Surrounded by Angels
We truly serve a God who protects us against all odds! In our last update we asked for prayer about our visas/residency. We were not able to get our residency status this time, but they gave us the right kind of visa to proceed with the process of getting them, so that’s an answer to prayer. They are multiple-entry visas, which means we need to leave every 30 days and is not the most convenient, but at least it will force us to get away take a break every month so God probably knew what He was doing (surprise!). While we were in South Africa we got to spend some great time with long-time missionary friends who threw a birthday party for Jon! On the trip we also got to visit with pastors Jose and Supressa, who are the national and international directors of Iris Ministries and both amazing Godly men. We also were able to get a lot of things for the Dondo base, like almost 500 Bibles for the Bible School, a table and chairs, bed sheets for the kids (they had just been sleeping on bare mattresses), some computer stuff, and sundry other items. On the way back home we stopped at a small Iris base close to Maputo to spend some time with another missionary friend. More than anyone else he really insisted that we rest and take it easy (something we hadn’t been able to do the rest of the trip), so that was good to relax for a couple days before being thrown back into the battlefield.
Little did we know when we left Maputo though just how close the battle would come to us that day! We got on the road in our Land Rover at 3:00am and drove for about 6 hours (1/3 of the total journey) when our driver tried passing a big semi truck. The truck swerved a bit closer to us and our wheels dropped off the road to make room, but then our driver jerked the wheel trying to get the car back on the road, we lost control, smashed into the side of the truck, then went careening off the road! Land Rovers are notoriously top-heavy, and we rolled over very fast (we had been going about 80mph). I was sitting in the front seat and Jon was behind me in the back, which was the side that the car stopped rolling on, so both of us were on the bottom. My barrette was knocked out of my hair from the seat back and my face scraped the ground because the corner of the car was smashed but somehow my head was not crushed between the two! Everyone who has seen the car asks how I’m still alive. Anyway, the driver helped me get out of my seatbelt and we got out through the nonexistent windshield, we were both virtually unharmed. The next trick was getting Jon out, because he was buried by all the boxes of Bibles, cans of gas, and other stuff in the car. We had to roll the car onto its top to pull him out of the broken window, but thank God he was alive. Before the wreck he had been lying down under the plastic chairs, and they protected his head and top half from all the flying stuff. If he had been sitting up, he probably would have been crushed. As it was he still had badly bruised ribs and was having difficulty breathing. A very kind Portuguese businessman stopped when he saw the accident and helped us by giving us a ride to the nearest hospital (about 50 km away) while the driver stayed with the car and stuff. At the hospital they treated our cuts and did an x-ray on Jon to make sure he didn’t break anything. Then the Portuguese man checked us into a hotel, we were so thankful that he took all that time out of his day to help us out. Once Jon had a place to rest, I set out alone to try to get the car and stuff. I asked the hotel management if there were any missionaries in the city, and he sent a young man to take me to a mission base just a few blocks from the hotel. There a very kind Italian missionary jumped in his truck and took me to the crash site. We found the driver had already found some help to get the car upright and on the road, and all the stuff was packed back into it. We loaded the stuff into the other missionary’s truck then towed the Land Rover back to the town with the hotel. They let us leave the car on their base until we could get more help, and we unloaded the stuff into our hotel room. Ever since the wreck we had been in contact with Iris missionaries all over the country to see who could help us the easiest, and it turned out to be the Zimpeto people, so they sent up a truck to take Jon back to Maputo. There he was able to get more medical help and then fly home after a few days since he couldn’t really endure the ridiculously bumpy roads to get home. Then we had a big flatbed truck sent down from the Dondo base, onto which we loaded the wrecked car and I finished the journey north with the two drivers. That was a mercifully uneventful trip, minus the two flat tires.
So that was our trip south! We believe we were surrounded by angels the whole time, both invisible ones who protected us in the wreck and visible ones who helped us through every part of resolving things and transporting us all over the place. We learned two major things from the experience: 1) The enemy is not happy with us and is trying to stop our work (a good thing, if he’s not mad at us we’re not being very effective), and 2) God is protecting us against all odds (another good thing!).
After we got back we had to flurry around and get ready for a conference that we are now hosting on our base. It’s actually not a conference with Iris, but with our home church denomination (Vineyard), which is just now entering Mozambique to do mission work for the first time. It’s exciting to see and be a part of! The teachings really emphasize bringing not only the Gospel of Salvation (getting people out of hell), but also the Gospel of the Kingdom (discipling people into lives connected to the Father, experiencing His power, living victorious over addiction and oppression, and everything else Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God). It is such a needed teaching, as even our mission organization suffers from being hundreds of miles wide and only an inch deep—people have just the gospel message but we are trying to go deeper and help them see there is so much more to following God!
Thanks again for praying for us! We really can do nothing without prayer covering over here. We’re not just saying the words—we can see daily that prayer changes things, prayer is powerful, and prayer makes a difference. Your prayers have an impact here, all the way around the world. Please keep them up!
For this time, our prayer requests include:
• We need wisdom, and lots of it! As we step into our new roles of leadership we are daily facing many tough decisions and situations that we need God’s guidance to get through. How do you deal with a corrupt person in a way that is still loving them? How do you deal with people you know are lying to you? How do you deal with a complete lack of respect? How do you stop gossip from spreading like disease and destroying lives? For each situation we need lots of God’s help, and to know how to moment-by-moment hear His voice.
• Now we only have 2 working vehicles (we used to have 2 flatbed trucks, the Land Rover, and 2 covered pickups, but now we’re down to 1 flatbed and 1 pickup), so please pray that God will provide us with more working transportation. What we have now is not enough for all the projects and outreaches that we do from the base.
May God bless all of you beyond what you thought possible!
Thankful for LIFE!