After the long silence…
Sorry it’s been a while since our last update, we’ve been busy as ever! Last month we had to leave the country yet again for visa purposes, and this time we went to South Africa because the Zimpeto base had asked us to stay with them for a few days and have Jon work on their computer and internet problems. For him it was almost as much work as he gets in Dondo (if not more!), but for me it was a great time of rest and reconnecting with old friends. For our visas we’ll have to leave yet again next week, but this time we’re going to try Malawi. We’ve heard they give nicer visas that might make it to where we don’t need to leave every 30 days! Please pray that that be the case, as it is very costly and inconvenient to need to leave every single month.
This week in Dondo Jon felt a need to re-shift the base’s whole focus from our petty problems, disagreements, and issues and remember why we’re here in the first place—to seek after God and see His Kingdom come here in Mozambique. For that purpose, we called a day of prayer and fasting as a whole base, just to get together corporately, confess our sins and problems, forgive and ask forgiveness, and worship. It was a precious time as we all gathered in our mud church to seek God’s face. We hope to make that a more regular thing—of laying aside everything and refocusing.
Please do pray for our center, especially our relationships as missionaries with our Mozambican staff. Lately we’ve been having some struggles with cultural and mindset differences that can be very delicate and hard to resolve. We could just use a lot of prayer that we would all be able to see each other as members of the same Body of Christ—different in function, but all equally important to the overall life of the Body. We would also like prayer for wisdom and sensitivity so we don’t accidentally offend them and end up with even more problems! We’ve gotten decently good at the language, but we’re finding out that is only half the battle in communication—the other half is all culture, which takes much longer to learn. For example, Jon was in a meeting on Monday, and he sat through almost two hours of people talking in Portuguese about the fact that we need to respect each other. Half way through the meeting, he told the translator, “I understand their words but there is something I’m not understanding that you’ll need to explain to me later.” Sure enough, the entire conversation was actually about something completely different; we have been centralizing the center expenses and requiring more accountability and the leadership was trying to tell us they felt like we didn’t trust them. However, they never used any examples, and never once mentioned what they were specifically talking about for fear of shaming us.
In other news:
I (Carla) have been able to work a lot more with another missionary, Ashlee, in the area of the kids which has helped a lot. She has been a missionary here for over 3 years, so she knows the kids’ histories and has been an inexpressible help and source of wisdom in dealing with them.
Last update we talked about the new helpers coming to the base, and they truly have been a huge blessing! Travis has taken over evangelism and he does it with so much energy and passion, he’s a great help. Becky is helping teach in the Bible school and has started up a hospital ministry that is going very well. Jeff has taken on maintenance and construction on the base, and has fixed tons of problems that have been annoying us for months in addition to heading up a project to build a playground and basketball court. Janet has helped in the area of hospitality, taking some of the load off of my shoulders. Overall it has been great to have this growth in the missionary family, especially since we lost Roberto and Maria Jose (our Brazilian couple) for 2 months going to the mission school in Pemba.
We have had lots of visitors in the past couple months who have blessed us tremendously. They have provided the physical labor to do some of our projects on the base (like digging latrines and building the basketball court and playground—all still in progress), visited churches and other people in the community, ministered to our kids, and blessed the community. We have a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) team here right now that provided an open door to get to know the YWAM ministries in Dondo and Beira, as the team wanted to visit and see what their own organization is doing in this area. We hope to build on this relationship more in the future, as we love crossing denominational and ministerial borders and just working together as fellow Christians with the same mission. In an area strife with denominational fighting and jealousy, it is a huge testimony to see cooperation and community among different groups!
The hospital ministry Becky started has been a source of great encouragement. There have been several times our team has gone in to pray for the sick, share the gospel, give them fruit, and come back the next week to find out they were healed and had been able to leave! This even happened with some people with terminal illnesses, so praise God that He is using us in this way!
I guess the last bit of news from us is that in a few months the Dondo base will have an addition to the family with the coming of an MK (missionary kid)… That’s right, Jon and I are expecting! Still trying to figure out all the logistics involved like where to have the birth, but we’re sure God will show the way. Please be praying for my health during this time, so far I haven’t had much in the way of morning sickness (praise God), but I still need all the prayer I can get.
Thank you all who stand with us so faithfully in prayer. We can feel them from here!