For Carla and I, being in Pemba has been fascinating. It isn’t your typical mission base – with everyone here, there are about 40 missionaries. It’s not just a Bible school or an orphanage or a food distribution center – it’s a sending and equipping center for over 1000 churches that did not exist 5 years ago! Most of the time, the base is a frantic hum of activity. Prayer and worship is going on for hours a day and healings happen all the time. But that’s Pemba May-December when the base is fully staffed and the 80-person visitor center is at full capacity.
But Carla and I have loved being here in the down-time. When all the miracles are happening and fresh on-fire visitors are coming all the time, it’s easy for the people here to focus on God. Now, it’s like all the flame is gone for a bit and you can see the individual embers. Many of the people just go occupy themselves with something else for the time-being; the kids with soccer and the missionaries with their projects. But the ones that can’t do anything but cry out to God have been an amazing influence. There is literally a group of girls whose voices are constantly hoarse because they are worshipping all the time, and I’m occasionally joined in the prayer hut by kids who are just crying out to God for hours to see their nation changed.
I was watching a group of kids practice a performance for church, and I was absolutely floored with their joy and peace. Most of the kids at the center have been beaten and the majority of the girls have been raped. They came in hating the world and looking for revenge. It was amazing to see how they are so full of joy and love now even with their past circumstances – in their lives, I saw the Gospel clearly written. Rolland Baker (the head missionary here) always said he wanted to test the gospel to the limits – to go where others think the gospel could not bring change and watch God break through anyway. Just people being receptive to the gospel in this culture is a miracle in itself, but I’ll talk more about the culture in the next e-mail. Anyway, Carla and I are really looking forward to seeing everyone in action in a couple months after really getting to know them first… The kids here help a lot with the outreaches, doing everything from translating to praying for the sick to working with the sound systems.
On Sunday, we head back down to southern Mozambique for several weeks. We’ll get to hang out a bit more with the kids there and take in a lot more Portuguese. We’ll also go back to doing a lot more outreaches and a lot less random maintenance tasks. After that, on the 24th of April,
we will be headed to another mission base that is just starting in South Africa.
Jon’s eye is completely better and there is no residual scarring, which should have happened after the metal was in his eye for 3 weeks.
Our health has been excellent over the last month – even with malaria going on around us and an epidemic of eye infections, we have been in completely good health.
The flooding in central Mozambique didn’t get nearly as bad as predicted. Also, for the first time since the Mozambican civil war, the international aid organizations weren’t hindered in their work in Mozambique. We were pretty sad we couldn’t be a part of the relief effort, but we’re still praising God that we found out the trip was canceled a couple hours before we were supposed to leave instead of after the 2 day journey into the flood zone.
Feeding the village kids has been going excellently. We, without a doubt, got to see God multiply food a couple weeks ago. One day, 325 kids showed up for food because they heard we were serving chicken – some kids walked almost an hour to get to us! That same day, the kitchen gave us our bin half-full of food. We asked for more food, but the kitchen couldn’t give us any more. It was the least food we had ever had and the most kids, but when we saw the situation, we started
getting excited because we knew there was no other way for the feeding to work unless God did something. The helpers wanted to have 3 or 4 people to a plate, but we told the helpers specifically to put a lot of food on each plate and only have the normal 2 people to a plate. 3 or 4 times throughout the feeding, we went back and told them to put more food on each of the plates, and we had just enough for every one of the kids and every one of the helpers. God is so GOOD! Not only did He multiply the food, but He gave us incredible faith for the situation that allowed us to see even more of His provision!
Discernment – we constantly have people asking us for money for roofs, shoes, pants, etc. They are all legitimate needs, but not everyone is telling us the truth and we want to know exactly what God wants us to do in every circumstance.
Safe travel, because we’ll be doing a lot of it soon.
Ability to learn Portuguese quickly – we can definitely get around town, work with Mozambicans, and order food at a restaurant without hitting on the waiter (something Jon did before he knew much of the language), but we still have a long way to go before we can share the gospel without a translator.
Thank you all for your continued support and involvement in our lives! If you get the chance, please e-mail us and tell us what’s going on in your own life. We may not get back to them for a while but we certainly read everything that comes our way. God Bless!
– Jon and Carla