Monday, June 20, 2011
Sunday morning in a little mud church in a village... where most are very poor.... and there is no clean water.....and where medical help is miles away. The Sunday Service brings people together....to crowd together on hard wooden benches..... to hear the WORD of GOD amidst the back and forth of tending to toddlers and infants.....
Sunday morning is a time of joy..... of singing as a choir...... of dancing to songs of praise...... of 'hearing' the WORD of GOD because few people can read. Sunday morning is a time to offer coins to a building fund for a cement block church....... a church that will have more benches.... and windows with screens..... and a latrine nearby.......
The Story of Joseph (the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat) is preached as the story of forgiveness of a man who wept, when many years after being wronged by his brothers, was reunited with them under God-planned circumstances. The analogy was to the civil war of the 90's in Mozambique when people saw family slaughtered..... What does the WORD say about forgiveness ...... about living your life without the weight of such justifiable anger?
In a village where over-the-counter drugs are unheard of, people stood and asked for prayer for toothaches, bad feet, lots of asthma, tumors, fever, abscesses, headaches..... so many babies have sores on their heads.....AIDS is just an everyday occurrence, so it barely gets mentioned.
Before dismissal the pastor addressed the issue of listening to the WORD with reverence......... coming to church is NOT about just singing and dancing...... but the learning the WORD of the Living God Almighty. ..... The church is growing - young adults are sharing with their neighbors about Jesus Christ....... He stressed that people must come to church to worship God and learn the WORD .. not to sing and dance with friends.
With no clocks or electricity the Service began later than scheduled...... and with no food to eat, there was no rush to get home for lunch...... Hungry people..... Seeking the Bread of Life they sit on hard benches for 4 hours in a little mud church in sub-Saharan Africa.
The day was very humbling...... very humbling indeed.
Lou Peryea is a short term missionary visiting us at the Ray of Light. This is Lou's third year working with the poor, orphans and widows.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
As I entered the courtyard of the church you could hear the singing and sounds of joy coming from within the walls of the church. The words of this song was sung in one of several tribal languages, "We will meet him when we die." Many faces showing the gratefulness of knowing that for one more month there will be food in their homes during this time of famine. The voices were from the patients of Project Life. Project Life is one of the several projects of the Ray of Light Ministry that Children's Relief International helps support for people with AIDS. Pam Johnson from Wyoming has been a driving force in helping gather funding for this project to help a 100+ families with food, medicines and daily soup for those who are in the hospital dying.
Pastor Jeronimo's wife, Noemia stood tall with a smile and announced, "we have been blessed one more time, we have brother's who have come to visit us and bring us food." And then shared from James that every perfect gift is from above and it is God who has provided the food. All who were present heard the truth spoken and I pray that their faith was increased.
Zack Farrar new to Children's Relief International as part time staff serving at the Nutrition Center gave the message on the Triumphal Procession. He painted the picture of The triumphal procession, I could see the parade as he told the story of generals leading, then the enemies captured and beaten with the carts of plunder, followed by white bulls to be sacrificed, priest with incense spreading the smell of a sweet victory and then the king dressed in purple and white.
The story told was about the Romans, but our triumphal procession is with Jesus. We are always being led in victory, He leads us in life victorious over death. We are the one's who are responsible to share the victory message of Christ. The sweet smell of victory for the romans is the same sweet smell of sharing Jesus with those who don't know.
We have become the ambassadors for the poor, the widows and the orphans here in Mozambique. The food that was given was a combination of the rice from Wooddale church in Minnesota and
Lake Point church in Rockwall, Texas provided corn meal, oil and sugar. It was the work of these two churchs that will sustain life for one more month. One more month to speak the name of Jesus into their lives. One more month to sing praises of a risen King and to celebrate that His mercy endures forever.
If you would like to be part of Children's Relief International Food Pantry, or the Soup ministry please visit, www.childrensrelief.org to make a donation. There you will find also information about the other projects and ministries here at the Ray of Light in Dondo, Mozambique. Starting Monday, Pam Johnson will be assisting in the development of Basket Making for the Activista's of Project Life. The goal will be to help these workers become self-sustaining with their business to increase their salaries and to be a witness to the community of reaping and sowing.
Thank you for your prayers and support for us at Children's Relief International. We are taking Christ to the community and wherever He went, lives were changed.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
There are many ways each day I am humbled by living here working with the Ray of Light Project and Children's Relief International. This week was another profound moment of looking at the conditions of where I live and those who are strong and survive.
At the church plant in Maffarhina we had a distribution of the rice that was donated from the Wooddale church in Minnesota. I may mention it often and you must realize that without this food coming here many many many people would have gone without food this season. The crops have suffered because of the lack of rain and therefore so does the community. I love how God knows exactly how things need to line up, for His people to see His hand in their lives by the Hunger Initiative gift coming at the perfect time.
This distribition was for the blind of this area. I waited and watched as the blind came through the gates to receive their food. 68 names were on the list but many more came to watch first hand the blessing happen. Because the blind recipients really had no idea of what the context of food they would be receiving, many did not bring any kind of bag to retrieve to take home their share. But those who planned ahead with their bags offered to help the others. When a name was called out and there was no reply they would starting calling for that person to rise to attention and be noticed. There were family members to help, neighbors and the blind helping the blind.
I watched as their faces beamed with the light of joy even though their eyes could not see their providers. Their hearts rejoicing at the fact that the devil had lost again and they would indeed have meals for another month. They responded with singing and one elderly woman got up and did her best to dance for the King of blessing.
Many of the blind who came before us were victims of poor nutrition during childhood and of the war. They were full of joy even before their tummy's were full of food. As they all prepared to leave some of the blind were assisting each other in their line to walk out of the gates of the compound.
I never know who is more blessed at the end of the day, those we encounter, me or God. I thank God daily for His plan for me to be here. Thank you to all of you who make this happen in every respect.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
I met Fatima for the first time in 2007 in a small village town at the Centro Emissor church in Mozambique. I had only attended church there a few times before faces were becoming familar to me and people were starting to recognize me each week. It wasn't too long and I felt comfortable enough to dance out into the church and worship with the ladies. They were not acustomed to visitors of my kind coming around and I certainly was not accustomed to participating in this type of worship. But I loved it! The passion and the singing and dancing, the freedom to move and enjoy worship was exciting. My heart danced before the Lord with glee.
Fatima and I became friends instantly. I told her that if she lived in America that we would be best friends. We had kindred spirits. Of course that was in English and she didn't understand a word of it and she laughed until our belly's hurt. From that day on a realtionship had been established that would devolpe into a desire to pray for her and her family regularly.
My time had come to an end that season in 2007 and I was going to be leaving soon so I went to say good-bye to everyone and especially to Fatima. I stopped by her house and she ran out to the car to say hello. But this time I would have my translator tell her that I was going home the next day. She just looked down and wouldn't look at me. I told her that I was praying that God would allow me to come back. I told her that I loved her and I wanted her to know how much God loved her too. I took her by the face and had her look into my eyes so she could see that I was serious with my words. Fatima has experienced many disappointments in her life and this could be just another one. God has blessed me for 6 years now of going back to the small village church where I am now a proud member of Centro Emissor.
On Friday May 27th, 2011, Fatima's youngest son died of complications. I got the call on Saturday morning that the funeral would be at 2pm that afternoon. At first I was stunned at the thought of how this baby that was so strong and fat could have died? I was deeply saddened for my friend. I was angry with myself that I couldn't speak the Portuguese words that I wanted to speak into her life the sorrow I felt for her losing a son.
We arrived at her home and the usual custom had already begun to take place. The men were cutting boards for the small casket just big enough to hold the child and his belongings and lining it with a white linen. We walked in the house and there lying on the floor was her only son covered with a blanket and she beside him covered in a grieving cloth. Her head covered, her body covered, her desire to cover her pain so as to not show the depth of her grief. The room was filled with women sitting on the floor beside her singing quietly songs of comfort. Some women would often have to pause because their reality was that this could be her son too. 50% of the babies die here before they reach the age of 5, this is a hard reality.
The song that will resonate with me for a long time was sung in Portuguese. The words are," Jesus is passing through here and when He passes everything changes. The sadness will go away and He brings joy and happiness."
We all walked to the cemetary for the burial and I stood back as her son was put into the ground praying that God would comfort her soul. The message given by our leader Zito was clear about knowing who Christ is so that one day we too will spend eternity with him.
I had a brief moment to embrace Fatima and tell her that "God knows our sorrows and when we are sad. That her son is waiting for her in heaven and that one day she will see him again."
How does a mother do this? I don't know the pain and the suffering that goes along with this. All over the world there are mother's and father's who have met this pain. Their only hope of surviving is their trust in Jesus.
Ecclesiastes3:1-4 To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal, a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance