Saturday, July 26, 2008

Outreach & Eighth Week

Last weekend we went on an amazing journey into the bush. We joined Heidi in a village that had never heard of Jesus before and shared His love and healing power. Amazing healings took place as we prayed for people, and a lot of people gave their lives to the Lord for the first time. Heidi bought a piece of property there and we prayed over it, built a fence with the Mozambiquans. She plans on living there a few days a week and getting to know the people and the culture and language. After she left we had a great time just getting to know the villagers and see them in their element. This little village is way out where there is really no road nearby. They are self  sufficient and we even had duck and shrimp for dinner one night! We had a blast and hope to return to it one day.
This week has been a realization that this school is soon coming to an end. We have not finished yet however, and have a lot to learn still. One day we learned from one of the missionary couples who separated us in gender and we talked about sex. It was a great time of honesty and insight as far as what God intended for us in relationships and why we behave the way we do. We listened to a podcast by Kris Valatton from Bethel Church in Redding, CA and I highly recommend you check it out. It’s on purity. Just a few notes:
-The top 3 reasons for divorce are 1. Sex, 2. Money, and 3. Communication. All the things we DON’T talk about in church.
-The church as 1% higher divorce rate than the world – most likely because we don’t talk about it.
-70% of 18 and over don’t have their virginity when they’re married.
We have been meeting with the Mozambiquan bible school students and asking them questions and them asking us questions and here are some more things we learned about the culture:
-They don’t emote when healed by prayer because when they experience healing by witchdoctors (traditional medicine), they pay more the better the healing they receive.
-The men choose a ‘woman’ to live with for 3 years and they even have children. After the 3 years if they decide she behaves the way they hope, they will get married.
-Moslem men have an average of 5 wives that all live in different huts and they live with a different wife every week.
-Here it is common to pay for things or give tithe/offering with chickens, rice, and peanuts.
Heidi taught on Luke 1:26 about how Mary found out the news of her ‘favor’ that she was carrying and how it mirrors normal pregnancy. She shared the news and not everyone was sharing in her delight. She had a choice to carry it or get rid of it. It took time and cost to carry the favor. Heidi was showing us that when God puts something in us, like a mission or a call (which we all have), we choose to keep it or abort it. If we choose to keep it, it will be uncomfortable and take a while to show and probably make life hard for a while, but when we birth this thing, we will forget all of that just like a mother does when she sees her baby for the first time.
Heidi also preached on Matthew 6:9-10 about us being a “sent out lover.” She asked the questions, ‘What does the kingdom of Heaven look like where you live and where you are going?’ That is something for us all seek an answer to.
Since the Solemn Assembly is going on as I type, some international leaders of The Call have come to organize and put it on. Stacy Campbell is one of them. She has been teaching us this past week also and I have so enjoyed it! She is very practical and logical and just overall normal. She is a housewife from Canada and on the side her and her husband do ministry. She talked to us about getting our hearts right for today’s event and learning to live and walk in the greatest commandments which are to love God with all your soul, mind, heart, and strength. She also taught on praying the bible, which is the title of her book. She said she started doing this and started to see God move. I didn’t realize this, but Jesus only prayed once on his own behalf. John 17:24 where he asked that all people would be with him where he was. This was also the prayer of David which is why we call him a man after God’s own heart. So she shared how things started to change in their town/country when they started having solemn assemblies (Joel 2) and that is why we are having one here.  She gave 7 steps for building a prayer life and they are below.
1.     You must learn to pray
a.     Practice
2.     Determine to work at prayer
a.     It is aggressive, not passive
b.     You have to work at it
c.      You are heard by the attitude of your heart
d.     Laying down is the worst prayer posture
3.     Set a time and a place
a.     You’ll never do it if you don’t schedule it in
4.     Pray to God
a.     Put yourself before God as he is, see what the bible lexicons saw before the throne
5.     Learn the language of the spirit
6.     Pray out loud
a.     Any relationship you’re building is started with language
b.     After a long time you can quietly relate (pray)
c.      So you know when you stop
d.     It is hard to think about something else when you’re talking aloud
7.     Silence
a.     Allow time at the end of your prayer to listen
So there is more to it, but I thought that was interesting and certainly helpful! The other thing she taught on was prophecy. More specifically she taught on ecstatic prophecy and it’s roots in the bible and translations from Hebrew words in scripture. She said she got saved in a regular church and when her husband and her planted a church they always preached against people (like her now) who prophecy and manifest in the spirit. However, it suddenly came on her one day and she has since researched it and found all this valuable information confirming what she has experienced. Then she prophecied over some of the students. She has many resources available, I highly recommend checking them out.
So that’s pretty much it. We’ve all been working on our prayer lives and focusing on Jesus and preparing for today. I’m taking a little break to write you this, but this is an all day event. We’re starting to get ready to come home. We have a one more week here and a 10 day visit to Maputo and we’re then looking forward to coming home. The baby is getting big and so am I!! Love you all.
Darryl & Mimi

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Seventh Week

This week started out with a call for repentance. We had a breakthrough with unity amongst each other but it was time to now repent of offense so we could go further with the Lord. We all felt something was holding us back in the past. So we went to those who had offended us or we held negative thoughts towards and asked for forgiveness and blessed that person. It was powerful and challenging. As Shara  said, “the one to the cross first wins.” This is true. Often we wait thinking it’s the other person’s responsibility or shrug it off, but this will really mess up the church. Honestly, this has been really eye opening and one of the most interesting things we have learned at this school. Not only are we learning how to live in unity with a different culture, race, religion, but also with other people from other nations that carry all kinds of others along with them.  Jesus calls us to have a pure thought life.  As he taught that not only should you not murder, but any who hate their brother in their heart have committed murder already – in this light, we need to have more consideration of how we think. Our thoughts determine our actions. From the overflow of the inside, the outside expresses. It was hard, humbling, and wonderful all at the same time. We also learned that when you are involved with others in Christ, there is this spiritual warfare. The bible says in Proverbs, ‘where there is strife, there is pride,’ and that is what we had to do, put down our pride and get right. One of our friends shared with us how this preacher is a hunter and once out in the wilderness he happened upon a bear family. All he had with him at the time was a gun and knew it wouldn’t be enough so he just emptied the gun into the male bear and ran. However, once he did that the male bear thought the female bear was attacking him and he started attacking her. This is a great metaphor for how it is as Christians. One of us gets attacked (spiritually) and we then attack our wife, husband, brother, sister, friend, etc rather than the thing shooting us. So it’s something to work on. Instead of drinking from the fountain of the enemy, when negative thoughts come into your mind, fire good thoughts and blessings for that person right back into the barrel. It’s a great practice that we are learning better late than never!

We didn’t get much teaching from Heidi this week because we had village feeding and then outreach during her teaching days. However we did learn from this guy named Charles Stock who is the head pastor the Life Center. He taught us a lot about the spiritual realm. I’m about to run out of battery on my friends lap top so I have to post this. Will write more later. Love you all! It will include the most amazing outreach experiences of this past weekend. 

Sixth Week

Sixth Week

Adjusting to the culture and climate of Mozambique, we have enculturated quite well. However, we miss our family, our friends, our home, and American food.  Last week we ended with our 4th of July feast with our home group which included a Scot and a Canadian. It was a blast, but we all realized just how much we missed home.

This week Heidi was having a hard time. Having just returned from the Middle East, she had endured quite a bit of persecution. So she skipped a few verses in her series on the Beatitudes and went right for Matthew 5:10-12, “Blessed are those who are persecuted…” She shared about many times in her journey about how she has been persecuted and God has brought her through. It encouraged her to remember those things, and it encouraged us not to give up when things get hard.

The second time she taught us she went back to where she left off at verse 8, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” She shared stories from the children she has cared for over the years. One of them was about a little boy who had no family to take care of him because they all died. He came to live and go to school at Iris but he was intent on staying true to his roots as a Moslem. He insisted to them quite beligerantly about how he refused to convert. Heidi took him aside and told him he didn’t have to become a Christian to live here and go to school here, that they would all love him just the way he is regardless of his religion. She went on to say that almost instantly once she revealed to him that he had a choice and it was his choice to make, he told her, “OK then, I really want this Jesus, pray for me!” Heidi encouraged us to look for Jesus in the children, the bible school students, the villagers, etc. Here are a few other points that I took down in my notes but that don’t necessarily go with the theme, as we get off topic quite a bit at times:

-                    Not one of the students or staff present raised their hand when asked if anyone received Jesus in an evangelism meeting.

-                    The hungry always get fed, but not always as soon as they ask. This is a spiritual metaphor for dry times.

-                    Spend time with the broken in hospitals, mental institutions, nursing homes, the homeless, the poor… not to teach them anything or to fix their problems, just to spend time with them and love them.

We also learned from a guy named Paul Black, from Fredricksburg, VA. He taught on the difference between the soul and the spirit. He talked about how once we became followers of Christ, we were predestined to become more like him. That is our destiny. Basically, the difference between the soul and the spirit is that the soul is focused on me, and the spirit is focused on Christ. It’s up to us to discern between the two. He also taught on slavery verses sonship. This was some amazing teaching and he teaches a program called the School of Enoch. He said if anyone was interested  in having him come teach this to their church to contact him. The website is - we should do this Stephen!  


Darryl & Mimi

P.S. Thank you for all your comments! It blesses us to know you are reading and how it is blessing you to experience with us. I know some of you have had trouble with posting comments, but I know you're reading - thank you. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Another Personal Update

Now Im really going to throw everyone off schedule - I forgot to bring my notebook on the half mile walk to the internet cafe in the near by hotel. Right outside the window, there is a guy litteraly cutting the grass with loppers. Thats how they do it here. Just a little cultural insight for you today. SO, the update for the Sixth Week will have to wait. We are going on outreach this weekend, leaving Thursday and returning Saturday. Keep us in your prayers as we will be venturing into unchartered territory, with Heidi as our guide and the Holy Spirit as our leader. We wont be traveling far from Pemba (some of the outreach teams have gone as far as 10 hours away!), but this is somewhere Iris has never been and the name Jesus has never been spoken. It is exciting to be on this trip! Heidi goes with one group every weekend and weŕe blessed that she will be guiding us this weekend. Yay! So there will be a lot of stuff to share about that trip as well as the Sixth and Seventh week updates next Tuesday.

Before we came we were told in essence that the first half of the school is the busiest, and it cools down after that. Weŕe still waiting for the cool down part! It seems to get busier and busier every week. Now we are in preparation for the first ever solemn assembly of national Mozambiquanos July 26th in preparation for The Call Africa - which I dont know when that will happen. Weve really been connecting with people, students, leaders, and children this past few weeks. There is so much to share, I am honestly a little overwhelmed at the moment just trying to think of something.

This trip has been amazing. We have learned so much about ourselves. A lot of inner healing and spiritual imparation has taken place in us and the Lord is revealing more and more to us about our lives and our futures. We cant wait to come home and share everything with our church family, and our families and friends.

I want to share what I can remember about last week but then I will just end up typing more later when I bring my notebook. Sorry! Youll just have to wait. In the mean time, I can give you our latest assignment to chew on and/or do for yourself: Write about someone in the bible that you most relate to (how, why, etc) and describe their heavenly visitations. Describe your heavenly visitations (visions, dreams, etc). List eight promises from God for your destiny. List eight promises from God for you for 2008. Now take this assignment and ask God to give you the answers (except the personal heavenly visitations) for someone else. Pretty heavy stuff huh? Thatś what we are currently working on. Its not about what you write or how you write it, but the ultimate goal is an experience with God and greater intimacy seeking after his gifts and visions for you and your life as well as using you to speak to someone else on the same things.

Work on that until we get a new update for you.

Also: look into everyoneś eyes and see Jesus in them. Absolutely everyone. Jesus said, whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me.

Darryl & Mimi

Saturday, July 12, 2008

More Update...

FYI, the little boy that died last week, his name was Jamito and he was 7 years old. He lived in a near by village and went to school at Iris. He had an older sister who saw the whole incident and ran home terrified. Jamito's grandmother is involved with some programs at Iris and comes here everyday. Something they shared with us about the culture here is that when a family member dies, the entire extended family comes from all over and stays with the immediate family to grieve for an entire month. Imagine putting up your family, feeding them, and cleaning up after them during a time such as that. It would be great to have them near by during that process to comfort you but that would be difficult. We're really learning a lot about the culture here and about Incarnational Love - love that crosses cultural boundaries. (I'll write more about this below.)

Well, we didn't go on outreach after all - which is a blessing! We've been learning a lot. Getting a lot more preaching than teaching but it's still good and we're blessed to have it. Rather than get into what we've been learning in the Sixth Week - which I'll post next week, I'd like to just share some stuff that we've been experiencing, more or less a personal update.

We're getting a lot of good information, but what we are learning most is not something that can be taught - it's something that has to be experienced. Like Heidi says, if this school was anywhere else, it wouldn't be the same. Learning about missions, while being IN a mission field is simply brilliant, challenging, and beautiful all at the same time. Learning other languages, even other etiquette with food, greetings, clothing, interaction, use of language, and even facial expression are all a big part of enculturation to a different environment to love those you're ministering to. Jesus did this, Paul did this and all the other apostles did this as well because they left their town and went into foreign lands to minister and share the gospel of Jesus Christ's resurrection and life. The thing is, a lot of missionaries go to foreign lands, ignore the differences or give up after having difficulty learning language or just disassociate all together and close themselves off in their houses and do things their way. Then they try to go out and teach those people they're living amongst something. Really, we are here to learn from the Makua. An interesting fact we just learned yesterday is that they don't even have a word for selfishness, and that when we were talking with them, it had to be explained. Chew on that for a minute. They don’t even have a word for selfishness. They barely grasp the concept. That’s hard to imagine, a culture without some sort of selfishness. What’s more is that in realizing this, we automatically impose that concept on them when we are outside the gate waiting to hitch a ride on a truck or catch a taxi and some random Mozambiquano insists on catching the ride for us. We assume it’s because he expects something in return – not so. And there are many more situations just like that. These people are so generous and yet they have nothing. They enjoy giving of their selves to teach, to share, to love. Of course there are banditos and violence and things of that nature, but it’s not the culture, it’s the poverty. We have much to learn from them.

Aside from that, we’ve been enjoying the cusine, although there are some things that we miss very much and hope are in our kitchen when we return *wink*wink* like Gramma Cameron’s sweet pickles and beets, pickled baby corn, pizza, hamburgers, French fries, ketchup, organic milk, and just about anything else we don’t have here. Some of the things we can get like the hamburgers, pizza and fries but they are not the same. For instance, the pizza is very thin and has very little toppings. The hamburgers have an interesting flavor and the patty is not much meat at all, plus they put a fried egg on it! Weird. The fries (chips) are usually like home fries, cut and fried from potatoes that were just peeled – very yummy. But the ketchup is often vinegary. They do have hot sauce, Peri Peri, which is VERY HOT and good, but again… HOT. We love the food at the center, but there are times we have gone to near by restaurants for dates, or meetings with our house group, and such. Some students eat out quite frequently, and we planned to eat what the Mozambiquans eat. However, I’ve been having cravings and needing to supplement with some groceries – and we cook together as a house once a week (taking turns). We can make a lot of things, but some ingredients are hard to find, or are just different when you get them like pickles. L Difficult to not have those during pregnancy! Speaking of that, we’re doing great and baby is doing great. Not feeling him/her just yet, but I’m getting less and less tired every day and handling the heat a lot better, and just feeling better all around. Oh, I’ve dreamed about eating red meat lately, so yeah.. I’ll probably get some today! We get some meat with the children, but it’s just not enough for me right now. I’m eating other protein like peanuts, eggs, and chicken. There is a little restaurant at the corner of the center outside the gate we call the chicken shack. It’s literally made out of bamboo walls with little windows and a metal roof. We get a quarter chicken (which are smaller than at home), chips (fries) and a small salad, a roll and a soda all for about the equivalent of $2.50. Amazing! Thanks to this baby, I go there a couple times a week “for the protein.” Yay! Ordering food here at restaurants is different than at home too because you do a lot of waiting. Many times in most every where we have been, you order, and they make what you order right then – there is no fast food here. When we go out to eat, it usually takes a few hours.

Well we’re having technical difficulties on the internet so I’m going to stop here and post this. Will post more later.

Be Blessed!

Darryl & Mimi

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fifth Week

1. The verses about spiritual armor are from Ephesians 6, not 10.
2. Read Matthew 24 (can’t remember verse and don’t have bible with me) in it there is a verse that says something like this, “In the last days many people will lose their faith because of the bad stuff they see happening around them in the world, bun to their faith despite those things, will be saved.” I’d like to add that to preface the story about the little boy being killed this past Friday.

FIFTH WEEK – Week of the Supernatural
Well I don’t have much time to write today and it’s a bit early because we were informed just this morning that we will be leaving Thursday for outreach. We were originally scheduled to go next weekend. So I won’t have time to post a regular long update. This update is going to be very brief so my apologies but if you are especially interested in the topic, I would be more than happy to share the information in detail with you from our notes when we return home.

We basically were putting learning to action and learning how to pray for the sick and doing it, learning how to prophesy and doing it. Our teachers included Pastor Jose from Maputo, Supresa Sithole, Bob Johnson from San Francisco, Denise from Las Vegas, Shara, and of course Heidi.

Heidi taught about Luke 14 and the parable of the wedding supper and how we lived that out the previous weekend by serving the lame, the blind, the poor and putting them at the head of the table. Every time they have a wedding they do this, it was glorious.
Wednesday we went to a private beach that the long termers deem as their territory, and rightly so! It was gorgeous! We will have pictures of that when we get back.

We ended the week with a “Day of Repentance” for the sins of our nation. It was powerful. Often as Americans we display our patriotism as “pride.” We realized how negative it really is being in another nation and with people from all over the world and yes, we are blessed as Americans, but we need to remember why that is and where that blessing came from. Independence Day will forever be a day of recognizing my dependence on God.

So a lot of students got a stomach bug from having so many guests around and having to feed them and wash their plates and so forth, almost everyone has had it or is having it even now. A few people got Malaria but are recovering gracefully.

We will be on outreach or “out in the bush” from Thursday to Saturday. We could use your prayers immensely! This will be our second and final trip for the school. We’ll have tons of great stories when we return. Love you all.

Darryl & Mimi

P.S. The children look different now. They are much more precious than before.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth Week

Before I begin the update for the fourth week of harvest school I just want to let you know what just happened. Right after class today we were all about to go eat lunch, go to town, take naps, do whatever it is we do on Friday afternoons, and we got news that a little boy from a nearby village was hit by a car right outside the center. We all rushed out to pray over him. Apparently no one saw the accident, although that seems unlikely since people are always around and children are rarely alone. Just a little bit ago they took his lifeless body to the hospital probably an hour after it happened. This kind of thing is not a stranger to this land, in fact we hear of it happening quite frequently – although not right outside the gate. I’m pretty sure some of the Mozambiquano staff from here went with the boy’s body and family members so they are praying there and we’re continuing to intercede. You can pray for the family. It’s something to think about though. Just how blessed are we that these things are foreign to most of us – however, of those who tragedy has not been far-off there was more than likely some form of help near by. This unpleasant incident was made even more difficult to observe with no one calling 911, no sounds of ambulance coming, no paramedics arriving on the scene to offer what little they could have for this broken child. Who then do we turn to? This day we celebrate independence as a nation. As we all stood around in the dirt weeping and travailing for this innocent life to be made new, I couldn’t help but feel utterly dependant on God our Father – the creator of life. It pushes us even further in the darkness if we look at something like this and try to blame God somehow. God is good, the enemy is bad – that’s all there is to it. Why did the little boy die? Why has God not raise him from the dead yet like he has others? Well that is not for me to answer but it would be an even greater tragedy if I instead blamed God for the loss of life. He knows all things, I don’t. What I do know is that God can use every bad for good. So this is still very fresh as it only just happened within the last two hours. I just wanted to share that with you. Life is precious. Therefore, love those around you like it were so.

FOURTH WEEK – Gift Activation
This week was very interrupted, busy, fun, and exciting. This week we were visited by over 4,000 guests as far (I heard) as seven hours away that came to attend the wedding supper and the conference where Pastor Jose from Maputo and Surprise (pronounced Supresa) Sithole preached along with Heidi. During all of that the students, visitors, and bible school students were all busy serving in the kitchens for hours, cleaning latrines, baking cakes (8 per house!) and doing various other tasks. I got to cut some hair believe it or not, which has been funny to do in Africa – probably the last thing I thought I would do here! And I also helped sew some of the bridesmaid’s dresses with some other girls who were much better seamstresses than I, but I did what I could (Mom, you would have loved it!). During the conference, it wasn’t interpreted so we came and went as we could, with 4,000 people it was challenging constantly, and I needed to rest a lot from all the extra work but I got the nurses’ recommendation about half way through that I shouldn’t be doing so much so that was a nice break – that’s when the hair and sewing came in, so I contributed what I could while Darryl did the real hard work. The meetings were amazing though – to be in that atmosphere is unexplainable, it has to be experienced. Everyone dancing, singing, all for Jesus! I think I wrote about it already though. But often as I was resting, Darryl would go with some others into the meetings and pray for people there. They saw malaria healed, fevers disappear instantly, and many other things including a deaf baby’s ears opened right before them. Speaking of signs and wonders, did I share about when Darryl prayed with a couple other guys in the mud hut while we were in the bush? About the man who hadn’t spoken in over 10 years? If not, I will next time.

So we were moved out of the church building and into the prayer hut which is up on the hill. It was quite a climb for me, but much cooler than in the church building. Shara said this was the week of gift activation and putting legs to our words. She taught on the power of the tongue and we prayed for healing on each other and the visiting Mozambiquanos, and we also prophesied over each other and over the visitors. Other people we hadn’t heard of who are long termers here shared as well. Our visiting speaker was Bob Johnson – Bill Johnson’s brother. He is still here and we are learning from him still this week. However, last week he just gave us an into to his ministry and how that works. They go out on the streets of San Francisco and treat “hell’s trash like Heaven’s treasures” and love the kids. He said that was the two things God told him to do to win the city. He shared about how we don’t have to clean the fish, Jesus just told us to catch them – the Holy Spirit does the cleaning. This guy is really funny and I enjoy listening to him. He tells some great stories of what they have experienced and one in particular that I loved was about this homeless guy that they had been ministering to and then he decided to give his life to Christ and as they turned to pray for someone else on the street, the homeless guy came up and said, “Hey, lemme do that thang,” which he meant to pray for the person, then asking, “What was that guy’s name again? That we’re prayin too?” So that just goes to show you we don’t have to be so wise or full of God to walk in His light.

This week with Heidi was short because of the conference but she was continuing her teaching on the Beatitudes with “Blessed are the merciful.” She shared about giving yourself away for love and love alone. Someone was telling me about a guy they knew who went to work with Mother Teresa but didn’t know the Lord and couldn’t handle the poverty. I don’t think I could handle being here and seeing what we see here, especially after today, without love.

We’re getting some stuff from town today to celebrate July 4th with you via Africa. Today though, in class we spent time really declaring out dependence on God and repenting for national sins as more than 10 nations were represented today. Revival starts with repentance. So anyway today as a house we will have chicken, potato salad, and cucumber salad - that's the best we can do. Eat all your yummy food on our behalf! Especially the burgers and hot dogs and other traditional July 4th stuff.

So it has been mostly learning by doing this past week and even up to now. We’re really getting into the meat of the school and it is amazing. We also are starting to really really miss you all. Know that we think and talk about you often.

Love In Abundance,

Darryl & Mimi

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Third Week

First of all, WHOA – what an exciting time we are having right now! It’s difficult for me to even write about last week because of what is going on this week – but I’ll try my best. Just to give you a little preview of next week’s update, we are sharing the base with 3,000 visitors from surrounding village churches that have been coming in since Tuesday. We’ve been running out of water and food, cleaning latrines (except me, don’t worry!), and serving food to the multitudes for hours each day and it’s just wonderful! There are so many people everywhere! Last night was the first day of the conference (which is why everyone is here) and tomorrow is Rolland and Heidi’s daughter’s wedding. We’ve all been baking cakes and getting ready for the wedding feast! The Mozambiquanos (Makua tribe) are some of the nicest most welcoming people I’ve ever met. Last night we danced for what felt like hours, and very well could have been. The women would grab me by the arm and pull me into a train that was parading around the room or into a dance line showing me the steps and giving me the thumbs up when I did it correctly. Men were all around wildly dancing in groups and even making little dance circles where they could display their fanciest steps (kind of like breakdancing), and kids running around, loud music, smiling faces, and just wild crazy fun exciting worship! It was a huge party! So, we have class this afternoon instead of this morning and tomorrow will be amazingly wild so I’m updating early.

By the way, I’m in my second trimester now! Doing great, feeling great, sleeping great, eating great – I think I’m actually gaining weight and so are my housemates… they all have sympathy cravings and excessively snack along with me! It’s funny. We figured out that there is a “sign” of pregnancy where you wear a capulana (cloth used for a skirt and/or carrying babies) across your shoulder as if a baby were in it, as a sign of preparation for the baby. So, now I can let everyone know without trying to explain why I can’t lift the humungous pan of rice and beans.

THIRD WEEK – Theology
Last week was difficult in a lot of ways. We had just finished two amazing weeks with several amazing speakers. Then we jumped into the dryness of theology. It was great information and some of it I will share, but it was difficult to swallow and stay awake at the same time. It gets pretty warm after 9am so being tired from increasing duties and responsibilities, classes, and workshops made for a good nap environment, bad school environment. Plus it has been on again off again with the water situation. Apparently the whole town is out of water and Iris has been hauling (buying) truck loads into the center. We’re all conserving as much as possible: taking showers every third day or so, washing clothes when really really dirty, saving sink water to flush toilets with, and so on. It’s difficult for Darryl and I to really rationalize doing things like mopping, cleaning, and bathing when the very water we use to do those things is what the rest of the center depends on for drink – this wakes you up a bit to your blessing – at least we have money to buy bottled water to drink.
Some of the added activities that were overwhelming at first and seem like nothing now that all this conference/wedding stuff is in play involve things like doing art classes with the children, helping with horse riding lessons (yes they had horses donated too!), hanging out with the construction crew (which Darryl is doing), and infant playtime (which both Darryl and I are doing). There are other activities but I can’t remember them. The little ones are just precious. They haven’t really learned how to manipulate and ask you for things with a sad face, holding food behind their back and telling you how hungry they are. I mean, it’s understandable why they are that way, but we came to bring them love and attention which they can’t buy or steal. Anyway, the little ones just want it all – they want to be held and want to play and pull your hair and pee on your lap and most of them have scabies or ringworm among other things. But we love on them anyway. They’ve stolen our hearts! And they LOVE when Darryl and I come in there together. One time they were getting him to kiss their hand and bringing it to me to kiss, as if it were Darryl I was kissing. So we figured out what they were doing and just kissed each other in front of them. Well, they went nuts! They loved it! Screaming and jumping around wildly and begging us to do it again. We imagine they haven’t ever or rarely have seen that, being that most or all of them don’t have or know their parents, and they are taken care of by Tias which are like Aunties. And they all ask me over a dozen times, “You have baby? Where?” and I point to my belly. Not all of the children are delightful, and a lot of them are not delightful all the time. But we still love on them and often, you see a change in them with that unconditional display. A lot of these activities are really tiring so taking naps every day has been a must. Especially with night class sessions.
OH yeah, we went out to a hotel restaurant near by called the Nautilus. It was nice. We go there some times and check our email in the lobby, but we have to wait for hours because there are only a few machines. So after our last message we went and had this amazing meal overlooking the bay of Pemba as the sun set – it was gorgeous, but we couldn’t help but feel like we were doing something bad or wrong. It really felt like vacation, and we’ve been here sitting, eating, and living with the poor so it was strange eating a fancy meal in a fancy place in fancy (best we could do) clothes. But Darryl had some good chicken and chips (fries) a salad, and a Coke and I had a mixed meat kabob that was about a foot and a half long! It was SO good. Oh, and chips and a salad with that too. I’ve since been craving those chips with salt and vinegar, mmmmm!

Now to the teaching: ((It’s been interesting learning from people with such different views on things and even contrasting views and ideas at times. It shows us that we don’t have to conform to a mold or agree with everyone – we are all one body and it’s really important for us to function in unity and with love.)) We learned from Don Cantell who has been here at Iris for over 10 years. He taught us about the Kingdom of God. He was showing us how this is the most important subject in the bible (Matt 13, Luke 8). He pointed out how the church is only mentioned twice in the bible gospels and the kingdom is mentioned 120 times. Also, that the Great Commission is for believer – not when you go, but as you are going, wherever you are going – to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them. He defined disciples as followers, to reproduce the original in a disciplined, obedient, and strategic way, to replicate his example, teaching life and that Jesus was a disciple of God. Another day he taught us that discipleship results from harvest, and harvest results from understanding the kingdom. Most churches don’t teach the kingdom, but that should be our primary concern because that was Jesus’ primary concern. A stunning statement he made that felt painfully true was that “never before have so many Americans called themselves Christians (born-again) and it made so little difference.” Authentic Christianity should be centered in a kingdom priority in everything we do (tv, recreation, time, relationships, etc). A lot of believers and missionaries think that the gospel is to be preached unto all the earth before the coming of Christ, but it’s the good news of the kingdom that is to be preached unto all the earth before the coming of Christ.
We also learned from a guy named Bob Eckbald who wrote a book called A New Christian Manifesto. He was interesting and controversial at times with is liberal background and invited many questions and debates. He preaches in prisons near the border in California (I think).
Another couple who has been here for five years shared and it was just what we needed. It’s probably something that should have been taught at the beginning, but it was well received and right on time. The husband was from Wilmington, NC and the wife from Brazil. They met here in Mozabmique and were the first foreign marriage here – they had to create the papers! They shared about their experience and how they stepped into the offering plate and gave not just their money (since God doesn’t really need that) but their time – which everyone has equal portion. The wife shared about how unforgiveness and dissention between believers is actually the enemy’s greatest weapon against us. If we have drama between believers, we create problems in the church and keep unbelievers at bay.

This was my previous email that I’m posting now (thank the Lord it was still on the computer I left it on!) and the wedding/conference was a blast. There were actually over 4,000 visitors we found out today and most of them are in the process of leaving so things are returning to “normalcy.” We are going to have an ‘off’ day tomorrow as a school and they are taking us to a real nice private beach for the day, yay! There are some islands near by that you can see from the shore across the street from the center and some hotels near by host boating out to them to snorkel the coral reefs. We may do that this weekend so my next post may be later than Saturday – hopefully not, there is a lot we’d like to share about the week and the weekend and so on. Until then, know that you are blessed and highly favored! We love you and miss you and can’t wait to show pictures!

Darryl & Mimi