Monday, December 30, 2013

Eight for Mr. Eight



 

1.  Your deep brown eyes captured our hearts from the beginning.

2.  Your boundless energy never ceases to amaze us...even if it does overwhelm us at times.

3.  The world better watch out for the day you figure out how to make all of your imaginings a reality.



4. Your servant's heart and willingness to help others is a gift from God.  May He use it to bring many into His kingdom.

 

5.  Never stop asking BIG questions.  We have a BIG God and He has BIG plans for you. 



6.  Never doubt we love you and are so very proud of the young man you are becoming....




7.  Even if you insist on giving your mama a heart-attack...



8.  Happy birthday and parabéns to our fun-loving, energetic, tree-climbing, rope-swinging, hole-digging, always inventing, talkative, wonderfully creative, awesome big brother and son, Mr. Eight Year Old!!!


Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas With



There are many descriptive labels for our first Christmas in Mozambique… 

It could be described as a Christmas without…

visits with grandparents and extended family.

our closest friends.

peppermint candy canes and other tasty treats (like Nana’s jet candies).

wrapping paper (it exists here, but we never found it).

singing silent night at the Christmas eve service.

But moreover, it can be described as a Christmas with... 

Joy as our boys opened gifts long desired.

Laughter as we realized the buckets we put one of the gifts in were not going to open again without a serious struggle.

Worship as we spent a good part of the morning with our Mozambican church praying, singing and hearing about the precious newborn king.

Love and community as we celebrated the birth of a Jewish baby by eating Mexican food with our Canadian, South African and American friends here in Mozambique. 

 There are many ways to describe this Christmas season and daily I have had the choice as to how I would describe each one.  Honestly, there have been many days that my heart has focused more on the “Christmas without…” list.  The ache and longing for that which is absent overwhelming the fullness of the present.  

(It was interesting for me to notice that the days after Christmas (and Thanksgiving) were the hardest for me.  The celebrations I had joyfully anticipated had passed and my heart turned once again to the “without” list.)

Yet, even on those days as the Christmas without list grew longer and impressed deeper into my heart, glimpses of Christmas with shined forth as gently as the small flickering lights on our tree…Glimpses of a Christmas with peace, a Christmas with joy, a Christmas with fun and a Christmas with memories.   

For overwhelmingly Christmas at its very center and heart is Christmas with.  The story of Christmas is the story of the Ancient of Days, the very Word of God shining forth as Emmanuel, God with us.  

Christmas with us.

As I look back at our first Christmas in Mozambique, I might remember it some as a Christmas without, but far more I will describe it again and again as a Christmas with.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Once Again

 May the Light of the World...


Who came and filled that empty manger so long ago...


Come once again and fill our hearts.



Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year from our family to yours!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Reflections of Anticipation

Their faces look at me, puzzled at why we are gathered around the little birthday candle.   I try to explain how this candle represents hope, the coming of the Christ child, how it is part of our preparation for celebrating Christmas...and just when I think I have lost them, I see their eyes.

Their eyes shine bright, reflecting the flickering light of the small candle.

Their eyes shine bright in anticipation, excited about what is to come, expectations and questions about what all will we do during this season of preparing for Christmas...

"Will we get to make ornaments?" 

"Can we make a countdown chain? (Memories from years past.)"

"Can we make a manger out of popsicle sticks again?"

"Can we do the candle thing again tomorrow?"

And for a moment, in their excitement, I realize that they get it.

Advent.

Anticipation.

Excitement and preparation.

Readying our homes, but more importantly our hearts.

Advent.

A time of quiet, awe-filled whispers

Mingled with  joyful, lung-splitting shouts of adoration

for the One who is coming,

the One who has come,

the One who comes.

Yes, this is Advent...and yes, I think the manger out of popsicle sticks sounds like a great idea.
















Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving



The trees are covered with green and brown leaves…not deep red or brilliant yellow.

The air is warm, hot really…not cool or crisp.

There are no commercials or magazines in the stores crying out the newest recipe that will make your Thanksgiving feast unforgettable.

There are no black Friday ads detailing all the things you must get to make your life perfect…for at least this season.  

We will not be heading to spend the day with Nana and Papa, eager to see beloved family and taste her yummy food.

But…

There is a turkey that keeps calling from the next property…clearly mocking us in the fact that he is still alive and that we will be having grilled chicken for our Thanksgiving feast.  

Hand-print turkeys continue to delight and bring smiles to faces.

There are new friends to gather with in our home to celebrate and give thanks for all that God has done over the past year.  (6 family units consisting of 10 adults and 5 children)

There will be some yummy “traditional” Thanksgiving foods to go along with the grilled chicken…dressing, veggies, rolls and yummy (imported) pumpkin pies and treats. 

There are still so many things to be thankful for and we will use this day to remember the One who ultimately deserves all of our thanks.


While Thanksgiving looks different for our family this year in many ways, in some ways it really hasn’t changed at all.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Daily Normal

It is difficult to believe that it has been two weeks since I last wrote.  I wish I could say that so much has happened in the past two weeks that I just didn’t have time to write.  Truthfully, a lot did happen in the last two weeks, but most of it is simply life.  Getting up, preparing meals, working on projects, training children…all those things that many of you do every day.   

A beautiful beginning to a new day.
One of the things people forget when they think about missionaries is that our lives are for the most part incredibly normal and similar to theirs.  My context might look different than yours, but the routines and rhythms of life are strikingly the same.  It is in this daily normal, even our most mundane moments, that God continually draws us closer to Him as we learn to live our day to day for His glory.

So what does our daily normal look like these past two weeks?  We have had a little bit of change as the boys’ school let out for an end of term break.  (They will return to school after the New Year.)  We have really enjoyed having them home.   We spend our mornings doing some homeschool work (math, reading, writing and history) to keep them on track for the next term.  This has been great fun and really a return to a daily normal for our family since we homeschooled before we left for Brazil last year.  

In the afternoons, the boys continue to play and explore.  Last week, they were climbing trees when Caleb came running, “Mama, Nathan is stuck in a tree!”  I walked out to find him in the top of a large cashew tree, about 30 feet off the ground.  He had just seen his friend climb down and take a tumble to the ground from about 5-10 feet high and wasn’t about to move.  I went to get David who climbed the tree and helped him down.  We talked about only climbing trees we can get up and down in.  Nathan agreed…or at least seemed to agree.  

Thirty minutes later, Caleb come running again, shouting the same thing.  Seems Nathan decided to climb the SAME tree again and got stuck AGAIN.  I told Caleb to get his Da who then told Nathan he would have to wait for him to finish some work.  Nathan sat in the tree for about 45 minutes before he was rescued for the second time.  I think he might have learned his lesson since he didn’t climb it a third time.

David continues to work on technology issues for the group and has loved getting back to his daily normal as well.  I like my daily normal as well as I am easing into my role working with communications for the group here.  We have also been working on establishing relations and attending a local church.  In the next few weeks, our daily normal might include preparing for and teaching a youth Sunday School class in Portuguese…which is a kind of crazy/scary thought!

So, that is our daily normal these days...my guess is that it is truly not so different from many of yours.  It is our hope and desire that we are living out Colossians 3:17 within the normalcy of our daiys. May whatever we do for our daily normal- washing dishing, rescuing kids from trees, lifting others up in prayer- be for Him and His glory.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Beautiful Tires



The Bible states “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news,” but what if the feet are the well-worn tires of a heavily loaded flat-bed truck?  

Last week, a normal looking truck was made beautiful as the boxes stacked upon it are full of God’s good news for the Kimwani people of Mozambique.   Loaded with a precious cargo, the truck is carrying half of the New Testaments that have been printed so far for this predominately Muslim group that lives on the coastal islands of Mozambique.   The New Testaments are being transported from Nampula to Pemba to be part of the Scripture celebration and dedication in late November.    

This week, we thank God not only for the beautiful feet of the team of translators, prayer partners and financial partners who made the Kimwani New Testament possible- we also thank God for the beautiful, well-worn tires of a truck loaded down with the good news.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time there was a sweet little baby....


Who grew up way too quickly to be a big five year old...


With his own style...


And a heart that loves big. 


With the gift of charm to go along with his sweet smile, big brown eyes and quick laugh, this little boy makes friends where ever he goes. 


He adores his big brother who is also his best friend.  Hours are spent together playing with legos, building forts and going on adventure after adventure.


He looks up to his Da and loves to wrestle, sword fight and take things apart with him whenever possible. 


He has his mom wrapped around his sweet laugh and whispers of "Can I tell you something?  I love you mama."


Not to mention the kid has some mean ninja skills...


Today this little baby is no longer a baby and turns five years old.  We cannot wait to see how God continues to write his story.  We pray that Nathan grows to love and know God more and more daily, living his life for God's glory and renown.  Happy birthday Nathan!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

On the Road to Angoche

On the road to Angoche...sounds like the start of a limerick or maybe even a song..


For David it was the way to reach a translation team that has been having some technical difficulties.    


Burning fields to prepare for planting

The trip was 3 hours each way over VERY bumpy roads...

Traditional rural Mozambican homes

The land and trees began to change as you got closer to the coast

...But worth it to be able to help a bit with the computers and such so that translation efforts can continue smoother.




Hope you have enjoyed these views from the road to Angoche!
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