Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Journey up north .... seminars, water pumps, and a whole lot of fun!

 Smiles in Chireza
 Rick handing out Certificates to a  Faith Bible Seminary student.
 Even the very little ones carry the littler ones!
 Listening to Rick as he teaches.

We spent the middle part of June enjoying a family ministry trip to several villages north of the Zambezi. While Rick led seminars with the pastors and children's ministry workers, Tendai and I built relationships with the rest of the folks. Tendai had a blast playing with anyone who was willing, and I enjoyed hanging out with the children or women or whoever happened to be around. I helped a teeny tiny bit with the seminars, but really enjoyed getting to know some of the pastors wives, and Simukai students. (Simukai is the mission's Literacy Program fro Women). 

Our trip up was good, although uncharacteristically wet for this time of year meaning the road was muddy, muddy, muddy! We were even able to meet up with some friends in Tete for a quick bite to eat before continuing on our way.

We arrived at our first destination literally 30 seconds before a big truck full of logging company workers arrived- Praise the Lord for that, otherwise I dont think we would have had a room... at least not a "nice" one with a toilet- (it didnt really flush you had to get water from the shower (cold) to flush it, but its better than having to walk across the courtyard to the communal one, thats for sure!!!)

We got up bright and early and headed out , got to see a lovely sunrise thru the mist over the banana plants, and were on our way to Chireza. Two years ago I was the first white woman to have EVER visited that village. (at least in any living persons memory). This time around I was the .... SECOND white woman to visit that village! :) To be honest, I didnt think there were many places left on the planet where that was even possible- certainly not any here, only a few hundred kilometres from big cities! As we got closer to Chireza we were met by Pastor Januario, who helped us navigate over the "rock bridge" and over the "road" to the community. As we approached the rock bridge, I heard him whisper in the back of the truck, "Jesus Ajudanos" (which means, "Jesus help us"). Not exactly encouraging..... :) We made it over safely however and as we approached the village, still probably about 2 or 3 kilometres out, Tendai noticed that the children started to wave and run after the truck, shouting, Mama! Mama!.  This confused her, and she said, "mommy, why are they calling you mama? you are MY mama!" I responded that they werent calling me "mama", they were saying something in the local language that we didnt understand. Pastor Januario quickly corrected me however saying, "No , Senhora Missionaria (what most of the Pastors call me- its means Mrs. Missionary), they are calling you Mama, you are the only foreigner woman to have visited us, and the whole community sees you as their Mama! We are so grateful you come to visit us!"
Pastor Januario and the boys soccer team. I seriously think they are allowed to wear these shirts once a year, when we show up. They have been around for so long! 

Talk about incredibly humbling. I was followed by dozens of children EVERYWHERE I went. The women wanted to see my hair and feel my skin. And when I joined in the dancing during the service the ululating went "thru the roof!" (Ululating is when they do that noise with their mouth/tongue... hard to describe but the closest thing i can think of is a very rapid yodelling. :) ).

As we were about to leave, the Pastor's wife presented me with an offering of a guinea hen. If you know me, you know i hate chickens. (i can deal with chicks, but once they have real feathers... ick). But I accepted and posed for the photo anyway, and enjoyed her for lunch the next day! 

Times like this are a good reminder for me- this village does not have a well.. not for drinking water or for washing or anything. They dont have electricity. They dont have a school with walls. There is ONE latrine in the whole community, built by our monitor pastor there since we encourage all of them to build one. But despite all of these challenges, it wasnt just the water pump we brought that they thanked us for. They thanked us continually for simply coming. For being there. For being willing to drive nearly 7 hours that day alone (not including the seven hours the day before to get up there) to make a three hour visit to their community. For braving the lack of water, sanitation, roads and power to visit their little community in the middle of "nowhere". It is an example of what we call the "Ministry of Presence". There has been a lot of debate lately over the effectivness of missions, and in particular, short term trips, but it would take an awful lot to convince me to write the whole concept off. 

Obviously, I feel God has called us to missions here otherwise I wouldn't be here, but that calling came as the result of several short term trips as a teenager and young adult. Of course, there are organizations that tack "volunteering" on to the end of a holiday and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside for having "helped", and I'm not talking about those trips. There will allways be short term trips that are badly run and are destructive. I'm talking about the ones I have been a part of, either as participant or host- we work hard to make sure the teams are prepared for what they will experience. We work hard to make sure they are respectful and polite, in both our own culture and the new one they find themselves suddenly in. We don't drive down the road snapping photos willy nilly of every cute little kid we see. I could talk on this subject all day, but my point for this particular post is, we can minister just by being here! The community of Chireza was equally as excited by the brand new water pump they were going to receive, as they were by the fact that we had come. They realize its not comfortable there for us. They know we had to travel a long long way on very very bad roads to come. They know we do not normally eat food like they offer us, but are impressed by the fact that we graciously try everything at least once. Our wilingness to leave the relative "comfort" of our home, whether it be in Mozambique or Canada, is a demonstration of God's Love to them. Money alone simply cannot do the same thing.

In Chireza we gave a water pump to the association of Pastors and Simukai students. They will use the pump to irrigate the maize field or vegetable garden they have, to provide food not only for their own families, but also for the orphan children and widows in the area. I still find it hard to fathom that many of the kids in this community had never seen water flowing out of a hosepipe before! There was a lot of shrieking and laughing when the foot pump started to work!
 putting the pump together
lots of happy folks! (they are standing in front of the "lake" that forms during the wetter time of year, in a few months it will be dry dry dry here, but if they dig a few metres down, the water table is easily accessible and irrigation possible for those with a pump!)

We were incredibly blessed by our time in Chireza, and I look forward to returning again some day! Ill be back with another blog post in a few days that highlights the rest of our up north trip!
God Bless - Rick, Heather & Tendai!
sunset on the way to our next destination

p.s. You may have noticed that Ive included several short videos in this blog post. Lately we have been uploading very simple unedited videos that depict life and our work here, onto our YouTube channel. We have about twenty up so far, and would LOVE it if you would take a moment and go check them out. Our channel/ user name is MrsMozzie123. We update weekly and you can subscribe to our channel to get notifications of when we do. Some of them are just fun, others serious or some explain typical life, or some of the work we do. We hope you will enjoy them! If you do can you let us know? We want to know if people are actually watching and enjoying them! Heres one more just to make you smile... trust me... you will smile. :)

p.p.s. as a side note. Chireza may not have a working well, a school, many latrines, electricity or even musungu visitors very often... but they had 3G internet, from a cell tower across the Zambezi river in the town of Tambara... a few short kilometres away but it might as well be a world away!

1 comment:

BobGuzak said...

Heather, watching the videos of the church services and the dancing and the joy of the people who have so little makes me yearn to come back soon! I am so humbled by what you are doing there as well as proud of you and the team for your accomplishments! I don't know how I can express how I feel in any other way:)