Monday, October 17, 2011

is it mid october already?

These past few weeks we have had quite a bit of rain, even though its not rainy season yet.. at all! We have been thankful for the roof over our heads as the rain has come down pretty hard at times! Although we are enjoying the early rains, we do hope they slow a bit so we can get some much needed sand from the "dry" riverbed before the path becomes to soft for the big truck to enter. All the construction projects on the farm need the sand so its very important that we get as much as we can before the rains "really" come!

We are also excited to have the trusses finally going up on the rest of our garage. Once they are all up then we can finish the roof sheets and our garage will be completely ready for rainy season! Woohoo!

Its also exciting that we now have almost all the supplies we need to pour the floor on our house! This includes A LOT of cement (this is about half of what we will need) and also rebar to support the floor as well. The guys are SOOO close to finishing the filling of the foundation- and then they will need to prep the floor to be poured (that means a lot of rebar and leveling etc) And then we will be pouring! I cant wait for the floor to be on. For me it feels like everything up to this point has been preparation for building the house, and now we are so close to actually BUILDING the house! 

We appreciate your prayers for the funding we need and the supplies we need to be available.  As Dwight and Lynn put it when they moved into their permanent home here on the base (from the tiny cottage they were in, similar to ours) "(their) "survivability" level went WAY up." In other words, when you have a place that feels like home to you, your chances of sticking it out here in the bush go way up! We love our work here, we love the people we work with, and cant wait to have a place for our family- because we plan on staying for a really long time!

this is from last week, there is already another whole brick covered in the verandah!

Rick has been working hard to keep the guys at the training centre on track as they race to finish the work needed before the rainy season arrives. We want to use the center for the upcoming Seminars for our Pastors in November. There is so much work to be done, but it looks like we will at least be able to use the training centre even if its not totally complete. It has been many years in the making so this is pretty exciting to see the roof go on and know that it will be at least useable soon!

Heather and Tendai have been busy working on some preschool activities during the day and my usual work as well. I was so excited last week when we got the marks for most of our orphan kids from the school. Overall they are doing really well, but one family stood out as having EXCEPTIONAL marks. 
One of the kids in the Amigo Orphan Program receives school supplies and texts!

In mozambique students are marked out of twenty. Ten is a pass (so 50%).  Most kids hover right around that mark, just barely passing is completely normal and meets the status quo so no one really pushes them much harder. We have spent a good amount of time lately encouraging our kids towards excellence, not just "good enough to pass" and have even started tutoring some of the older kids. Our hope is to have tutoring for all the kids soon,  we just need to find the right person to do it! All that to say, in a sea of good marks (10-13's) three of our kids had consistent 15's and above and even a few 19's!!! I was quite impressed. There are a few kids who are having some issues, but having their marks and attendance records will really help us to come up with a plan of action to help them! 

I was beginning to feel like perhaps it was the educational system that was flawed, that the kids here were not being taught well enough to receive high marks, since it seemed that EVERYONE was getting what I would consider low marks. Now that I have seen that its POSSIBLE for them to Excel, I am so much more motivated to see all of our kids do well! Please pray that we can find someone who can help us tutoring the children in our program part time. 

Our little zoo is doing well.. both duikers seem to be doing well and both of them LOVE when Rick comes with their bottles... they run straight for him! Its the most adorable thing, and they are so cute, but since we are hoping to release them into the wild eventually, we limit our "cuddling" with them to feeding times so they don't get too used to us.

Pretty much since we got home in April, Rick, and Domingo (our shepherd) have been trying numerous methods of capture to try and catch the Crocodile that has been eating our sheep and lambs. Its literally been months of baiting the thing- I am sure we have fed that thing at least twenty chickens, numerous other hunks of meat, at least a dozen fishhooks and all sorts of other things. Today Domingo came to wake us up early and tell us that the Croc had been CAUGHT! (and using his simple drag a net across the river and leave it method.. no bait, no hooks, no wire... Way to Go Domingo!)  

Rick had to go help him get the thing out of the river and brought it back to our house so the guys could skin it. (If you catch a crocodile you might as well keep the skin!) Unfortunately since it had died in the water during the night we couldn't eat the meat, its never a good idea to eat wild meat you didnt actually kill. Too bad since it was a lot of very good looking meat!

He wasnt a huge croc by Zambezi river standards, but for our little Mucombedze river, which isnt even really supposed to HAVE crocodiles hes a fairly good size! We all touched his skin, which felt like rubber and then two of the guys skinned him, and spread his skin to dry. Will be interesting to see how it turns out.

As always we covet your prayers and we love to hear from you! Its always encouraging for us to get emails from home, comments on the blog or even cards in the mail. Specific prayers for right now include prayers for our health as Rick has Malaria and both Tendai and I have had a stomach bug for a few days now. And we just had ANOTHER snake on our yard as I was writing this update! Lovemore came running with Tendai who was "helping him" and brought her inside before going back out to whack it and kill it with a long piece of rebar.  Prayers for safety from the creepy crawleys like Snakes, scorpions, stinging centipedes etc are always appreciated.

To close off Ill post a few pics of the gorgeous Mozambican scenery. Lately weve been taking one afternoon each weekend to drive with no exact destination in mind, but to just enjoy the drive and scenery along the way! Weve visited mountains, forests and even spent some time visiting a few of the churches pastored by men in our Training program.
 children dancing at an outside church gathering in Catandica
 Pastor Paulo's daughter joins the "choir" to sing and dance.
 large areas of clear cut forests of mature trees...  most likely for charcoal production.. so sad.
 see the sign up there beside the huge area of trees cut off??? it says.. "conserve the plants", other signs nearby said "conserve the forest", and similar slogans!
 The view over Catandica from the top of the Serra Choa mountians. SO pretty. The drive up was breathtaking thru hairpin turns on the steep side of a mountain covered in gorgeous Mozambican forest!
 on the other side of the mountian the landscape changed drastically, it was like stepping into scotland or ireland or something. No more forest, just hill after hill of rocky pastures with short grass. The sky was amazing. We will definetly be going back there again.. it was spectacular!
 going further into the mountains we arrived at yet more hairpin turns winding up the hillside.
amazing fall colors... except here these are SPRING colors!  The red leaves are actually the new growth, they turn green as they mature!

Thanks again for your prayers and support, we appreciate them all! Please feel free to drop us a line any time!
God Bless,
Rick, Heather & Tendai Neufeld

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