Ups and Downs…
Hello to all!
Well, it’s about time for the August update, wouldn’t you think? We’ve been thrown for a lot of loops this month, God is faithful through it all though sometimes we still struggle.
The hardest part was losing two loved ones within a week–on August 26 one of our boys on the center, little 11-year-old Domingos, died very suddenly of cerebral malaria, then on August 31 the director of the Bible School, Pastor Amos, was killed in a mini-bus accident on his way here to work. It has been rough dealing with these deaths so close together and comforting the family members of both. Please be praying, especially for the family of Amos (he had 4 kids and had taken in 4 more orphans), and the two little brothers of Domingos. We are comforted that they both knew and loved Jesus, but realizing just how fragile life is definitely gives new urgency to our work here. There have been 20-30 deaths in the family members of our kids and workers since we got here in January, but this is much closer to home.
In other news… We have started hiring some ex-inmates from the prison who got saved during our jail ministry times. It has been great to see their thankfulness at being offered a second chance in life and an opportunity to demonstrate the transformation in their hearts.
In July we mentioned that we would be going to Malawi in hopes of obtaining better visas… well, that turned into quite a headache, as Jon got arrested at the border (all other borders we’ve been to have private money exchange people and we use them all the time, but apparently at the Malawi border it’s illegal and someone turned him in), the car broke down, AND we only got a 1-month visa! So that was a rough trip. Then in August we did South Africa again because our base finally got approval and money to buy a new vehicle (praise God), so Jon went car shopping in Maputo for several days and bought a bush-worthy yet comfortable SUV. It’s nice to not be so restricted by lack of transportation! For a while we had NO working vehicles on the base, so we had to borrow the personal car of one of our workers multiple times. So anyway, visas are still a huge inconvenience, so pray with us that NEXT time we can get good ones!
The missionary situation keeps fluctuating, as two of the short-termers have left, one other has come in, a long-termer on furlough returned but will be moving off base soon, and the Brazilian couple that was with us earlier this year will be leaving to plant a base in another province. Their leaving is going to be quite difficult for all of us, especially since almost everyone else won’t be here early next year for various reasons! Jon and I are going to have our baby (I’m due early March), one missionary is leaving to get married, one is going on her break, so… that will leave no one on the base for several months unless we get more help in quick! We are in the application process for one lady who is interested in joining us, and one of this year’s short-termers may be returning, but we’ll still be in a very desperate situation and in need of more missionaries. Please pray with us that God place it on people’s hearts to come join us for that critical time period! The need is greatest from January through June of next year (any takers?).
Our children’s leader, a very godly Mozambican named Joseph, put on a weekend “camp” for the kids at the end of July that was extremely successful. We invited some really solid youth from another church that we really like to come and be the camp counselors, and many of our kids were deeply impacted. Before the camp, most of them even admitted that they had become completely inoculated to Christianity–they had heard about God so long they had grown immune to the gospel and had never really considered how it affects them personally. One kid even said that he hated church, and every time he was forced to go the message would go in one ear and out the other. But the youth from this other church were able to demonstrate that God can be a real and present friend and father to them, taught them how to pray, and showed them that Christianity isn’t as boring as they thought! At the end of the camp they put on an exciting, contemporary worship service that the kids were able to connect with. It has been so touching to see the transformation in many of the kids, even now a month later they are still staying faithful and showing that they were deeply changed. Ones that used to never come to church now don’t want to miss a single opportunity to worship and pray! One evidence of the change is in how they are responding to the recent deaths–as they have turned to God and worship almost constantly when they are not in school.
Other kids news… we accepted a new boy into the center in August, a precious 13-year-old named Joanel. He came to the center after church one Sunday and begged us to take him in. His mother had died when he was 6, and his father was an alcoholic who beat him every night, and kicked him out of his home threatening to kill him if he ever came back. We got the police and social welfare involved while we investigated and found the story to be true, and Joanel stayed with one of our workers until the paperwork was complete for him to be accepted in the center. So far we see he has a very sweet spirit, is very humble, thankful, and obedient and never causes problems with the other kids. However, we feel it may not be safe for him to stay in Dondo with his father at large, as he has already come to the center angrily demanding to see Joanel and wanting threatening him even more, but thankfully the guards stopped the father at the gate. Please pray with us that we would know how to keep him safe, and also that he would be able to understand that God wants to be a Father to him but in a way completely different than his earthly father.
In summary… our praises include:
· The transformation in our kids and their newfound love for God
· The opportunity to provide employment for the released prisoners
· Our new car
· That we have stayed reasonably healthy, even in my pregnancy I haven’t had any morning sickness
And our prayer requests are:
· Comfort for our kids and the family of the pastor who passed away this week
· Longer visas next time we apply
· More missionaries to help our work here, especially early next year
· That the kids who were changed in the camp would remain strong in their new lifestyle of faith
· That we would have wisdom in how to protect Joanel from his father
Thank you all who pray for us, please keep them up.
~Carla and Jon Reinagel