The Scoop in Africa
Our time here so far has been amazing… God has really been drawing us closer to Him and to each other at the same time we’re serving Him. Talking to the kids has especially been a real blessing. I realized that some of the 14 and 15 year olds know God far better than any other Christians I know… They may not know as much about God as we do, but they know God like Jesus knew God – as the father. They know their Dad will take care of them and aren’t afraid to live like it, which is so refreshing to see and learn from. They don’t worry or ever talk about what they need because they know God’s looking out for them! Of course, there’s the other kids who aren’t ashamed to beg for money, but it’s the godly ones who have made an impact on me.
The kids at the Iris base aren’t the malnourished kids you see in the advertisements for adopt a child programs… Almost all of them looked like that at some point, but not any more. The meal portions are huge and many of the kids have developed a healthy stomach. A lot of the kids at Zimpeto where we were staying actually spoke English, which helped a lot. However, later this week we will be heading to Machava, where all the missionaries are Brazilian and no one speaks English. That should help us with learning Portuguese, which will be helpful for the rest of the trip!
The spiritual climate in Mozambique is full of religions and superstitions. There are witchdoctors all over the place, and people pay them to either curse others or protect themselves. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it definitely has power behind it. In the States, it’s trusting in money instead of God that trips up many Christians – here, it’s trusting in the witchdoctor’s protection instead of God that is a stumbling block. Cutting off the yarn and button “protection” bands is almost as great a celebration as leading someone to Christ! That isn’t the only form of spiritual bondage in Mozambique though…
The Zion Christian Church is a fairly large church here and in South Africa. Regardless of their name, they don’t really believe in Jesus or the Bible. When children are born, they ask the spirits of dead people to come and guide the babies… We went to one village (where we actually got to take pictures) and there was a 2 year old boy who wouldn’t stop yelling and running around. The mother said he was like that constantly, day and night, but had been fine before the father insisted on taking him to the Zionist ceremony. It was pretty eye-opening to see the effect of spirits on people, especially coming from a culture that doesn’t believe in them. But it’s in the Book, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.
Last week we went back to the Bocaria (the city dump) for another outreach. This time instead of walking up onto the dump to talk with the people sorting the garbage we went around the village surrounding the dump where the roughly 1,000 dump-scavengers live. We went into one home where the husband was lying on a reed mat on the floor. Even through the blanket covering him you could tell his body was completely emaciated. His arms were narrower than my wrist, and his legs weren’t much bigger. He was suffering from AIDS, and hadn’t been able to eat in a long time. After we prayed for a while he gained new strength, sat up, and said his appetite had returned and he wanted to eat! That was great.
Another AIDS victim that absolutely wrenched our hearts was a little boy living at the Zimpeto center. His name is Thabo (pronounced TAH-boo), he was orphaned at age 3 and was given to some relatives who neglected and abused him horribly. He is about 9 years old now but he hasn’t grown much since he was 3, and he is absolutely skin and bones. He has been at the Iris center since August, but he’s been ill for so long that his health isn’t recovering very quickly. He can’t walk, and he stays in the center’s clinic full-time. Last week he got really sick, had a high fever, and could barely breathe; the nurses thought he was going to die soon. Jon and another visitor prayed with him for hours and his fever broke and by the next day the sickness was completely gone! He was even able to leave the clinic for the staff worship time, where he got more prayer. If any of you think about it, keep him in your prayers as well, the little guy needs all he can get.
Well, we need to bring this update to a close. Thank you all for your continued prayers, support, and encouragements–we are so blessed. Our current prayer requests are:
* That we can get better visas that will enable us to stay in Mozambique longer than 30 days at a time.
* That our health would be protected. We have had several random sicknesses, pains, reactions, and incidents that seem like attacks, so protection would be appreciated.
* That we could learn Portuguese faster, so far it has been a very slow process and we still can’t communicate very much.
* That God would show us every day what He wants us to be doing. There are so many “good” things to do every day we’re sometimes overwhelmed and really only want to operate in what the Father has for us specifically.
~Jon and Carla Reinagel