Posted in celebrating life, Crossing Cultures, enjoying life, living in their world, Mozambique

Dança, Dança!

(Title translated: Dance, Dance!)

Minhas pequenas Moçambicanas (My Little Mozambicans).

[Boa noite, Irmã Suzana! Minhas filhas tem uma canção para você e nossa familiares lá em Quelimane!]

(Translation of song: Hallelujah, Hallelujah we are saved in Jesus.)

Éden está dançando como uma moçambicana… ou quase…

(Eden is dancing like a Mozambican… well, sort of. Hehehe)

Posted in Crossing Cultures, honesty, life friends, the Cost of Love

When You Let Go of Your Last Known Embrace

It’s really hard to process. I don’t even really know where to start.

Part of me wants to go back home and hide and pretend like we will see each other again next year or the year afterward.

While the other part has a stinging that’s hard to put into words.

It’s just so hard to possibly explain to you how bittersweet it is to have other missionary friends.

Like not just the kind who live in the same town as you by the mere grace of God, but the kind that live literally ALL over the world.

And then to make it worse, there’s the kind that are returning to the States because their shorter term mission is nearly complete and the whole rest of their lives is about to unfold.

I feel like they should come with some kind of a warning label. Something that reads like, “I’m amazing, but I’m also going to rip your heart out when you realize we will probably never live in the same part of the world. Ever. But we absolutely will have to be friends.”

Oh man, it’s that kind of stuff that I just don’t even know how to process.

I have never had a file for that. That kind of box just does not exist in my world.

Oh the plight of missionary friends. Missionary friends that are amazing. Absolutely “kindred spirit” amazing. Their passion for the Lord, their burning fire for sharing His Word in even the hardest of places, their sharing of Scriptures and times that God just presses into them and drives them to deeper layers of faith, their hysterical laughter over the ironies of life, their shared resilience that just pushes and encourages you so. Oh man, why do they have to be such a blessing?!

You know, like if they weren’t such a wonderful family it wouldn’t hurt so much to say, “See you ‘later.” When all the while we both want to leave the conversation on the note of “you never know what meeting He could orchestrate in the future,” our hearts ache within us at the thought that He just might not orchestrate a time to see each other again.  No one wants to even say it. But it catches in both of our throats as we walk away. You return to your country and me to mine. Please, Lord, may that not have just been the last time I get to see them on this side of Heaven.

And THIS is why I feel like they should come with a warning label, people! Ugh. It rips your heart out.

Like think about it, our distance, friends and family, is intense. I don’t really like to think about it. I still like to feel like we live in your backyard. You know, just your very large, kind of wild backyard. 😉 And while the distance feels almost too much to bear sometimes, there’s a comfort that we can both rest in at the end of the day. Lord willing, we have every plan to come back. We have a time to look forward to when we will grab you up in our arms. We know where to find each other. For now we find each other online, but come our Stateside assignment, we get to find each other side by side for a beautiful season. A beautifully “promised” season. (I put that promise in quotes but don’t be scared, anyone. I’m just trying to learn not to speak in 100% definites if it’s not found in Scripture. I’m not the planner here, just the willing tool in His hands. So while that’s the game plan on absolutely everyone’s radar, God holds the ultimate trump card in His Sovereign hand and I want to be yielding, even in passing speech, to whenever and wherever He would lead.)

But for my international missionary friends, there’s no reunion hanging out there. No lingering meeting to hold in our hearts on the “the distance is too far” days. We’re not even on the same continent, some of us! How in the world would we ever even cross paths?!!

I can’t explain to you how this fact about our lives feels. Because in all honesty, I don’t even have words for it. It’s that lump caught in my throat when I think about it. That thing that makes my eyes hit the floor sometimes cause it’s too intense of a hurt to put words to.

Oh my, but how beautiful it is. How incredibly beautiful to have precious hearts literally all over the world sharing in the same drive. The same devotion. As much as Mozambique becomes even on your radar, friends and family, because we live here, there is an endless list of countries that pop off the map for us too because we have “family” living there. Serving there. Pouring out there. And a piece of our hearts are with them.

That’s just how we’re wired.

And it hurts to let go of the last embrace known to us. And it hurts to take that first step in the opposite direction that they’re going, wondering if your footsteps will ever line up again while here on earth.

But you can’t possibly keep from loving them. It’s just not even fathomable. They’re family. They’re precious.

And part of you is just overwhelmingly proud to call them family. Overwhelmingly delighted to encourage them in their pursuit of spreading the Gospel to the very ends of the earth.

There’s just no words for how proud and honored you are to call them family. Just like there’s just no words for how much it hurts…

when you let go of your last known embrace.

Posted in Crossing Cultures, God's heart, Hope, JOY, my heart, Overwhelmingly Thankful

But For All Eternity


There’s no Christmas lights on houses. No tinsle. Not even Christmas trees. There’s no discounted decorations. No Christmas music playing in stores. No desirable presents to buy and wrap for expectant kids. There’s no sledding. No cold winter walks. No snow. Nothing that points to a familiar Western Christmas scene. Nothing here that even points toward the Christmas season.

That’s what it’s like to live in the seed-planting phase on the mission field. Where Christmas doesn’t even seem to exist. (Kind of like the first Christmas, I would imagine.) The “first feet on the ground”. We are literally two of a small handful of Christians swimming up a stream of 100,000+ people. When Matt and I stood up in church to receive communion with the other baptized believers in the church, we stood alone with a visiting pastor. In a congregation of about twenty (and that was on a good day!), we stood alone as baptized believers in our city.

‘Ok then, let’s get started!’

It’s the proclamation phase. The proclamation of the Good News to those inside of the church building because clearly there is much to be certain of in a foundation of the very basics. And the standing on the figurative street corner outside of the church calling out from the depths of your toes to a passing sea of faces.

“Noel, Noel! Come and see what GOD has done!”


It’s not just some story. A folktale. A feel good slice of religion for the weak.

It is a piercing light that breaks through the suffocating darkness surrounding us all. It is a promise of a God-man who stepped out of his place of honor into the filth and terror of this world.

This God-man who humbled Himself into the form of a needy babe that we could have the opportunity to be reconciled to a God we, as all of humanity, were actively, and still are, choosing to deny.

It’s a God-man that steps into the middle of egos, desperation, pride, selfishness, manipulation, corruption, hate, abuse, assumed self-sufficiency, deception, and a whole host of all our dirty laundry. The God-man that comes for the purpose of stretching out His arms to take the gut-wrenching blows in our place.




The Light of the World given for us!”


He didn’t just leave us in the middle of our unraveling chaos.

No, beloved, instead –

Come. And see what God has done!”


May His Good News sweep through this home, this community, and this world,  breaking the Light of Hope into the hearts of those surrounding all of us.

It’s a story that changes absolutely everything. Not just for a season, but for all eternity.


“The story of AMAZING LOVE!

The Light of the World, given for us.”

May we never be the same.



Posted in Crossing Cultures, Overwhelmingly Thankful

In the Middle of Pastey Peacock Turkies

The phone interrupted our turkey craft. Endless paper feathers to help cut out for our preschool crowd. Paste on the table, turkeys that look more like peacocks and squirmy ants in busy little pants. All as we wiped away sweat beading down our foreheads from the Mozambican Thanksgiving heat. And the phonecall broke into it all.

“Quick, grab my phone, someone.” came a gut-response.

“Where is it?” came three overly helpful volunteers.

“No idea, follow the sound,” was the routine reality.

We found it on the last ring, with a quick recall button and heard her voice.

I could tell her smile covered her face as she greeted me. I couldn’t wipe the smile off of mine.

A flood of normal hangs in her voice and makes me want to instantly hug her. The mention of her name instantly rounds up my girls, each begging for their turn. Our Emilia.

She was just as eager to talk to each one, I could hear her laughs of delight rising from the speakers as even little Eden greeted her with perfect little preschooler precision. Hannah’s face glowed and she couldn’t stop smiling. All Hannah said was “yes, yes” to questions once she got past the greeting, but I could tell it touched something deep down inside of her. Our Emilia.

Abi burst forth with stories of one such delightful kitten and Rachael paced and carried on with a whole world of stories to share. Soon it was my turn and I couldn’t wait to hear how the church is going, her daughter and just hear her voice. It had felt like ages.

“You know, today is our country’s day of thanks, sister.” I told her.

“No, I didn’t know that!” She said.

“And you just made the day more full of gratitude for us.”

I could hear her big smile.

“I have missed you.” She said.

“We have missed you too, sister Emilia.”

During the holidays is when the ocean feels it’s biggest. The distance between us and the ones we love. Your faces are beautiful and your voices bring a lightness to our steps, but your arms we miss before and after our Skype call.

And today, God knowing our hearts sent us an unexpected phone call while we were still waiting for our beloved in the States to wake up for the day. An unexpectedly wonderful phone call that dripped of “home” right in the middle of a less home feeling kind of day.

Oh how He loves you and me.

Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.

Posted in celebrating life, Crossing Cultures, Mozambique, Overwhelmingly Thankful, willing hands

What a Year!

Today we are officially 1 year old American Africans. That’s right, one year ago to the date we first stepped foot in Mozambique. We completed our 18 month language requirement in 11 months and 4 days by the grace of God. Being a one year old American African finds us packing away our things to transport to our job city, a two day’s travel south.

Our house looks more and more bare with each passing day as we are doing our best to give away helpful things to others. Our beloved crate is due to enter a port 6-7 hours from our job city on October 18th and then we will be awaiting however long it takes to clear customs and be delivered to our doorstep on that glorious Christmas-like day of seeing many of our old belongings again.

We are hoping to move south to our new house by the time our crate hits port, depending on moving guy time frames and other logistics. But as crazy as it sounds, here a week before we are moving, we have yet to have an official departure date. I am learning to be flexible (sometimes with gritted teeth) and learning to yield all control to our Sovereign Father (again, sometimes with gritted teeth -ha!) as He orchestrates and directs our every step.

The girls are doing well and learning to give away some of their toys that we brought with us from the States in our suitcases. The girls are learning the valuable lesson of anticipating something that is yet coming, while letting go of something from your own hands first. And honestly, these girls are blowing me away at their ease of giving to others. Goodbye wooden play kitchen sink/stove, building blocks, bouncy cow, and baby doll. They are utterly besides themselves with joy at giving these gift to their friends who literally have nothing to play with. Goodbye coloring books, some art supplies, and some other beloved things. Oh how beautiful to see their hearts emerge as they squeal over the hours of play blessing they know this will bring to their friends they will miss dearly. How delightful to see them leave their own legacy in another’s life.

This past year has been full of sacrifice, lessons and self-discovery for the glory of God. It has been a year of yielding and throwing out pride for the sake of serving another better. It has been a year of tears of delight, frustration and deep hurts as we have walked alongside of others with great depth. This year has been a year of stretch-marks on top of stretch-marks that we were sure were about to burst, but God held together.

This past year a middle-class American homeschooling family became an upper-class (this is still super weird to me, but happened when we entered into a developing country) American private school family who speaks a foreign language in a developing country halfway around the world.

This year Portuguese entered our home until we can flip between two languages at the drop of a hat and our children will respond in either language being used. I can literally tell Eden complicated instructions in Portuguese with what I think may be new vocabulary for her and she goes and does them without batting an eye. We like to play a game sometimes with the older ones, interrupting them in mid sentence and saying, “Portuguese” and seeing if they can instantly flip to Portuguese while still communicating the same depth of meaning in their story. We like to send Hannah to ask familiar adults things in Portuguese for us and return to us with a response as a game to try to expand Hannah’s use and understanding of Portuguese. Portuguese has entered our home and has settled into the fibers of our family until it has become just … normal, so much so that we don’t even really talk about it too much any more. Isn’t that funny? The novelty of the language is gone. And yeah, we just so happen to speak Portuguese… just like everyone else here… 😉

This year we all embraced the reality that each day is an opportunity to open our hearts and our arms to another with Jesus love – even when that fight was just to remember how to introduce ourselves or sit through another hour of class without crying more than 2 times in utter confusion. Excluding Matt, each one of us has cried and, including Matt, fought for every single step of learning a new language and culture in a way that honors and respects those around you, even when you have not grown up with anything even close to their worldview.

And now as we move into a new layer of our family and our personal daily seeking of God in our job city, we will “return” to some familiars in the world of homeschooling, home-making, Bible studies, supporting and encouraging churches, teaching and spurring on local Pastors and church leaders, sharing the Gospel with those who have yet to hear or whom have never heard the whole story, visiting the sick, sharing what we have been given to help feed others, and just being a part of the Body of Christ. … We just happen to be doing all that in Mozambique instead of a Western country. 😉

Happy 1 Year in Moz, Matt, Rachael, Abi, Hannah and Eden!!!

Now let’s go celebrate with some chicken nuggets and French fries at our favorite “kid-friendly” restaurant in the city. That’s right, we’ll be celebrating with our little fake American slice of Africa for dinner. =)

Orange Fanta and Coke cheers to the next year… and however many more the Lord would grant us here amongst our beloved Mozambicans.