Friday, June 27, 2008

A new thing

For the past few weeks, all I've been able to think about is surviving the jumble of paperwork, packing up to move, and all the other things that have had to be done in the meantime.

And finally, the end is in sight.

We've spent this week dealing with moving companies and buying supplies we will need in Mozambique. The movers come on Wednesday to pack up and take our things across the boarder, By the next week, we should be almost settled in. Through all the paperwork hassles, packing, and living out of suitcases for weeks on end, I couldn't be more excited.

But something struck me this week. Our move isn't the end of things, but merely the beginning. As we continue to follow God's call, it's important for me to keep in mind the new thing that will be happening in Mozambique as we move forward with our work among the people there. We are excited to see what God is going to do in this beginning of His work there!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Winter in Africa

I've learned in the past few months to be more appreciative for the things I have--through things I have had to temporarily do without. Things like a vehicle, washing machine, and refrigerator are items I've always taken for granted. Considering that most people in the world don't have any of those "necessities" we truly are blessed having these conveniences in our everyday lives.

We are now enjoying winter in Africa, a time of year I love. The sun sets early here, bringing with it a chill at night, but the days are mostly warm and sunny. There are no snow-capped mountains close by, though it is possible for a frosty night to nip the plants. And the plants, as you can see in these photos from my aunt's garden, are especially beautiful--even in winter.

BTW, I received some interesting responses to my photo I posted a few days ago of the white bags hanging from the trees. They are filled with cashews that are grown in the area, then sold by the side of the road.

Be thankful today for your blessings,


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We got 'em!

The day we've been waiting for--for weeks it seems--has finally arrived. Today, Scott took the boat across the bay to pick up our Dires and they were ready! We're in Maputo tonight, on our way to South Africa (with our Dires!) which means we can now move our furniture across the boarder.

Thanks for your prayers, and praise God for His answer!

Below are two photos on the road south to Maputo. Anyone up to taking a guess as to what is hanging from a tree in the second photo?



Saturday, June 14, 2008

What’s for dinner, mom?

Now normally, the question of beef or chicken for dinner doesn’t bring a grown woman to her knees, but throw in a new culture, new shops, and. . .well. . .it’s a question liable to strike fear rivaling parachuting into a snake pit or swimming with Jaws.

My second day here I walked to the market near our house--a long, narrow row of tiny, outdoor shops selling everything from clothing to batteries, and ground peanuts to cooking oil. The choices, to be quite honest, are nothing compared to your local Wal-Mart.

On the food aisle, you have a limited range of things like spaghetti, tomato paste, beef bullion, garlic and onions, sugar, rice, corn meal, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, along with a couple dozen other basics.

But don’t let that scare you off. Not yet anyway.

In town, I found a quaint shop ran by someone Scott had met on one of his last trips. It’s two aisles of everything from cereals, to spices, to cheeses, to meats. More choices. Not bad. And now that I’d found a source of meat, we could eat something beyond cabbage, and rice for supper.

Of course, there still are a few drawbacks. Not only is a quick trip through the local drive-in out of the question, without a refrigerator, meal selection is limited even further. Take a look at your favorite cookbook and find the recipes that call for dishes that don’t include anything pre-packaged, frozen, baked, or refrigerated. Typically, you’ll be left with a menu of boiled eggs and popcorn.

Still, even without a kitchen, meals have become fairly routine. Breakfast is fruit, cold cereal with powdered milk (temporary thankfully), and bread. On days we have time, I might make pancakes or waffles with homemade maple syrup. (Jayden above)

For lunch, it’s sandwiches and fruit. There are a couple great bakeries here that make wonderful Portuguese rolls. A stock of peanut butter (available here) and jelly works great.

Dinner is typically rice with chicken and a sauce. Maybe some potatoes and curried cabbage--trust me, it’s fantastic. Spaghetti is also an easy option, especially now that I’ve found ground beef in town.

Despite the drawbacks, I have to say it’s really not been that bad. We have an unlimited supply of pineapples--the best you’ve ever tasted--coconuts, cashews, fresh fish and prawns.

So next time you hear that heart-pounding question--“What’s for dinner, Mom?”--go on out and enjoy your Happy Meal. I just might be sitting along the Indian Ocean dining a fresh pineapple and prawns.



My (temporary) kitchen

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Housing update

I can’t begin to thank you enough for all your prayers, emails, and phone messages. It’s kept us going the past few weeks as we go through this transition. Some of you have expressed concerns over our current living conditions, and I wanted to give a quick update on that.

We had every intention to make the situation in the house we are now renting work, but after a lot of prayers and discussion with our teammates, we’ve decided that we are going to move. Loud music begins before six, sometimes from all three sides, and lasts until late at night with all I can describe as African karaoke. Water is out most mornings and evenings. There are a number of other issues, including the fact that we will have to invest more money in the house just to make it livable (adding a water tower and a place for washing machine, etc) We also learned that the road leading to our road floods during rainy season making it impossible to pass. I already have to use four-wheel drive just to park inside our yard as it is.

We’ve found another house not far from here that we can move into without putting any extra money into it to make it livable. The area is quiet, safe, and has water 24/7. We are also praying about building a house during the next year which would be a good investment, because we are so near the sea. The house we’ve decided to rent won’t be available until the 5th of July, so we will return to SA after we receive our paperwork on Tuesday. There we can organize the transport of our things, rest some, and return here with our furniture the beginning of July.

I’m still without internet and only checking every few days, so please understand that I’ll be slow at responding to personal emails. Continue to keep us in your prayers. It means so much as we juggle a household with no refrigerator, stove, washing machine, or dryer, but God is good. I am managing to keep up with the kids, school and my writing, but definitely am looking forward to when we actually have our furniture again and more settled lives.

I’m posting photos of the sea today. What a blessing to be living near such a beautiful place, and the kids, of course, love it. We plan to spend our day off every week there just enjoying the peace of the ocean. It’s truly stunning, and we are looking forward to many of you coming for a visit!



Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Held for Ransom. . .Tire changing 101


The last thing I ever imagined getting involved in here was a ransom situation, but our first week here has been anything but normal. Now before you panic, none of us were held for ransom. Instead it was David’s cell phone. Yes, that’s right. His cell phone.

We’d gone out briefly to buy electricity for our meter and on return David realized that he didn’t have his cell phone. It didn’t take long, though, for us to find out what had happened. He had dropped it outside our gate where some children found it and had started playing with it. Before long, the entire neighborhood was arguing over who should sell it in the market, or demand ransom money. When they found out whose house the phone had come from, the ransom money apparently became the choice.

Two men came to David and told him that he could have the phone for two hundred medicash (eight dollars). He came back to ask me what he should do. With Scott still in Maputo waiting for the papers, it was, it seemed up to me to decided if I should give into the demands (and set a precedent in my mind) or refuse.

Before I could decide, I was told that the police was now involved and wanted to talk to me. David had already paid one hundred medicash, but they wanted me to prove that it was indeed David’s phone. Fair enough, I thought. All it should take was a simple phone call from my phone to his to prove it.

Of course, even after I’d proved without any doubts that it was indeed David’s, the police still wasn’t finished. He wanted me to compensate him with transport, though to where I never understood. I decided to refuse. The phone was clearly David’s and I wasn’t paying any more to get it back.

It was definitely an interesting welcome to our new neighborhood.


We’ve had two--yes two--flat tires in the past week. Thankfully Scott was driving the first time and not me. In my driver’s ed class years ago, it rained the day we were supposed to learn to change a tire, cancelling the class, so Scott decided that it was time I learned. Thus How to Change a Tire 101.

It’s a good thing really. After seven years of living in Africa, it’s about time I learned how. We had a second flat tire in our front yard yesterday.


We filed all the papers on Monday. The only they missing now is a police report from the states, but they said they will go ahead and begin processing our papers, and that they will be done next Tuesday! More on that process next tim.



Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A different perspective

I thought Maputo was hectic on a normal afternoon, but add a heavy down pour with inches of water, tons of traffic and pedestrians and you've got a recipe for disaster. Thankfully the only problem we had was taking a long time to get home.

We've actually made progress the past few days, praise God! We received the stamped papers we needed for the kids and found out that our police clearance from SA will be ready on Friday. These were the two crucial "last" steps. A friend will meet us at the boarder with those papers so we can once again file our papers on Monday. We should get them early the next week.

Mariah and I had a fun girl road trip driving from South Africa to Mozambique last weekend as the boys road with Scott. She decided to photograph our adventure from Tzaneen, to Maputo, and up north to the sea.

I thought you might enjoy her perspective!

Thank you so much for your continued prayers!


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Settling in. . .sort of.

The past few days have been a whirl of activity. We made it to Inhambane and our new home Saturday night, tired, but happy to finally be there. Mixed feelings followed as we did our best to settle in with nothing more than the things from our suitcases. An ice box became a fridge, a small hot plate our means to cook. Empty boxes became a bookshelf for the kids school books and kitchen cabinets.

We were so pleased at the things the church was able to fix and are getting used to four wheeling it up our driveway (and this is dry season), no water in the mornings, and the competition of radios. Such is life in Africa.

Sunday morning, we studied about the life Abraham and his journey of faith with the kids. It was a great encouragement for all of us to remember how Abraham stepped out on faith to a place he didn't know. A place where he was a stranger in another land just like we are now.

The kids were thrilled when headed off to the beach in the afternoon, and it ended up being exactly what I needed. Time to just rest in the midst of a beautiful piece of God's world. This will be something we enjoy on our days off.

Monday morning, we left for Maxixe to file the papers for our residency. Bia and Gustavo didn't have any problems, but we were told we had to have signed letters for each one of the kids, requesting the visas we'd already received from South Africa. Something we'd been told in the capital that we didn't need.

So today, we are back down in Maputo. Scott is getting ready head off to the government offices and get signatures for the visas we already have, and we are praying that this will be the last of the paperwork. Until these papers are signed, we can't move our things over from SA, so you can imagine our urgency to finish this. We will also buy a stove while we are here and stock up on some staples that we can't find up north.

Tomorrow I'll post a different perspective of our two day trip across southern Africa from Mariah's perspective. She had a blast photographing our journey.