Thursday, June 17, 2010

Things I'm grateful for.

A husband who shares my faith, loves me unconditionally and isnt interested in adding a few more wives to the household (like many mozambiquan men do). Im also grateful that he is willing to spend 12 days alone up north leading seminars- because Im pretty sure I couldnt do that!

A beautiful healthy daughter who has already suffered much more change and loss in her life than I have in mine, and yet manages to smile 90% of every day. (and for those who dont know, her name means "be grateful to God" in the local dialect of Shona)

A secure home, even though it has its own group of interesting night neighbors (what was that in the attic last night??!!), is still much better than the typical mozambiquan's home that has numerous rats running thru it every moment of the day.

Our shoprite grocery store, even though its an hour away and is full of rats and weevils and who knows what else, because it carries ice cream sometimes, peanut butter most times, and coke almost all the time- and everyone knows you need those to survive in the bush. :)

My freezer. It keeps the previously mentioned items edible.

My coworkers who understand that even though we live in nice houses and are able to shop at the shoprite its okay to still feel like you are in the backwoods bush because you are so far from friends, family, "civilization", a church family, a walmart, and electricity that isnt diesel powered. They also "get" the crazyness of life here, and can be a shoulder to cry on when no one else "understands." (like when you are shivering in Africa from Malarial chills and they just say "can I make the fire hotter for you?")

My truck. ( or "bakkie" as its called here) Oh how i appreciate its large shiny bush rack, and its incredible ability to navigate seemingly bottomless potholes with "ease"- and to keep our family safe as we travel to seminars, government offices, shoprite, church.... etc.

Our Friends M & A in town who give of their time so often to make our days easier- and are a constant source of encouragement. (Not to mention we have a standing invitation to stop by their house and use their nice clean washroom - they even provide the toilet paper!!! And trust me, that kinda offer is huge around here- you havent seen disgusting till you have seen a mozambiquan service station restroom - and since im focusing on things im thankful for im just gonna leave it at that!)

My home churches. I miss them so much right now, and am grateful for their prayers and support. One of the things im looking forward to most about our furlough is worshipping with both of our "home churches" in Manitoba- in English!!!!

The nice new birth certificate I have in my hands.. it lists ME as Tendai's mother!!!! (and Tendai Neufeld as her OFFICIAL name!)

My friends and family who send me wonderful letters, email's and packages from home- they make my day!

My new home- Mozambique, for all its frustrating things, is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and every time I drive home from town I am reminded of this. I love that I live here, I love that I am called to be here, and I love that I get to see such beauty on a regular basis.

And so many many more things, but to list them all would take far to long. But for one last thing Im grateful for- all our supporters, both financially and in prayer, because without them we could not continue here.

God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Another busy few weeks- but oh so much fun!

One Sunday Afternoon we were able to watch our local community soccer team playing the team from Pungue (just up the road). Here, Gabriel's son gets a good seat sitting on the lap of one of the nursing students as he watches his dad play. (blue shorts)

It has been a busy few weeks, but we have been having a lot of fun, hosting the first nursing team, and then spending a week preparing for the arrival of the second team. We also have been busy getting Tendai's paperwork done. So far we have the judges official adoption declaration (finally!!!), and will be picking up her new birth certificate and name change documents tomorow (we hope). Then we still need to apply for her Identity Card, then her passport, and finally, a visitors visa for Canada. Please continue to pray with us that the process will go quickly, and we will be able to procure a visa for her without too much trouble!
 The following are a few more pics from our adventures up north during the last training seminars, as well as from the last few weeks. Rick is leaving on Thursday for another twelve days up north, training more pastors and church leaders in the basics of Children's Ministry. 
During our time up north we took a "short" trip on the Zambezi in a dugout canoe, with our daughter, and no lifejackets. The "short" trip we asked for turned into a two hour ordeal in the mid day sun in the hottest place on the planet im sure. In this pic one of our guides hopped out of the boat to pull us across a sand bar. (remember these are crocodile infested waters!!! ahhhhh)
nearing the end of the journey- Tendai was less than impressed.
Tendai has been really excited about "helping" lately- whether its helping Lovemore with house work, or helping hand out orphan food or plates of sudza at the school. I love that she loves to help, and is learning to serve others at such a young age!
Playing Peek-a-boo with mommy while delivering the orphan food for June.
The kids in our orphan program have been making some presents for their sponsors. Hopefully I can get to the whole group before the nursing team goes homes so I can send these gorgeous flower pens back to Canada with them! 
I think the boys may have put more effort into these pens then the girls did even! They loved picking out just the right combination of flower colors and arranging them "just so".
such a pretty bunch of flowers! (pens)
the kids from our chitundo orphan house along with the granny who looks after them.
one of the dugout canoes they use to ferry people and goods across the Shire river. Too bad the actual ferry wasnt working, cus we had to take the long way back home- making our drive nearly 7 hours longer!!!
This is Cervelia (i think thats how you spell it), she is the daughter of one of the widows we work with. Her mother has only one leg, and she herself is blind. They have a very tough life, but are NEVER without a smile! Its hard enough to pound maize normally, I cant imagine having to do it BLIND!
Suzanne made a friend the other day as we took some pics along the railroad tracks.
YEY! Work on our garage is continuing. Its actually much further along than this now- they are waiting now for the foundation walls to be filled in so that we can pour the floor! How exciting!
Lovemore took Tendai for a walk in her wagon the other day- i think both of them had a TON of fun.
Keren , Suzanne and I had a ton of fun the other day taking pics along some railroad tracks about an hour from our house. Was nice to get out for a saturday afternoon and just hang out with friends (something i dont get to do often here!)
of course we got quite a bit of attention with all our photo taking, so we managed to teach a young boy how to take a pic of all three of us. He was actually pretty good as you can see!
Good times were had by all!
I just like this picture and wanted to share it with everyone. Rick took me to a hotel for night for my birthday. We took pics on the beach in the morning and Tendai had so much fun playing in the sand!
Its easy to get wet when the waves are crashing up to your waist!

The second prairie team has already arrived and are busy getting ready to start being very very busy! I will be helping to host the team for the first few days, until Dwight and Lynn are back from south africa. Currently they are waiting for Dwights paperwork to be aproved so he can fly the mission plane back here- with the world cup of soccer being held there the security restrictions are much more severe! Please pray for a good time of fellowship with the team, for Rick as he travels, for me as I stay home and for tendai's paperwork, and our travel plans as well.
God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bad Bad Blogger!

Hi all, I know I have been a horrible blogger as of late, but I do have good reason! Between hosting two seperate short term teams, finalizing Tendai's adoption, starting construction on our garage, having malaria (three times between the two of us), and numerous trips to town in attempts to get our documents for Tendai (thus far fruitless attempts), I havent had any chance to blog. Really. I havent. The one time i tried I got nearly all the way done and then Blogger shut down on me!  So... after all those excuses, i say... sorry. Ill try to not leave so long between posts. Hopefully I can make it up to you by showing you an assortment of awesome pics from Mike and Marie-Eve's month long visit.  They spent a week and a half up north helping with seminars and seeing what it is we do here, they helped with lunch time feeding at the school, lessons at the preschool, orphan meetings, delivering the Unique Christmas Gifts Orphan Care packs, and so much more!
Orphan children wait patiently for a meal and their care packs.
Mike plays soccer with the some of our school kids. I think they beat him soundly!

Empty plates waiting to be filled and handed over to waiting hands and hungry mouths.

Rick and I delivering a pack of game supplies, chalk, notebooks, and crayons to the Orphan Program leaders in Baue. The lady in the yellow is the community leader who came to see what the fuss was all about. :)

Mike and Marie-Eve hand out Toothbrushes. pencils and balloons to the orphans who were not recieving care packs.  (We had enough donations for 64 packs, so we decided to bless two groups who had roughly that amount of orphans who were "full orphans" of both parents. The rest received a small treat as well as the entire program received funds to help with their feeding programs, so all the kids would receive food each week.)

Marie-Eve tries out maize pounding and quickly realizes why the women do it at 4 in the morning and wake her up. (It is VERY hot, hard work!)

making friends :)
one of the girls in our community- such a quite beauty
Mike hands a very very happy orphan her Care Pack.
Feeding the hungry preschoolers at Mucombeze Interior Primary School.

Excited to see what is in store!!

Even Tendai got in on the "giving"- she had a lot of fun handing out the blankets.

Its hot hard work to scoop out the sudza and beans for the kids.

Preschool sticker fun!

Trust me she was happy- it was just realllly bright.

Reaching out for "seconds"- they love their sudza!

On our way home from up north we had a flat tire! Took all three of us (Mike, Me and Tendai) to figure out the strange contraption they had for lowering the spare tire.

MMMMMMM rice, goat and beans!!

At the Childrens Ministry Training Seminar Rick teaches about faith- this is even scarier here than it is at home, since the whole explanation of what these guys are supposed to do, can very easily get "lost in translation"

At the CMTS, Rick has the participants act out Noah and the Ark. Those are the animals trying to fit into the "ark" with Noah and his family... its a tight fit.

The kids are allways curious what we are teaching about... and find watching adults acting so "silly" very funny.

Rick gives Pastor Felix and Pastor Peticanso a soccer ball to use for their orphan program. A good quality soccer ball is like gold to programs like theirs. They can use it to bring kids in to play and hear the gospel. The entire time we were up there, we had children standing around our tents... almost all day (literally) saying... "balla... balla" asking to use our soccer ball.

And to end off this post.. a great pic of Tendai who is practically running these days!
I had so many good pictures from this past month, that I will most likely have to post another whole blog of more photos.

Thank you again for your prayers. If you would like to be included in our email updates that are sent out once a month, please send us an email at rhneufeld at hotmail dot com and we will add you to our list. We hope to be posting a video on youtube in the next week or so, so keep an eye out for a link to it as well. Blessings!
Rick, Heather & Tendai