Tuesday, April 28, 2009


This update is going to be short, not because of the lack of things that are going on right now though. This past week has been very busy. We have had many opportunities to hang out with different people as well as doing more events with TAYO and our bible studies as well. Great things have happened this week that will either be written about or told about at a later date. I just wanted to write an update letting people know that things are still going well and to ask everyone to pray specifically this week for the JesusRetreat we will be having for our TAYO friends on Friday. We will start on Friday morning around 8, we will have three teaching sessions, games, food, an arts project, a prayer-walking time, and maybe a movie like The Chronicles of Narnia to end the evening. It will be a very busy day that will require lots of energy and rest. Also, pray that the Lord would speak through us and that He would move in the hearts and lives of our friends. Also, we will still be having bible study on Wednesday and Thursday as well. Thanks for your prayers and support. I will try and write an update sometime soon after Friday to update everyone on how the JesusRetreat went.
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Monday, April 20, 2009

the prodigal son.

Never thought I would be able to have 2 posts within two days. I have wanted to read the book The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning for quite a while now. I decided to bring it to Africa, because I thought that I just might have the time to do that. We went on our other Mozambique trip last week, and with tons of hours in the car, I manage to read the whole book on very bumpy dirt roads. God has bless me with the gift of not getting carsick while riding and reading on these roads. This most is mostly just an excerpt from the book. I have read the story in the bible of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), but the way Manning explains it in the book made me look at the story in a whole new light.

“When the prodigal son limped home from his lengthy binge of waste and wandering, boozing and womanizing, his motives were mixed at best. He said to himself, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have all the food they want and more, and here am I dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father’ (v.17-18). The ragamuffin stomach was churning with compunction because he had broken his father’s heart. He stumbled home simply to survive. His sojourn in a far country had left him bankrupt. The days of wine and roses had left him dazed and disillusioned. The wine soured and the roses withered. His declaration of independence had reaped an unexpected harvest: not freedom, joy, and new life but bondage, gloom, and a brush with death. His fair-weather friends had shifted their allegiance when his piggy bank emptied. Disenchanted with life, the wastrel weaved his way home, not from a burning desire to see his father, but just to stay alive.
For me (Manning), the most touching verse in the entire Bible is the father’s response: ‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him’ (v.20). I am moved that the father didn’t cross-examine the boy, bully him, lecture him on ingratitude, or insist on any high motivation. He was so overjoyed at the sight of his son that he ignored all the canons of prudence and parental discretion and simply welcomed him home. The father took him back just as he was.
What a word of encouragement, consolation, and comfort! We don’t have to sift our hearts and analyze our intentions before returning home. Abba just wants us to show up. We don’t have to tarry at the tavern until purity of heart arrives. We don’t have to be shredded with sorrow or crushed with contrition. We don’t have to be perfect or even very good before God will accept us. We don’t have to wallow in guilt, shame, remorse, and self-condemnation. Even if we still nurse a nostalgia for the far country, Abba falls on our neck and kisses us.
Even if we come back because we couldn’t make it on our own, God will welcome us. He will seek no explanations about our sudden appearance. He is glad we are there…” (189-190)

Upon wandering off, and returning back to the Father, He is not going to ask you about where all you have been and why you have not been in the center of His will. He is going to embrace and be overjoyed that you have decided to return. Many times, personally at least, I feel as though I must first get things and all sorted out and then bring them before the Father. It’s okay with Him if we bring our broken, bruised-up self. He will still pick us up to hug us and He will provide all the healing we need. I encourage you that if you haven’t been in the embrace of the Father in a while, that it’s okay to return even now. He’s waiting for you, and while you are still a long ways off, He will see you just as the father saw the prodigal son. And He will run to you, and He will embrace you and kiss you, and more than anything else, He will be glad that you are home.
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

...taking it as their own.

The time since I have written the last update seems to have been very eventful as it always does. We had bible study the week after returning from the mountain, and for to a variety of reasons, the only ones who were there were myself and my 2 teammates and our national friend Francis. The last week and this particular week, people were suppose to share either their testimony or a story from the bible. Francis told us the testimony of his life, he then tied in the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, and related that to the culture in which he lives. He talked about how many times here people focus on the power of the witch doctors and not the power of the Living God. After Francis was done with his story, I asked him if he knew what he just did. I told him, you just led the bible study. He was overjoyed, and said that must not of been him them, that must have been Jesus using him. It was very exciting to listen and participate in this bible study. When we saw everyone again the next day, they had all found out that Francis had led the bible study and were sad to have missed it. Evance, one of the guys, said that he wanted to lead it the next week. Now Evance is someone that when we first met him was very shy. He would talk to people one on one, but he hated talking in front of a group. He was really excited to teach though. He gave me a sample of what his message would be about. It was going to be about faith and the scripture Mark 10:46. Even when he was just giving the message for me, you could see passion radiate from him. I asked him ‘didn’t you use to be shy?’ and he said ‘yes, but when I’m talking about the Lord, I get excited.’ The next Wednesday (this past Wednesday), he led bible study as planned. It was a very good lesson and all of the people attending had a very good discussion on faith and on prayer. Everyone is getting excited about when it is their turn to teach the lesson.


The children’s backyard bible club went great as well. The lesson was on David and Goliath. Thoko translated for the first time, and our neighbor Chisomo (who is in his teens) played the role of Goliath. We had one of the little boys play the role of David. When the time came for David to slingshot the stone at Goliath, instead of just acting like he threw the stone, “David” really threw the stone. Luckily, it hit Goliath in the stomach and not the forehead. After the story Chisomo said that he wanted to summarize it for the kids and then after finishing that, he said ‘now, I’m going to ask them some questions.’ It was awesome to watch as Thoko and Chisomo took control the bible study. This past week I taught the story again with Thoko and Chisomo translating, summarizing, and asking questions. Next week, they are both preparing separate stories and we will be sharing two stories, and I will just stand back and watch as these two lead the bible study.


It is amazing to sit back and watch as our national friends are beginning to take these things as their own. With only a little more than a month left, we are beginning to implement an exit strategy. How can we leave and things still continue on? Therefore, we are handing the reigns over to those who will not be leaving in a month. Its an awesome feeling knowing that we aren’t needed. Our national friends won’t need us to continue on the work that has begun. God doesn’t need us in order that this work will continue on after we leave. He chose us to come and to begin work in Thyolo and to develop relationships, but He has and will continue to chose people right here in Thyolo to continue the work. That is very reassuring. This work is not our work, this is work that God has graciously let us be a part of.



One of the best evenings took place a couple of evenings ago. My teammate was working on dinner and I was looking for something to do, so I looked outside and saw some people harvesting maize. They had already picked it, and were carrying it to their home. They yelled at me and told me to come down there. I went down and offered to help carry it. At first, they gave me only a small bucket to carry on my head, and after a few trips of carrying it, I told them that I could carry one of the bags (the ones all the other women usually carry). It was heartwarming. Walking barefoot with a bag of maize on your head along with the other women. After all the maize was carried and my teammate had joined us by this point, they offered us bananas as a gift for our help and sugarcane. Here is Malawi, they eat the sugarcane off of the stick (hard to explain, you will have to just see a picture). This wasn’t the easiest thing to do. Our teeth are just too weak to peel and then chew it off. I had the grandfather of the family peel mine with a knife, and then it became easier to eat. It was delicious!! We talked with the family until nightfall and then headed back to finish dinner. Last night, we went back to their house, so the mother of the family could show me how to use a charcoal cooker that I just purchased. She told me that this time was theory, where I was just to watch and that next time would be practice where I would have to do it myself. I think I know how to do it now, and I feel like she gave me all the Malawian tips and secrets. Tuesday we are going to have dinner with them. She is going to show me how to make nsima (their staple food we have had a couple times before) on my charcoal cooker. The time we spend with this family is always precious and I am looking forward to all the time we will be able to spend with them over the next month.



Pray Requests:

TAYO bible studies

Backyard Bible Studies


Jesus Retreat (we are planning for our TAYO friends, a weekend of discipleship and focus on prayer)

That we would not worry about the time we have left.

Opportunities to share our faith

That we would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit

And that we would be immediately obedient to what God had for us to do.


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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

home sweet home.

Things, here in Thyolo, are going amazing. We actually were out of Thyolo last week because our missionaries, our team, another missionary family, and two other HANDSon guys were hiking Mt. Mulanje. Mt. Mulanje is a mountain with a 10,000 ft peak a little over an hour from here. We began our climb Tuesday morning and were suppose to return on Thursday afternoon. Due to the late start of the climb, the weather, and the slower than expected pace of our group, we extended our hike an extra day. I always have thought I liked mountain climbing or at least didn’t mind it, but I may have changed my mind. This was the hardest hiking I have done in my life. Not to mention on the first day, my shoes gave me two big blisters on the back of my heels. Because of this I hiked two of the next three days barefoot and/or with socks on. I did manage to borrow some chaco sandals to make the climb to the peak. With that said though, we didn’t even make it to the top. We made it to about 9500 feet, before increasingly bad weather and very slippery rocks made us turn around. Because of these very slippery rocks, we were forced to climb most of the way from where we stopped to turn around to where we were staying on our feet, butt, and hands (like a crab crawl). I couldn’t manage to keep from sliding, and eventually tore a rip in the seat of my pants. (Luckily, I took the sewing supplies with me that I sew the kids’ clothes with, in case something like this were to happen.) We managed to make it down the mountain on Friday around noon all in one piece. At least mostly, we did have blisters, scratches on our feet and hands, every muscles in your body aching, and an overall just exhaustedness. All in all, it was a good time though, a time I like to call miserable fun. Though the majority of the time, my body was miserable and yelling at me, I had a fun time. It was encouraging to be around fellow believers who are spiritual warriors fighting the same battle alongside you. It was a time where we could share and listen to others’ stories, as well as pray and fellowship with each other.
It is very nice to be back to Thyolo. (not just because the hiking was so intense) It’s nice to be back, because we feel as though we are missing out on a lot when we are not here. Since we had a change in plans, we did not have the backyard bible club last week. The first one went very well though. We had around 23 kids there, who seemed to enjoy the bible story about Joseph, the cookies, and the kool-aid very much. Afterward, I was able to just sit on the steps with them and play and try to communicate and sing with them. It was a very relaxing and heart-warming time. This week we will be having the bible club again. Our story for this week is going to be about David and Goliath. This will be Thoko’s first time to translate, as she was sick on the first one and I had to get the missionaries’ son to help me. Pray that she will have courage and that no obstacles will keep her from helping.
Our weekly bible studies with TAYO (Thyolo Active Youth Organization) are going well. This week was the second one we had to miss. The first one we planned for them to just review the previous bible studies with written out questions. This past week, they were suppose to either tell a story from the bible or tell their personal story/testimony. We wanted them to do this for two reasons. One reason is that we are beginning to make more visits in the community to do different projects. When they do these visits, they have stated that they want to incorporate things from the Bible into the work they are doing. Therefore, if they are practicing the stories now, they will be comfortable telling them later. And the second reason is because there will be a time when we have to leave, and we want them to know that the work and bible study can continue on without us. We talked to a few of the members yesterday and they said that the bible study went really well. One member said,” People are beginning to change their lives because of this bible study.” It was very encouraging to see their excitement about the bible study and how they have taken it on as their own. We will continue to guide them, but soon the reins will be given completely to them and we will just be like the rest of the participants. Pray for the bible study and that certain leaders would rise up and take on a leadership position.
We also have a plan to do another survey trip to Mozambique. We aren’t 100% sure it is going to be happening or not. We have learned to get use to planning things one day at a time. But if it does happen, we will be leaving Friday and returning Wednesday. Pray for safety and for a sensitivity to the leading of the Spirit.
Also, you can begin praying as we are in the planning stages of a DiscipleNow / Jesus Retreat/ a weekend where our TAYO friends can be poured into. We are planning to have this the first weekend in May. Pray that we would be able to have discernment in what the Lord wants us to teach, as well as what is the best way to set up things for the weekend. We have to take into account things that are different in this culture than they would be in American culture. Here, many of the girls are usually at home preparing food for their families, so its difficult for them to be able to spend a length of time away from the home.
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