Monday, April 16, 2012

An Onion.

This onion.... brought me such great joy this past week. Really. In over three years of living in Mozambique I have NEVER seen a Red Onion in shoprite. Sometimes they dont even have regular onions (for two months last year!)- which is enough to put this Onion loving lady over the edge, but i managed to survive without them. Surviving without small things that I enjoy and "crave" has become part of our "normal" over here. But back to my Red Onion- I was so excited about this onion- i photographed it- I actually bought a whole bag of them, but split them with another missionary here who was equally as excited about the arrival of a few small bags of the things! They cost us almost a DOLLAR an onion, which to me seems outrageous but i hear the cost of onions is going up back home as well. It seemed to me that i should make sure to use these onions wisely... i mean.. at a buck a peice they had better be used in some GOOD FOOD! As I contemplated how I would use my new treasure, i started thinking about onions in general... how they have layers.... how I have layers (wife, mother, missionary, friend, sister, daughter, aunty, fun loving adventure seeker, scared to try new things scaredy cat, etc).... and finally... how our ministry here has layers. Which brings me to my point! This week was one of those weeks where I saw a whole lot of layers in our ministry! (that was a really long intro to get to that point wasnt it!?)
 (pic of Tendai taken by our friend Shayle)
Our family has decided to make it a point to participate in the English church service in Chimoio (an hour away) on a more regular basis. Its good for us to get out and see other people and enjoy worship and fellowship in a group. The gentleman that usually leads it was gone this week, so Rick and I were asked to take the service. It was so nice for me to hear Rick preach (in English) again, and I enjoyed leading worship (although I was petrified since I dont usually lead worship with my guitar!). Just another layer added to our ministry here- occasionaly reaching out and ministering to those who minister (other missionaries and aid workers). (sorry no pics from then.. we were kinda busy)

This past week one of our mission staff had to bury his wife. This young man has already lost a child in recent months, and now his wife as well! He is broken, hurting and in need of encouragement. At our devotional time the day after the funeral he came, hungry for a dose of encouragement and prayer. It was so awesome to see our missionary staff, and the local staff reach our to lay hands on him, and pray for him in this difficult time. I was nearly brought to tears as I listened to one of our local guys pray passionately in Shona for healing in this mans life. Encouraging and supporting our local community in the struggles, trials... and even in the joys they have- just another layer of our ministry!

A few weeks ago I blogged about two widows who had recieved audio Bibles. This past week I was able to take Vicki and Barb to visit the home of one of the ladies. Vicki and her husband Keith are VERY involved with supporting and promoting the work of the organization who makes these solar Bibles available to us. She was really happy to get to see one of the Bibles in a home, being used!
Listening to Galatians 6:9- encouraging Mae Loliata not to give up!
 While there we also met Mae Loliatas newest grandchild (her oldest daughter is married and lives in Chimoio)- an adorable, as of yet unnamed boy, four day old bundle of cuteness! She joked they would name him "Eric" (thats how they pronounce Rick's name here)- but we shall see if they do! :)
When they are born, even most Mozambican babies look REALLY white, but give him a month or so and he will look like all the other kids! 
Barb prays a blessing for the Baby.
Visiting local homes, distributing audio Bibles, cuddling babies, eating casava root cooked in water from questionable sources- just another layer of our ministry!
 Our house is still progressing, though we are almost to the point where funds are going to be the reason we have to "pause" (or rather, the LACK of funds!) This picture is the back end of our house, that door will lead into Ricks office/ministry storage room. I was very exciting to see the end "peak wall" go up.. it looks so much more like a house now!
 A glimpse of the front part of our house thru the Garage window. The first window on the left will be the living area, the second one is the dining area.
Some of the local staff posing with some donated clothes from South Africa that the mission was able to bless our workers with last week- they also happen to be posing unintentionally with rows upon rows of bricks for our house! Each of these bricks is made by hand using a metal mold. So thankful for workers who have been able to help us save lots of money by making good quality bricks here at the farm rather than having to transport lower quality ones from town!
Building our future here, building our family here, providing jobs to local people so they can build their future and their families- just another layer of our ministry here!
The local community requested that we come with our (the mission's) tractor and try to "level" the community soccer pitch for them.  What they really want is all the clumps of thorns and pokey grass taken out as the pitch itself is actually quite nice and level already. Unfortunately the tractor is no match for mozambican thorns and pokey grass so the community will have to do some field work before the tractor can come back and make it nice and smooth. At least we TRIED! (and in the three short minutes we were there we attracted quite a crowd!) 
Helping the local community (or at least trying to!) have a place for fun and community events- just another layer of our ministry here!

And finally, a few pictures from our annual Easter meal with Francois and Alta (our South African colleagues).  I make a cake for this meal every year. An ice cream cake. It takes a lot of work to make an ice cream cake in Africa (and some planning too bc ice cream isnt allways available!) Francois LOVES ice cream cake, so he is always asking me to make one, but I tell him.. only at Easter! Its too much effort to make those things unless we are celebrating a resurrection! This year I finally "perfected" the cake, the first year the recipe I used resulted in a great tasting but rock hard base. The second year the base was great but the icing was so sweet it could knock you over. This year... we mastered it. It looked and tasted soooo yummy! I even managed to create a few piped chocolate decorations which im pretty proud of!
 The giant chocolate blob in front is the stone in front of the tomb. Its hard to see the chocolate crosses that were standing on the cake.. but they were pretty cool. Thanks to my sister for bringing me real chocolate chips that Ive been hoarding since December!
 Tendai was pretty stoked about the cake. 
 Francois and Tendai rolling away the stone.
 We used a small tupperware dish to create a "tomb" in a section of the cake. Inside was a note saying "He is not here, He is Risen!" I think this will be a new easter tradition for us. Making the tomb did not take much effort over and above the normal effort to make this cake, and it was a neat way to talk about Jesus' resurrection. 
The cake had chocolate butterflys and flowers symbolizing rebirth and new life, and a rainbow cake base - symbolizing God's promise to us! Overall I think it was a pretty meaningful cake- and it tasted REALLY yummy too.
Celebrating God's Blessings with our African friends, encouraging each other in our work here as we are all far from family and things we hold dear, making memories as a family, creating traditions for our home- just another layer of our ministry here!

Thank you for praying for us! As one of our friends recently put it- although we need financial support, packages from home, emails and a familiar voice every once in a while, PRAYER is by FAR our greatest need here on the mission field!  This week we will be travelling to Zimbabwe to attend a seminar to get training on using soccer as an evangelism tool in a large group setting. It should be very interesting and we look forward to meeting with others from all over Africa. We will get to see some old friends (not that they are old, but weve known them for a while) and also get to visit with the pastor who hosted my missions team when I was 16 years old- he and his wife are responsible for igniting a passion for Africa in me! We appreciate your prayers for our safety as we travel and try to avoid getting stopped by corrupt officials.
(another pic by Shayle)

God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai!

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