October in Moz
Dear Friends and Family,
Thank you all for your patience in between our sporadic updates. We are doing well, still living through the roller coaster that is life on the mission field.
In the month of September we were able to go on a vacation that was funded by a very generous friend of Jon’s dad, so we went to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and had a great time of refreshing. Even though we have had to leave every month for our visas, we are often as busy in those times away as we are in Dondo, so they don’t really count as breaks, but this trip was amazing. We came back very rested, refocused, and ready to jump into all that life brings here (not to mention, the falls were spectacular!). With our visa situation, we are now in the process of trying to get a 1-year temporary residency visa which would be really nice to have while we work on our official residency status. Please pray that that process goes more quickly and smoothly than all of our previous efforts! We really need to be able to stay longer than a month at a time.
For some unknown reason the crime rates often seem to increase drastically toward the end of the year around here, which has spread some fear but also faith around our community. Our co-director Pastor Abel’s home was attacked by a gang of 15 men with machetes, first they broke into another house on his property where some of the 23 orphans he cares for stay, but on finding nothing worth stealing they went on to the main house without hurting anyone. While they were trying to break down the door to the house where Abel, his family, and more orphans sleep he called us asking us to send help, but in the meantime one of the boys from the other house escaped and ran off to alert the police. One of the bandits saw him and chased him with a machete, but the kid managed to run faster and got away! That bandit came back and warned the rest of the gang that the police were on the way, so they all trooped off to attack elsewhere before the police showed up. Another miracle is that they didn’t even think to check around the house for another entrance, and there happened to be a back door with a very weak lock that they could have easily kicked in with very little effort. Usually those gangs come in, kill or incapacitate the man of the house and any who might try to get in the way, steal anything of value, then split. Often a number in the gang will also stand guard at all the neighbor’s houses and attack them in case anyone were to try to come out and help. Thank God He protected Abel, his family, and the orphans in his care! Ever since he has been so excited to be alive and to know God as his almighty protector, and he shares the testimony to anyone who will listen! In response to his call we did send about 10 of our Bible students to go help, but the bandits were already gone by the time the students got there so they just stood guard around his house for the rest of the night. About an hour later the same night Jon and I were woken up to the sound of gunshots very close to our house, and we found out the same gang had broken into one of our neighbors. At least 2 people were seriously injured by machete wounds, and last we heard they are still in the hospital. A couple days later another gang (or the same ones, we don’t know) were trying to break into the house of Lovemore, our translator. He is a very short, quiet, sweet-spirited man who looks like he couldn’t hurt a fly if he tried, but somehow he managed to bellow out and yell loud enough to intimidate the thieves so they ran off! We thought that was very out of character for him, but we were glad he thought of it and is still alive!
In addition to those violent crimes taking place all around us, we unfortunately had some of our older kids influenced by an outside youth to help him steal from our center. One night they broke into an uninhabited room in our visitors’ center with a machete and stole some mattresses and blankets and threw them over the base wall and into the village, then a couple nights later (while we were still trying to figure out who did it) they stole again, this time a few mattresses from the little boys’ room. The next day we caught the outside youth, and in his confession he said who had helped him from the inside. We were very saddened by their actions, and their showing that even after living in a Christian environment for several years their hearts were not changed. Both of the ones involved were some of the first kids taken into the center about 7 years ago, yet they both had long histories of problems like this and after being given dozens of chances and displays of mercy they were still hardened in their ways. Fortunately, both had family members who were willing to take them in. We hope and pray that their families will be a positive influence on them and that they will not continue to pursue a lifestyle of crime. Here in this culture, if a thief is caught by the villagers before the police get there to arrest him, the thief is usually burned alive in their system of mob justice. Even if they get arrested and thrown into jail for a short 1-2 year sentence they often still die in prison because the living conditions are so horrible. Both of these kids, after years of being shown mercy for their behavior, think that stealing things is just a game – please be praying with us that they will learn quickly and turn from their behavior before they are shown the full extent of the world’s idea of justice.
In other news, and on a more positive note, we have a new evangelism team formed of our kids. Ashlee, one of the missionaries here, has been discipling them every week and going out about every other weekend with them and releasing them to be leaders. It’s so cool to see the kids leading worship, performing dramas, preaching, and praying for the sick and seeing miracles happen through them! Even the little 7-12 year olds have a place on the team and get to participate in everything. This is really the future of Mozambique–not missionaries, but godly Mozambicans raised up to reach their own people with the gospel!
Mid-September we had a friend from home, Chad, come visit for about a month which was a huge blessing. He helped around the base a lot, and also had some great ministry experiences, visiting churches, going to the hospital and jail, and sharing Bible stories in the marketplace. We were very glad to have him, and he is praying about whether God would have him do more missions work in his future! We were also blessed by the return of a British visitor who came earlier this year, she is always a joy to be with and a help to have around.
A while back some people donated some money specifically for something fun for the kids, so we used it towards a new basketball court! It was a long process that started back in June, clearing out trees and leveling the ground with shovels, but they finally were able to finish it this week! The kids love playing on it every spare minute they have now.
My pregnancy is still going very well, I’m a little over halfway now and have been relatively healthy and the little one is growing daily. I did have a bit of food poisoning a couple weeks ago, but praise God I got over it quickly and with no lasting harm done. We will be arriving in the States January 15 to get ready for the birth in early March. We’re not looking forward to the cold weather, but it will be great to be with family for the big event!
We still don’t know exactly how the base will fare without any of the experienced long-term missionaries here… We have one new person coming for sure, and 3 others are tentative but waiting on finances, but even if all 4 manage to make it they will all be new people with very little experience and training and it could make for an interesting year. Two of them are Brazilian and don’t speak English, the other two are from the States and Canada and don’t speak Portuguese… It’s a good thing we have a few Mozambicans who speak both and can translate for them! Please be praying for the finances to come in for these missionaries.
Thanks again to all of you who stand in prayer with us, we need every one of you. Keep it up!
~Carla and Jon Reinagel