Posted in God's heart, living in their world, Mozambique, willing hands

In the Dim and Dusty

It happens week in and week out here in the dusty village church. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the chaos of it all. Over a hundred kids. All of whom are struggling to read. And all of whom are needing your attention. Right now. Or they’ll get too squirmy and run off in herds to the “bathroom” at the back of the church. Apparently when you’re a boy you use the overgrown brush urinal best when with a friend… or seven. Ha!

They all sit there in the mud-hut church, chattering on so in the beginning. Two languages permeate the dimly lit space. One of which I am fighting to grasp, the other of which is still completely foreign. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the organization of it all. Math pages in plastic pockets go here. Everyone’s group lists to distribute. Then there’s the list of absentee children that needs to be on hand should once the master list is called we still have bodies in the seats. It’s hard to say “come back next year” to those that have been missing for over a month and have been lost in our advancement forward in the lessons. Try as we may, the line is still a hard one when you’re strapped for teachers.

Sometimes there are so many kids that one can be found looking up from a mat on the floor outside of the church. Reading lessons are complete and they’re now surrounding you. Fourteen or Fifteen big smiles. Their dirty little feet squirming. And they’re all just waiting in anticipation as you grade their math papers. They laugh and cheer as you grade their friends’ papers. And then magically you assign a number. One through twenty. They await with bated breath for a twenty. Sometimes I give the struggling ones three or four chances to gain a twenty. I don’t know if they’ll ever gain a twenty in their school. And that kind of twenty joy is radiant.

This time there were only a handful. So I got a chance to see more than I usually do. Dedication of a generation pouring into the next. Even one that can barely read above the children’s level, trying hard to help them reach and advance beyond his skill level. A teacher who has become a friend, flexing into a patience that only comes from a greater desire to give than to receive. Teaching children may not be her thing, but she’s not going to let that stop her attempt to help better someone else.

But here in the dim light, I see another face. She’s seen this little boy for years. And try as she has, and try as he might, he’s still just here. His peers have left him in the dust as the years have proven more fruitful for them than this little boy. But here she sits, teaching. Showing. Trying to help him embrace a skill that is thus far conquering him. She encourages. She’s consistent. And there I saw her heart. Her desire for this little guy to get it. He has aged out of the group, but he still needs the help so. So she invests and invests. Quietly. In a mud hut. In a country that you won’t find in the news. In the heart of Africa.

And she’s been here for over twenty years.

Not for her glory. None of this is.

And she’d be the first to tell you that she’s just a normal person.

Because she is.

We each are.

It’s all for His glory.

And it was just beautiful to see her heart in that dimly lit mud-hut.

Each of their hearts.

Here in a dusty village church.

Week in and week out.

 

 

Posted in God's heart, JOY, life thoughts, my heart, willing hands

Refreshing

Cause I’ll never get by living on my own ability!

How REFRESHING to know you don’t need me!

How AMAZING to find that you want me!

 

I am completely insufficient of a warrior in this battle. This battle is beyond me in immeasurable ways. The wisdom needed, the grace offered, the endurance, and so much more … I am completely insufficient! I am absolutely nothing on my own!

But the power of CHRIST in me makes me strong

This completely blows me away! How He does not need me. Not even in the slightest! He’s completely and entirely All-Sufficient!

And yet how utterly amazing to find that He still wants me.

I am completely humbled that He would choose to use me as His mouthpiece. ME?!! Oh how HE must be the One bringing the victory through these lips, through these hands…

And how He so willingly receives this offering that I lay at His glorious throne…

I am brought to tears at His utter grace.

How He takes the incapable, breathes the life in them, gives them the words and the boldness, orchestrates the listeners, touches the hearts, and then receives it gladly as an offering unto Himself.

It was all Him!

All Him all along!

Oh thank you, Lord, that You would bless me so to be a tool in Your hands.

How humbly amazing indeed!

 

 

 

Posted in BRAVO, celebrating life, Mozambique, That's so Africa, willing hands

Six

Today marks six months of being American Africans. SIX MONTHS!!!!

“Wow, that has gone fast,” my conversant commented.

“FOR YOU!” I joked. 😉

In some moments six months has surprised us and in some moments language school feels like a never-ending endeavor. 😉

Six months looks like having enough language to complete our normal needs/wants/tasks without problems, while still forgetting how to congregate some irregular verbs to say something simple like “I have gone to the doctor before.”

Six months looks like preaching and teaching Sunday School lessons. Some sermons even coming with less than 12 hours of notice. HA!

Six months looks like a toddler experiencing some culture shock, resulting in a regression to diapers again, a promise that this is a phase, and more intentional Mommy snuggles. And by the way, this same toddler is reminding me that she wants underwear sometime soon when she does a good job using the potty, so I am encouraged by the grace she has been extended.

Six months looks like knowing what pizza place the family likes and successfully avoiding some other “less delightful” restaurants in town.

Six months looks like moving beyond introductory language to really starting to learn friends’ testimony’s, cultural superstitions, and understanding different ways of life.

Six months looks like looking at future homeschool curriculum so you’ll be ready to order it when the time comes in the next handful of months. (It takes a while to get here, but it’s still an exciting promise of things on the horizon.)

Six months looks like being SO CLOSE to remembering all of Roman’s Road and culturally appropriate questions regarding these verses to engage others in conversation.

Six months looks like celebrating with ice cream while skyping my best friend and her little boy.

Six months looks like a third grader doing 95% of her homework all by herself and casually reading her first grade sister the Portuguese directions to complete her first grade homework. It also looks like two girls enjoying school, but looking forward to returning to homeschool in English (!!!) as well. 😉

Oh sure, six months still has it’s growing pains, frustrations and challenges to rise above.

But six months also finds this country dripping with home, these pot-holed streets and people not so foreign and these hands still open to whatever God would have us learn

here in Mozambique, Africa.

Thank you, Lord, for six completed months.

Happy six months, FPO family!

Posted in faith, honesty, willing hands

Sweeter than Honey

The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of His hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they display knowledge.

There is no speech or language

where their voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out into all the earth,

their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun,

which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,

like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other;

nothing is hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect,

reviving the soul.

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,

making wise the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right,

giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the Lord are radiant,

giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is pure,

enduring forever.

The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.

They are more precious than gold,

than much pure gold;

they are sweeter than honey,

than honey from the comb.

By them is your servant warned;

in keeping them is great reward.

Who can discern his errors?

Forgive my hidden faults.

Keep your servant from willful sins;

may they not rule over me.

Then will I be blameless,

innocent of great transgression.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,

O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

-Psalm 19

“Your call will take you to the mission field.

But it is only your daily walk with God that will keep you there.” -E.S.

Posted in JOY, missions focus, Mozambique, that's just life, willing hands

Fluidity

I wanted to inform everyone of a recent change in our departure timeline. And before anyone loses their cool, no we’re not leaving drastically earlier or later than anticipated.

After talking over the IMB’s sending timeframe with the Mozambique staff’s receiving timeframe, we are altering our previous April departure date for Richmond to July 2016. Our dear trainers in Mozambique get the privilege of watching their son graduate seminary and visiting with family for a few months so we are happy to have a few more months of preparations while they visit and return to Mozambique.

This delay in orientation and departure will NOT delay our board vote on January 19 and our February 23 commissioning.

[Now I’d like to take an aside to remind you that despite our strong candidate status, the board is voting, people, to delegate some of the 2016 year funds to our departure and salaries. So, again, if the board says “no”, we no go with the following plans. 😉  So please do know that we’re not trying to be arrogant in any way here in this process. We will be praying for January 19th big time, and hope you all will join us as well. But we have been given the green light to speak openly about our candidacy and our unofficial timeframe.]

In the meantime, this few month delay is actually quite a nice blessing in allowing us to:

  1. Finish the homeschool year at a gentler pace.
  2. Have more time to visit with friends and family.
  3. Have more time to visit with neighboring churches we have been blessed to partner with in the past.
  4. Rally more prayer support.
  5. Be ambassadors for Christ and encouragers of others’ mission-mindedness here on State soil.
  6. Celebrate Matt’s 10 year anniversary with the church.
  7. Enjoy the full Awanas year.
  8. Participate in VBS this year.
  9. Gather more supplies in preparation of moving across the world.
  10. Celebrate almost all of our kids’ birthdays for the last time for a while Stateside.

 

We are BEYOND ecstatic as things are coming more into fruition regarding God’s purpose for our family and are BEYOND thankful for your continued love, prayers and support.

God is good, all the time. And all the time, God IS Good!!!