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Friday, May 30, 2008

On the road again

Today we are leaving South Africa (once again) for Mozambique. With our visas now in hand, we plan to apply for our last paperwork on Monday. This phase of the move requires us to stay in Mozambique until the visas are granted which is supposed to take about two weeks. After that, we can arrange for our furniture to be moved across the boarder.

The next few weeks then will be interesting. The house we are renting is furnished with a couch and three beds--that’s it. Needless to say we will be “camping” out until our final paperwork is done.

In the meantime, between home schooling and keeping up on my writing deadline, we’ll start putting in a simple kitchen (the kitchen has a sink and that’s all) and try to buy wardrobes for the bedroom. There isn’t a single closet in the entire house.

Another adventure? You bet.

And to be honest, I say that with mixed feelings. On one hand, I’m so excited to see the end in sight as far as our settling in, but I also know that the next few weeks will be a challenge. We’ll have an electric burner and a cooler box to get us by for cooking. No school desks, no dinner table. A nearby cafĂ© now has wireless available for its customers, so at least I’ll be able to pop in every few days to download mail.

Another positive is that we are excited about finally meeting the people there. I’ll meet Bia and Gustavo’s contacts and the new Christians there for the first time.

So please continue to keep us in your prayers! I’ll blog as I can, and show the process of fixing up our house and life in Mozambique.

Blessings!

Lisa

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

School days


While most of you in the States are finishing up the school year, we're busy getting ready for mid-terms. The school term here starts in January and finishes in December with a six week break over Christmas. Even though we are now home schooling, we've decided to stick to the SA schedule in case we ever end up back here.

While I have to say that I'm really enjoying home schooling (yes, this is a bit of surprise to me) keeping up on the road while living out of suitcases has come with a few challenges. I'm looking forward to the day when I have an actual library of books on book shelves, when the kids have their own desks again, and we have time and space for fun things like science projects and music lessons.

That time is coming. (Soon I hope.) And they have been able to hang out with some of their friends this past week which has been a blessing.

Here's a story I remind myself of when I'm feeling frustrated. Gabriel was at a friends house a couple of weeks ago. His friend's mother overheard the two boys discussing home schooling. Gabriel told the friend that needed to convince his mom to home school him, and that it was the best thing that had happened to him. He loves school, loves his books, and was so happy now that he was being home schooled.

Wow. Now that made my day.

We are planning to leave for Mozambique on Friday. We still have to apply for permanent residency once we are there, a process that is supposed to take about two weeks. Then we can have our furniture shipped over. Please keep praying!

Have a blessed day!

Lisa


Monday, May 26, 2008

Quick update. . .

Scott is on his way home from Pretoria (SA) with our VISAS!!!!! Praise God.

We will be leaving Thursday for Mozambique. It will take a couple weeks to get the last bit of paperwork that will allow us to move our things across the border, but we do that step in Mozambique. Until we get the final papers, we will fix up the house we've rented and start settling in. Yeah! The end is finally in sight.

Thank you for your prayers!

More soon,

Lisa

Friday, May 23, 2008

Good news!


We were scheduled to return to South Africa on Wednesday. Scott has a meeting in Joburg and we'd hoped to have the papers signed so we could apply for our visas in Pretoria (SA). Instead of leaving early as we'd planned, we decided to wait until ten o'clock to see what the government offices said which would then determine whither I went with Scott to Pretoria to sign papers, or onto my aunt and uncles.

After going back to the offices everyday and hearing the promises of "tomorrow" I wasn't convinced we were going to have our miracle and prepared myself to wait in SA for the next few weeks. By now, this two week process has taken over a year. The news wasn't great. The director had signed the papers, but now we were told that there were now more things they needed from us. The last step of the process it turned out, wasn't the last step.

We headed out of town, frustrated at the bad news, and stopped to pick up Scott's jack he'd left at the car dealership. The car dealership only brought more bad news. They had forgotten to pay a certain fee for the car. Two hours later, we grabbed lunch at KFC and headed out of town.

The boarder crossing into SA went fine, but it didn't take long for us to discover that there was a problem with Scott's truck. Half the time he couldn't accelerate past 30 or 40 miles an hour. We quickly realized that we would never make it and called his uncle to find us a mechanic in the first major town we'd come to. We limped in to Nelspruit where we dropped off his car and planned to stay the night. It turns out that when the truck ran out of gas, it messed up part of the engine.

But God was still in control. Gustavo called us and let us know that he'd talked to the director about the new things they wanted and managed to work things out. The paperwork is now officially finished! What a blessing this is! Now all we have to do is go to Pretoria on Monday, turn in the papers and apply for our longterm visas. These should be ready by noon Monday (really). God is good!

Because we had to wait for Scott's car on Thursday and there was no reason for me to rush to Tzaneen which was now only 3 or so hours away, we decided to spend the morning in the game park with Bia and Gustavo. If you know me, you'll know that this is one of my favorite things to do. It's completely relaxing, away from phones, distractions and simply in the midst of God's incredible creation.

I'm now in Tzaneen with my aunt and Scott's at his meeting down south. We have a list of things to do before returning, but should be back in Mozambique (for good now!) by the end of next week. Our furniture should be right behind us within the next couple weeks.

Thank you so much for your prayers for us during this transition. We still have a lot of adjusting ahead of us, but we finally see the end in sight.

Blessings!

Lisa

Dozens of bats hanging around Kroger Game Park


Stunning Sunrise

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tomorrow never comes. . .


I drove for the second time tonight through the streets of Maputo. Needless to say, it’s an experience. There aren’t stop lights at every busy crossing, let alone stop signs, which makes every intersection an adventure. I dodged people, cars, and pot holes down narrow streets trying to keep up with Scott while following him. At least we didn’t run out of gas tonight. When we picked up his car last night we ran out of gas leaving the dealer’s lot. Let’s just say that a full tank of gas obviously didn’t come with the car.

The city continues to amaze me with its contrasts. Yesterday I saw a woman sitting on the ground outside a classy dress shop selling a half a dozen pineapples in her tattered clothes.

You see the same contrast everywhere.

Trash blows by from overflowing Dumpsters where scavengers with cloth masks forage through the garbage beside a pricy shopping mall.

Men push wooden carts full of vegetables behind people driving their fancy 4 X 4s.

Mansions line the beach front, a few short kilometers from rundown high-rise apartment buildings with chipped paint and rusty air-conditioners.

Beggars stand at the street corner. Young men walk the streets with crutches, their legs lost from the horrors of land mines. Groups of uniformed school children with backpacks fill the busy streets on their way home from school. In the air is the scent of the sea--pictured above just after sunset with a stunning full moon--wafts of food from cafes, and in some places, trash and the sewer.

And along with the contrasts, it seems that tomorrow never comes. For over a week now, we’ve been told to come back tomorrow to get our official paperwork. We return, day after day, only to be told again, come back tomorrow.

We leave in the morning for South Africa. Our co-workers will continue to wait for the papers to be signed while Scott attends a meeting, and I wait with the kids with Allen and Janelle. Once they are signed we will have to apply for our visas in SA. Only God knows when all the details will work out. Until then, He’s given us peace. I was reminded today of how He knows how many hairs on our heads, which means He certainly cares about all the details we are dealing with.

More soon,

Lisa

Monday, May 19, 2008

Day Off. . .sort of


We've already been here a week now, and our days have been filled (or shall I say Scott's days) running from the Minister of Justice's offices, to the Minister of Religion, to the car dealership, to the insurance company. . .Everything takes hours--or to be more accurate--days.

My job, on the other hand, have been very busy giving the kids some sort of routine with home schooling and other activities, find out what goods we can buy here, and to make sure I keep up with my own writing deadlines.

It was nice, then to make Sunday somewhat of a day off. We went to the church of a friend of Scott's, who asked him about forty-five minutes before church started if he could preach. Because of the short notice, and the fact that we are still learning the differences between Brazilian Portuguese and Mozambique Portuguese, he spoke in English for the most part, but still did a great job. This first photo is of Scott praying with some of the men.

Language has been an interesting challenge, mainly because everyone wants to speak English here. No matter how much I speak Portuguese to people, they almost always respond in English. The car dealers are all foreigners and don't speak Portuguese, so our exposure has been limited. Once we move up north this will change, but for now, I'm trying to study when I can to keep up with the language.

As for our paperwork, Scott is to go back again tomorrow and we are hoping that everything will be signed. Please pray that things will go through so we can get settled into our house. Either way, we will go back to SA for the weekend to a meeting and Lord willing, to apply for our permanent visas that we have to get outside the country.

More photos soon. . .

Lisa

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sights of Maputo

We drove around town today, and I got a close up look of Maputo. We looked for a stove and checked out what was available in the grocery stores. Being the capital, we plan to come down here every few months to stock up on items we can't get up north. So if your interested in taking a peak at the city, click on the video below.

We are still waiting for news on our paperwork. They called us on Friday with a problem and told us we needed to redo some of the papers. That will be done by Monday when hopefully we can get the last signature.

Blessings!

Lisa

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Laundry Day

With over a week since we last were able to last do laundry, I was thrilled to be able to catch up while we are here at the guest house. I've been encouraing the kids to wear their clothes a couple days, so was happy that we only had two medium loads of laundy. Washing, should be a snap.

I told the kids I was going to be back as soon as I dumped the first load into the washer and then we would start school.

Or so I thought.

Turns out, the washing machine wasn't exactly what I'd expected. Neither was my morning.

Apparently, just having a washing machine here is a blessing. There doesn't seem to be such a thing here as extra large capasity washers that both wash, spin, and rinse.

Yes, you heard me right.

Here's how the process goes. You take a small load (the key word here is very, very small) and put it into the tub side of the washer for about three minutes. When those clothes are done, you've now got to set the clothes into the spinning side. The tricky part here is that they have to be perfectly laid in a donut pattern around the small cilander so the weight is even and they are not off balance. If they are, the washing machine complains. Loudly.

Spin the clothes for a couple minutes, and now it's time to rinse them. By hand, of course, in a small plastic tub in clean water. Then it's back to the spinner one last time.

Over two hours later, my two small loads had turned into six or seven loads that are still outside drying.

So much for throwing my clothes into the washing machine. So much for school.

But that's not all of the story. There was a blessing watching Jayden and Mariah who thought it was fun to help out. And chatting with the sweet older woman who runs the guest house. She patienly taught me for over an hour the ins and outs of working the delicate machine. And I talked Teresa, a widow who has worked here for eight years and wants to improve her English.

It's one of the things I have had to learn here in Africa. Things move slow, and relationship are key. I think it's a concept that might not be so bad after all.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ventures in Mozambique

We arrived last night in Maputo, Mozambique, after a ten-hour drive across the border of South African/Mozambique. We are now staying at a small missionary guest house which is surrounded by a garden in the middle of the hectic city. Our plans are to stay until we've finished going through all the red tape of staying here legally.

Scott and Gustavo went to one of the government offices today to pick up our papers that we've been waiting for, for over a year. These papers will allow us to work in the country through our mission. We were told last Friday that they were finished, but once they arrived, they were told there was still one signature left and that they would be signed later today. We will see. They've told us this several times before. It's simply the way things work here. In the mean time Scott is off looking for a car for us (we sold our cars in SA).

We started back to school today as the kids have had about three weeks off. It will be nice to get back into something of a routine even though it is for a short time. They’ve had mixed emotions about moving, which is normal, but overall, they seem excited. In a lot of ways, they are more flexible than I am.

One of the nice things about staying here is that everyone eats together in the dinning room, and I don't have to prepare the food! This is especially a blessing considering we don't have a car, and I have no idea what is available here even if I could find a grocery store.

If the paperwork goes through today, we should be able to go up to Inhambane for a few days where we can start getting settled in and learning our way around the town. Our furniture won't be shipped until we’ve left the country, applied for our permanent visa, and all the paperwork is finished, but it will still be nice to start working on a place we can call home.

Below are a few photos of us leaving from South Africa and our new, temporary home at the missionary guest house, including a place where the kids can study. Please continue praying that we can get the paperwork finished quickly so we can get settled.

More soon,

Lisa




Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Back home again

It's strange being home. . .and yet not home. We drove past our old house over the weekend, on our way to visit some friends of ours. I could almost imagine driving up to the house and walking into it like we did seven months ago. It was like being home again. . .and yet it's not home anymore. At least not our permanent home.

We're still temporarily staying with Scott's aunt and uncle through tomorrow. The kids have enjoyed spending time with friends and so have we. It's been great to catch up with as many as we could in a short week filed with other business and appointments.

Tomorrow we head on to Joburg. We will be there for about five days for a team meeting, doctor's appointment and a bit of last minute clothes shopping for the kids (who outgrew everything in Brazil).

Monday we leave for Mozambique with Bia and Gustavo, our co workers. The hitch is that it will still be several weeks before we will be able to move into our house. We will be waiting in the capital to finish up the paperwork to get us moved officially into the country.

The group worked on out house this past week and ended up being such a huge blessing. The house was in worse shape than we first thought and required a lot of work including plumbing and electrical. And this is a new house! We will still have lots to do once we move in.

Prayers:

1. Please pray that our paperwork will be finished quickly so we can settle into our house. Without the paperwork, we can't move into our house with our furniture.

2. Safe travels back to Africa for Bia and Gustavo.

3. Patience for all of us as we go through this transition.

4. Please pray also for our orphans in Zimbabwe. We are getting ready to send more food to them. The situation there is becoming more and more difficult.

I'll try and send some photos soon. Especially of life from Mozambique!

Blessings!

Lisa

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Green grass and blue skies

While we miss Brazil, we are certainly enjoying the green grass and blue skies of South Africa! Just walking across the lawn is great after six months in the hectic city surrounded by cement.

We are spending the next week seeing friends, replacing the clothes my kids outgrew while in Brazil, and doctors' appointments before heading on to Mozambique.

On another note, the internet here is very slow. I'm not even able to post a photo right now or send email from my regular account, so if I'm slow in responding, you'll know why.

We appreciate so much your continued prayers for our family. We will be living in temporary housing the next month or two as we work to sort out our visas. Please pray that we can sort this our quickly so we can move into our house in Mozambique and transfer our things across the boarder. The group from SA is painting and fixing up the house right now. They are really a blessing as the owner wasn't able to finish a lot of things, so this group will be doing that for us.

More soon from the heart of Africa.

Lisa