November in a Nutshell
Wow, time flies. Already another whole month has passed since our last update, so I guess it’s time to write another one!
November was a month full of variety: good, bad, and ugly. Some of the good included another kids’ camp that we put on, some of the bad included the death of a youth who grew up in the center, and some of the ugly included a good deal of sickness with almost all the missionaries :-P. But God is faithful through it all!
The kids’ camp was another great success, this time some of our own youth were the leaders and we invited kids from other orphanages and churches to participate, and they had a great time! This camp we really focused on the Father heart of God, and helping them find their identity in Him. For this group of kids, most of whose fathers are absent, or abusive, it is so important for them to know God is not like their earthly father and He wants so much for them to know He loves them. The kids who visited from other centers were also really blessed, and when they left they were asking when the next camp will be! There was also a great time where we split up the boys and girls and talked about purity and relationships, and a lot of the kids received inner healing for their pasts and were equipped for better futures.
Another good thing this month is there has been a huge shift in the attitude of the Mozambican leadership on the base. It all seemed to start when Jon was really struggling with insomnia—he couldn’t sleep at all at night, usually only getting tired enough to go to bed around 5 or 6 in the morning (so he would have to sleep half the day to make up for it). It was very frustrating, and in one meeting he asked the Mozambican leaders to pray for him to be able to sleep better at night, and by being vulnerable about this weakness it seemed like the others opened up more as well, and there seemed to be a shift in the atmosphere as there has been a lot more cooperation and less complaining, more prayer and less pressure, more gratitude and less griping, and ever since then it just feels like a healthier family working together. One Sunday the provincial pastor even got up in front of the church and encouraged everyone to be praying for the missionaries and just blessed us, which really means a lot to us because this base in particular has a long history of bad attitudes toward leadership and especially missionaries. It’s hard to express how huge this testimony is, but trust me, some spiritual stronghold has broken over Dondo and we are seeing, hearing, and feeling victories that are very encouraging. It’s not as obvious as a crippled person receiving physical healing and suddenly being able to walk, but it is just as powerful.
Yet another testimony is we have new missionaries! Thanks to all who were praying, last update only one was confirmed and three were tentative, but now two are already here and the other two coming next week! We were thrilled to welcome back a girl from Canada who volunteered here 3 months earlier this year, and a lady from Texas who has a heart to work with our kids. We also have 3 short-term missionaries with us now, the boyfriend of one of the long-term girls and a great couple from Montana who are here for a few months. We are really blessed.
While I’m on a roll with good stories, I got to have an ultrasound this month! The baby is very healthy, growing normally, kicking a lot, and we got to find out it’s a boy! It was exciting to see him, now just to get Jon and me to agree on a name… Being able to do the ultrasound was basically a miracle in itself—an American doctor friend called us in to let us know a German OB doctor was donating a new ultrasound machine to the medical university where he worked, and he wanted to learn how to use it but needed a test subject :-). Boy, was I happy to volunteer! The due date is March 2nd, and as of now I’m about 2/3rds of the way there.
While it was tough being away from our families for Thanksgiving, we were able to celebrate here as the missionary family. We each contributed a few traditional foods (made the best we could with numerous substitutions), and we even found a turkey! We truly are thankful to be blessed as a team here, life is so much easier when you have great people to work with.
As I mentioned above, one of the sad happenings this month was the death of João Guente, a youth who grew up in the center for several years but had been out of the center for about a year because he got too old to stay here (by law kids need to leave orphanages when they turn 18). He had tuberculosis, and it was so hard watching him grow weaker and thinner as the year went on. Finally he couldn’t even walk or feed himself anymore and was hospitalized, and while he was there one of our missionaries visited him while doing the hospital ministry. She said she was able to talk and pray with him for a long time, and that he repented of his sins and had a very powerful encounter with God. That week he passed away. While it was hard to see him go, it was good to know he’s no longer in pain and we are encouraged that he did have that opportunity to get his heart and relationship with God right first.
Health was also a major struggle last month, in addition to the insomnia Jon had debilitating headaches and eye pain (among other random symptoms), one of the other missionaries had a throat infection and malaria at the same time, and I got a bad cold that lasted several weeks. Thankfully we’re all better now–Jon has even been able to sleep normally most nights for over a week now!
Unfortunately we did not get the year-long visa we had been hoping for, but we will be able to stay in the country until we leave in January! November was the first month since April that we didn’t have to go out, and we hope we won’t have to leave December either. Though this is another testimony as well, of the two new missionaries one got 6-months and the other got a 1-year visa before coming, which will be really helpful! We hope they won’t have nearly as many nightmares as we have getting residency status.
In closing, please be praying for:
- Good health for the rest of the time we’re here. We have a lot to do to train the new missionaries in a very short time and we can’t be sick
- Grace for the new missionaries coming in, that they will be able to step into their roles and learn the language quickly
- Wisdom in a very difficult situation that we need to be able to resolve before we leave
- Perseverance and the ability to finish this year strong.
Okay, so my “November in a Nutshell” turned into a pretty big nut… Think coconut :-). We will be back in the United States mid-January until June – if you would like us to come and speak at your church / youth group etc, let us know!
Thanks for your prayers!
~Carla, Jon, and Baby Reinagel