Friday, November 22, 2013

CHAOS 2013... errr.... oops. I mean.. VBS 2013!

(this is what a week of VBS with 130 kids can do to even the most sane missionary!!! j/k... i was reacting the little fried fish in my hand)
Every year when school is done at our bush school, we host a week of VBS for all the school kids. Its a week of fun, games, food, treats, singing, dancing, and learning. We pick a theme for each year, and encourage the kids to memorize a Bible verse to go along with the theme. This year our theme was "Health" and we all memorized
 Mark 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all of your HEART, with all of your SOUL and with all of your MIND.
We talked about keeping our bodies healthy by eating and excersizing, keeping our mouths healthy by brushing properly- even if we have to use a "bush brush" made out of a stick- , keeping our minds healthy by studying well, keeping our insides healthy by washing ourselves and our food properly, and keeping safe while crossing the roads and around cars. We also spent a bit of time with the older students talking about relationships, and their rights, how STD's are transferred, and what God's plan for sex is.
 All in all it was a GREAT week - even though we ended up doing half the week with less than HALF of the amount of staff we normally have due to a scheduling conflict! OOPS! God brought us some of the older students and two of the orphan boys volunteered all week to help out wherever needed! God also sent some cooler weather so we were not melting- it was hot, but not HOT HOT!!

What follows are a whole whack of photos from the week- they do a much better job than I ever could!
This little guy was the winner of the first round of dodgeball for the week!

washing hands before lunch

every time I see kids (SMALL kids) playing with these bike wheels it reminds me of the episode of the Amazing Race where all the teams had to try and complete a run across the soccer field and back doing the same thing. To this day it cracks me up absolutely hilarious it was to watch grown men and women get sooooo frustrated doing something that is literally child's play for these kids!

Of course, water balloon games were a favorite this year, as they have been in previous years!

Rebecca remembered the memory verse from last year... and the year before that!!!

Enjoying lunch with friends

Lining up for lunch in an orderly manner. Im big on this. I expect the kids to line up nicely and patiently, otherwise it turns into a wrestling match and the little ones get squished at the front!

Pastor Mariano helps to serve up lunch.

Simon doing some warm up stretches with the kids. 

Simon (one of the mission's health workers, and our translator for the week) did most of the health related teaching, while Rick focused on the Bible teaching. Here Simon is teaching the kids about brushing their teeth- using a brush made from the branch of a particular tree and whittled to resemble a fluffy brush. (hey.. when you live in the bush you do what you can!)

Rick checking on smiles!

The older girls won the Water balloon catching competition... which meant they got to throw all their baloons at the boys! She looks way to happy about this!

bad day to be a boy apparently!

the younger kids making necklaces with beads and laminated pictures reminding them of the lessons for the week

This is why a lesson on handwashing was soooooo needed... can you see how dirty the string is where the little girl had been holding it to thread on her beads?

wet sponge fight- another favourite, one of the reasons we tell the kids NOT to wear their best clothes!

A local businessman in Chimoio donated a WHOLE bunch of oranges to our feeding program. These were the best oranges I have ever tasted. SOOO good. We cut them up and then for two days each child got vitamin packed oranges with their lunch meal! Its such a blessing to them when we have the little extras donated- oranges, sweets, cookies, all of these things make lunch just that much more nutritious and yummy!

We were able to purchase enough toothbrushes for everyone to take home one!

The "caril" or sauce that went on top of the sadza one day- cabbage and onions.

One of our colleagues had been experimenting with a fish farming project and the school kids got to taste the product of the experiment- yummy fish!

I think they liked it don't you?

rick with his "redneck blutooth"

These oranges were SERIOUSLY good.

Everyone enjoyed them!

I thought about eating a fish.... but changed my mind. I try not to eat things that can look at me. (still)

Just one of the school kids enjoying a healthy lunch! MMMM!

This is one of our preschool kids- thanks to generous supporters each of our preschool kids is able to enjoy a cup of milk each morning- vital for growing bones and minds!
 One day the kids got to play with play dough. 
 You cant really see in this picture, but he made a cellphone... complete with a touch screen and buttons.
 Two women sitting around their maize pounding containers... and an elephant. (a very very very small elephant)
 My elephant.
 We also played with hula hoops!

 Lets just say that hula hooping required a level of coordination these kids did not have.... yet!
 Wet sponge games are lots of fun on hot sunny days!
 Lots of smiles
 Passing the sponges over the head.
 Such a great smile!
 the older girls playing "basketball"
 CHUMBA! (favorite running game this year... "LION" - or tag.. sorta)
Even hot potato with a balloon is lots of fun!
 Of course we also had times of teaching- here two of the teachers are demonstrating how cars drive on the street, and encouraging one of the children to cross the street, safely.
 Drawing a road safety picture.
 Rick and Simon teaching- Simon is a great translator- he copies exactly what you do!

Simon teaching about clean water and hygiene.

All in all- VBS was a great success... we had lots of fun, and I am pretty sure the kids did too!
 God Bless- Rick, Heather, Tendai & Ryan.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Team Zebra Update! Weekend Fun!

Heres a brief update on the happenings with us and the kids. We are heading into Mozambiques "summer" which can see highs of plus 50 degrees Celsius, (thankfully not yet!) so we are spending lots of time on the weekends in pools and trying to stay cool!

With the arrival of Ryan we have been making a much more focused effort to spend time with the kids, especially on the weekends, doing fun things as a family and with friends. We went up one Saturday to visit our friends who live north of us and had a great time with the kids, playing in their waterhole (literally, its where they pump water into the hole for the animals to come drink!- later that day we saw reedbuck and baboons down there!)

Lots of fun was had splashing.
Our friends kids had fun in the mud hole next to this... thankfully my kids are both not terribly fond of being dirty. I appreciate that about them. :)
 after all that fun it was time for a bath. And then mommy turned into a photographer and wouldnt let us out of the bath till she got the pictures "just so".....

worth it dont you think?

Weve also been doing our homeschooling. I for one am very glad for the flexibility it allows for, especially in these younger years!
A few weeks ago Rick hung up our hammock in the trees on the rocks behind our house- it sure makes for a lovely area to read books with Tendai (when its not blazing hot out)
 Enjoying a cooler afternoon in the hammock, reading from one of our homeschooling story books.
 We read a story one day about some children and animals who had some picnics/ tea parties in the woods, so we were inspired to invite Aunty Lynn over for a tea party. Tendai cut the lemon slices half way thru to make decorations for the cups etc, and cut up the pickles and cheese all by herself as well. 

One afternoon we went up into the nearby Serra Choa Mountains and found some tadpoles in a mountain stream. ( which was convenient since we had just read about tadpoles turning into frogs a few days before that in our science book!)
Just for fun one day we made Binoculars out of tin foil cardboard rolls and pipe cleaners.
 Daddy and Tendai doing and experiment with some ice- which makes it melt faster, water, salt or sugar.. or just leaving it to sit. Ryan just played with the ice.

More ice playing- they played with this ice for so long. I think i refilled the sheets three times! Good thing it was a really really HOT day!

 Both Ryan and Tendai have really had a lot of fun swimming. Ryan was terrified his first two times, but after that... no fear. Hes nearly a fish!! will stick his whole head in the water, belly flop, jump off the side of the pool, float on his front and back... Tendai is now much more motivated to try all these things now that her little brother can do them!
 Ryan diving in! (or rather bellyflopping in) (This is not our pool btw, its at a friends place where we go for playgroup with other kids once a week)
flying leap!

On our same trip up into the mountains we tried to take some family photos by a beautiful waterfall! We had a lot of fun!

 Hoping to use one of the many we took for a prayer card!

 Swam across the pool for a waterfall pic. this will NOT be on a prayer card.
Ryan and Daddy in their matching hats.

It has been such a blessing to spend time as a family, intentionally doing activities together. We have really enjoyed our outings and look forward to more of them. 

We want to thank all of you so much for your prayers and your support. Sometimes it is those prayers that keep us going- especially during the times when we have nothing else to count on! In the past few months there has been small pockets of unrest in Mozambique, and there will continue to be until and probably following the municipal elections in November. We ask you to continue praying for Mozambique, that the politicians will truly represent the people and that the people will vote for those who have their best interests at heart, rather than just vote based on long held loyalties. Pray for peace to continue.

Pray for us as a family, that Ryan will continue to adapt and attach in our family unit. Pray especially for his language skills as he struggles to communicate his wants and desires- even though he understands nearly everything we say and can repeat anything we say, he struggles to form answers and talk about his own wants and desires. (for example.. Ryan, do you want to play or have a snack?.... blank stare. - he doesnt know how to make a choice. ) Also please pray for our health and safety- Rick and I, BOTH had malaria over the past weekend and are just recovering now. Its no fun to have two kids under 5 and TWO parents who are sick sick sick. :( Pray that the kids stay healthy!

You can also pray for the ministries we work with- the orphan children have been doing AMAZING with their school marks this year, nearly ALL of them have improved on last years grades, with one teacher telling Pastor Mariano that Wengane (one of the orphan children) was the best student in her whole class, not just because of his marks, but also his attitude! Weve also had a few dissapointments however, one of the girls has gotten pregnant, which is really sad, as she had been near the top of her class this year as well, but has had to drop out. Its disheartening, but we continue to be involved in her family and will keep an eye on her.

Rick has been busy helping all around the farm, and is looking forward to doing more seminars with childrens ministry leaders soon. He also took a trip to South Africa to pick up some things for us and the mission (we will be staying here as we cant leave til Ryan is legally ours)  Hes also been busy with a few other projects- he spoke at a mens retreat he hosted, and hes been working with some of the staff to improve their skills- training them on different equipment- including teaching Pastor Mariano to type!

Thank you so much for the prayers and support! 
...annnd... thats the Team Zebra Report!
God Bless, Rick, Heather , Tendai & Ryan!