Church: at least 1000 people made up of local mozambicans, mozambican bible students, international students and visitors. We sit on wooden benches or grass mats on the floor... energetic, sweaty praise and then time spent
saturated in God's glorious presence... Picture beautiful mozambican children lost in the presence of God, just wanting more of Him and so thankful for all He is and has done in their lives. Picture international students from many different nations including the states, Brazil, Australia, Nepal, Madagascar, Holland, the UK, Germany
and many others just pressing into all God has for them as many of them have given up everything just to see what He has for them here... Picture mozambican bible students, both young and old some of whom have walked days just to get here for 3 months and have left their families behind for the sweet privilege of learning the bible, learning to read the bible and growing in the ways of God...
We had a guest speaker from Texas a couple weeks ago, she was talking about Love. About the incomprehensible love of God.
So she did an altar call at the end for everyone who wanted more of God and who needed his LOVE and his STRENGTH.
So I was up there, on my knees and my face was just like blergh, wet. I opened my eyes and there was a little moz girl (about 6 or 7) in front of me holding a little moz boy (under 2 years) and they were both staring at me like they were concerned. Then this little boy starts trying to gently take my glasses off my face. I didn't want to
lose my glasses because I only just got them in Malaysia, to replace the frames that broke in Nepal. So I put my face on the floor instead. Then I feel a little hand just gently patting my shoulder... ohhhh Jesus loves me! After a while I had to sit up a bit because my nose was trying to empty just like my eyes and I didn't want it to. So I sat up, opened my eyes and there are these two boys (around 7 yrs old) on their faces before God. hehe one had his pants falling down so I could see his obama undies, and the other one had this rip in his pants right in the middle (not too big so you could see anything)... soo cute. Only in africa...
Village outreach. I spent a few days in the bush bush with a team of Mozambican students and mission school students. We visited the village of the Mozambican pastor in charge of our team. He had lived there as a boy. God also organised it so that I was on outreach with another Australian girl who is here to help out, and 2 other people
from my school last year! One of them was on staff at my school and now she works long term here with Iris. The other was a student on my school and is now staffing. It was so great to hang out with them and catch up! The Mozambican bible students on our team were also a lot of fun and we all got along great :)
It was the most peaceful outreach I had ever been on. It seriously felt like a holiday. It's like that - the dirt feels better than a nice comfortable home with everything I could need and a lot of stuff I actually don't! Not that I don't appreciate those things too, but there's always something about going out to a village that I love.
The first night, I stayed with the tents to help keep an eye on our stuff (we didn't stay in a yard this time, we stayed out in the open but I felt safer than on previous outreaches). There were around 1000 people at the Jesus film that night. We were told that because we only arrived after it was dark, most people didn't know it was on and so to expect a lot more people from surround areas later. The second night, I spent mostly just loving on this one teenage village girl while the Jesus film was showing. Her friends came around as well and braided each others hair. We were also joined at different points by some more friends who smelled strongly of alcohol and kept asking the girls to go with them. Eventually the girl's friends left, but she stayed and ended up accepting Jesus that night! She also came to find me the next morning, just to hang out and be loved on some more :)
We went house to house praying for people during the day. There was one lady with a racing heart who was 6 months pregnant and her husband and whole family of another religion came to Jesus. Her heart rate also went back to normal. We prayed for a lady with a migraine who got better. We also took part in a church inauguration (made of mud bricks, wooden posts and mecuti roof with dirt floor) where all of us - pastors, students, villagers - got to walk around the church anointing the outside with oil and praying over it - we got a joy party on! That is something so great about this particular village - during our whole outreach they would randomly get the drums out and start going all out - voices raised, dust rising as feet pounded in the dirt in energetic praise to our king! There were a few hundred people hanging around us and our tents constantly. We bought a pig for lunch and shared it with the people.
We walked 1/2 hour to the river on our last morning there, meeting many women on the way with water pots on their heads. We walked through stalks of corn at least twice my height, with thick morning mist all around us. This river is where the villagers get all their water. One of the guys said he prayed for someone who had gotten bitten by a crocodile and that was why he needed prayer! We sat on the bank and just rested in the peace of God...
My time in Pemba so far has felt like a gift that God gave me, where I'm getting to process a lot of things and just be saturated in his presence... This place is just such a place of his Love and His presence... I think I've mentioned that word "presence" a lot already in this email but it's just so true. The night before outreach we had
a complete lunar eclipse where the moon turned red... the ocean is just, there. All the time and so blue and sparkling and it feels like you could just lose yourself in it and in God. I keep catching myself thinking, how did I get here? and thinking how much of a privilege it is to be here! On Saturday we had a wedding! We had it at the beach about 20 minutes by cameon away from the base. Anyone who wanted to could come! So we had over a thousand people - Iris kids, Iris workers, Iris missionaries, Mission school students, bible students, visitors, villagers who wanted to come, village kids from the area around the beach, the groom's family from the states and the bride's family from down in southern Mozambique. It was an absolutely GORGEOUS wedding with the waves rolling in from the ocean being the backdrop. God's presence rained down as we prayed for Him to come. His Love was so there!
The database went well - there is so much more that I could do with it than I originally thought! I think I got more done that what I thought I would, but not as much done as what I wanted to and what the base would have liked me to. I ran out of time, basically. If I had made Pemba completely about the database and nothing else, I may have gotten more done... but the Lord had other things for me there as well. Connections with people, friends old and new, a lot of heart surgery and processing... Pemba was truly a gift!
This visit has been so peaceful. I am staying in the visitors centre and so many groups and people have come through while I've been here. There was a team from Holland, a team from Scotland, a team from Virginia, a couple from England and a family from South Africa on sabbatical from their ministry :) Now there is a team from Prince
Edward Island (Anne of Green Gables!!) and a team from Texas, as well as a brother and sister from texas - one of whom is a missionary in Burkina Faso and a few people from Australia - so if you notice me coming out with any Aussie-isms its because my roommate was from Queensland!
Just another story to share and then I'll end this "newsletter". Our outreach team went out for lunch after outreach, to "Frango Assada" for chicken and fries. As we were waiting for our food to come, I noticed a young girl probably in her teens come in with an older man. He could have been her dad but she didn't look like she was having much fun. He sat her down in the corner on a crate and bought her some food, then went and started playing pool. She looked unhappy and I felt to go over to her. Me and another girl who spoke spanish (close to portugese) talked to her for a bit. She told us her name and said she was okay, but then the man came back. So we introduced ourselves to him as well, then our team had to leave... I asked one of the Moz pastors about it and if there was a chance it was a bad situation. He said yes it probably is. A lot of girls here have not many prospects or ability to provide for themselves so a man who wants her can just come and take her. I asked if he would marry her or just use her and he said he would just use her...
Please pray for people of Mozambique! If God wanted me to stay in Pemba, I would do it in a heartbeat. My heart is so there and so for the kids there and the people there. I feel like I have some great friends there who are long-termers... This time has been both a gift and also a re-surrendering and re-laying down of everything. It sounds
adventurous and fun to travel the world for Jesus and that is so exactly what it is! But it is also not without it's sacrifices. I want my life to be a continual "yes" to God no matter what he asks me to do, or when or where he wants me to go. He is my constant, my only one who is always with me :) He is everything I need and more!