Sunday, September 23, 2012

Flat Stanley... meet Flat Tendai

Tendai and her sidekick "Flat Tendai" (Thanks to John (from the Do Crew team) who fixed her up all nice so she stands on her own and is safe to handle!)

Have you ever heard of Flat Stanley? If not.. click here for a quick over view of what he is. We decided to kinda tweak the idea a little and create Flat Tendai- A life size cutout of Tendai who will go home with each of the families in our church for a week over the following year. Each family will be responsible to pray for flat tendai's "real" family ( aka: us!) over in Mozambique during their week of hosting, as well as taking Flat Tendai with them during the week, using the included camera to take pictures recording her "adventures" with them.  There is a journal for keeping track of who she stayed with and when and each family is encouraged to either write us an email or a letter to tell us a bit about themselves and such. 
Our Children's church kids and leaders gather around me and Tendai to pray for us.

 Flat Tendai is our way of keeping the kids in our church connected to us and our work in Mozambique. These kids pray for us weekly, they send us cards, care packages and when we are home on furlough they gather round, lay hands and pray like only children can, for our safety and well being. We are praying that this little project will keep them even more involved in our work- who knows, some of these kids might be the missionaries of tomorrow!
Introducing the Flat Tendai adventure to the kids.

Today was the kickoff of the project. Tendai and I went to children's church to explain the project and get a photo with the very first family who was taking her home. This evening they invited us for a hot dog roast so we got to get a few pictures of Flat Tendai in her "host family."
George and Joanne Friesen and their kids, the first host family for Flat Tendai!

 I hope to be able to blog about Flat Tendai and her adventures once a month. The kids are really excited and are already planning where they can take her and how they can tell other kids about WHY they are lugging a life size cutout of this kid around with them. Some of the older kids were discussing how they could explain prayer and what we do in Mozambique to others! (I think some of these kids ALREADY ARE missionaries and they dont even know it yet!)

 Flat Tendai's first adventure- a hot dog roast with her host family and friends!

I also was able to share a bit with the congregation at the Grunthal Bergthaler Church this morning, giving a brief update on our work as well as a Thank You for all of their prayers and support. I really do miss Rick a lot at times like this since he is a much better speaker than I!

In other news, our house is coming along nicely- Rick was able to get some temporary lights connected in the house so now one whole side of the house has LIGHTS connected to the breaker box that FUNCTION!!! Its a small step, but for us a pretty significant one!
 Tendai's bedroom with plaster on the walls and a working light! So Exciting!
Main room, nearly finished with plastering.

Rick installing outlets in the bedrooms.
 Our area of Mozambique has had a very very dry, "dry season" more so than normal. So when the first rains hit our termite eaten "garage" for mission vehicles it just fell right over. oops. :) They are fixing it.. dont worry.
 Rick and Lynn discussing what can be done to fix the garage.
 On Friday, the Orphan kids that we work with, along with the external students (students who are continuing their education past our schools grade levels) came to the farm for a "seminar" of sorts, led by some members of the Rotary Club in Chimoio. Many of the Rotary Club members are friends of ours and have expressed a real interest in mentoring and encouraging the kids to stay in school, stay out of unhealthy relationships, etc.
 While they waited for the Rotary Club members to arrive, Bero (you may remember him- hes the student who had the surgery to help him extend his arms more after having them burned badly as a young child and being unable to use them until just recently- but look at him now.. he can wear a regular shirt!!! yey!) showed them one of his favorite things to do, besides study and ride his bike, is to show off his flexibility. :)
One of my FAVORITE pictures of our Mission Leader, Dwight ever. Here is carrying a young girl from our school, who recently had her right leg amputated after suffering for over two weeks from a snake bite! (puff adder- fairly common in our area) Unfortunately the traditional healer's methods did not work, and by the time they sought help from Lynn and the clinic staff, it was too late. Despite the trauma of the last month, she still has a gorgeous smile and a positive attitude. Please pray for this young lady as she will have a lot of adjusting in the near future. 

Well, that is it for this week we of course still appreciate all your prayers and support and are thankful for all those who take time to pray for us each day. I met someone this week who told me her phone, home computer, work computer and laptop all had alarm reminders on them that went off during the day reminding her to pray for Rick, Tendai and Myself each day- Wow! what an incredible blessing to know we have folks like that standing behind us, lifting us up to the Father!

Prayer and Praise:
- for health and safety 
-for the orphan and school children as they begin preparing for the end of the school year (end of October) along with exams etc.
-for Rick as he leads several seminars on Children's ministry in the next month
-that our house will continue to move forward, and that funds for the project will continue to come in so we dont have to stop work.
-that the Flat Tendai project will be a success and the kids will enjoy getting to know more about us, praying for us and learning about Mozambique.
-Praise for a good time of fellowship today and the ability to visit supporting churches.
-Praise for the progress on our house!
-Praise that the young girls leg is healing and her life was spared.
-Praise for Local Mozambican people who are excited about reaching out and mentoring the youth in our area!
-Praise for Rain- as I wrote this blog I heard from a friend in Chimoio that a thunderstorm had rolled in, bringing with it a good dose of much needed rain to the area. Sure hope some of it got to our farm!

God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai Neufeld

Sunday, September 16, 2012

On two Continents

Well, its been 11 days since Rick went back to Africa, and we have spent most of them here in New Brunswick and PEI with my mom and dad and family. Its been great for Tendai to have so much time with her grandma and grandpa, and to meet so many of her aunties and uncles and cousins, though she is missing her daddy terribly. She was also treated to her first visit to Green Gables and "Avonlea" of Anne of Green Gables fame, and even got to go see the musical with me, my sister and mom. (Though i would not recommend taking a three year old to a three hour musical to anyone anytime soon).  Its been a great week, and we are gearing up to head back to Manitoba and get some office work done and finish up our visits with family, friends and supporters.
While we were here I also got to share with one of our supporting churches, Dawson Settlement Baptist Church (where my mother attended as a teenager) where they are celebrating 160 YEARS of ministry in the same location in the same community. Amazing. I was able to share about our work and several stories from our ministry over the last year. Such a blessing to have churches like this one, praying for us and supporting us.
Here's a few pics from the last week.
 Tendai and I in front of the Confederation Bridge (its 13 KM long!!)
 Tendai's first steps in the Atlantic Ocean! (that's ocean number two!)
 Tendai standing in front of the Parliament Buildings in Charlottetown PEI where Canada officially became a nation.

Grandma and Grandpa Clarke with Tendai on the steps in the Parliament Buildings.

Tendai where the signing of the documents took place. A proud new Canadian in the place where it all started. The staff gave her a Canada pin and a Canada flag. :)
Milking the "cow" at Green Gables, the home where the fictional Anne Shirley (of Green Gables) lived.  The cow is not real.
Me sharing with the congregation at Dawson Settlement Church. I really missed Rick when I had to get up and share since he is the one who usually does that- its a gift of his! :)
 Hopefully I will soon have pictures from Rick showing the progress on our house, and have an update from him on all that is happening! Please continue to pray for us as a family as we are separated by many miles and oceans.  Specific Requests:
- safety Rick in Moz and Tendai and I in Canada as we travel many miles, and health as well.
-For some of the grannies in the Amigo Orphan Program who have been very ill lately, including Granny M who we recently found out is 101 years old!! Also some of the children have been ill.
-That progress on our house will be able to continue, and that we will have the funds we need to continue work without delay. We have lots to do yet, but are aiming to be in our house early in the new year, if at all possible.
-for Rick as he prepares for several seminars in the next month. He will be teaching Children's Ministry training seminars in several communities.

God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dont worry... we are still alive. Really.

Wow. It has been so long since my last post. There are many reasons for my abscence, not the least of which is continued computer issues, but also on the list is extreme busyness, family activities, promotional videos and more computer problems. :) But, Im back, learning how to use my improved computer and ready to blog again!!
Pretty much Im going to give you the rundown of the last month or so, with TONS of pictures. Right now Tendai and I are still in Canada, but Rick has just returned to Africa to continue work on our home, and run several Children's Ministry Training Seminars before Tendai and I return to Mozambique in Mid October. While here Tendai and I are trying to get together with some of our sponsors and prayer supporters, and will also be attending a conference to represent the mission here in Winnipeg. 
We have also been enjoying our time worshipping with our home church, and seeing all the folks from the team that came to visit us in July. The team was such an encouragement to us when they came and it has been so amazing to see and hear them share about their experiences as well.
And now, as promised, here are a TON of pictures....

While the team was out they:
 cuddled lots of babies! (this is Kristina holding Christina)
 Gave out blankets to orphans in our program.
 Gave our clothes to orphans in our program.
 Fixed numerous vehicle problems that occured at the most inoportune of times.
 Painted orphan homes.
 Met their sponsored kids!
 Learned to cook full meals for large groups in the dirt.
 Journaled countless memories and life changing moments.
 Dug and/or constructed four latrines.
 Chased down Amigo Orphans (not really... they were racing!)
 Formed buns in a mud brick bakery.
 Formed bread loaves in the same bakery.
 Baked them in a crazy hot clay oven.
 Spent a day on safari.
 Saw gorgeous sunsets.
 tried not to fall off the rocks.
 went a little crazy.
 built a roof, carried a roof, and put it on!
 Made the day of a very grateful family!
 Put the roof and ceiling up on OUR house!!! :)
 Played with yet more kids!
 Danced with lots of kids.
 Cuddled with more kids!
 Hung out on a rock!
 Hung out in the Indian Ocean.
 Took a break.
 Said goodbye to friends.
Said goodbye to us!

The team was such a blessing to us. If you live around here and have a chance to get together with one of them to hear about their trip please do! They all have great stories. Also, if you are in this area, check out their dessert and sharing evening on September 11th, at 7 pm, at Grunthal Abundant Life Fellowship- there will be yummy treats, coffee, pictures and lots of sharing of what impacted them the most during the trip!

Since arriving back here in Canada we have been busy as well. Our main reason for coming home was to attend Rick's brother Kevin's wedding to Breanne (who was on the Team that visited us). We had a fabulous time at the wedding and are so grateful that we could attend as a family.
 The very happy newlyweds!
 Family Pics
 The first pic with Kev she would smile for... before this she had been rather ticked that SHE wasnt marrying her Unca!
So beautiful! (both of them!)

We also spent one week at the Hanover Agricutlural Fair, which aside from being lots of fun, was a great place to meet up with tons of our prayer and financial supporters in one location without having to drive around for hours!
Tendai learned how to milk a "cow"
And enjoyed LITERALLY hours on the bouncy slides.

We also got to go camping with our friends for a few days-
 and ride their horses.
 go for little hikes
 pose for tons of pictures.
 play in the "desert"
and even Mommy rode a horse!

And one day we went to a childrens museum where Tendai had a BLAST.

 she was so excited she could hardly contain herself.
She even learned a few things about how water works.

So there you have it, weve had a busy month and a bit! Tendai and I are glad to have some more time in Canada, but we are also missing our home in Africa, and cant wait to be there helping with so many of the projects- the training seminars, the orphan program, planning for DVBS and of course, helping get our house finished!!!!

There are lots of things that you can pray for at this time, including continued health for us all, and safety as well. Tendai and I are going to be missing Rick quite a bit so we would love to have some prayer for us as well. Other items include:
- that Rick would be able to get lots done on the house in the next few weeks. The guys are currently plastering all of the walls!
- that the funds we need for our house project would come in. We are getting into the stage where several more big projects are looming- flooring, painting, kitchen and appliances and all the bathroom fixtures and lights. Sometimes it feels like a lot!
-for several of the children in our Amigo Orphan Program. Several have left the program lately for various reasons, and another little boy is very sick and could use your prayers as well. The doctor feels that he may actually have a heart condition, so please pray we can figure out what is causing his troubles.

Thank you again for all of your prayers and support!
God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai!