Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Alive

Rainy season in Mozambique has many accurate descriptions.

Hot.
Humid.
Rainy. (Surprising, I know.)
Alive.

Alive with thick, green, lush plants, that seem to grow so quickly that if you stop and listen, you might just hear them growing.



Alive with animals and insects of many kinds.  Some, like the giant termites that looked like snow dancing under the lamplight after the first big storm, are very cool.  Some, like the gazillion mosquitoes, we could do without.

Many, like this furry red velvet mite, you only see in the first few days after the rains begin.  



Some, who seem to want to stick around longer- like this giant snail who has lived on our back windows for two weeks now.



Then there are the beautiful butterflies just too many to count...


And this guy who really has an aversion to the camera or maybe it is just yellow tape measures...



 

Rainy season, Mozambique style: Hot, humid, rainy and gloriously, wonderfully alive with God's creativity and imagination.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fear



Fear is a strange thing.  Sometimes it is so obvious.  You hear a strange noise and you jump in reaction.  You might see some hated creature and coil back in terror.  Someone brings news and your heart begins to beat uncontrollably.  

Then there are the fears that are not so obvious.  Fears that are so close to you and so entwined around your heart you don’t even begin to recognize them during day to day living.  Fears that lay there seemingly dormant, but in truth they are slowly squeezing away at the very core of who you are- robbing you of a peace you didn’t recognize as missing, yet at the same time so deeply desire.  

I am learning that in His goodness, God uses our daily circumstances to reveal these deeply clinched fears.  He knows our hearts and sees the murderous fears that are working to strangle our peace and joy.   He knows many of our fears are held so tight in the dark places of our hearts that we no longer are able to see them ourselves, let alone dispel them after they have existed so long.  Still, by His gift of grace in our day to day living He comes through as a certain momentary flash of light into the darkness of our fears…a flicker so quick that we can easily ignore it or dismiss it.  

Coming to Africa has offered circumstances aplenty for God to shine His light of revelation into my fears.  The fears of illness, something happening to my children, not being accepted…and the list goes on.  The real question is not what are our specific fears, or even if we do have fears- because in reality I think there is some fear in the depths of us all.  Instead, the question is what do we with our fears.  

What do we do when God uses the circumstances of life to show us that a certain fear has wrapped its way deeply into our hearts?  Do we quickly turn away from the light, shielding our eyes from the pain of reality?  Do we ignore that which God so graciously shows to us, possibly forfeiting the peace He so longs to give?

Or do we invite the light in?  Do we allow it to shine strong and deep so that we might work on digging free of the fear that so entangles our hearts?  

Friends, let us try to learn more and more to turn to the light. As He uses the light to show me my fear, He also uses the light to remind me of who He is and how in Him I truly have nothing to fear. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ready

“I am ready!  Where can I get mine?”  the older Mwani woman boldly interrupted the speaker, pushing forward toward a table stacked full of the “Habari Ngema.”  Her hand grasped a crumbled bill, ready to spend the little that she had to receive the “Good News” which had now been printed for the first time in her heart language.  She had heard the speeches and had waited long enough.  She was eager to read and hear God speak in her own language of Kimwani.  She, like many other Mwani, was ready and she wanted everyone to know it!

When the Kimwani language project began in the late 1980’s, there was one known believer among this people group of almost 80,000.   God had worked a miracle to grasp Shikito’s heart and he was quick to join the Bible translation project so more of the Mwani people could know the words of truth that had transformed his life.

In late November, his work, as well as the work and prayers of countless others, came into fruition as the Kimwani language New Testament was dedicated in Pemba, Mozambique.  Two days of rejoicing included skits of parables performed in the Kimwani language, the winner of a recitation contest reciting Psalm 23 in Kimwani and a visit from the provincial governor.  The event was covered by the local television station and was shown on the televised news throughout the country of Mozambique.

As Shikito and other members of the translation team spoke of the many long years and the hard work that went into the translation project, both a sense of pride and a feeling of relief emanated from them.   For Shikito and the small Mwani church are as ready as the older Mwani woman clutching her crumpled bill- ready for God to bring His “Habari Ngema” to their people. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Right Tools


The gentleman pushed the three wheeled bike/wheel chair up the dirt path with his strong arms.  While a new acquaintance for our family, he was a familiar face to the people of Balama.  Although his legs are completely useless after a childhood illness (most likely polio), his arms and back were strong after transporting himself everywhere on his trike.



He introduced himself (we were later told his name translated into English means "blessed is he who has legs") and asked if we would be able to help him change the tires on his bike. This was a project that both David and the boys could help with so they jumped right on it. As they finished up and came inside, David said, "You know I have no doubt he could have done that himself, he just needed the right tools."

In many ways this statement is echoed in much of what we do here...serving Bible translation through technology and communications is very much about making sure others have the right tools to the job they need to do.

It was during our trip to a translation project in Balama in mid-December that we met this gentleman.  Balama, a 7 hours drive north of Nampula, is the central location of the Meetto language group.  This group of people numbers over 1 million, but still only has portions of the New Testament in their language.

The ride up north was on surprisingly great roads that took us through beautiful African scenery.  Lush bushes, tall baobab trees and fields of newly planted corn and manioc flashed by the car's windows- the brown dirt, slowly being taken over by green after recent rains.  As the hours passed by, the vastness of this land became more and more evident.  Mozambique, not to mention Africa as a whole, is a BIG place.

Small villages of mud buildings with thatched roofs dotted the countryside.  People walked along side the roads, carrying loads of goods on the tops of their heads.  Throughout the trip, we would pass by people calling out for us to stop as they sold their goods on the side of the road- cashews, limes, and charcoal for fires being the most popular items.

We traveled to Balama with our director and his wife who have served in Mozambique for over 20 years.  They worked and lived in a village near Balama translating the Meetto New Testament for much of that time.  While they now live in Nampula, they still lead the Meetto project, trying to balance the duties of director and translation as best as possible.  Their hard work and dedication to these people receiving God's word in their heart language is immense. 
The time we spent with them on the road and during our trip was incredibly rich (and fun!)

While in Balama, we stayed in a small house the director built for his stays there.  A cute little place, like most of Balama, it does not have running water or electricity.  The water is hauled from a well that is across the street at the secondary school.  Electricity is solar for now, but electricity is coming to Balama because of a graphite mine being built close by.  




In Balama, we were able to meet and visit with the national translators who are working on the project.  David was able to sit with them and assist them on some technical issues as well as do some training in internet connectivity.  He also spent some time assisting the director and a local pastor connect new electricity meters to a local church and the pastor's home.


Our work time in Balama was cut a bit short as three out of four of us ended up sick from a strong stomach bug while there.  We spent the last half of the week just taking care of each other.  We are now all feeling much better! 

Overall we truly enjoyed our time in Balama and look forward to visiting again in the future as we continue to serve the Meetto people as God brings His Word into their heart language. 









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