Gondola… Life is crazy!

Hello, dear ones!
Wow, life will throw you some unexpected curve balls… especially when you’re living day-to-day on faith!
As of last update we were in South Africa and planning to stay there most of May working with an Iris base in Nelspruit (close to the border of Mozambique). We did have a great time while we were there, we got to go on a weekend outreach with one of the missionaries and a team to a remote village. The church was precious–a little lean-to building with corrugated tin for one wall and a tarp for the other, with the back just open–and the people were amazing. So friendly, hospitable, and inviting. We got to preach three days in a row, once doing a long walk through the village first to invite everyone to come. The night Jon preached was great (I can brag on him since it isn’t him writing the update :-P). He talked about how God empowers all believers to do His work, and that He shows us miracles to increase our faith so we go out and trust Him to work through us too. After the message he asked all the sick people to come forward, then had the rest of the church–not the missionaries, not the visitors, not the pastors, just the lay people–to come pray for them, and all of them got healed! Five boys committed their lives to Christ for the first time that night as well, it was such an exciting time!
Immediately after we got back from that outreach we ran into a missionary and his sister who were just about to return to Mozambique, so we prayed about going with them, felt a “go for it!”, packed up our stuff, and headed out at 5:00 the next morning! The two-day journey by car was good, though we did arrive on the scene of an accident immediately after it happened. A man and woman on a bike had been hit by an 18-wheeler, so it was not at all pretty. The man was at least still in one piece, so Jon and the other missionary jumped out of the car to go pray for him to come back to life. He took a couple breaths, but then lay still. It was a painfully sobering wake-up call for us–between AIDS, malaria and other diseases, war, natural disasters, malnutrition, and even just accidents like this, Africa has the lowest life expectancy of anywhere in the world. It rekindled a sense of urgency in us to make the most of our time here and make sure as many people as possible know about God’s love for them before it’s too late.
So now we are in Gondola, which is about 1/3 of the way up the country from the southern border and close to Zimbabwe. The base we are staying at is with a mission group called Africa 180, and they have a pretty widespread influence. This is the group I mentioned in our last update who had the immensely successful prison ministry, and we have been able to participate in it while we’ve been here. I tell you, few things are more beautiful than hearing 150 formerly-hardened criminals singing worship songs with all their hearts. They have so much joy and hope, it is amazing. The mission preaches and prays with the men for a couple hours every single day Monday-Friday, so by the time they are released they pretty much have a Bible college education.
Another ministry I’ve been able to be involved in is with a local mission clinic. It’s a pretty amazing system they have in place, where formerly if a parent died of AIDS or if a mother had AIDS and couldn’t nurse, the babies would be brought to an orphanage to be raised. One missionary saw how it wasn’t at all the ideal way to grow up–kids need families, communities, and individual attention that they just can’t get in an orphanage setting, so the solution they found was to help the moms or relatives of the kids. Usually that just means providing formula and free medical care for the babies, and now there are 250 kids living in families in communities with their HIV+ mothers, or with uncles, aunts, and grandparents who otherwise couldn’t have taken care of them and would have put them in the orphanage. It was fun to help out at the clinic for a couple days and see the fruit of their labor.
We’ve also found a few other random things to do to help wherever we can. One Mozambican man working at the mission base couldn’t read, and all the other workers looked down on him a little for that reason. I’ve been giving him reading lessons as often as he has free time, and he’s progressing pretty well! It’s so cool to see him encouraged by his progress. And of course there was the usual request from another worker for guitar lessons, seems like everyone in the country wants to learn how to play :-).
One answered prayer is that we finally got the visas we need to be able to go to the mission school! It was quite an adventure to get them though, I must say. We had to go to a Mozambican consulate in Zimbabwe, which meant traveling on our own in a not-exactly-safe part of the continent (as Zimbabwe has had a tremendous amount of political unrest for the past several months). God was so faithful though, a lady in the bus to the border with us helped us with everything from finding a good money exchange rate to getting a taxi to even escorting us all the way to the consulate, just to be nice! We got there at 11:00 and they said it would take 4 hours to process, but since we just sat outside we guess they felt bad for us and only took 1 hour. We then walked to a little bakery where we celebrated our first anniversary over some cream turn-overs and cokes (for only $500,000,000 Zimbabwe dollars… they have the worst inflation in the world, that’s about $2). We asked the bakery worker how to get back to the border, and a random customer in line offered to take us to the taxi stand. So we got to the border and a missionary walks up to us and offers us a ride the rest of the way home! So 7 different transports and 3 divine appointments later, we got back and with visas in hand! God is faithful.
Now we’re going to visit one more little Iris base in Dondo for a couple days before heading back up to Pemba for the mission school.
* We got our visas!!! Safety in all our travels to get them
* Being able to help Africa 180 and bless the people here
* Our health has been exceptionally good for a long time now
Prayer Requests:
* Please pray for Zimbabwe and and South Africa, who are both experiencing incredible upheaval and problems
* For safe travels to Dondo and Pemba
* Continued guidance as we walk each day in faith for a word for the next step!
In HIS Hands,
~Carla and Jon Reinagel

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