Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Answered Prayer...

The past few months have again been so busy, but also full of encouragement and answered prayer. One of things we have been praying about since we first started the plans for INTEL, the Bible School here in Lichinga, is for a Mozambican to join us full time on our staff. In May we went to the city of Mocuba and interviewed Fernando and his wife, Esperanca. Fernando has completed Bible School and is currently pastoring a church. He is well qualified to teach as well as lead our students. He also speaks 8 languages to top it off. We have asked him to come join our team starting in November. He has accepted and will be our Dean of Students as well as teach classes each semester. We are very excited about him and his wife joining us, along with their 5 girls. Below is a picture of us with them during our interview with him. Please be praying for him and his family as they move to Lichinga, for good transitions for the family and for Fernando, that he will be a good fit and that God can really use him in the lives of the students.

Another thing we had been praying about for the past couple of years, was for the electrical system to get set up at the school. After an original quote of $25,000 USD to get it set up, we prayed and prayed for another option. We later were able to get the price down to $8,000 USD, but still thought this was too much money at the time. Just about a month ago, our electric company gave us a quote of $2,000 to set it all up. We were so excited, we signed the contract right away and it has now been hooked up! That is a $23,000 answer to prayer! But the next thing was that we needed an electrician from the States to come out and help us set up the electricity. Someone to put in all the wires and outlets and lights. There are not very many skilled electricians here and we really wanted it to be done well. After 2 years of not really being able to get anyone to come, we asked my aunt's father-in-law, Bob Gudbrandson. He is a semi-retired electrician and we knew he had been to Southern Mozambique several times with his church. Within 2 days, he agreed to come and bought plane tickets. Another incredible answer to prayer! He arrived June 12 and stayed 2 weeks, working non-stop from 7-6 everyday including weekends to get our electricity all up and running. He did an incredible job and I don't think there is a neater electrical system in all of Mozambique! Here is a picture of him with our workers out at the school.

We have also been working on the false ceiling and recently the doors have been hung. Next step is the windows and security bars and then painting and we are ready to go. Below are a few pictures of the ceiling going in.

Just this past week our team had our annual Spiritual Life Conference. I, along with a friend and colleague, Carla Overton, were in charge of planning and running the conference. Our speaker for the week was our SIM International Director, Joshua Bogunjoko. His wife Joanna also attended with him. Despite a cancelled flight and arriving a day late, it was such an incredible blessing to have them with us. Our team has been quite discouraged lately with the lack of leadership after having lost our previous director to ALS and then also just the trauma of losing him and his family to that serious illness as well as another close colleague to a brain tumor. For our small team of 16 adults, it has been quite a blow. His messages on God's peace from John 14-17 were so needed and just to be able to share with him personally where we were all at and get to know him on that level was an incredible blessing. We are so grateful for his humble leadership of SIM. Below are some pictures of us out at the Bible School and at the conference.

Below are just some pictures of various other activities over the past couple of months. A couple churches we have visited where Tim has preached. Both are small Yawo home churches around the city.  Also a photo of an incredible rainbow over our SIM guesthouse on our property. Then some pictures of our trip to Mocuba, Cuamba (with the Overton family), and Gurue...just some of the beauty of Mozambique.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Family Update...4 months and counting...

This has been some of the busiest months is hard to believe we have been back 4 months already. In some ways it feels like we've been here forever and in others time has flown. We have done so much in the past couple of months. We left the end of February for our monthly orthodontist appointment for Traeger in Malawi. It went really well and his teeth are moving quite quickly. We also were able to visit with a Pastor from one of our supporting churches in Grand Rapids, who happened to be teaching at Bible school in Lilongwe. We then flew to South Africa to attend a SIM conference in Pretoria. It was an extremely busy week, as we were busy from 7:30am to 9:30pm, but also very rewarding. We were able to meet so many new people and were able to do a lot of networking for the Bible school. The kids were also involved in a program and all made new friends. They loved the week there although I think they were exhausted as well. After the conference, we flew to George and visited some good friends and also drove a little of the garden route to go visit our previous director and his family, who was diagnosed with ALS and had to move back to South Africa. We had great visits with them. The kids also enjoyed reconnecting with old friends they hadn't seen in over a year. We flew back to Malawi and had another orthodontist appointment and then drove back to Lichinga, through some of the worst roads we've ever seen. After being home one day, we welcomed our friends and colleagues for a two week visit. We also welcomed new missionaries from Malawi here to Lichinga. We have been getting them settled and orientated to their new life in Mozambique. It has been non stop action with 13 kids in our house for 8 days and 10 for another 6. Life is never dull! Here are some pictures of the past couple of months...

Arrival in Pretoria for the conference.

Kallen's new friend, Lily.

Jurnee, Kallen, Lily, and Desta 

Traeger and his new friend Jack.

Enjoying summer in South Africa.

Jurnee and Desta.

The girls loved being reunited with Zoe in George, SA. They had so much fun.

So good to be with our friends again. We have missed the Edens in Lichinga!

The beautiful coast of South Africa on the Garden Route.

Kallen found a friend.

Traeger also loved getting time with one of his best friends, Stefan, who he hadn't seen in over a year.

Cape St. Francis lighthouse

It was so good to be with our friends the Paetzolds again. We had such a nice visit with them. Please continue to pray for Alfred and his family as they daily deal with the difficulties of ALS. 

Welcome back to Mozambique...with some of the worst roads ever!

Here is just a small video clip of part of our trip back to Lichinga.

The Lichinga "youth group". Once a month all the missionary kids in the area get together for a youth night. The kids love it so much. There are some incredible leaders who make it all happen. 

Just some of the 13 kids we've had roaming about our place the past couple of weeks...

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A day in the life...

I thought I would give you all an example of a day in the life of us here in Mozambique. I think sometimes it is hard for those who have never been here to understand exactly what everyday life is like here in Mozambique. Things are just different and here is a synopsis of our day yesterday. It was a special day, Jurnee's 6th birthday. Birthday parties I know can be pretty big events in the States and a lot of work can go into them, but we are talking major events and lots of children. This is just a normal birthday at home for our family and a few friends living next door. I guess it started the day before yesterday, on Friday, the 1st of February...

First of all Jurnee requested fun fetti cake(? that kind of cake that has colored dots in it??? and only because we were just in the States a few months back and there was fun fetti cake there), and ice cream as well as cinnamon rolls for breakfast. She wanted hamburgers and french fries for dinner. Now this doesn't sound too complicated, but here in is slightly complicated. So in preparation 2 days before we order hamburger buns, because you can only request a baker to make them for you here or make them yourself, not just buy them at a store. So Friday, I make a cake with blue food coloring (which actually turned out green because white cake looks more brown than white because of our unrefined sugar) because I have NO IDEA how to make a fun fetti cake and there is no such thing as a fun fetti cake anywhere in Mozambique. Then I also make frosting, the not too sweet kind, because that is what she likes, but it also takes a very long time to make. Then I start on the cinnamon rolls. While they are rising I wrap some presents that we have brought all the way from the US on our trip here, because there is nothing to buy around here for a birthday. The cinnamon rolls don't actually get done until 11:30pm. We are up at 6:00am for Tim to start making the ice cream, because also it is difficult to get around here. We had bought the cream last time we were in Malawi because once again, not something you can find in Lichinga. We eat our cinnamon rolls and continue to ice and salt and wait for the ice cream to be done. Meanwhile Jurnee says, "where is my party hat? Because birthdays are not any fun without party hats." Why couldn't she had told me that a few days ago, because party hats aren't something in the Lichinga market or shops either...So I go and make a party hat real quick because her birthday must be fun! 2pm we have ice cream ready and we have a small party with some colleagues who are living in the guesthouse on our property right now.  Oh and the party hat was only worn for about 5 minutes until it was just in the way and cast aside. Then we quickly move to get started on dinner preparations. We have to clean the potatoes and cut them. Prepare the meat and make it into patties. Go pick up our hamburger buns. We start the oil for the fries at 4:30 and dinner is ready at about 6:00. After dinner, we have movie night and the power goes out about 4 times, so that it takes about 3 hours to watch an 1.5 hour movie and Jurnee has already fallen asleep in the middle of it. Carry her off to bed and we crash exhausted from making cake and hamburgers and french fries...Ah birthdays are a lot less expensive here I must say, but a whole lot more work. And lucky us, 12 days from now it is Karis' birthday. At least she is a little less demanding at 11 turning 12 than Jurnee at 5 turning 6. I think she will survive without fun fetti cake and a party hat.

Here are some pictures of Jurnee's big day...

With the absolutely necessary party hat that was worn for 5 minutes.

Jurnee didn't want to hear us sing happy birthday to her because it was "embarrassing". 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The good and the bad....

Well we are officially back and settled (mostly). This is Africa. It is rainy season and beautiful. The weather is warm and mostly sunny. Friends. New kittens. Quiet evenings and simple food. Along with the good comes the bad though. Terrible roads, tummy bugs, power outages, broken pumps, and dust and dirt. We have been welcomed back with everyone of these good and bad things.

We are all truly glad to be back, but it doesn't come without its challenges. Many of you heard about our difficulties before we left and we just wanted to give everyone an update on that. We did end up leaving on December 7th, two days later than scheduled due to a cancelled flight. Last minute, the airline did cover all our extra baggage costs for our inconvenience, which was a huge answer to prayer. The flight went well overall, although Kallen ended up getting sick on the flight and throwing up several times. Thankfully she recovered quickly and was fine after we landed. We then went to the orthodontist for appointments for Kallen and Traeger. The Orthodontist needed some time to figure out a plan for Traeger and order a retainer for Kallen, so we had to make an appointment again for 10 days later. The trip between Lichinga and the Malawi border used to take us about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The roads are so bad right now it took us about 4 1/2 hours. That is 4 1/2 hours to go 150km or 90miles. We went to Lichinga and unpacked and got ourselves organized for 4 days and then we headed back to Massengulo, a village about 2 hours from here closer the Malawi border. We had a missionary prayer day for the Yawo people and also did some Christmas carols and worship to celebrate the birth of Christ. While we were there, a tornado came through. It was the worst storm we have ever seen in Mozambique. Although we were all fine, many of the local villagers houses were completely flattened or roofs blew off.  It took out a brand new school building as well. The next day several of us went around helping to cut up trees and clean up the mess. Then we went back to Malawi for Traeger to get his braces on and Kallen to get her retainer. While we were there I got really sick with a tummy bug. We still aren't sure exactly what it was. Then another 10 hours drive back to Lichinga again. We had fellow missionary friends from the bush come in and stay with us for a night and then we celebrated Christmas together as a family. For New Years, we spent a few days at the lake. It was a beautiful weekend and is one of my favorite parts about living here.

We have officially gotten back into school and we are making good progress on finishing up last school year. We hope to start our new year some time in February. We are also now working on getting things ready for the arrival of Verena to help with the Bible School and Tim has been continuing his discipleship and training with the local believers in Icuvi. The end of this month we will head back to Malawi once more for Traeger to get the bottom part of his braces.

Thank you for all your prayers and support over this transition time. Please continue to pray as we get back into all our normal routines and ministries. Please continue to pray for health and safe travel as the roads are terrible this time of year. Here are some pictures since we have arrived...

Lunch in Malawi at Hippo View on our way to Lichinga.
 So glad to spend New Years in this beautiful place, Meponda, Mozambique

A nice tarantula (Baboon Spider) we found down at the lake. 

 Rainy season...our garden loves the rain. 

Some of the devastation from the tornado in Massengulo. 

This is the roof of the new school which was completely destroyed. 

Christmas carols...and a prayer day for the Yao people. 

We set up our Christmas tree. 

Merry Christmas! 

Traeger sporting his new braces!