Life in Pemba
Hello, friends and family!
We have been quite busy since our last update, when we landed at the Pemba we told the missionaries that we were here to help, and boy did they take us up on that! After we’d only been here a couple days they gave us a huge to-do list of needs the base had, and we’ve been checking things off pretty steadily.
Jon has been the base fix-it man doing the most random things ever, working with the swamped maintenance staff to keep up with everything that breaks from computers to water pumps to bunk beds to satellites to voltage regulators to… the list goes on. There is quite a need for people who either know how things work or how to figure them out quickly, which Jon is quite good at :-).
He has also been discipling a teenage boy from the village named Abdul, which has been really cool. Abdul is from a strongly Muslim family, is one of 9 kids, and loves Jesus with everything he has. Whenever he learns a new Bible story he goes back home and tells it to all of his siblings. We gave him a Portuguese Bible, and since then I’ve never seen him without it, he is so hungry for more. He reminded me of the parable of the talents, how one servant was only given a little to look after but he was faithful to work with what he had and increase it as much as he could. It is humbling to think of how much more I have but hold back and don’t give out, how much I know and don’t share. He also has a great heart to serve, every day the Iris base welcomes in the children from the surrounding village for lunch (we usually get 120-170 kids every day), and Abdul helps tremendously with organizing, translating, controlling the crowd, and just making sure the whole operation runs smoothly. It’s so awesome to see kids like him just sold out for God and making a difference in the people around him.
I’ve been busy doing my own list of odd jobs, mostly helping the hospitality staff. This base gets a couple hundred visitors every year, and the job of keeping track of them has been passed around about 5 times in the past few months, so the new person (who just took over the day we arrived) was swamped and clueless where to start. I’ve been helping her with organizing the planned arrivals for the rest of the year, figuring out how to maintain the visitor’s center efficiently, sorting through a chaotic storage room of donated stuff, testing a wad of random keys in every lock in the center, preparing rooms for new people coming in, giving directions to the cleaning ladies every day (great for practicing my Portuguese), mending holes in mosquito nets, among a slew of other random tasks. I’m definitely seeing a new side of mission work that I had never seen before!
Some of my favorite times, though, are when I get to minister directly to the kids. I’ve been meeting every day with an older teen named Chico to tutor him in English, teaching some of the girls guitar, helping with feeding the village children, and loving on the babies and toddlers :-). It is just an honor to be here.
Every morning we pray with the staff, which have been awesome times, especially when we see so many answers to prayer every day :-). One answered prayer is that the flood relief work is going well, Iris sent a team out who came back about a week ago. They will continue sending teams out as the people and funds become available, but the good news is some other organizations have been allowed into the country to help as well. Some past years with floods have been needlessly more tragic simply because the government officials were too proud to admit that the country needed help and actually turned away people who wanted to bring food and supplies–there were times Iris was the only one allowed to do anything because they were already here. This year the government seems to be more reasonable about letting other organizations help, but the needs are still enormous. This is one of the worst and most wide-spread floods they have seen in many years, and again this is just the beginning of the flood season. There is another team leaving from this Iris base this week to continue bringing food to the flood victims, and Jon and I hope we can join a team in a couple weeks (there wasn’t room for us on this one).
One thing that has made our time here in Pemba interesting is having so much more access to the average Mozambican people than we did at the other more contained bases. Here, everywhere we go we have people come up along side us, start up a conversation and act friendly, but then they always turn the conversation to asking for something. Sometimes they are genuine needs, but the majority of the time people aren’t exactly honest. We always have to pray about their requests to see if they actually need it or if they’re just trying to take advantage of us because we’re “rich Americans.” For example, one boy told a missionary that his house was destroyed in a storm and took them to go see. Sure enough, he brought them to a destroyed house, but they found out it hadn’t been the boy’s–it had been abandoned for a long time and the kid was just trying to weasel money out of the missionary. We’re still learning how to deal with those kinds of situations.
So overall things are going well! Praise reports would include:
* Several organizations have been allowed to help with the flood relief
* We are absolutely thrilled with how much we can bless the Iris base here
* At the moment neither of us are sick (though we’ve both had problems in the past couple of weeks–but we’re better now!)
* We are getting much better at Portuguese, still plenty of room for growth though
* That more relief would come quickly for the flood victims
* For discernment in dealing with the daily requests for money and things
* For wisdom in how we spend our time–we want to find a balance between helping the missionaries and spending time with the kids
Thank you all for your prayers and encouragements, it’s always good to hear from home even when we can’t send personal replies back every time.
May His Kingdom come more in your life every day,
~Carla and Jon Reinagel