Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas in Africa!

It sure is different spending Christmas swimming and water skiing at a lake rather than sledding and drinking hot cocoa. It doesn't feel very "christmassy", but we had a good time. The kids loved swimming and we were visited by a gigantic scorpion, spider, and even a hippo. We did have a present exchange and we sang Christmas carols in the tent at night. On Christmas Eve, we went to Muembe to visit Mateus' family and bring them gifts. It was a great time of fellowship and giving. On Christmas day, we stayed home with our family, ate cinnamon rolls and opened presents that grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles, and a very generous church sent. The kids slept out under the christmas tree the night before and were up by 5:45am to open presents! The day was cool and rainy, so we pretended it was snowing outside and cuddled up in our pajamas and listened to Christmas music.

So our first Christmas away from home, was difficult, but it was also very good. We started new family traditions and were able to enjoy the opportunity to give to very needy people. We are ever grateful for the gift of Jesus so long ago and that no matter where we may be spending Christmas, we can celebrate HIM.

Traeger and Zoe. We stayed with a missionary family who lives down on the lake, Keith and Bronwyn Eden and their daughter Zoe. We have become good friends with this family and have enjoyed spending time with them.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Meet Clara...

This is Clara, my house helper. She works monday thru friday and does my dishes, laundry, floors, bathrooms, and anything else I need. She is a very hard worker and I am so thankful for her. I am able to do school with Traeger in the mornings while she cleans for me. I am going to be taking over the guest house operation, now that we are back from Muembe and we are also creating a small library for the missionaries in the area that I am setting up and running, so I will now have some added responsibilities and I am able to do this largely because of Clara.

Clara is married and has two daughters. Her husband has two wives (Clara and a first wife). He is also an alcoholic and does not like her working for us. He wants her home at all times (for whatever reason), but he refuses to give her any money to feed and clothe her children, because he spends it all on alcohol or gives it to his first wife. He verbally abuses her and has physically abused the friend that recommended Clara to us and got her the job. When she gets paid each month, whatever she doesn't spend before she gets home, he forces her to give to him. She has recently asked if we would lend her money to build a house for her and her daughters because she needs to get out of this situation and protect her daughters. She fears he will begin to physically abuse her if she doesn't quit the job and she cannot feed her family if she isn't working. Tim and I spent time praying about this and we have talked in depth with Clara about this and have decided to help her.

Here no one is married "legally". It is all done through family agreements and for a women to divorce, her family has to agree that it is necessary to leave and basically "takes" her back. A man can divorce whenever he wants and just gets up and leaves. Clara's father is dead, but she has met with her uncle, who has agreed that she should leave him and has given his blessing on her building a new house. Clara's family is Anglican and she attends an Anglican church here, but we are unsure of her status with Christ. We are praying for her and pray that we are an example to her of a godly marriage and family. Please pray for her as she makes this move and that her husband will not get physical with her when he finds out her plans.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Buisness in Caia.

Our newest idea for Caia is an oil press(and yes we donated one of my mountain dew bottles to the effort). This is Geoffery, who will be running the oil press in Caia. He has agreed to move out to Caia to pastor the new church there. This oil press will allow him to earn money to live in Caia while pastoring the new church as well as bring a resource to Caia that currently isn't available. The press is hand operated and you use sunflower seeds and heat to create oil. We figure in 3 to 4 hours a day of cranking you can get about 5 liters of oil and sell it for about 30 meticais or $1 a liter. At $5 a day, Geoffery could afford to pay someone else to help, pay for the cost of seed and supplies, and still make a good living.

Tim and Geoffery are still working out some kinks in the press, but hopefully in the next month, we will have everything set and Geoffery can move out and begin pastoring the church and running the oil press. Please pray with us in this regard.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

10 years...don't they go by in a flash....

Ok. so we debated putting this in our blog. We don't want everyone at home thinking we're spending your money friviously and we don't want you to think all we do here is vacation. BUT, we were given an amazing opportunity to celebrate our 10th anniversary at Nkwichi Lodge and it was so incredible, we had to share it with everyone. Nkwichi is a 4 1/2 hour drive north a long Lake Nyassa and then an 1 1/2 boat ride to the middle of nowhere right on the lake. Months ago, some of the guys who work at Nkwichi came into town for supplies. One of them ended up with Malaria and was very sick. They had to leave him at our SIM guesthouse and I(Michele) took care of him for a few days until they could get back to pick him up. I just brought him medicine and food and kept an eye on him, but the guys there were so grateful, they offered us a great deal to spend a few days at their lodge. They actually run a conservation program as well as the lodge. They do community projects to help the local people learn to farm properly in the sand and also employ many locals to work on their farm and as staff at the lodge. If you want to know more about them, you can check out their website at We had a wonderful time our 3 days there. It is the longest we have been away from our kids in 2 1/2 years, so it was so needed. Janice, our field director, sacraficially took our kids for the 3 nights...and she lived to tell about it! We are so thankful for her. Here are some pictures of our trip.

We spent a few hours in a small village called Cobue waiting for the boat to pick us up. We have a doctor friend who lives in Cobue and does training and education as well as medical services for the people along the lake. They have absolutely no access to any medical care whatsoever, so she is it for them. We were able to observe a training on epilepsy that she was doing. She really has done amazing things for the people there. She has people walking for miles and miles along the lake to come and see her.

These are the ruins of an old catholic church left by the Portuguese in Cobue. It is the only structure in the village other than the grass huts surrounding it.

This was a picture I took on our 1 1/2 hour boat ride. These 4 boys are taking a boat out to fish. The lake is life for the people that live here, it is their source of water for cooking, cleaning, and drinking as well as food, mainly fish.

Here is one of our first views of Nkwichi. Crystal clear water and white sand beach. It looks like the Ocean or the Carribean, but is a fresh water lake.

The Beach.

This is our chalet, Nkwazi, which means fish eagle.

Here is the bathroom in the open air, overlooking the water.

The sink and shower.

We were the only people there and we had 75 staff members at our disposal, so we were treated like royalty. We were given the option of eating anywhere we wanted. For breakfast we ate on the deck.
Lunch on the beach.

Dinner at our own private dining area, right off our chalet.

Or right on the beach.

In the afternoons, we would have drinks on the beach in front of the fire while we watched the sunset.

During the days, we relaxed on the beach and snorkled.
The fish are actually very bright and colorful, which is unique for a fresh water lake.

One day it was windy and there were huge waves, so we did a little body boarding, which was super fun. The best part of all, this is a fresh water lake, so no salt up your nose and in your mouth and making you sticky and itchy.

We also took a walk down a foot path that is traced back thousands of years to when the Arabs came and captured Africans to use as slaves. They used this path to bring the slaves back up north. It is one of the longest footpaths in Africa, reaching from all the way down to Johannesburg and up through Tanzania and into Kenya. Along the way, there is this 2,000 year old Boabab tree. It is 29 meters in circumference. During the war, Mozambiquians would use this tree as a hiding place. The inside is all hollow. It was incredible to see.

We also had monkeys and baboons playing along the beach in front of our chalet. They kept us entertained.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Where is Fluffy?

Our new cat Fluffy has gone missing many times and we never seem to be able to find her. Here are some places we have found her and I wonder how she got in these places????

In a box...

In the toy box...

In the night stand...

hanging on the wall...
And yes in a plastic bag, luckily we caught this one before she suffocated. And yes Karis is the culprit...

But she LOVES her kitty!

Kallen One Year (13 months)...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dancing In The Streets

Before the film we played music and the people in Caia danced and boogied their way into the night.

We told you about showing the Jesus Film in Caia a couple weeks ago, so we thought we would share a few photos from the event. It seemed almost the whole village was there and they stayed right on till the end of the movie. Before the film several testimonies were given by Africans in Chiyao and a short evangelistic presentation by another Yao woman. This has opened up many doors for discussion and in fact the Regulo (chief) came the next morning and asked many questions about Muhammed and Jesus.
We want also to give a big thanks to our missionary friends - Jesse, Christian, Victor, Jeffrey and the others that came along and provided the equipment.
We are also considering doing a developmental project in Caia based on the needs of the people there. Currently their well is broken so good clean water is non-existent and the water they do have is far away. If you would like to support us in this developmental project or other evangelistic efforts such as the Jesus Film please contact us at

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Sorry it has been awhile since we updated the blog. With my camera broken I have not been motivated to update the blog. Thankfully, we have a very generous collegue here who loaned us a camera until we can get a new one. It has been so nice to have a camera again. We have been busy the past couple of weeks going back and forth to Muembe and there have been some new happenings.

One thing that impressed us the past couple of weeks has been the seriousness of the health situation here in Mozambique. On our way to Muembe about a week and a half ago, we came across a bad accident. One of the chapa(taxi) trucks had tipped over. These trucks carry many passengers in the bed of the truck as well as inside the truck and there were probably about 20 people needing to go to the hospital. We were the first vehicle to pass and the accident happened about a half hour before we arrived. There is no cell phone coverage in this part of the country or anything, so we with a full carload and an extra passenger, because we were giving her a ride out to Muembe, we played ambulance and carried the four worst of the injured back to Lichinga to the hospital. We put a lot of cargo on top of the truck and Traeger and Karis and Kallen all sat on my lap, while we had two barely conscious people in our backseat. We also loaded another two in the back of the truck, one with a very small infant. It took us about 1/2 hour over very bumby roads with them riding like that to arrive at the hospital. We have no idea to what extent these people were injured, only that they were barely conscious, but when we arrived at the hospital, they just pulled them out of the vehicle like they were dolls and carried them in and because they were short beds, laid two people on a bed the short way! It was a scary experience and makes me pray every trip out to Muembe or anywhere for that matter that we are protected from accidents. Also in the past few weeks team members of ours have had very serious health problems and one had to be med edvacuated out of the country to Joburg and the other almost. We are thanking God for his provision of health for our family thus far and ask that you all continue to pray in that regard.

We also killed our first poisenous snake in Muembe. There was a Mamba, which is very deadly, in Mateus' garden, so we were called over with Tim's big Katana to kill it. He sliced it in half and it fell into a trash pit, which we then lit on fire just to make sure it was dead! We always knew these were around, but we didn't know if we would come across one, at least we can rest knowing this one is dead.

On a lighter note, Tim constructed a swingset for the kids in our yard in Lichinga. The kids have been loving it and we are pretty proud of Tim's first construction project ever. It's a little bigger than we planned, but at least there is room for growth.

Tim is going to be going out to Caia tomorrow for an outreach event. They are planning on showing the Jesus film in Yao for the people there. Jeffrey, our guard, will be presenting the gospel afterwards, so you can be praying for him and the whole event. Tim will spend the night out there and meet with any people the following day that have questions, want to know more, or want to make decisions.

Our last bit of news is that Kallen is finally crawling!!! 2 weeks after her first birthday and she has finally started crawling. It has been fun to watch her and she is getting around good. She now follows me into the kitchen and her knees are permanently red. While in Muembe this last time, we had to keep her in the sandbox or in the house so she wouldn't crawl through the red dirt. She still got pretty dirty of course, but at least is wasn't that red awful dirt.

Here is our swingset, with one swing for each of the kids.

I also got to play barbershop in Muembe this week. I brought my clippers to cut Tim and Traeger's hair and I ended up cutting almost Mateus' whole family as well. They all got a buzz cut!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Kallen!

Yesterday we celebrated Kallen's first birthday. It is crazy how fast time flies. We just spent the day with our family. She was so happy all day. It was a bittersweet time for me. It was a good day, but so sad that no one could share it with us. I think first birthdays are more for the mom that the one year old. She doesn't know what is going on, but I felt so sad for her that no one could be there to celebrate with us. My camera broke while we were in Muembe(our guard dropped it) and I was so disappointed I barely got any pictures. These we had to take with our cell phone, but they just don't come out great. I am lost with a camera, it so key in our communication for this blog, for the grandparents, and events like these, that are only able to be witnessed through pictures, so please pray that I can get another soon. Here is a little video of her eating her cake. She enjoyed it as you will see.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A short video...

Here is a video of Kallen's newest thing, fake crying. If you tell her no or look at her sternly, she pulls out this fake cry and we just laugh at her. It is so funny.

A new faith...A new church...

After 2 weeks in Muembe, Tim spent 3 days in Caia, with the new believers there. There have been 7 professions of faith in the past couple months in the village of Caia. They recently constructed a new church "building" for the new church to meet in. Tim and Jeffery, our guard, spent three days, discipling and teaching the new believers there. They talked about baptism, confirming and making public their decision to follow Jesus. They also talked about church and what it looks like to part of a body of believers. It was a great time getting to know the people and how they live as well as showing our commitment to them and willingness to invest in their lives to teach and train them as they begin this new church.
Here are a couple pictures of the new church "building" and the new believers there as well as one of our meeting times, where a lot of people from the village came out to listen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


We spent last week Muapula at an SIM spiritual life conference. It was a good time. We were able to meet the whole Mozambique team for the first time, which was nice. We also had a great speaker from Nigeria. He challenged and encouraged us spiritually. The kids had a program as well and really enjoyed it. It was a week of sunday school, which is so nice, because that is one of things we miss the most here.

On sunday Tim preached at the Anglican church here in Lichinga. It was a 4 hour service, and we also had lunch afterwards, so it was a long day, but it all went well. Tim did a great job and he got to share his time with the Anglican Bishop, so the service was packed. The Bishop also just happens to be a relative of Tims. I am sure most of you have heard the story, but if not...Tim's dad and Mark's mom are cousins, and we discovered this detail after we had already decided to move to Lichinga. His family lives in Rockford, which is another crazy detail. Mark was voted on by the people as the bishop, which is remarkable as a white man. The people like him, because he is honest and money actually goes to the church and not to line the bishop's pockets.

Anyway, here are some pictures of trip to Muapula, it is beautiful country and in the middle of nowhere.

This is elephant dung. We saw many piles of it along the way, but unfortunately, no elephants.

We did see plenty of babboons like this one.

Here is Tim giving his message in Portuguese. The guy in the white robe is translating to Chiyao for him.

Here is Mark, the Bishop of the Anglican church in Mozambique.