tendai Neufeld

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

....the most wonderful time of the year.....

One of the kids gets the drums warmed up at last years Christmas party!

Its that time of year.... Christmas.... I love Christmas time.. here in Canada and in Mozambique! (though i dont enjoy the HOT weather at this time of year at all! in mozambique that is) . This past week we were able to spend time with Chris and Corissa Mohan (you may remember they visited us in Moz in the spring for the month of march). We spoke at their church and had a wonderful time of fellowship with them. The church was amazing, and we were blessed by the community of believers. Its funny how I never tire of hearing Rick preach (and its the same message too!).

Chris and Corissa treated our family to a Brandon Wheat Kings hockey game... so much fun to be at a hockey game again!
Being Silly with Aunty Corissa!

In other news, back home at the farm everyone is gearing up for both the staff Christmas party, and of course, one of my favorite days of the year- The Amigo Orphan Program Christmas Party! This year the party will be held at the farm in the brand new Lapa (outdoor covered meeting area with a traditional thatched roof), complete with a decorated Christmas tree and presents! I am sad to be missing the party this year, especially since they will be seeing all those twinkling lights for the very first time!! (Lynn promises that she will take pictures for me!) Can you imagine what it will be like for them???

The orphan kids and grannys at last year's orphan party.
VERY excited kids!
Little Nailene ate a whole big plate all by himself!

Rick and I have the next few weeks "off" meaning we dont have any planned speaking engagements at churches or youth groups, but will instead be enjoying a few weeks of fellowship with our home church here in Grunthal. We look forward to worshipping with our church family and being refreshed.  Although we are not actually speaking anywhere, we are booked EVERY SINGLE evening for this entire week, and most of them for next week, as we visit with supporters, friends and family, sharing what God is doing in Mozambique, and our passion for ministry there. And then of course, it will be Christmas, which we look forward to spending with family.

One of our busy nights from the past week was hosting Tendai's 2nd Birthday party, complete with an awesome cake made by our friend Jen Klassen. Ive been dreaming of this safari cake for over a year (literally)!!!
Jen even made Tendai a lovely little smash cake just for her!

Our 500 PPD Campaign (Pray-ers Per Day) has been going well. At this point we have just over 200 signed up... if you are willing to join us in our challenge, by signing up to pray for us every day, please let us know. We are aiming to find 500 people by the end of our furlough. Once you sign up by giving us your name and email, you will recieve an email update once a month. That update will let you know praise reports and prayer requests, and give you a rundown of what we have been doing and are looking forward too. Please consider signing up to be one of our Pray-ers. You can contact us at the email address listed on the right hand side of the blog.

Thank you to those who have been and continue to pray for us. Your continued prayers for our health and safety, finances and ministry needs are so appreciated. We hope each of you has an amazing time visiting with family and friends and celebrating our saviors birth.
God Bless,
Rick, Heather & Tendai Neufeld

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Unique Christmas Gifts.... and more!

orphan girls in Mutarara open their care packs with MUCH anticipation

Hey Friends... its almost December.. which means most of us are neck deep in Christmas trees, cards, baking, and of course Shopping! Rick and I are enjoying the ability to actually go Christmas shopping this year- last year we scoured the small foreigner owned shops in chimoio to find some small gifts we could give each other. We usually end up making our own gift certificates for each other, and enjoying each others company, sometimes if a trip to South Africa coincides with this time of year we purchase a family gift for ourselves. This year we have the option to go Christmas Shopping in all of our favorite stores- exciting!- and a bit overwhelming too... to go from few options to zillions is a bit to wrap your head around. We try to keep our Christmas spending within limits, no going crazy for us, and to focus on the real meaning of Christmas- The best gift of all, Jesus.
orphan children with their care packs!
Im sure many of you are also struggling to balance the joy of giving, with the wonder of remembering our Saviour's birth. Some may even be desperate to find that perfect gift for those who seemingly already have "everything!" Or perhaps you are searching for a way to teach your children that real joy is found in the giving, not the getting.  If any of those apply to you... then "have I got a deal for you" (not to sound cliche or anything)!
 this little guy just couldnt wait.. he dove right in!

For the past few years SAM Ministries (our mission) has put out a "Unique Christmas Gift" brochure, full of ideas and "gifts" that people here in Canada and around the world can purchase which will then be given to needy children, families and pastors in Mozambique, in the New Year. Rick and I have the privilege of sourcing, purchasing, packaging and delivering the orphan care packs purchased thru this campaign each year. It is such a blessing to be able to share, the Love of Christ with each orphan who receives and to tell them how an individual in Canada prays for them and sponsored their pack.
Some of this years gifts include:
Complete Orphan Care Pack: 50$
Water Carrying Jug: 4$
Blanket: 25$
Childrens Ministry Training Kit: 300$ (includes Bibles, and seminar resource manuals and supplies for 25 Childrens Ministry leaders)
Sponsor a Pastor in our Training Program, Faith Bible Seminary for:
-one course 30$
-full year (four courses) 120$
A cow for an area farmer: 375$
Plough and supplies: 220$
a granny and the orphan she cares for pose for a picture- so thankful!
pastors and church leaders participate in a seminar to learn methods of teaching bible memory skills.

These are just some of the options available to purchase as a Gift. You can see the full listing and brochure by clicking here and then follow the link to see the full size brochure. Options are listed on the brochure for how to give. (you can send a cheque or you can give securely online as well) Please note there are also gift options listed for our sister mission in Brazil (where Rick and I lived for four months while learning portuguese).

This week we were blessed to speak at the CMC Youth Group here in Grunthal, as they prepare for TWO upcoming mission trips with Samaritans Purse! They played "dentre/fora" (in/out) a deceptively simple game we were taught by our school kids at Mucombedze Interior Primary School (our school). They also ate Litchees for the first time.. reactions varied from.. "awesome" to"im going to vomit"- i guess its one of those you either like it or hate it kind of fruits!
Tendai joins the youth group in prayer from her perch on the pew behind us

Rick spends a couple of days each week working alongside his brothers in the family construction business. This week I got a call saying I had to come down to the jobsite and get a picture of the giant cement crane! Its funny how the things that never even phased us before are now amazing to us. Rick wanted a pic of the large crane and cement truck so that we could show the guys back home how they do it here:

even with the big cement crane and all the technology available here.. the guys still level it out with a shovel and a 2x4... i guess some things stay the same no matter where you live!

 -opposed to our new "normal" method of cement mixing back home (and by the way this is the NICE way of mixing.. sometimes they just have to do it by hand):

Its been awesome to spend time with family and friends! We are taking advantage of every opportunity to visit and fellowship with friends here. Thank you all again for your prayers and support. We appreciate them so much.
Some of our current prayer needs include:
- health and safety as we travel, Tendai has had a nasty cold lately, and both Rick and I are adjusting to driving on winter roads again.
- that our support will continue to increase, allowing us to do more Children's Ministry Training Seminars each year.
-that we will be able to raise the needed funds for our family home
-that Mozambique will receive the rains needed to have a good growing season this year
Praise Items-
-safe travel thus far!
- we have had many people sign up to be part of our 500 Pray-ers Per Day challenge
-good times of fellowship and visiting with friends.
-that the airstrip back at the farm is nearing completion! PTL!

another one of mommy's photo shoots!

Thanks again! God Bless,
Rick, Heather & Tendai Neufeld

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Live!! at Calvary Baptist...

well.. ok.. maybe not live! exactly, but pretty close! This last weekend we spoke and participated in the service at our second home church, Killarney Calvary Baptist Church, which is also where we used to youth pastor.  They post all their services online, and so Ive decided to link to the page so you all have the opportunity to see it too!  If you do watch, about half way thru, Lavinia Bryce (the wife of one of our former youth kids - yeah.. we feel old... sings an absolutly AMAZING special music number that just spoke to my heart- what a talented young lady!)

Now.. a few disclaimers...  a) this is our second home church.. so we are bit more relaxed here... joking around, laughing, taking pictures of our church family from the front.. yeah. we are a bit nutty.  b) SPOILER ALERT- should you decide to go check this out, and we come to your church later this year... you will probably get the same sermon in some variation.. just so you know! (its a gooder though and even seven sundays in,  Im still loving listening to it!!) c) I am in the praise team... and i havent sang in a praise team for nearly three years... so no laughing.

me singing in the praise team.. what a blessing it was to be able to participate again with them.. and even cooler was the fact that FOUR of our former youth kids (both jr. and sr.) were involved with the team that sunday- God is Good!
The Pastor, and many of our friends and former youth prayed over us at the end of the service.
We stayed with good friends (Corrie and Grant and their daughter Elora and McCanna- sp?) Elora Loved to play with Tendai!
frost on the trees on the way home..... oh how i love the frost on the trees!!
moose we saw on the way home.... he was cute. (i used to be scared of moose till i got chased by an elephant.. now as long as the moose is BESIDE the road and not on it.. i think they are cute!)

We recently sent out an our monthly email update, where we asked for folks to continue praying for us, but also to COMMIT to praying for us... I'm going to post a little excerpt from that here
"Our 500PPD (pray-ers per day) Challenge!
Lately God gave us a desire to find 500 people who would commit to praying for us daily. It seemed like a big number since we are asking for regular prayer from each person, and asking them to sign up for our email newsletter so they can have access to our monthly prayer needs and requests!  (currently we have about 150 people receiving that newsletter). If you are one of those people (who already receive the email updates) BUT have not yet signed up to be one of our “500 pray-ers per day”, and would like to, please send me an email with your name  & email address and stating you would like to commit to praying for us every day! If we wont be visiting your church soon we can even mail you a new prayer card and magnet so you have some reminders!

We have realized these last two years in Mozambique that prayer makes a huge difference. I cannot tell you how many times someone has emailed me and said “I felt I needed to pray for you today… was something going on?” We know when people are praying for us, we feel the encouragement and support even across the planet! Mozambique was recently listed at #165 out of 169 countries on the human development index- it is a tough place to live. We are blessed to have a home and access to clean water and safe food, but we are daily faced with the realities of working with the local community, many of whom do not have those opportunities.
Please take a moment to consider signing up to be one of our 500Pray-ers, we are believing we can get to 500 who have committed and signed up by the time our furlough is over!"

This afternoon the first few flakes of what the forecasters are saying will amount to 15 cm are falling.. its so wonderful to be celebrating the season in "normal" style- with snow, hot chocolate, mittens, vans that wont start in the cold.... all the fun stuff! Hope you are enjoying it as much as we are! 

Lately Ive been encouraged to find that LOTS of people are reading my blog (which is nice.. cus i didnt think very many were) so Im motivated now to keep updating it more often!! Ill try to get back to doing it once a week.. though theres only so many pics of Rick preaching wearing the same outfit that you guys are gonna want to see!! Im hoping to do a post on our Unique Christmas Gifts in the next week or so, keep your eyes open for that!!
 God Bless,
Rick, Heather & Tendai!

p.s. if you would like to receive our monthly email update send us your email address and we will add you to the list!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Jars of Clay....

In August, I was contacted by Marcia, an extremely talented artist from Wetaskawin. She was asking permission to use my photo as the inspiration for a painting she wanted to do. I was honored (having seen some of Marcia's amazing work already at the Wetaskawin Full Gospel Fellowship before we left Canada), and of course gave her my permission! Here is Marcia, Myself, and the absolutly beautiful painting on the day of its "unveiling" at the church where it will hang. It brought tears to my eyes, knowing that that hand in that picture is one of our grannies, a woman who at a fairly advanced age decided to learn to read and write in the ladies literacy school, run by the mission. She moved from her home, community and friends to help us by being the "house mother" at the orphan home in Chitundo where the orphans in grade 6 & 7 stay during the school year. She makes these pots as a way to have a small income, and takes great pride in decorating each one with a design. They are sold for between 7 and 30 Meticais ( 20 -80 cents) each and involve several days of forming, drying, baking.. 
Rick preaching at Wetaskawin Full Gospel Fellowship this past Sunday.

I was especially moved when Marcia told me that she hoped this painting would remind me of our work in Africa.. and it does. We are helping to "form and mold" the leaders of the church, by teaching and encouraging, so that they are able to in turn to do the same with their churches. We also are reminded by the verse, that we have a great treasure, good news, to share, and thru God's Grace are able to use our earthly resources and talents to bring that news to the people of Mozambique- whether in words, or thru our actions every time we love an Orphan, widow, sick villager or struggling pastor with the Love of Jesus.

Our last week in Alberta was very busy (just like the first one!). We visited Keren's (remember Keren? she was the nurse from Alberta who spent Ten months with us on the farm) parents for an afternoon- which was a lot of fun as they have a whole "store" of toys hiding under their stairs!
We also visited Miss Suzanne (who let Tendai play with her stethescope) and Shannon and Jodi, and others from Three Hills Alberta. Was great to see some familiar faces from the Prairie Bible nursing teams!

The next day we travelled to Athabasca to see some friends we know from our Youth Pastoring days in Killarney Manitoba, was great to be able to fellowship and encourage some freinds. Rick and Bruce enjoyed some time hunting while Deidre and I took care of the munchkins, and visited at home. 
 (dont they look like they could be brothers???) (they arent)

We also spent an evening in Calgary with family there, and accompanied them to their churches annual Family Fest... Tendai went as a lion and was sooooo cute!
Finally.. after driving thru the night we arrived home Monday afternoon. Tendai got to try out her new borrowed toddler bed and much to our suprise went right to sleep in it.. no problems! Its no wonder she was exhausted.. we have been going going going for two weeks straight.. nice to have a week of just work and home and visiting folks close by!!! We are so thankful for this "retirement fund" house and also for fantastic weather! Praise the Lord we are all still reasonably healthy ( colds and runny noses but in the grand scheme of things thats nothing!), our vehicle is doing great and we have been booking into lots of churches. We are now booked up till end of the year, and most of January!
Thank you for all your prayers- your continued prayers for our travel safety, health, and finances are appreciated! God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On the Road again!

not quite able to touch the spot where Wetaskawin is!

Hi all! As you can see from our lovely model we are currently in Alberta! We are pretty busy visiting with folks, speaking in churches, youth groups and meeting with mission committees but we are having a great time! We were so encouraged by the folks at Carrot Creek Christian Fellowship this past weekend, and we are glad to know that there are many there who pray for us faithfully.
Currently we are based in Wetaskawin, south of Edmonton, where the Full Gospel Fellowship has a "prophets chamber" apartment, set aside for visiting missionaries, pastors or those in need. This place has blessed us already and we truly do look forward to the next two weeks here.
Thank you for your continued prayers as we travel around Alberta, and then back to Manitoba in the first week of November. We also appreciate prayers for our health as we seem to have arrived just as cold and flu season is kicking off!
Here are a few pictures from the last week, Blessings, Rick, Heather & Tendai Neufeld!

 Rick preaching at Carrot Creek Christian Fellowship
 Tendai hasnt quite gotten used to North American style worship services yet!
Just hanging out with two wonderful people, George and Carolyn Stone- we so appreciated their hospitality, generosity, and prayers! (and the homemade jam, pickles, moose meat stew and meatballs were pretty good too!!)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yikes.. its been one VERY busy week!!

What a crazy week it has been! We flew out of Jo-burg last Wednesday night and havent stopped moving since! Tendai was a trooper and did great travelling! She had FIVE different flights in less than five days, but had no problems whatsoever with the UP and DOWN or the sitting for long periods- sure she got a bit antsy, but nothing a walk in the aisles or a fort built by daddy (see below) couldnt fix!

Once we arrived in New Brunswick we had some important visiting to do (including suprising both my parents  and my granmother) None of them had ANY idea we were coming so it was great to be ale to see the looks of absolute SHOCK on their faces when we arrived. And to make it even better it was my Grandmothers birthday! She said meeting her great grandaughter all the way from africa for the first time was the best birthday present she has ever gotten!

Tendai also enjoyed some spoiling by her grandma!
Rick was able to preach and share about our ministry at Hampton Baptist Church - where I myself attended as a toddler!  Watching the video on the big screen reminded me of how much I miss the orphan kids I work with ... it will be a long six-seven months until I see them again!  We are looking forward so much to sharing about the work we do with Orphans and Widows, the training seminars with Pastors and our heart to see the communities we are involved with grow and change in so many positive ways. If you see us out and about, dont be scared to ask about our work in Mozambique, it is our passion and we love to share about the many areas of community development and ministry we are involved in! It has been so exciting these past two years to see how we can really be agents for positive change if we let God work thru us and in us!
One last pic with Grammie and Grampie Clarke, before we head west to Manitoba!

Welcome to Manitoba! this is our Home Church's welcome sign.. dont we feel special!?
 Once we arrived in MB its been a whirlwind of errands (gotta renew the all important driving licenses), visits with friends and family, and moving into our "retirement fund"house. Thanks to some REALLY generous folks, who allowed us to purchase a newly built house at pretty much "cost", we have been able to build a house that will be rented out while we spend the forseeable future in Mozambique- then, way way down the road we will have a house we can live in once we retire and wont have to worry about a mortgage or rent! Its a huge blessing and one we NEVER expected to recieve.. but God is good that way- he throws little and big things our way just to remind us He cares!

Its nice to know our Canadian Retirement plans are looking up- although I sincerely hope not to making use of them for at least 20-some years! Back home in Mozambique our garage is nearing completion, and now we will need to start thinking about starting on our permanent house. Up until now we have been renting a short termer cottage... but the short term visitors are kinda needing it more and more, and we are definetly needing more space since we hope to expand our family even more when we return and we are desperatly needing office and storage space for the ministry!

Thanks for all the prayers for Tendai's visa, we do appreciate them so much! God worked everything out in the most amazing ways! Please continue to pray for us as we being travelling this coming week (we are coming out to Alberta, so if you would like to visit with us, let us know.. our sundays are booked but we have lots of time during the weeks to visit, or speak at youth groups, awana clubs, small groups, etc.) On this trip we will be in Alberta till October 31st. Please pray for  safety while traveling, that we will be able to share about our ministry and work effectively and clearly and that we will have a good time of renewal and fellowship with our supporting churches, friends and family.
God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai