Sunday, June 29, 2008
Rolland has returned home (here) and we have been joined by 3,000 or so visitors from surrounding villages (yes, Africans) sleeping, eating, and pooping on base with us during this weekends conference. Although the conference started Thursday and ends today, they mostly arrived last Tuesday and will probably stay until this next Thursday. Its been interesting and challenging getting into that low place of service and still exemplifying the fruits of the spirit during exhaustion from working in the hot kitchens for hours every day serving food and washing dishes, and cleaning latrines (which Im thankfully exempt from). Yesterday was the wedding of the Bakers daughter and we had a big wedding feast afterward where we invited the lame, the crippled, and the dying to sit at the head of the table and it was HOLY CHAOS for about 4 hours of chicken dinner, cake and soda for everyone and dancing on the dirty food spilled floor. No, you can not imagine - Ill just go on and tell you that. So weve been pretty busy to say the least. Hopefully Ill have up the update by Tuesday so you can still get in on what weve been learning. This weekend has really been practical application time. Just to give you an idea though - the Third Week update is about Theology and the Fourth Week is, like I said, practical application and gift activation. Those updates will come soon - practice patience in the mean time - we sure are having to! As they say, T.I.A., for This Is Africa. It sounds great I know, but we are really truly enjoying every minute. It was a real honor to serve last night and to see how many people gave their lives to Jesus today at church followed by an immediate baptism service in the Indian Ocean. I DID manage to get pictures of that, although well see how they come out. Well, we are almost half way through now. Its been amazing and Im sure it will continue this way until the very end. Love you all and post more very very soon!
Oh yeah, and I made it successfully into the second trimester with no morning sickness! Yay! Baby is 3 1/2 inches long and starting to make facial expressions. Aw!!! Not feeling baby yet, but will be soon Im sure.
Darryl & Meg
Saturday, June 21, 2008
By the way: the apostrophe symbol doesnt work on these computers because they arent a part of the Portuguese language and I cant figure out how to change that – so just FYI, please bear with us!
Sachi and Laura are out in the bush this weekend. Sachi comes back this evening and Laura tomorrow evening. Were eager to hear about how they went. Before leaving, Sachis group was in a little vehicle accident before even leaving the grounds. Apparently an unruly child got into the four ton truck full of people and equiptment and attempted to drive it. He didnt make it very far before jumping the enormous roots of one of the elephant trees and smashing into the overhang/porch of the church. A Mozambiquan bible school student fell out of the truck and was taken to the hospital. A few other Mozambiquans were hurt as well. Keep them in your prayers, but especially pray for the unruly child. His name is Titos (prounounced Tee-toosh) and apparently this isnt the first episode of his as he was deserted purposefully from his parents knowingly, and taken to Iris. They later found out his parents were in fact alive when they were told he would have to attend his fathers funeral. So he is going through some things and is in much need of prayer and deliverance – Heidi asks that we pray for the spirit of adoption to come on him in a very real way.
So last week was all about intimacy with the Lord and how vital that is in our life as Christians. I forgot to mention that we studied Matthew 25 and its relevance to this topic as the parable of the 10 virgins; 5 were wise and had oil for their lamps, 5 were foolish and did not bring oil. The 5 who were wise counseled the 5 who were foolish to go buy oil because they could not give to them their oil. When the bridegroom came to join the 10 virgins, the 5 who were wise had enough oil to keep their lamps lit. The 5 who where foolish had no oil and the bridegroom closed the door to them and would not let them in because he did not know them. Jesus is talking about intimacy with him in this parable. The oil is the time we spend with him getting to know his voice and his heart. The 5 who were wise did this. The 5 who were foolish did not because they were busy with other things, ministries, church activities, and other good things. Read that scripture, and ask God to give you revelation to what that means for you. When Jesus (the bridegroom) comes, even though you go to church, and do good things, if you dont know him he will tell you to depart from him because he doesnt know you. Its wise counsel for us all to spend time in intimacy with Jesus – quiet time alone with the Lord every day.
Getting back to the Second Week Update: this week was all about Heart Surgery. Shara talked about God giving us Beauty for Ashes. A missionary from Zimbabwe talked to us about Getting Filled at Gods Table and calling the Last the Least and the Lost and how vital it is for us to bring those into the Kingdom. She had a heavenly visitation where she was at Gods table in Heaven and there were people there that she knew that she had brought to Christ. As she went down the table there were empty seats. She asked why there were empty seats and Jesus told her it was seats reserved for people she was too cowardly to share the Gospel with – because of selfishness. Another missionary from Australia shared about Ungodly Beliefs that we allow ourselves to believe that if you buy into, can become strongholds in your life. An example of one is when we say, Im a failure, worthless, and cant do anything because Im a victim of my circumstances. When the truth that God has for us is, You can do all things through I who strengthens you. She challenged us to pray that God would reveal more ungodly beliefs in our hearts so Gods truth could come in its place. Another lady shared on 2 Peter 1 which says, His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. The enemy has three tools: fear (future), offense/division (present), and shame (past). But we have virtues to fight back with: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love.
Heidi continued her series on the Beatitudes with Blessed are those who morn and Blessed are the meek. She is giving us these to digest one by one through the lense of missions because they are the very self portrait of Jesus, and as one of my housemates put it – the code of ethics for Christians. As far as those who morn, missions is all about finding the mourning and comforting them and not giving up when it gets hard. How does God do that? Well, since God is a Heavenly Spirit, he uses US. So he is looking for those he can put on like a glove, a yielded vessel that he can use, and all who are called into his light are called to do this – to be like Jesus. When she talked about meekness, she said God will reveal more of himself to you the lower and lower you go. She uses the word kinosis a lot which is the Greek word (?) for emptying of self. She also shared with us Pastor Jose from Maputo s testimony and how even though he had nothing, he gave everything away – his house, his car, his clothes, and how to her that was the image of meekness. This fell in line with our next homework assignment, which I extend as a challenge to you: Who in your life exemplifies the Beatitudes and how?
We had a guest speaker this week and this is the most exciting thing for me to write about thus far. As intriguing and challenging every class and every speaker has been, this couple from Holland were by far the more interesting. Mateus and Rebekah Vinderstein shared a lot on the Holy Spirit. They are very hip and real and down to earth. His main theme was if you see the invisible, God can do the impossible. He also shared on how it is most important for Character and Anointing to be in balance, and how the biggest warfare is between our two ears. He shared his testimony and then his wife shared hers. WHOA! This is still provoking my thoughts. You can look her up and probably watch a video from Patricia King s show, Extreme Prophetic, of her giving her testimony but basically she was in satanism from a young age, raped over 200 times since age four, and could open doors with her mind and saw people walk through walls, be sacrificed and all kinds of crazy things we are so sheltered from (thank God!). But then watching her friend get beaten to death before her eyes because her friend decided she wanted out of the coven, she decided she wanted out too. But she was at a Benny Hinn conference and was wayyyy up in the top back corner with two other girls – they were there to put curses on him. He called them out and told them to stop cursing him and that the one in the middle (Rebekah) was going to be saved soon. She was delivered not long after and has since been living for Jesus! The testimony of how they met romantically was amazing too as she had a vision of them married with a child learning to walk in Africa – which happened just last year! So she can still see in the spiritual realm very clearly and has to really focus to turn it off when just talking with people. She sees angels and the demonic all the time. Oh, and she said when they were at the Benny Hinn conference that he was covered with a white light and what they called a White Wizard – someone they couldnt touch with their curses. She said every Christian has this white light that is made stronger by intimacy with Jesus and intercession/prayer from others. This is yet another reason why it is so important to have both a close relationship with Jesus and to pray for others! She also said we have both a guardian and warring angel assigned to us at birth. She told us of how if we have unclean spirits and cast them out, that they can return later to see if you are still keeping yourself clean, and if not, they will come back seven fold. So this is why she recommends we put on the armor of God and pray Ephesians 10: 8-13 every day and at times more than that if necessary, to release angels (we have not because we ask not), and to speak life over others because in our mouth we have the power to curse or give life. So it was very very interesting and I have many questions Im going to email her with so Ill share those answers when they come.
The rest of the week weve been learning Portuguese songs, prepareing for the Solemn Assembly on July 26th (24/7 House of Prayer), doing color activities like village feeding which is about 2 hours of organized chaos, followed by our eating off the dirtied plates the children ate off of that were blessed and rinsed in the dirty soap water they washed their hands in. :) We ended the week with snorkeling in the incredibly salty but clear Indian Ocean, and Darryl was invited to go spear fishing with one of the guards who he has been building a relationship with since weve been here. However, we just found out his son was killed in the road so please pray for his family in this hard time. These people see this happen all the time and weve heard of it a lot just since weve been here – we are truly blessed beyond our imagination. Our biggest challenge has been finding that quiet alone time with the Lord – building intimacy with Jesus. We can not make it here without that. Pray for us in that way, although we are contending for it and have to daily.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Darryl & Meg
Saturday, June 14, 2008
A lot happened the first week, although most of it involved introductions and adjustments to living, culture, and climate. Classes started on Tuesday so we were able to have at least a couple days to get settled in to our new little mud brick home for the Summer. The first week of classes involved a lot of introductions of long term missionaries here, and we got started on our Portuguese classes. Here is some basic Portuguese we learned:
Hello/Good Morning = Bom Dia
Good Afternoon = Boa Tarde
Good Night = Boa Noite
How are you? = Como esta?
I’m well, thanks. = Estou bem, obrigado/a
See you later. = Ate logo.
Bye = Chao
So that’s been fun using that around with the kids, the guards, the Mozambiquan workers, and the other students. They also have a language called Makua, which is the name of the tribe here. That language is a little more difficult. All we know so far is how to say hi and thanks. And when ever we do use that language, the people light up, but then giggle a little at our efforts. Here is an example of that:
Hello = Salama
Thanks = Gooshukooroo
(I tried to spell that phonetically. The r’s roll by the way.)
We’ve also been getting our schedules and our first assignment, which I’ll share in a moment, and trying to make sense of all the activities and places and times we need to be each week, as it differs for every one.
Shara, Heidi’s assistant, has been teaching us a lot. She grew up in a Jewish/Indian home that didn’t believe in Jesus. She got saved at 13 and spent a lot of time hiding in her closet praying and reading the bible. She said she would go to “babysit” or “study at the library” and really be doing to church and prayer meetings. Her family thought they would get her out of Christianity by sending her to an Ivy League school but that only fueled the fire for her as she organized events and evangelized on the campus of Princeton. She heard about the International House of Prayer in Kansas City and moved down there living in her car for months. From there she went on a missions trip to Africa with Todd Bentley (the guy who is being used in the revival in Florida right now) and there met Heidi. There the Lord told her she would become Heidi’s assistant and soon after that, it came to be so.
This week she taught us about the three gardens in the bible: the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Garden of Paradise. She broke down how each garden represented a time and a place not only in the stories in the bible but as a depiction of relationship with God. The one that blew me away the most was the Garden of Gethsemane and how it mirrored a Jewish wedding ceremony. “The son is given a cup to drink and he then gives it to his love. If she then drinks of the cup then they are betrothed.” (It’s interested about how the bible begins and ends with the metaphor of marriage, but that’s a whole other blog.) Then she shared with us how in Song of Solomon it writes about being a garden enclosed, a locked garden and how Kings used to build these gardens for their wives that where measures of their nobility by how large they were. They would delight in their Queens in those gardens, those secret places created only for them. This is how it is with our relationship with Christ, as we are to be that garden enclosed and he is to dwell within us and he delights in us. That’s just a little taste of that 2+ hour class. (I can post the scripture references on it, and will do that in the future, so you can look up more on these topics if you choose.)
Another day Heidi started her series on the Beatitudes. Her first lesson was “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit” and just what that means. Mark Muirhead says of the handicapped children they minister to in Jamaica every year that they are “handicapped on the outside, but we are handicapped on the inside,” and the same is with this topic. Compared to the rest of the world, the west is rich. Guy Chevereu said if you own more than one pair of clothes and eat more than one meal a day you are richer than the majority of the world. I think we are very blind to these facts in the west, and it’s a very real separation of the have’s and the have not’s here. So, back to the statement made by Mark Muirhead, in relation to this, these people may be poor monetarily, but are rich in spirit. They know what the spirit world is all about and see it, hear it, feel it, live it. Witchdoctors have a big presence in their lives and demonic spirits, curses, and other spiritual manifestations are part of their every day reality. However, in the west, we have to a great degree taken the Holy Spirit out of the equation of church and replaced it with a religious spirit. So in those respects we are poor in spirit. The bible says, blessed are those who are poor for they will inherit the kingdom. (In describing the events of the weekend of this week, you’ll see more of what I mean here.) So in being poor in spirit, I think we often don’t realize it or accept that, and some of you may even be offended at those statements. But the thing that I’m realizing is that we have to be poor in spirit. If we think we know it all or have it all under control or feel we’re doing a good job of handling our lives and our churches and our ministries etc etc, then we are not dependant on God. To be a child is to be dependant. One lady here had a vision of heaven and when she walked up to the gate, it was really small, all the doors were small, and everything around was small – child sized. I think we forget what it’s like to be dependant as adults because so much of our lives are centered on independence. So Heidi closed asking this question, and we found out later it was our first assignment – to write a one page paper on this topic. I challenge you to think about this and try to answer it for yourself: “What is good news to the poor?” How to you take good news to the poor? What does that look like? How can you approach a poor and dying person and tell them that God loves them and has great plans for their life and that he wants them to live a life of abundance? How do you bring this good news to a paralyzed person who has come to receive healing but is still paralyzed?
The week ended with a surprise schedule change for our team (Open Heaven Blue) to go on outreach. We packed up and drove about 4 hours in the back of a flat bed truck with about 30 others (students, visitors, and Mozambiquans) with all our stuff and sound equipment to a little village outside of Nampula. This is what they call ‘the bush.’ We got there, set up our tents and then made some beans and rice and showed the Jesus film in Makua (a pretty interesting thing to hear!). Then we had a time of testimony sharing and called for prayer. We saw all kinds of healings happen right before our eyes: stomach pains, headaches, limb pain, and more. It was like a chaotic mob of people begging for prayer and then you’re faced with what little language you know to ask, “where is the pain?” and “is it still there?” Then we played African music on the loud speakers and danced into the night. It was awesome! The next morning we handed out little bags of candy and cookies (which are so not sweet according to western standards, they are more like crackers) to the kids – talk about chaotic! Some of them would get back in line and we’d be saying, “OK, I know I saw that power ranger shirt with the two holes in the shoulder once or twice before.” Then we packed up again and headed to another village, and did the same thing. It is weird for these Mozambiquans to see our little tent villages I’m sure, all these instant homes with bright colors amongst their mud and bamboo huts. During the day we had church services by the way – which are so delightful and energetic! We sing and dance and sing and dance and sing and dance, and them a few groups will get up and lead a sing and dance and another sing and dance, all in this tiny little four walled mud and bamboo hut with ants and spiders and some grass mats on the floor. I think in K.P. Yohannan’s book it talked about someone saying “it’s hot in here, the AC isn’t working, I’m uncomfortable” at a church and an Indian woman who was used to sitting on the floor with no AC packed in with other people responding with, “what does comfort have to do with church?” After church had ended some guys stayed behind to pray for this man that wobbled into the church hunched over and eyes and mouth pursed shut. He hadn’t spoken in over 10 years. After about 45 mintues of prayer, he walked out of the church standing upright, eyes open and telling everyone his story. He accepted Christ and they told the Pastors to really disciple him. We’ll share more of this story when we return, because Darryl was there and he can tell you what he saw. Later that evening we went to a school, which was more like a picnic shelter at a park in the west, to show the Jesus film in Makua again. This time it was a little different. There was a much more Muslim presence and a lot of drunks and it was SO DARK outside, but you could see the stars even on the horizon and the milky way looked like clouds it was so clear! Some boys set up a little ‘store’ near where Darryl and I were sitting that was used liquor bottles filled with sweet tea (Southern sweet tea has nothing on their sweet tea by the way! Whew! *pucker*) and people would buy a swig of the tea and afterward, return the bottle that the boy would dip in a bucket of water and refill, tipping off to an even balance by taking a swig himself. This is Africa! When we did the alter call it was a little scary I’ll be honest. There were so many people, but they were seriously hungry for the Lord. Around 250 people accepted Christ eagerly, and again we saw so many healings right before our eyes; a lot of the same things, stomach and head pains (probably from eating what they can find, and carrying things on their heads and not drinking enough water). And a guy’s eyes were healed from partial blindness. It was amazing, and good to get back to what seemed like civilization to us! What with having to use the latrines (a hole in the ground, often without walls), and being outside constantly, we ended the weekend with a nice visit to Pemba beach. Remind me to tell about the gas station in the bush sometime!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
LOVE YOU ALL,
Darryl & Meg
Monday, June 2, 2008
We've been in Pemba for a few days now. Today we ventured off the base to some shops and to post a new blog. Pemba is nice, much nicer and cleaner and seems to have a better economy than Maputo. But it's HOT! I don't know the actual degrees, but it feels like midsummer in the sandhills and it's only 9am! We don't even need a sheet as a blanket to cover us at night! I'm trying to stay hydrated and not overheat so the rest of the group is off about town going from little shop to little shop and I'm in the internet cafe that looks like a grass hut from the outside! We took a taxi in with a 'tour guide' (someone who's been into town before). It's very tropical here. And the Indian Ocean is right across the street from the Iris base, it's beautiful! I haven't been to see it upclose yet. I wish I could show you pictures, maybe I can if I find a cord for the camera.
Yesterday was a national holiday - Children's Day. A great initiation into the school! There were 3,000 people from the surrounding town all at Iris. Heidi preached, and we fed the kids, gave them presents, and played games with them. It was "Holy Chaos" as she calls it. [Rolland is apparently in the hospital, although we're not sure why - the entire service yesterday was in Portuguese and Makua. Keep him in your prayers.] We had this spiced rice and some of the best chicken I've had in a long time! We're really longing for some fruit so we're getting that while in town today.
Barely any of the kids speak English here so we're really getting a chance to learn some Portuguese! In fact, the Mozambiquan Bible School students (who are in training to become pastors), love to trade language lessons. We met a guy named Powa who is teaching us Portuguese in exchange for some English. They really emphasize relationship building here so they encourage that exact thing, and to eat lunch with the national students every day. Mondays are their fasting days for breakfast and lunch so they encourage us to join in on that as well (Don't worry - me and baby are getting plenty of food!). Today is our day off school though - thank goodness! We start class tomorrow and we'll be more ready then, as it has been a whirlwind adventure already with travel and disorientation to new surroundings.
There is a student compound within the Iris base with about 15 little houses, and then and off base sight with about 5 houses. Each house is cynderblock with red mud stucko, a few small windows with screens and bars, and broken marble 'tile' floors. We have a tin roof and grass porch overhang. There is a front and back porch with banana and papaya trees around - it's beautiful to watch the sunrise over the Indian Ocean there! And excellent for quiet time with the Lord. On the on-base site, Darryl and I are in a house with Sachi, Laura, and three other ladies. Darryl and I have our own room and bathroom, and the other ladies are on the other side of the house - we share a small common area or kitchen. We have minimal running water that can 'run out' if we use too much - plus it's cold so easy to take short showers when necessary. The sinks are leaking so Darryl is finding something in town to fix them with. He's come in quite handy to the base - with all his skills! Darryl and I are the "house parents" and we organize house meetings and worship/devtionals. So that works out geat for our Sunday evening prayer meetings we planned to do, linking times with the prayer they have at Mosaic! We are all split up into different color groups/teams though that will do various activities like go on outreach and various class assignments, etc.
Tthe other ladies in our house are from different countries, one is a missionary from Cambodia one is American and one is Scotish. I think we have the most Americans in one house. There are some other Africans from other countries here as well. Other nations represented are Korea, South Africa, Germany, Israel, England, and that's all I can remember right now. There are lots of doctors and nurses here as students also. And two midwives! So that's good to know.
We're starting to get on the time schedule. The sun goes down and comes up early early, so it's different, but we're adjusting quickly and fairly easily. I think it's the temperature mostly that is taking longer to get used to. Especially since us women have to keep so covered up (nothing above or showing the knees). It's pretty warm in our house too, although Darryl and mine's room is the coolest temperature wise. Lots of multicolored lizards around. I've seen a few crazy looking bugs, but nothing scary or dangerous. The most dangerous things so far is all the sandspurs! They stick to the bottom of our shoes and come in the house and then fall off, so when we walk barefoot - ouch!
We're looking forward to jumping into our busy school schedule and getting to know Heidi and the rest of the Iris team. This will truly be the greatest experience of our lives and we're filled with great expectation spiritually. The kids and the Iris staff, Bible School (Pastor) students, and Mozambiquan staff are very friendly and we're enjoying every moment. We'll post more as we experience it in the next week or so. Stay tuned and feel free to leave us a post of your comments and or updates on what's going on.
Pray for me in dealing with the heat. I find it a lot harder to deal with pregnant. I know God is my strength though! And again, pray for Rolland Baker as well as he is in the hospital.
Much Love Always,
Darryl & Meg