Rich in Faith
Hasn’t God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith? – James 2:5 (NLT)
I’m absolutely humbled by the faith of some of the pastors we work with… Unlike Carla, I can’t learn a language by picking up a book and reading it – I have to talk to people. Fortunately, most Mozambicans we have run into love to talk! Many of the lives and stories of the pastors have really encouraged me, so I figured I would share them with you.
What does Christianity look like in a country with 300,000 AIDS orphans and many other children orphaned because of disease or floods? What about in a country where, if your child is born with a birth defect, you can kick them out of the house because you can’t afford to feed a mouth that will never be able to give back? As I found out talking to the pastors, it often looks like taking in dieing children, even when you can’t feed them. Most of the leadership here has at least 5 orphans living with them – some have over twenty! It’s truly amazing what these pastors are doing…
Pastor Abel, one of the leaders of the Bible school here, has 1 natural son and over twenty adopted kids living with him. Until recently, they were all sleeping in his tiny house with 5-8 people per room. Recently, a team from Australia came and built an additional house for the older boys. When I asked him how he fed everyone, he laughed and shrugged, “Sometimes we pray harder than others. When we get food, we praise God. When we can’t eat for a day, we praise God. God has always been faithful!” That floored me. I’ve never trusted God to the point that my life was on the line like that. Pastor Abel talked about how much his life with God has grown through taking in children by faith, and that he truly knows what it is like to be able to trust in God. Recently, a church in Canada has sponsored Pastor Abel’s efforts by sending him money each month for food for his children. What did he do with the money? He praised God and started taking in more orphans!
Pastor Jose is a teacher at the bible school. He also has over twenty kids living with him, many who are crippled, blind, deaf, or mentally handicapped. He told us that it’s very difficult to provide for all of the children, but God has always taken care of him. He said the hardest part is that he has a reputation now – the people who live in his village know he will take in crippled children so people he doesn’t even know drop off blind and crippled kids with him. Because he knows the children have almost no chance of surviving unless he takes them in, he lets them live in his house even though he knows he can’t afford it.
As I was praying about what to do here at the base, it was these pastors and the others like them that God brought to mind. I’m currently trying to find ways to help them in the long term – after all, they have been so faithful with the little they have (they only get paid $80-$100 per month)… Pastor Jose will be the first person we are going to try and help out. We plan on making a chicken coup for him and buying chickens. We’ll start with Pastor Jose and see how it goes from there, but if successful, we will be able to provide for many more orphans than just the ones at the center.
Please pray for my (Jon’s) sleep… I have not been able to get to bed until after 3 the last couple nights, and it’s hurting my ability to be productive during the day.
For wisdom – because there are so many needs here and so little it feels like we can really do, we really need God’s wisdom with where to give of our time and money.
For God to transform thoughts and lives. For us, that we would be able to trust God with everything, like our Mozambican friends. For the Mozambicans, that God would give them strategies and plans for transforming their communities.
I know this has been a rather quiet prayer request in the past, but Carla has had problems with her bladder that at times make mission work incredibly difficult. In the last week, she hasn’t had to go to the restroom nearly as often and her ability to hold it has gone from 5 minutes (incredibly difficult when preaching or evangelizing in the bush) to 3 hours. Praise God! As you can imagine, this has been an incredible blessing for us!