Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November Update....

Well there goes another 2 months...they have been busy months for us. Back to October...Tim spent a 2 weeks teaching in Mocimboa de Praia on the coast of Mozambique. This is his 3rd year teaching there. Some Kenyan missionaries are training local Mozambicans in the Bible and sending them out as missionaries to their unreached neighbors. It has been encouraging to see the results and to be a part of this program.
The first week of November, we had our annual Training In Ministry meetings as a SIM team. We talk about our vision and mission as a team and how we can improve strategically as a team to reach the people of Mozambique. We held the meetings in our house, 18 adults and 11 children. We were all a little cramped, but the meetings went well.
The next week, I hosted a home school conference for the moms in the area. We had 3 ladies from the UK come as well as one South African to teach and run a children's program. It was also a big success. We had 10 moms participate and 26 children. The children were all able to take IOWA tests to see how they are doing(which is more a test of how are we as moms doing teaching our children than how they are actually doing). It also gives the kids experience in test taking, which is something that a home schooler lacks in. The ladies are all part of Anchor Education, which is a ministry that offers these conferences to home school mothers and fathers around the world who otherwise wouldn't have these resources available. They come at no expense to us and offer their services and time as a ministry, raising their own support to do this. It is a huge blessing to us here and has made such a difference in our home schooling.
Then we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving here with the American missionaries and Expats in the area. Our community here is a great blessing and we were thankful to have great people to celebrate with.
Now that we are in December, we are looking forward to the Christmas holidays. We have our house decorated and the Christmas music playing. Although, I just can't get used the hot weather during Christmas, we do our best to make it feel like Christmas in our home. Tim will be busy this month speaking at different churches for the next 3 weeks and preparing things for the Bible School. The land has been cleared and now we are working on getting is leveled and getting a well dug. He will give a more detailed update on email later this month. I am finishing up our school year with the kids before Christmas, so we are working hard at that. My parents come to visit us in January and we will have a couple weeks holiday with them. We are so excited about it and have been counting down the days until we see them. The kids insist on leaving all our Christmas decorations ups until they arrive so we can have another "Christmas" with them.
Lastly, we are enjoying our new car so much. Sometimes we just get in the car to drive around and enjoy the air conditioning during this hot weather. It is such a huge blessings and has made such a difference in our lives! I have included a picture as I think most of you haven't even seen the car yet. I have also included some more pictures from the past couple of months.

This is our new pet hedgehog, Pika (which means poke in Protuguese. She is quite pokey!).

When we first got her, she mostly stayed like this, in a ball to protect herself.

Now she is quite friendly and stays mostly uncurled from her ball position.

During our SIM meetings, the kids put on many plays for us. Here is Kallen as the princess and Jurnee as her servant, getting baby Moses out of the river.

Karis played Moses mother.

In another play, Traeger was Jesus in the tomb.

Our SIM team eating dinner on our back veranda.

Jurnee all proud of herself.

The kids "drama team".

Karis with Pika.

Pika also loves our cat, Obi. She just curls right up in his fur and goes to sleep. Obi doesn't seem to mind much.

Not exactly the most comfortable of pillows, but I think Obi is too lazy to find another one.

All of us at the home school conference.

This is Bernardo, his wife and son with Traeger. He used to be our guard and then we hired him as a helper in the office with Tim to do administration. He has now gotten a job in the city and no longer works for us, but is still our good friend. Traeger has always been friends with him and spent a lot of time with him while he worked here. Bernardo just had his first son, and named him Traeger. He even came over and got the exact spelling to make sure that it was correct on all the paper work for the baby's documents. Bernardo said he wanted to name is first son after Traeger because then each time he calls the baby's name, he will remember Traeger and our family and how we have helped him. It is a huge honor for Traeger and for our family. So there is now another Traeger in this world! This picture is Traeger holding Traeger:)

And here is our new truck!!!! It is beautiful and we love it!!! Thank you again to all who helped make it a reality!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Well time has flown by... We are now in possession of our new Toyota Hilux. It is wonderful. We feel so blessed. It is the first time in either of our lives we've ever owned a new car and after almost 2 years of rarely having a car at all, it is so nice to have reliable transportation. Unfortunately, our old car still isn't fixed. It has been transferred to Maputo for better service. They fixed the power problem and told us it was all ready to go, so while we were down there getting the Toyota, Tim went and picked up the Nissan and we were going to take it to a friend to sell for us, but we realized it still wasn't right. We brought it back in and now we are waiting to hear if the issues have been resolved or not. We also took some time to go into South Africa for a week to get some things done on the car, go see some doctors and do a bit of shopping. We had a really nice time. We stayed at a beautiful place that is designed for missionaries travelling through. We also were able to spend a couple days in Kruger National Park and saw much of God's amazing creation. It was a 4 day trip home, but all went well and we are glad to be back home again.

Tim went to court on Monday again for the issue with the land for the Bible school and he has agreed to pay the people the money they are asking. He could go further in the court and press the matter, but we all feel it is for the best to put this behind us and keep a good testimony and just pay the amount they want. He gave them the money on Tuesday and now we are hoping we can move on with out complications on the building of the school. He is meeting with a guy tomorrow to start clearing the land.

Tim leaves on Sunday to go to Mocimboa de Praia, which is a town on the coast of Mozambique in the Cabo del Gado province. He will be teaching at a discipleship school there for two weeks on Bible survey. In November we have our annual SIM conference for Training in Ministry and then I am putting together a home school conference for the third week of November.

Prayer requests for this month are:
*for the Nissan to be fixed and sold as soon as possible (we are still in debt with the cost of the customs on the Toyota until we can sell the Nissan).
*for safety for Tim travelling and his teaching in Mocimboa de Praia.
*for me as I am home for 2+ weeks by myself without a car(I guess I should be used to that by now) and with the kids.
*For the progress of the land clearing and building.

Here are some pictures from our trip:

This is Mercy Air where we stayed at Nelspruit. The kids loved it and you can see why.

The pool at Mercy Air

Entering Kruger Park 
 We saw lots of spotted hyena and we were able to get quite close to them.
We had a pack of wild dogs run along side our car for a couple of kilometers.

 A baby elephant crossing the road in front of us.
 This big guy was enjoying the river.
 A wild dog sleeping alongside the road.
 White Rhino

A little owl we saw in the tree at one of our stops and he was so cute.

 There were 2 male lions that crossed the road right in front of us. They were following a herd of cape buffalo.
 The kids enjoyed this place we stayed on the coast during our drive back up to Lichinga. It is run by a Zimbabwean couple.

 Another view of the pool.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August Update...

I just wanted to give an update on our car situation and what the past month has held for us. It has again been a month of waiting and very little response on our car. We contacted Nissan International to see what can be done about our car that is still in the Nissan dealership in Tete and has been for a year now. At first they seemed quite attentive and assured us that the car would be fixed ASAP. Well that was over a month ago now. We received an email from them 3 weeks ago stating that the part they needed had arrived and the car would be fixed that week.  We sent several emails in the past couple of weeks because we had not heard anything from them since then. We finally received a response today that said they were still working on the car and they would let us know when it was running satisfactory and that is all. We are going to make the 10 hour trip down to Tete tomorrow and go and see what is going on. A year....It has been a year...Our new car arrives approximately the 29th of August. We need to have this car running and sell it before we can pick up our new car because we need the money from the sale to pay for the customs when the car enters the country. Please pray that this weekend we can figure out what is going on with the car and that we can pick it up. Pray that we would trust God in all of this and that he would help us have patience and respond in the appropriate way as we talk with the people at Nissan. We will be heading down to Maputo the end of August to pick up the new car and then we will be going into SA to get the car outfitted a bit for the rough roads of Mozambique. We will spend about a week there and then drive up through Mozambique. We will be gone about 2  1/2 weeks in total. We are all so excited about it as it will be our first time leaving Lichinga in the 6 months since we arrived back (and if you knew Lichinga, you would know why that is so difficult).

We have also had some issues with the land for the Bible school. Apparently some guy illegally sold the same land we have already purchased to several other people who are now building houses on the land. Tim has had several meetings with the government and people in charge of selling him the land and everything we have done is legal and is official and they are backing us, but a lot of people are very angry at this situation. The people who have paid money for this land and have started to build are now out a lot. It has been a very hard position to be in as they are angry that some rich, white guy is stealing their land. Even though they know what happened wasn't our fault it gets taken out on us as the "rich" foreigners. We don't want to make enemies and have people that are angry and in the end may try to vandalize the school and the property, so please pray we can work this out. They want us to pay them back for all the expenses that they are out, but we can't afford to do that for everyone who has started building and paid for land. The government says they back us, but really aren't doing anything about it. Please pray for a solution, that the people will leave the land without us having to force them off, that the government would do their part, and that there would be peace between all involved.

One other issue, which is smaller, but is causing a lot of inconveniences for us is Tim's cell phone. Many of you heard how he was hit by a motorcycle while running. When they hit him, they also stole his cell phone. It has been a process to replace it and he was able to use another phone, but that one has since broken. He has been about a month with a phone at all. The biggest problem with this is that he does so much communication through the phone and he has missed important calls and people have been unable to get a hold of him and with the land issues, it has been really difficult. We were able to purchase a new one and had a colleague bring it here with her from the States. We got the phone today and it isn't working. We now have to find someone to repair the brand new cell phone and wait still longer...Even though it is in the long run a small thing, it affects us greatly. Please pray it will be resolved quickly.

On a more positive note...we have been full into teaching and doing Marriage seminars. Tim spent all of July teaching. He took a chapa (local transportation) out to village of Itepela and taught on the book of Genesis to a group of believers there. He also taught a week at the YWAM discipleship school on Jesus. We did a three week marriage seminar at the church we normally attend here in Lichinga, that ended last week. We have another marriage seminar scheduled for the weekend of the 22nd of August and another in September. We also have been doing marriage counselling with a young couple here in town. They come from very different backgrounds, but are both believers and are trying to make their marriage work. It will be a difficult road for them both, but we are encouraged by their willingness and determination to make it work. We are grateful for the opportunities God has given us to teach and be involved even without transportation.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Fulll Month...

A lot has been going on this past month. It has been a good distraction as we wait on our new car. We have officially ordered it and it will be shipped July 15th, arriving in Maputo, Mozambique on August 24th. We still have another couple of months of waiting. Our old car is still awaiting the new part and looks like it will not be ready until August as well, but hopefully we can sell it before we need to go pick up the new car. The last week of May and June was spent planning, shopping and gathering food for our annual SLC (Spiritual Life Conference). We, along with some colleagues of ours, helped plan the conference. Our conference was the 2nd week of June. It went very well and we all enjoyed some good fellowship and a time of spiritual and physical refreshment. We also attended the opening of a new church building for the SIM church plant where we regularly attend. Then this past weekend we had a prayer day for the Yawo people group. Missionaries from all over Niassa province joined us here in Lichinga and we all spent the entire day praying for Yawo people in the areas of family life, specific works in different regions, strong holds, and for development. It was really an amazing experience to be all united in one purpose and goal before the Lord.

The Yao prayer day. We began with some great worship.
The new church building being dedicated.

Our SIM team here in Mozambique along with everyone who came to help us at the SLC.
And just for fun...Kallen found this amazing locust in one of our trees. It was so beautiful and looked like a butterfly when his wings opened.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

An Answer to Prayer...

Most of you probably know about our car situation and our emails about raising funds to purchase a new car. We are so grateful for the way everyone responded to our need and it was such a good experience for our kids as they watched God provide. We want to say thank you to everyone who played a part in this, from prayer to giving.
We asked the kids to write their thoughts and tell what they learned so I am including snippets from their letters.

From Kallen (age 6): I learned thit God luvs us and peppal cares for awr famlee bcus they gav us munee to get a new car. God is speshal bcus he get the peppal to gev us munee. I learned that the peppal cares for awr famlee too. I wud say to the peppal that gav munee thank you bcus we relee need a car. Luv Kallen

From Karis (age 9): When we prayed I learned that God ansewered our prayer when we asked Him. Thank you for lissaning to our messeges. Thank you for your jenerrosity for sending money for our new car. And for helping to support us in getting our new car. I also learned that God sometimes answars our prayers. And that God hears when we have a problem. And we also are planning a party to praise God. Love Karis

From Traeger (age 10): Thank you for the money because I can’t wait until the car comes. The first people that gave made me feel like giving so I did – I gave all I had and that made me feel good, so thank you for inspiring me to give. And once again thank you for the money for the car. All these days I learned that it is good to give and that giving feels better than to not give. I also learned that with God you can do anything even when you need tons of money God can give it to you.


Friday, March 13, 2015

What's in a name?

Choosing a name for each of my kids was a big choice for me. I really had a hard time deciding. I wanted something unique and yet meaningful. But I also wanted names that I liked and that sounded good with a last name like George. Here in Mozambique names are remembrances. They give their children names that will remind them of a significant person or event in their lives. Last week our guard Bonamar and his wife, asked me to name their new daughter. She was born on Feb. 2(she shares a bday with Jurnee), but they waited to name her until I arrived, because they wanted me to name her. They told me they are grateful for all we have done for them and want to always be reminded of us when they use her name. It is quite a humbling thing. I have only provided some clothes and maybe a coat or a blanket here or there. We do employ him, but to name his child seems like a little more than the "thank you", I would expect. I took a couple days and prayed about what I would name the little girl. I wanted it to be a name they would be familiar with and be able to pronounce, but have a significant meaning. He and his family are Muslim. So I wanted to give her name that reminds me to pray for her. I finally chose the name Ana. It means grace or full of the favor of God. I pray that she will learn of the Savior who loved her enough to come to earth, live a perfect life, and die in her place. I pray that she will be full of the favor of God and God will be gracious and draw her and her family to Him.

This is a picture of Bonamar and his wife, Amelia, while she was pregnant. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of baby Ana yet.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Back to life, back to reality...

Today is one week since we crossed the border and officially arrived back in Mozambique. The trip went really well and we want to thank each of you that was praying for that journey. I think over all it was our best trip yet. It has taken us a week to get moved back into our house and get settled. We still have a few undone tasks, but for the most part we are functioning as normal and it feels like we getting back into the groove of things here in Moz. We are officially back to life and enjoying the warm weather after the freezing cold winter of Michigan. The kids are back to bare feet and daily baths as they are always covered in mud or dirt. We have already had a number of visitors everyday and have been out visiting others. We have had people everyday at door wanting to buy eye glasses(we brought about 800 or 900 pairs back with us out of 4,000 that friends of ours have gathered for us). We are also back to the reality of life here, broken water heater, broken projector, and still no car. It is normal here to have something broken at all times, but our car situation is beyond the normal for even here. It has been a year since it has been working and it looks like another 3 months before the part comes in and we can see if this time it is fixed...Please pray that it will be fixed for real this time and will run well or that we can figure out what to do if it still isn't running well. We also found out a day after we arrived here that our second highest supporting church has decided to stop supporting us. We left thinking we were at almost 100% of our needed support and this will bring us down to 89%. Please pray that we will be able to make up that difference somehow.
Thank you again for all your continued prayers and support. We are so grateful. I will hopefully be keeping this blog updated much more frequently than I did over our home assignment. Tim is sending out an email newsletter in the next few days, so watch for that. It will give more updates on the Bible School. And once again, if anyone is not on our email update list and wants to be, please let us know!

We had two nights in Washington DC before we headed to Africa. We took one day and did a whirlwind of activities. We visited the Ford theater and happened to be there on the one day they had the box open where Lincoln was shot. The kids studied the life of Lincoln in our homeschool last year and were so excited to see where he was assassinated. 

We also visited the Museum of Natural History, which was pretty incredible.

Another Lincoln attraction.

The kids also attended their first birthday party back here in Moz. It was a dress up party.

All settled into our house again.