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!