I know it has been a little while since we have written but know that we have not forgotten your faithful partnership with us! While our family has been going through some adjustment and transition lately, we have been earnestly seeking the Lord’s direction and guidance as to what He has for us in the future.
As you may know, our last two years overseas were quite intense and hard on us as a family. We have seen our children struggling to adjust to growing older in a foreign country. As we have talked it over with our mission leadership and our churches, we see the Lord directing us to pause our full-time ministry overseas. We believe that our children will greatly benefit from putting down some roots and having a more consistent living environment over the next several years, especially as our older boys move into high school. This means we will resign as missionaries with New Tribes Mission, effective July 1. We can continue to receive support through the end of June, but that is the last month.
We are so grateful to God for his provision through you over the years! We have been privileged to partner with you in taking the gospel over seas and encouraging the body of Christ throughout the world. Our hearts are, on the one hand, sad as we finish with this chapter of our lives but, on the other hand, we are excited for what our Lord has in store for us next! We are thankful for the trials God has allowed us to pass through as they have drawn us closer to Him and revealed His grace more each day.
Our prayer for you is that you will continue to actively support overseas missions (especially in Africa:-) through your prayers and gifts. If you would like to continue to support the work in Mozambique, please do not hesitate to ask us as we have several colleagues and national pastors who are actively involved and could use more support.
Also, if you have any questions or would like to chat with us about all this we would love to hear from you! We wish we could visit with each one in person, but at this time we are unable. Lord willing, we will remain friends and be able to keep in touch and sit down to visit in the future. Perhaps we will partner once again should the Lord open the door for us to return to full time service one day.
Love IN Christ,
Joash and Delia Tiarks
I know it has been a little while since we have written but know that we have not forgotten your faithful partnership with us! While our family has been going through some adjustment and transition lately, we have been earnestly seeking the Lord’s direction and guidance as to what He has for us in the future.
Here is our latest Newsletter for all to enjoy!
Just click on the file below.
You may print it for easier reading!
Yep, it sure has been a while since we have written! We are so thankful for patient friends and family! We are alive and doing well in Gifford, Illinois. Last you heard from us we were in South Africa saying our goodbye’s before we came back to the States.
The Lord has once again, gone before us and prepared our way. Within a week we had our own place for a reasonable rent and just last night we were given a van for $3. It has a lot of miles on it, but we know that it will serve us well. Thank you so much for your prayers for us and continued support, we praise God for each and every one of you!
As far as our plans for this next 6 months, we are uncertain what God has for us, but we are back so that we can concentrate more on our relationships with our children. We do hope to make our rounds to our churches and visit many of you but it will most likely have to wait until the summer when the kids are out of school.
Enjoy these photos that we took Christmas Eve with Joash’s family
Dearest Church Family and Friends
We pray this letter finds you well and resting in the grace and love of our great God and Savior! Thank you so much for you prayers and support and also recently your patience:-) We have written this letter several times over the past few weeks but things seem to keep coming up and it gets put off.
For the last several months we have been in South Africa, Potchefstroom to be exact. We have been working with a small church fellowship here and their counsel and support have been a real blessing and encouragement. Also, we have been able to take several trips over to visit our friends and colleagues in Mozambique. Recently, I was able to fly up to Nampula and participate in some team meetings and have an opportunity to share a bit of what we have learned and experienced these last two years in Maputo. We are very thankful the Lord granted us the privilege of getting to know and work along side our Mozambican brothers and sisters: they have taught us so much.
We have been serving here in Africa these last two years, specifically in the capital city, Maputo. Our focus has been to work with and learn from the National Church. While it has been a very challenging and intense time, we were very blessed and came to appreciate some of what God is doing in Africa! However, for our family, the time has come to make a change. We need some time as a family to work through what God has for us in the future and to provide and more stable, nurturing environment for our children. While we would prefer, according to our human wisdom, to remain with our dear Brothers and Sisters in Mozambique, but we have spoken with our mission leadership and it has been agreed that we will return to the States in December or January for at least six months. Since we need to take some time to refocus on our family health and relationship, we will not be planning to travel much at first as the kids will be in school. Ian has been in Illinois with my parents since July and is attending the local grade school. Lord willing, we will join him and all four of our kids will finish out the school year there.
God’s Faithfulness in Trials
These past few months have been difficult for us as we have faced the possibility of a change. We desire to be open to the Lord’s leading and will for us, even if it means serving Him somewhere else. Please do not misunderstand. We are not discouraged or down. God is good and He has been faithful to take care of us all along the way! You will remember how, when we were in the US during 2007-8, we needed houses in different places. He provided. When we were moving back to Mozambique in 2009 and we could not go ahead to choose a place for ourselves, God provided. In June of this year, when we needed to move out of our current, somewhat cramped living situation, God provided a three bedroom house with a yard here in South Africa literally two doors down from a dear church fellowship who welcomed us in like family and blessed in innumerable ways! We know He is GOOD and we can trust Him completely!
We have learned so much through these trials and challenges and praise God that He considered us worthy to go through them and so learn more of Him! We have experienced the love and grace of God in deeper ways we never would have without the ‘fires’ we have passed through. We are by no means relishing the pain but we can be thankful that God is taking us through this custom made obstacle course because in His perfect love He knows just what we need to grow! We look forward to what He has in store for us in the future and ask that you would continue to pray with us as we seek His will and direction for what is ahead.
Love IN Christ,
Joash and Delia
Yes, we are still alive and kicking! Things have been going well for us here and apart from a little trouble with allergies we have all been healthy, praise the Lord! Actually, we are planning a trip, a return to Mozambique for a few days since our passport visas need to be renewed for South Africa and there are some meetings that I, Joash, will attend up in Nampula. We will drive over on Saturday(pray for safety and an enjoyable trip!) and then I fly up north for a few days. It seems the kids will have the chance to fit back into their old school while we are there and as we have been using the books and such they loaned us they should be pretty well on teh same page. Ok, we are a smidge behind but on a couple of lessons:-)
While I am up in Nampula, Delia will touch base with our friends there since we have not seen them for a couple months. Up in Nampula I will have the chance to share with our team much of the experience we have gained through our relationship with the Mozambican church, Igreja Fiel, while in Maputo this last year and a half. Please pray for our team as we seek the Lord’s direction and enabling to better partner with and exhort the believers here toward maturity! I know God has used our African friends to teach us so much and we pray He will bless and enrich them to go far beyond what we could do in taking to Good News of Christ Jesus to Africa:-)
Thank you so much for your partnership with us as we humbly walk with our Savior,
Love IN Christ,
I, Delia, just came back from a most needed time away with some ladies from our church. We went to a Ladies Camp or Retreat which the main speaker was a really neat African man. Now you may wonder why I would even say that but you have to
remember the history of South Africa and the difficulties they have had going through the Apartheid era. It would never have been thought of that a group of mostly white women would have gone to a conference where the main speaker was an African. It was beautiful to see these women just open their hearts to what he had to say. He really spoke to all of our hearts, bringing truth to us in such a unique way. I praise the Lord for the time He allowed me. We were actually planning on going back to Mozambique for the weekend as our church there was having a building inauguration but through differing problems we realized the Lord was just not wanting us to go back, and actually couldn’t go back, for now! I see that now the reason the Lord allowed this to happen was that He had a divine appointment with me there on that little farm one hour from where we are currently staying.
The main topic was about “we are the house of the living God” from 2 Cor. 6:16. The different speakers brought home so many points about us allowing God to have full residence and rights to our entire house. It was a neat picture for me as I am a very visual person and so to see how my soul is likened unto a house, really opened my eyes. Through the seminar I realized how many times I have my “front room” available to the Lord but those back rooms are messy so I prefer not to allow Him in. Our speaker reminded us how the Lord is light and so when we allow His word to shine on our hearts and even into those rooms where we have closed and locked the doors (maybe a tragic event, or a habit, etc) that when we allow the Lord into those areas, He is actually the one that does
the cleaning in those rooms. In other words, He can do the healing and teaching or whatever it is to make those rooms livable again!!!
We were also challenged about what type of house are we; a beautiful house on the outside that everyone is impressed by, but the inside is in shambles perhaps. As we know what matters is how the Lord sees us and He doesn’t look to the outside but at the heart. They talked about the windows of our house, saying that the Lord comes through the door (Revelations 3:20), but the evil one comes as a thief through the windows. They asked us what windows have we left open for the evil one to come in and steal. This was very challenging for me and had such a wonderful time meditating on what all this means to me in my life, how I’m surrendering my whole heart and life to the Lord, not just those sections of my life that I deem safe for entry!
We continue to ask for prayer as we continue to seek the Lord for our lives and how we can minister to our family and to those around us! We also have some big decisions to make over the next few weeks so pray for the Lord’s wisdom and direction as well! Psalm 25:12
I unfortunately didn’t take any video of the sessions but I did get to take a video
of some of our singing. The video is of the 3 daughters of the main speaker.
They were singing in Tswana, one of the local languages.
We have seen several disturbing headlines in the news lately concerning riots and unrest in Mozambique. Several people have been killed and many shops were looted and destroyed. This comes as a result of increased prices, especially for the very basic ingredients or necessities of life; water, fuel, bread, etc. It seems the hope is to force the govenrment to do something about lowering the prices again.
Since we are here in South Africa we are not near the trouble at this time. Thus far none of our friends have been negatively affected by the violence, praise the Lord! However, the demonstrations and burning tires in the streets were located in several plazas not for from the church we worked with and our house in Mozambique.
As the Lord bring it to mind, please pray for people of Mozambique. It is by no means a nation that is following Biblical principles but, for the sake of the Body of Christ that is there, ask the Lord for mercy that there would be peace and stability! Perhaps God wants to use these trials to draw the believers to Him so pray for open hearts and minds as well so that, even in the midst of, and perhaps because of, hardship, the Church may grow strong!
You may have noticed in the pictures that we have been having a bit of difficulty with our vehicle:-) We have known about some of the problems for a long time and other are just cropping up! One of the challenges of having a vehicle in Mozambique is maintenance and upkeep or repair with quality service and parts. You have to be careful or you will end up with what we call ‘pirate’ parts; not quality, not original, cheap, easily broken.
We have had a problem with the car overheating for a while now but I have not found a good mechanic to fix it. We have been thinking to get this work done while here in RSA but then realized that, since our vehicle in imported from Japan into Moz. they do not have parts here to replace what is broken! This was made evident to us when the 4×4 ground to a halt as we were on our way to pick up my mom from the airport back in July. We went to see about spares and at Toyota the cost would have been upwards of $2000!!!
But God is good! One of the Leaders of the church we are working with here in RSA is a gear box specialist and has his own shop! Really it seems just about everyone does some mechanic work but he especially was able to help us diagnose the problem and check into our options. He helped us make the van functional so that we could visit Mozambique with my mom and while there look for parts to replace what was broken. And, of course, God provided! On the second try I found a 2nd hand spares shop with 2 of the differentials that i needed. One was ready to just put right it and it looked like it was the one we needed so he sold me that one and I mounted it into to van. However, the gear ratio was just off and when it began to make a bit of noise I quickly took it back to the shop to exchange for the other. This time I made sure to count the teeth on the gears to make sure it was the same as the original!
So, we returned to South Africa with what we needed to fix the 4×4 on our van and just yesterday we were able to get everything put together and mounted! I runs like a dream:-) Praise the Lord for allowing our car to break down at just the right time and in just the right place so we were not injured but were well taken care of!
Now we are searching out options to get the head gasket replaced, as well as a few other minor repairs. Already others in the church have graciously helped to weld a broken window bracket, get the starter repaired after it stopped engaging, etc. Please pray for wisdom and provision in the Lord’s timing for all this. God has blessed us with a great vehicle both for our family size and for the rough country; we want to take good care of it and see it serve for a long time! Thank you, Joash
I just wanted to put some pictures up from recent months:-) I know they are a bit late but…. I thought you might enjoy them anyway!
Tomorrow will be 1 week since Joash’s mother came, what a blessed our time has been. I say blessed, not easy, since we have had a bout of illness since her arrival not to mention major car trouble, but blessed because no matter what comes our way we know that God is in control and our best is at His heart and we can trust Him.
We have quite the testimony about God’s faithfulness during our recent trip to Johannesburg to pick up Joash’s mother from the airport. We decided to leave early to pick her up since we needed to take care of some business and wanted to take care of it before we picked her up. Well, as we were driving Joash heard a funny sound coming from the van and so slowed down a bit, not too soon also, because right as he slowed down to about 30 mph, the front car tires seized up and we made a complete stop. Come to find out the “differential” had been running without oil. We stand in amazement as we reflect on what could have been. If Joash did not stop in time and the “diff” locked, the car would not have been able to stay on it’s wheels, for some reason none of us were wearing seat belts, so this could have been very serious indeed. Then to realize how close we were to the town we are staying in where we have friends that are mechanics. Our friend came with another van and told us to go on ahead to pick up our mother and leave our van in his care, he took care of everything (which was no small feat as you can imagine since the front tires wouldn’t roll!!!
We want to say thank you for your continued prayers of us and ask that you would continue to uphold us as we are planning on taking a trip to Mozambique, the car isn’t completely fixed (instead of 4 wheel drive it’s only 2 wheel) but they say it should get us there and back no problem. While we are in Maputo, we hope to find some car parts there that we can buy to bring back to make our van 4 wheel drive again.
Pray for our time there in Maputo, that Linda will get a good idea about what it is that we do there (it will be hard to some extent since we will not be involved like we were before we left!).
We had a nice time today going to a local game park, we enjoyed seeing several different animals including giraffe and rhinoceros and several types of Springbok (African deer) but with all types of antlers.
Our drive tomorrow will take about 9 hours depending on the border crossing, pray we get there safely and that the house won’t be in a terrible condition.
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God to those who are called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28
Hello all, we are doing well here in “Potch”, South Africa. We have been busy getting to know yet another culture and location and have been delighted to live in a very spacious home during this time. We have been amazed at God’s goodness to us in giving us some time as a family. We have also been able to meet a few times a week with a neat godly couple that have been speaking love and grace into our lives! What a huge blessing to us! We want to thank you for your prayers on our behalf even though we have been rather silent these past several months but your faithful prayers have really held us, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
We will be receiving Joash’s mom tomorrow, which we are so excited for! It’s always a weird thing to have family come here since for some reason, we have nicely defined our lives into two separate columns, African and American. We have different customs here and have adapted so much to the African culture or foreign culture that when you converge them they don’t always fit nicely, so we ask your prayers for our visit that it will be blessed, that she will be blessed and vice versa. We hope to show her what our lives are like and how she can pray for us more! We plan on visiting Mozambique during her visit so you can also pray for grace for her as life there is much different than what she is used to and could be difficult to adjust to!
Thanks again for your continued support of us as a family, we can’t be here with out you guys on our side!!!
Love, The Tiarks
We are wrapping up our time here in Maputo for the time being and are beginning our preparations for our departure to South Africa. The town we are going to be living and working in is Potchefstroom, South Africa, for those who are curious. It’s about an hour and a half south from Johannesburg.
We ask that you would be praying for our relationships here that they would continue to grow though we are not here. Delia had her last cooking class today and the ladies showed sadness that they will have to wait so many months until the next class. It was sad for Delia though encouraging since it showed the impact the class was having on the ladies. I know she will miss the class too, she was really enjoying the relationships she was having with them.
Here are of the pictures from her time with them!
May 16, 20010
….your silence is deafening…..
We have recently been told this and so realize, yes, it’s time to update you, our dear friends and family!
First off, we want to say we are doing well. The Lord has been holding us up in a wonderful way and we want to give Him all the glory for it. However, we do want to say that times have been pretty tough for us. We know that we have been coming to a crossroad which has made it hard for us to put down on e-paper exactly how you can be praying for us since we ourselves haven’t known:-) Thank you though, that even through all our silence you have continued to faithfully pray for us, bringing before the Lord our needs, though you didn’t know them exactly.
As an update
We have finished with the first phase of our time here in Maputo and have been cleared by our mission regarding our language ability (or rather Joash’s) being sufficient to move into the second phase of the ministry they have for us. Although we still see gaps in our language, we know we will always be learning and that it will come in time. We have been so thankful through this process of working with this Mozambican church. We have learned so much and trust that God has used us: we give Him the praise for the way He continues to lead and guide us. Officially, our second phase is to start networking with a larger group of people/ churches with the goal of adapting the “Firm Foundations: Creation to Christ” material that we want to use here in South-East Africa. It has already been translated from English to Portuguese with Brazilians in mind but we really see the need for it to be re-translated or adapted with the language usage and culture of Mozambique in mind.
This transition has been tough as we have also been facing some challenges regarding our kids. We have noticed symptoms in our children lately that they are struggling with living here in the midst of our busy schedule. With that said, I, Delia, have stepped back from several night/evening activities so I can devote myself more to the needs and health or growth of our family. We have already seen some changes in behavior and attitudes over the last few weeks, although we believe the Lord is leading us to seek counsel and discipleship so that we can continue to see improvement and growth(sorry for not asking for prayer sooner). Well, the Lord has all these issues well in hand and HE knows intricately our needs and also our desires to minister with the Mozambican National Church. The Lord has shown us that by going through the hard times, looking to and trusting Him through them, we can also have a voice among those who are hurting. We thank God for giving us grace, wisdom and strength in the midst of these battles we are going through.
In the midst of all this a neat opportunity has presented itself. Our sending organization, New Tribes Mission, has for some time now been working to establish a presence in South Africa and we may be able to take part in working with some churches in South Africa! The Lord has worked it out for us to meet and begin a relationship with a neat South African family living near Johannesburg. This family has such a heart for missions and also for leading in discipleship and they have asked us to stay with them for several months. This has advantages for both us and them so that we can work together to help each other:-) There is a township close to them where they see a real need for solid, chronological teaching. They would like for us to teach the “Firm Foundations: Creation to Christ” series with them and then also, Lord willing, in the townships. We are so excited with this new development and can only praise God for His plans, for how He weaves things into our lives where we need Him more so that we can serve Him more. Since we have finished with our first ‘phase’ and need to wrap things up with our current church (they would like us stay forever:-) and also moving out of our house, we feel a break in ministry here in Maputo would allow us the time needed to re-group and re-establish our next steps without all the urgent activitites that come to us on a daily basis. In all respects we see this as a good choice and we ask that you would pray for our relationships with our church to grow even while we are away. We will sure miss them!
Today as we were singing praise songs during the morning service together with them, my heart ached that we would soon be parted from these people that are now our dear friends. But, in all these things, we know that God has a plan and we can trust Him completely.
An Exciting Visit!
Also coming up in the next few months is a visit from my Mom! The Lord has provided the opportunity for her to come for a couple weeks in July to see her grand-children and to participate with us in our daily lives here:-) We are really looking forward to spending time with her and showing her some of the interesting and exciting things about Africa. Please pray as she prepares to come, for her safe travel and a blessed time here with us.
When she returns, she will be taking Ian with her! Joash’s parents have invited Ian to spend this next year with them in Illinois and to attend the school there in their small town where Joash’s mom teaches. We are excited for this neat opportunity for him. Pray for our separation, we know it won’t be easy!!
As we wrap things up we just want to express our thankfulness to God for His provision through your prayers and financial gifts! We have noticed that whenever Paul received a gift or a blessing from someone he was quick to give thanks…but not to the person or church. He immediately thanked God upon every remembrance of his brothers:-) . So we want to do just that!
“We thank God upon every remembrance of you!”
Co-laborers with Christ,
Joash and Delia Tiarks with
Judah, Ian, Chloe and Gabriel
Time is just flying along for us and we have just gotten out mid-quarter reports from school! The kids are now back into the routine and we are working to develop good study habits and standards. Judah and Ian have been able to participate in the school soccer team and at their recent Saturday tournament played well and showed great effort! The school is also doing swimming lessons (Delia’s helping to teach) and instruction for the PE time so they are enjoying that break from the normal routine as well.
We have all been pretty healthy as well and we are very thankful to the Lord for that! The heat can really sap a person’s energy and strength but we have a good breeze and good shade here in the yard at our house so we do find a place of refuge:-) Please pray for continued protection and health from the Creator and Sustainer of all!!!
Our relationships with our Mozambican friends and church has been growing and deepening. Several opportunities have been presented recently for us to get more involved in ministering to this local body. We have been offered a chance of teaching some of the youth in Sunday School and also for Joash to teach a block of several weeks in the evening Bible School! One of our desires all along has been to participate with the local church in exhorting and teaching from the Word so we are excited for the doors the Lord is opening and this represents a great encouragement in this area! Please PRAY for wisdom and grace as we look to the Spirit to guide us in these opportunities. Pray also for the believers here to have open and receptive hearts to receive the WORD and apply it! Our future ministry is being formed and is growing as well, keep checking our blog for updates regarding that.
Delia has been continuing her language study amidst helping Joash with classes at the school. She is also helping to teach swimming two mornings a week. She also continues to be involved in the woman’s ministry and will be starting a cooking class with them in two weeks. This cooking class is a chance to get to know the younger mothers a little better plus to impart a skill to them. They plan on having a prayer and devotional time and then Delia will teach them a new recipe. She is quite excited about this opportunity as not only will it help her portuguese to improve but it will be through a ministry setting (and one she loves, cooking). Pray for open hearts and faithfulness among the woman. Pray for Delia as she will be stretched to her limit with explaining and using less than ideal cooking equipment to teach these dear woman.
It’s that time of year again! Spring Conference!!! We plan on traveling up to the North of Mozambique again to attend our team’s annual conference at the beginning of April. We have the Easter Break time off from school so, praise the Lord, it works out very nicely to have our meetings during this time. We are looking forward to seeing our teammates again and catching up on their lives and ministries. We have missed being near them this last year and look forward to some times of sweet fellowship around the Word! Please pray for us as we prepare to travel the 900+ kilometers north over less than ideal roads. We are so thankful that we will have our own vehicle this year to use! Pray with us regarding repairs to our vehicle to make it ready for our trip, that it will handle the challenges of the road without any problems and that the Lord will send His helpers to prepare the way for our passing!
We recently passed one year here in Maputo and we want to express to you all our thanks for your love, prayers and gifts that you have faithfully given to us during this year. We are amazed at all the Lord has done. We look forward to this next year and what the Lord has in store for us. We ask that you would continue to pray for us that we will be willing clay in the Master’s hands. We want to be used by the Lord for His glory, reflecting His Son here in this place.
One of the neat things we get to have the privilege of doing is going out into the different districts and meet new churches and preach.
This last week we went to a church that is really suffering. It was a neat message Joash shared and we found out later, quite applicable to their situation, praise God! It was about how God doesn’t look at the outward appearance of man but looks at the heart. We can’t hide from God, He see’s all and knows all. He spoke about sin. You will see the apple in the movie which represented the first sin, eating the fruit. He shared how the first sin which corrupted the whole world was something small, but it really meant rebellion against what God desires for us, which is to walk with Him in obedience, trusting Him.
We were just recently at a “zona” where Joash preached and since we brought our camera (which lately we keep forgetting to do), we decided to take advantage of the situation and take a family picture. Enjoy!
Joash with our neighbor went and got water to bring back to our 2 homes, ours and our neighbor’s
All hands on deck! Judah and Ian helping out bringing the water into the house.
Tomorrow is our 1 year anniversary of arriving here in Maputo. It truly amazes us what the Lord has done during this last year, what He has taught us and how He continues to give us strength for each new challenge.
We really have a lot to update you on as far as how the Lord is leading our mission in regards to training up Mozambican believer’s to work in the harvest field. We will only be able to give you a glimpse right now as so much is still developing. Thanks for your patience.
The Lord is starting to put in our hearts and our colleagues the will and desire to start a type of missionary training to equip Mozambicans. We have been asked to start curriculum development for this future training. Pray with us as we are just starting to think through it all and what’s involved and needed. Please pray with us about this, nothing short of a miracle will see this through. As we begin thinking through this course, we want to first see the Church here in Mozambique take ownership of it. The best way is to create a thirst, for that reason, we have been given several ministry opportunities to share and show practically the Creation to Christ curriculum. Joash will be teaching in the night Bible school at our church and will be taking a Sunday school class as well. We are excited, yet know that it will be a lot of work, but are willing to do whatever it takes so that the Mozambican church can be better equipped for the task of going out into the harvest fields.
From the beginning, the Lord has worked it out so that we can live and work closely to a church so that they are now seeing we are for real and have something to share. For which they are showing an eagerness to receive. At times during this year it felt as if we were just spinning our wheels, just doing without a real vision, but God was using those times to develop our relationships more and deeper and to train us more for what our ministry is developing into. Praise be to God for His plans, which are not to harm but to give us hope and a future.
We truly praise God for you, our partners, who have stuck by us through it all in faith knowing that God has a purpose and it includes us. Continue to pray in faith and ask God to make us ready for the task, keeping us humble and ready to be used by Him.
We continue to remember many of you and pray that you are being effective where God has placed you. The things God is doing in your lives as we look to Him to be our strength and He places in us hope, we are to share that. We are seeing that it is getting harder and harder for the church to not be conformed to the world, we are praying for you that you are resisting the devil and his schemes not being conformed to this world, but being transformed; so that God can use you to be that tool by which He can draw others to Himself………May God’s true Church be risen up for His glory.
Well January is already running quickly along so I wanted to let you all know how things are going….
We came back from our trip to South Africa having a wonderfully restful time. The Lord blessed us in so many ways, it was hard to come back. We were not even home yet when the phone starting ringing, we knew we were back to work.
While we were in S.A. we had tried to see some doctors to take care of some much needed checkups, to no avail. I did make appointments but it would be to return the following week (this week). Since we could not spare anymore of Joash’s time away, he has a ton of work to get done before classes start next week, we decided that I, Delia, along with Chloe and Gabriel would make the trek alone.
The day before our leaving, Joash asked me if I remember running into a cove or something because the van was making a funny sound. No I didn’t remember that, but not finding anything out of the ordinary, we packed up and left to S.A. as planned. About one hour into the trip (after passing anything remotely civilized) I suddenly heard a loud boom and the car began to jerk right. We swerved right into the opposite lane of traffic, continuing on, passing that lane and finally stopping on the other side of the road. Whew, a little bit of shock enters and I realize that nothing bad happened, thankfully no cars were in the oncoming traffic and we were safe……big praise to God!!
As I got out of the van to check the damage….it looked like something that came out of a scary movie, about a tire shredding monster. The tire was not only shredded but it had somehow grabbed onto the mudflap and tore it straight up taking a lot of the metal with it. What to do, what to do. Not sure, I called Joash….realizing that the whole thing took place by two big cell towers (praise God) allowing me to have coverage to call Joash. As I was recounting to Joash what had happened, two Mozambican men came up to me cautiously and I waved for them to come closer. I asked them if they knew anything about changing tires, and they assured me they did and they wanted to help. Well I was desperate, not knowing what to do, I asked them if they could help me change the tire. As Joash was telling me he would come and get me, the men started changing the tire. I told Joash not to worry, I will call him after it was all done. I asked the men if they had any experience with this one of them said yes, he worked in a garage for 3 years (what are the odds of that, again I praise God!). They did a beautiful job changing the tire and banging the metal back where it belonged and I was back on the road before you can say…Delia you are crazy!!!
Thankfully, nothing more happened with the tire but the rest of the day was miserable as I made it to the “appt.” and they said that it was actually for yesterday, then my migraine set in. Suffice it to say God gave me strength to continue on and I was able to reschedule my appt., then get the right medication for my migraine at the right time before it really came on. We are now at our friends house enjoying the quietness of a South African morning in the Lowvelds (low lands).
Thankfully I was able to reschedule for Friday, which means I won’t get home when I had hoped, but God knows….we have learned enough to know that when our plans are delayed He has a plan and we can trust Him!!!
P.S. Come to find out the van we purchased had all winter tires on it, which work great in Japan during wintertime, but here in Africa they shred easily. Apparently the sound we kept hearing was a piece of the tire whipping up and hitting the tire well. I was able to go to the tire shop and buy two new front tires (ridiculously priced), and we are good to go for the meantime. Although tires are expensive here (almost $200, each) they are even more expensive in Mozambique, so it was a blessing that I was able to get them while here.
Wow, what a whirlwind month!! We are exhausted but extremely thankful for how the Lord worked in and through us this month! Thanks so much for your prayers and your encouragement through the month!
In re-cap! We had two weddings, one we were very involved in; 2 weeks of guests with a one week full of language evaluations, Christmas and general activities with our church. We also celebrated Ian (turned 11) and Chloe’s (turned 8 ) birthday.
We are excited to say that Joash is very close to reaching Capable High(our mission recommended language level) and I have reached Capable low(just two levels to go!!). We thank the Lord how the language evaluations went as I was particularly nervous about them. Our co-worker who did the eval’s, did a great job and was super encouraging. He gave us many areas for us to investigate plus ways for us to improve the way we have been language learning. We are now set for our next lang. eval to be in June. What will happen after that we will have to inform you at a later date as things are still in the early stages of planning, so keep praying for our next step of ministry.
We just want to personally thank each one of you that have sacrificed in one way or another to keep us here, whether through gifts or prayers, you are all apart of our team, for God’s glory!! Thanks for serving along side us!!
Before you watch the video I just want to say that this is the first time I’ve ever done planting and anyone that knows anything about planting will quickly find out that I’m doing it wrong! They tried to show me half way through the clip how to do it better, “shovel the ground twice then plant, and make sure there is enough space between the seeds for room to grow” “ok, gotcha!”
It recently rained and being that its planting season, many were anxious to get to their fields and plant.
So it was on the day after the big rain that at 5:30am, I heard the familiar ‘clapping’ and asking for pardon in front of our door. I was still convincing myself I needed to wake up when I heard it, so, I yelled out from bed (since our house is small you can talk and anyone outside can hear you) that I would be right there. Up I went and quickly got dressed. I opened the door to find our Pastor’s wife. I welcomed her in and offered her tea, which is customary. She replied with a no, but thank you. This meant to me that she was here on business, although, I was already convinced of that since she arrived at such an hour. Well, she began to tell me about how much she was worried about needing to go to the fields and plant since it rained so hard the night before. I started to see visions of all that I planned that day diminish before my eyes as I knew this was very important to her and I needed to help her. So I promptly told her that I can take her. A couple hours later, after getting the family breakfast and packing them off with lunches in hand, I left to go pick up the Pastor’s wife. After picking her up, I made several other stops, picking up several of her daughters who would also help us in the fields. At that point I didn’t know that I was not only in for being the driver but also the worker too! This day was full of excitement, including almost heat exhaustion and I’m pretty sure a pulled hamstring as it’s now 1 week later and I’m still in pain from working that day.
Well I hope you enjoy the clip, Joash thought it would be more exciting if I had subtitles, but alas, I’m not that technologically savy!!! Love to you all!!
I kept waiting until the house was in perfect condition before I took this video, but in the end I felt it was more important to just send it out as is, since so many of you were asking what our house was like!!
This is the youth of our church. The song talks about how we are a new creature in Christ and each one made up a dance on the spot expressing their love for the Lord!
“Spiritual growth is from stage to stage. There are great days, days of decisive battles, days of crisis in spiritual history, days of triumph in Christian service, days of the right hand of the Father upon us. But there are also idle days, days of apparent uselessness, when even prayer and service seem a burden. Are we, in any sense, renewed in these days? Yes, for any experience which makes us more aware of our need of the Father must contribute to spiritual progress, unless we deny the Lord who bought us.” (None but the hungry heart, Miles Stanford)
It is our nature that after time no matter what circumstance you find yourself in, we try to find a place, whether emotionally or physically that we can handle the day to day experiences of life. In my heart I see that our coping mechanisms try to make things normal so that we can handle what comes to us daily………..So then came a day which exposed where my trust was in, my coping mechanism or in Christ.
So there I was, trying to make something normal that is completely strange….our living in the middle of a Mozambican neighborhood. We have been making friends with all our neighbors and trying to build relationships, whether it’s so we can share Christ’s love or so that we can finally be excepted in a strange situation or both (only God knows). All in all lately I can honestly tell you that we have been starting to feel more accepted in our surroundings, even thinking that people are liking that we live here…….Then out of the blue, one day, I leave our house to walk to my friends house and what happens…..I’m bombarded by a constant stream of “you are not wanted here, leave!) One guy, yells at me (probably drunk) and says, ” Hey whitey, leave here, and pretends to shoot me!” A little unsettling you say, yes, to say the least! Whether that shook me off my rocker or what, I don’t know, but then the rest of the week I was super conscience of how people were treating me….all the stares, the whispers, the seemingly constant yelling of “Whitey” in the dialect…..all these things mount to a point where I’m back at square one, as if we are going through culture shock over again. I’m praying for God’s grace to get me through! We are not only in a normal conflict of interests here (even if we were not missionaries, they would be doing that!) but we are most assuredly in a spiritual battle that will not go away. I realize that without the grace of God, we will not make it. I’m so encouraged by the myriad of scripture that speaks to me reminding me that “Tribulation worketh patience”. I am brought back to our purpose here, not to please ourselves but to Glorify God in a place where He is not being glorified! We will only do that by not trusting in our coping mechanisms but in Him who commanded light out of darkness, and still is the light to the world, through us! Thank you for your continued prayers for us! We love you all. Even where you are God asks you to reflect His glory, not yours, are you?
“But we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
We are continuing to work very closely with our church here. The church has a head pastor that has gone on and planted many churches throughout Mozambique. These churches are not strong, but nonetheless there. Our placement and working with this church seems very strategic (only God knew that), in that, the impact this church could have on Mozambique as a whole is potentially very huge. One of their church plants up North along the Zambeze river has a Discipleship Training Center which is being run and helped by YWAM. We are praying about going there and teaching for a month or so this summer. Up until now we have been learning about how this church functions and gaining relationships and confidence among them, through working side-by-side with them in ministry and life. We have been growing with them, mourning with them, serving with them, etc. Something that recently told me that the Lord definitely has us here for some purpose (although we still don’t know exactly what that is); usually when a foreign missionary comes and they preach you will see by the reaction from the audience that it didn’t touch their heart at all, and also by talking with them later. Well recently, and this is completely not any of our merit but the Lord’s, I (Delia) was asked to speak at a ladies conference (they asked me the night before). Well, seeing how the Lord has provided every other time that they have given us no time to prepare, I just had to trust the Lord would give me words. He did! What really amazed me was how the portuguese was coming out almost as easily as English comes out and with such power it could only have been from the Lord! Afterward, I was so amazed at what just happened I just sat in my chair dumbfounded. Well, the church was packed with ladies as it was a conference of many churches from around the city, but it was so quiet that you could literally hear a pin drop. I believe because these ladies have seen me day in and day out that I’m no longer this foreigner to them, one that doesn’t understand their sufferings; I do to an extent. I’ve cried with them, so I believe my words carried more weight. I spoke about a simple verse, yet still powerful in my own life. Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd, because of that, there is nothing that I lack” (translated from Portuguese version). This meeting for us meant that all these little things that we have been going through are worth it. Please continue to pray for our testimony and effectiveness here, we know that it can only take place through daily dying to ourselves, allowing the Lord do live and work through us.
Well I guess it’s continuing. We just had another death yesterday. It was a young person in our church and his story is quite sad.
When we talk about suffering this boy certainly went through it. As it was told me, before these last 4 months, when things got really bad, his life was one of constant affliction. It was said that whether or not it was because he was a believer, his first “wife” left him without anything in his house, she took everything, plates, bed everything. Many times when he would come home from church at night, his Bible in his home was tore and strewn all over his house. He was not deterred, he kept going back to church and kept buying a new Bible. He was one of the important groups in the church, the Intercessory group, where they get together weekly for prayer and fasting. The last 4 months were especially difficult. One day as he was coming home from work (he worked at nights as a guard), he encountered police at his door, which grabbed him and told him to change his clothes he was going to jail for raping a girl. Though they saw he was just coming home from work, but because of the way the law works here, he had to go to jail. When he got there after being severely beaten the girl finally came forward and said it wasn’t him it was someone else. Well, here they won’t just let you go unless you give money. They asked for 6,000mtn which is equivalent to $240. which is equal to 3 months wages and it was impossible to pay it at that time. So he stayed in the jail for 2 months until finally his family could pay it. In jail, you are not treated like you are in the states, they don’t even give you food there, a family member has to bring it, you are beaten without cause and so on. By the time he left there he was very sick and injured. They directly took him to the hospital and after awhile he seemed to recover a bit, so he went home. He never got better until last night he passed away. To us we are so shocked by this story (it was all recounted to us today, we did not know the story previously), we want to say, where’s the recourse for such a tragedy. Of course there is none, besides the Lord. We are starting to see so much that our dear brothers and sisters are going through which we just want to scream out injustice. We have been so pampered by our “justice” oriented country that it makes it so hard to just stand by and watch these things. But we must! We are needing to learn to go to the Lord through all of it, because there hurts are becoming ours. It’s no longer stories one sees on T.V. and you can help by calling the 1-800 number on the screen and giving $30. This is real, this is life. How do we deal with this? We go to the one who holds the world in the palm of His hand and says, yes, these injustices are going on and they hurt me more than they hurt you. Because I created the world to be perfect and just, but sin came into the world and spoiled it. But I will make things right, just wait and trust me!! I’m so thankful that we can trust Him and that He has given us His Word and His Spirit to guide us even in the darkness when we cannot see, He can see and it’s not blind faith, because He is more real than anything I can see with my eyes!! Thank you Lord, I love you!!!!
Ok, Ok, Ok!! I know, it’s been like 3 weeks since our last update and it wasn’t even an update at that. So after much encouragement from someone special, you know who you are, I decided to start just writing more often about our daily life and the things we encounter and are going through. You might say,”Isn’t that what you were already doing?”. Well, sort of, but I have built it up to where I felt like I needed to write larger updates which became too hard for me to do. So I’m going to stick with short and simple. Although, if any of you know my verbose self, they will still probably end up missives, but I will try to keep them simple.
These two weeks have been very busy and emotional. Lately as we are getting closer to the church, we are beginning to receive attacks and such, while at the same time they’re receiving attacks. Within a one week span of time 2 beloved members of the church passed away. One very suddenly the other by a very slow painful death. The first one came as such a shock to the congregation that there was great mourning. But in the span of one week, through countless attacks through circumstances that the church went through, one more death occurred. This time though, the report came back last night that the service wasn’t as sorrowful as the first, but they were rejoicing in the Lord as Psalm 116:15 speaks about, “How precious in the sight of the Lord, the death of one of His saints”. We see that through tough times, the Lord has His purposes. To change our perspective and bring it back from a worldly perspective to a heavenly one, Col. 3:2. Though, we are sad for the family, we are rejoicing at what the Lord has accomplished through all of this.
Thank you for your many prayers that are upholding us. To model Christ, means to die to oneself, we need your prayers so that even though we are used to the daily grind here, we are not forgetting that ultimately, if we are going to have any lasting fruit, it will be what Christ has done through us, not us mimicking Christian behavior or by trying to attain a certain amount of converts each year. These things are happening, but not because we are trying to make it happen. Christ’s life is being lived out (not any glory to ourselves), as it should be!!
This sweet baby has become my “filhada” or goddaughter. I also got to name her, Eve Maria.
Sometimes, I let my circumstances overwhelm me….then the Lord reminds me of His love and His purposes for me, that they are for my good and not destruction. We get the world’s view mixed up with heaven’s view of things and so we get deceived that a good life is one that has little sadness and hardship and of course the house with a white picket fence! One thing I can say about our time here is that the Lord is redefining what really is a good life. He is becoming my life, my very ability to continue and I praise Him every day for that. I recently stumbled upon this quote from “None but the Hungry Heart” by: Miles Stanford. I thought I would send this along to those of you who have a hungry heart for the things of the Lord, who desire to have true peace, true joy, true strength, true love!!!!
“I believe we have very little idea how natural feelings may be mixed up with what we think is our spiritual joy. Many go on happily because their surroundings are happy, but anything that outwardly contributes to our joy will sooner or later fail us. Our Father loves us too well to allow us to rest in anything or anyone short of Himself- not even Christian fellowship, or what people call ‘the means of grace’. He wants to be so known by us that He becomes the deep eternal spring of satisfaction and joy for our hearts.” -C.A.C (None but the Hungry Heart)
” God says, my peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives, do I give to you” John 14:27
Thank you all for your continued prayers for us here. As we are living among our Mozambican brothers and sisters we are learning about their sufferings and at times it’s overwhelming, but this is how the Lord is giving us an open door for ministry. Understanding them day to day. This is where discipleship is happening. Thank you
So it’s been a bit since we wrote about how things are going here and what we’re up to. We have been rather busy lately and so have found it difficult to share each day with you all! I keep asking the Lord how to share what’s going on since I think it’s important to keep you guys up to speed about how we are doing especially since many of you are praying for us. For which we are extremely thankful for!
This last weekend, some friends of our let us use some points on their timeshare in South Africa so we could have a mini vacation. What a blessing it was to be able to relax without thinking I’m spending a ton to do it!! We enjoyed the hot showers and in room kitchen. I found myself laughing at the fact that I loved doing dishes on my vacation. For you to really understand why that is you would have to check out our living situation here in Maputo. The sink is is small and located in the back of the house near the bathroom and the water hasn’t been running for 3 weeks so dishes are a bear!!! We thank God though (I’m not complaining, only explaining 🙂 ). There were trails and lots of things to do. We left on Friday and got back last night (monday!). One thing we realize about the schedule load that we currently have is that spending time with each other has been next to nil (and doing homework at the dinner table at night doesn’t count!) So our communication has been slipping and we found ourselves living quite independent of one another!! I know this is something any busy family encounters and something that needs lots of prayer and thought as to how we can stay on the same page when we are so busy! Please continue to pray with us, so that we can say sensitive to the spirit when we should say ‘No’ to a commitment or say ‘Yes’. We know life is not always cut and dry answers but we are thankful that we have God’s word that teaches us and His spirit that guides us.
Delia is teaching a group of ladies how to make a wedding cake… She googled most of it online just a day before she taught them!! yeah google!!!
One of the finished products at the wedding!! It melted a little on the way there. Everyone loved it and the girls learned a new skill!
It really has been hard to get good photos since we don’t want to stick out like tourists, but here you go anyway! Hope you enjoy them!! I’m trying to find a way to upload videos without having to pay $60 a year, so stay tuned!!
My happy worker, glad to be back in his trade!! We had a group of South African’s that were doing a short-term trip, helping to restore the roof of this church, then on Saturday they had a seminar inside the church. Joash helped out with both!!!
Joash teaching at the seminar from Ezra. It was neat how the Lord brought it all together as he was only asked 2 days before to teach. He was teaching how the Word must be studied first, then practiced, then taught!!! Very good stuff!! PtL!
They donated Bibles to all the churches and to the individuals that could answer Bible Trivia questions!!
We have seriously gotten behind in our updates and for that we apologize! We have been doing well and rejoicing in the many opportunities we have had to be apart of the work here! It has been 1 month since we purchased our van and to say the least it’s been a blessing. Not only to our family but we have kept it busy with helping out others in our church as well.
Joash and the kids started school this last Monday and since then have kept very busy. For these first few weeks (I hope only!) it will be a lot of work for Joash to prepare for each day until he can streamline things a little better. He has really been enthusiastic about this opportunity to teach not only the second grade class (Chloe’s class) but also the High School Bible class. Not all of the students know the Lord so He has started teaching the Chronological teaching, he will start with Genesis going through to the ascension of Christ and on to the Acts of the Apostles. We really see God’s hand in leading our family to have our kids at the school and also to have Joash teach there. We know that it won’t be easy as this week has testified to, but we are encouraged that what the Lord orders, He provides for. His grace is always sufficient!
Since Joash and the kids have been gone until 3pm each day it has freed me up to pursue language learning full time. While I haven’t been able to put in much book study time I have been able to be out with many of the church members being involved in many ministry opportunities like: prayer meetings 2 each week, ladies meetings and visiting the sick and visiting a church out in a village. I will be taking today to really plan out my schedule so I can get the most of each meeting. It’s been challenging as most of the meetings are in the dialect and I have someone whispering the translation to me in Portuguese, it’s challenging then to get quality language that way. I hope to start some official classes with different ones in the church next week, which will help tremendously. Learning a language takes one to be very engaged no matter what you are doing so I have been finding myself so tired by 6pm which as most moms know is one of the busier times of the day, getting dinner on, baths, and getting things ready for the next day. Please pray that we can schedule our time well and not to forget time with one another, keeping short accounts so we can manage this time well.
Since last we wrote we have had a numerous amount of things happen that we could share. We have been involved in prayer ministries with the church where recently a girl from the church was actually demon oppressed, it was quite a new experience for us, but it has opened our eyes to the reality of the spiritual battle we are in. The girl is a daughter of one of the pastors that go to our church so it was quite emotional for the church. What happened was a couple weeks ago this girl, we’ll call her Jane, was witnessing and praying for one of her classmates from school. The boy had been sick for quite sometime and the girl knew that it was demonic. Well, she would not give up praying for him and witnessing to him. Some time later a lady came to her and told her to stop praying since her prayers were not going to affect him since he was her slave (spiritually), she is a witch doctor in the area and has had the boy under her power for sometime now and wanted to keep him sick. Well the next day she fell quite sick and was taken to the church to be prayed for. When we saw her it was an amazing sight for us as we haven’t seen anything quite like this before and so didn’t know how to proceed. Well, a few of us started to pray for her and it became very apparent that we were not fighting against an illness but rather a demon. Now in my experience and from what I read in the Bible a believer can’t be indwelled by a demon but from all appearances she was most assuredly demon possessed, not in a dramatic way, but the look on her face and how she responded was not her. We continued to pray for her and also began reading scripture to her. It was about the time we read the Bible that she screamed out that she was being oppressed and she called out for God’s help, then she immediately became entranced again. We continued to pray and read. She finally came out of and was praising God and began to repeat the scripture that we were reading and quoting scripture. We questioned her salvation to our friends and they said that she has been a believer for quite sometime and actually quite an evangelist. Please pray as we teach the truth that the reality of people’s true position before God will come to light. Jane is doing well now and is back in school. Thank you for your prayers for us, please don’t stop even though this last month our updates have been scarce.
Just want to let you all know how much we love you and appreciate your love and support of us as we are here so far away from home. Praise the Lord, though, that this place is becoming more and more like home. Please continue to pray for our kids as they still ask to go back home where their Grandma’s and Grandpa’s are, they miss them a lot!!!
“We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” Romans 8:37 “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” 1John 4:4
One of the joys working with the National Church are the many opportunities that come our way to minister. Usually, there’s no pre-meditation involved, just on-the-spot ministering. This last week we have seen that in spades.
First, for Delia: Every Wednesday we have Mid-week church for one hour then choir practice (of sorts). Well, this week I went alone since Joash has been helping out with some short-term missionaries outside of the city. After arriving in church, I began to have this funny feeling that they were going to ask me to “preach” or to make it more biblically correct, I was going to “share”. Knowing the many times they have asked Joash to preach without notice I quickly started to pray and ask the Lord to show me a passage and Jeremiah 17 came to mind. The more I thought about it the more excited I became for this opportunity. Sure enough they asked me, and although it was a bit rough in the beginning since I had never read it in that version and so some words I didn’t know, it worked out fine and it seems from their response that they understood what I wanted to communicate and hopefully some were blessed.
Now for Joash: As I said this week Joash has been helping out a short-term group doing some evangelistic work outside of the city. Their plan for the week was to put up new tresses and a roof for a church outside of town, showing evangelistic filmes at night and this Saturday do a seminar for the Pastors in the area. Joash has helped out quite a bit with the roofing and stuff and so has gotten to know the team a bit, well low and behold the day before yesterday they asked Joash if He could take a session at the Seminar on Saturday. Well, I guess He shouldn’t complain since He has had more than 5 minutes notice, but still please pray for him as we would like to encourage the Pastors. We have no idea about the spiritual maturity of these men we are just trusting that the Lord will give Joash and these short-termers wisdom in presenting to them. Their will be 50 pastors and laymen.
We are very excited to say that the Lord has provided for our vehicle faster than we believed. If you look back on our posts, the day we told you all about the need was one month ago today. Praise God! We are buying it as I write since Joash is there and I’m here catching up on all things correspondence!!
Yesterday we gave the checks so that today we could pick up the van but this morning we were told that one of the checks had a slight tear in the corner (the banks here are absolute sticklers about the condition of checks), which meant that we needed to bring the cash with us when we picked up the vehicle. Well, that made me (Delia) quite nervous since Joash will have to get the money out of the bank and go by public transport (where things very easily get stolen) to the dealership. After speaking to Joash on the phone, Ian seeing that I was worried, said to me in a very matter-of-fact way, ” Mom, if God wants us to have the vehicle then He will make sure the money doesn’t get stolen”. I’m thinking duh mom!!! I love my children and how they remind me to have simple faith!!!!
Update: We now have our car in our possession, everything all worked out with the mysterious check and praising God for not only such a practical car but actually very comfortable!!! Will send pics. soon!
There I was running across town with my dear friend Ricardinha trying to catch the ferry to a little church for our bi-monthly meeting, the church we attend has planted some 30-odd churches and we take turns going to these different churches for our meetings. Having caught up with the rest of the ladies at the dock, we catch our breathe. We saw the boat was still in the dock and none of the ladies seemed like they were in a hurry to catch the ferry. So there we were standing around doing all of our greeting and mingling as we always do when we meet each other. I whisper to my friend, “do you think we should be getting on the ferry now, it’s time for it to leave?”. She too, seemed a little concerned, but not enough for her to call attention to the other ladies. As an American, I’m like, “hurry up, let’s go”, of course I’ve been here for 3 1/2 years so I’ve learned enough to keep such thoughts to myself. But still, wondering when all the ladies are going to get going, I wait watching….watching….watching…as all the ladies look and see the ferry leave. They then all slowly start to say how sad they were that they didn’t make it onto the big ferry so now we are going to have to catch the small one…..they are all afraid of the small ferry. I’m still wondering, ” what was the reason we missed the first one?”. Oh well! So we all start walking to the dock, buy our tickets and wait in line for the little ferry to come. Once we all squeeze in and I wonder if there should be some sort of weight limit as our weight makes us sit in the water lower than I like and start looking around for what will I do if it does start sinking (being a good contingency student!) Thankfully I see lots of life jackets, although child-size and still in their plastic. This is a good sign to me as I think, “well, they never needed them before!!!” Of course not forgetting where my hope really lies …. in the Lord! Off we go! We arrived safe and sound walked off and into the little town. Immediately I feel as if we are in the middle of the bush until I turn around and see the skyscrapers from the city just across from the bay. Well on we go far out into the middle of nowhere, on foot. Finally we arrive and we realize that this little church was indeed not informed that we were coming so we sat and sang for a while hoping some would hear and come. There was about 30 of us that came from the city. The time begins when two people from the local area come and we start to pray, one has never heard such fervent prayer, prayer that knows who is listening and that He acts on behalf of His children. What a blessing that time was! Then a lady stood up and shared from the Word from 1 John 4, speaking about the love of God. Normally after someone gives the word, we spend the next hour with several ladies (I’m talking 15!) getting up and sharing along the same lines or sharing about how the words that have been shared encouraged them, I decided to share, although I was nervous about coming up with something to say on the spot in another language. They said I shared well, all I can think is that if anything came out that made sense it was the Lord!! We then had a prayer time for those who were sick. Normally we would end the time by having tea and salad together but since the church members weren’t ready we just started back so we can catch the ferry to get home. I realized that none of these ladies that came with me carried any water with them, except for me 🙂 I shared my water with my friend as she also has had kidney problems. I asked my friend about it (no one having water!) not being able to believe that these ladies, some of them older than 60, could make it this long, expending so much energy without any water. She just replied,”their strong and used to it!”. I personally, am amazed at the strength and faithfulness these ladies have for the work of the Lord. After I make it home and devour my lunch and sleep for 2 hours I realize what a blessed life I have. That I can witness first hand what the Lord is doing in the middle of no where. I pray that as we get stronger in the language our impact can be significant. Not that we want any glory, but we want the Lord to receive glory from our lives and we pray that through our lives spent here we can impact these precious people for whom the Lord loves. There are so many obsticales for the church here that we are just beginning to see and we pray that we will not add to them but help them as the Lord see’s fit. In time we want to start teaching the Chronological teaching. We feel one of the major problems within the church is lack of foundational teaching. Many are still in bondage thinking they need to do something to appease God. The Word (in our church!) Is not even shared each week, only once a month. The Hunger that we find here is not only physical but deeply spiritual. Thanks for all your prayers for us as we live and work among these dear people.
We left on Wednesday around noon to go up to Xai-Xai, or the Province of Gaza. This is only about 3 hours north of Maputo so it was not a long trip. I went along with the head Pastor of the church, Pr. Fumo, and his wife. There was also a man who functions as an evangelist named Alberto. He ended up doing most of the driving, except on the last day I was the one who drove back home.
First, we headed out into the country to visit an 84 year old Pastor since one of his sons had passed away recently and Pr. Fumo, needed to visit and pay his respects. We were able to pray with them and share a meal but for one reason or another no service was arranged in the church. I was chatting with Alberto later that evening and he was a bit disappointed that the local Pastor had not called together the believers for a service, since this type of visit only happens once or twice a year. He was of the opinion that this Pastor was more interested in politics, since he is also the President of the local chapter of the ruling political party, and that the local church perhaps does not have much ‘thirst’ for the words.
The following day we left after breakfast for the city of Xai-Xai, where there are three groups of believers in different neighborhoods. We focused on one neighborhood, where the recent converts had brought the stuff to burn and had also requested to be baptized the following day. We pulled into the yard around noon and went pretty much straight into the church to begin the service. I was given the opportunity to preach after the local Pastor spoke a bit. When we were finished speaking, the recent converts were given time to stand and testify of what they wanted to do and why they wanted to burn this stuff they formerly trusted in and how they came to this new place of trusting Jesus!
It was after this service that we all gathered outside and piled the objects of superstition, luck, power and evil into a mound to be burned. Pr Fumo prayed over the group of believers and against the artifacts and then, pouring a bit of kerosene on the pile, lit the fire. There was no great explosion or strange sounds or anything and the leaders made sure to turn the pile over a couple time so everything burned well. There were old bottles, an antique, single shot rifle, many cloths that had been ‘blessed’ by the witch doctor, baskets with special ‘recipes’ in them, wooden bowls and beaded sticks, etc. We were all standing around praying and singing while it burned. The church wanted to continue the service but we requested a time to rest a bit and to eat, since we had been ‘fasting and praying’ since the night before.
Actually, after we had a meal we ended up doing another service that evening. They wanted to have a vigil service where we stay up all night teaching and singing and are thus prepared to head out at 500 the next morning for the baptisms! However, Alberto and I joined them for a service starting at 800 pm and I preached first, then it was Alberto’s turn. We left afterwards then, around 1130, but I think the church stayed on through the night until we joined them again the next morning to drive to the beach for the baptisms. Their enthusiasm and energy is inspiring and exciting but I was very glad to be able to sleep in a bed for a few hours! I think I was dozing off a bit after I finished with my sermon, since many of the songs were in the local language and I did not know the words:-)
So, 22 men and women were baptized in the ocean and Pr Fumo presided over the ceremony. We had to wait for a local government official to accompany us since the place we wanted to go was a bit turbulent and dangerous, some people having been drowned while performing baptisms! It all went off without a hitch and after returning to the house to have breakfast and get our belongings we headed out to the next village. We had an afternoon service at this church and I was given the task of preaching again. One of the things I noticed as we visit these places is that there are not enough Bibles for everyone and the ones that exist are quite tattered and worn. The books themselves are hard to come by, the villages being far from the city, but also it is hard for many people spend about $10 for a Bible when they have so little income! I see this as a major challenge for the existing local church in Mozambique, to challenge to Believers to value to Word as precious and worth sacrificing for, to value the study of the Word, since without it there is no growth!
We slept in that village and the following morning we departed, planning to visit two village churches and arrive to sleep at a third. These churches were pretty small and the members were mostly old and also mostly women. I preached at the second church, but they had not gotten the message that we were to visit this day so only a few people were able to attend. We headed out to our final destination and arrived after dark. They served us a great meal and we were able to rest a bit for church the next morning.
I enjoyed this visit but was not given the task of preaching this time:-) We started the service at 900 after an ample breakfast and after singing and such and preaching and praying we were out by 1200. Shortly thereafter it was time to head back to Maputo, but not until we had a generous and filling lunch! It was overall a good experience for me, and I trust we were a blessing to the churches we visited!
I trust this gives you a bit of an idea of how the trip went. Thanks for all your prayers!!!
Joash and Chloe at our friends house
We are living in a culture that for the most part is dominated by spiritual darkness. This means when something happens to a person, whether it is sickness or poverty, they go to a type of a witch doctor to heal or curse or to make rich or whatever the desire is. When these people come to the saving knowledge of Christ, one thing that goes is this dependance on the witch doctors. When one of these “doctors” works their magic they usually have the person give them something that belongs to them like a handkerchief or something like that. Well, so these new believers want to follow the Lord yet know that they can’t have these items in their lives. What they have been doing is burn those items that have had the magic put on them. This is often times very scary for the new believers as there have been frightening things that have happened from withholding even one of those items (death happened in one instance). So recently the pastor of our church here was asked to go up to this one village area about 3 hours away, and to “burn” the items of these recent converts since they are all too scared to do it. Well, Joash has been asked to go with. As I write he is on the road. I just ask that you would be praying for him and us during this time. He hopes to be back by Sunday night (Father’s Day!). Pray for safety and opportunities to minister. Pray for these new believer’s, first that they truly are believer’s and if not, that it will be made known and the truth could be shared. Second that Joash or the Pastor could share about the fact that they do not need to be afraid, as a believer they have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them and as 1 John 4:4 says, “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world”. Thanks for your prayers.
So there are a few things we want to keep you updated about!
First is in regards to our vehicle. The Lord is already providing!!! Through one of our supporting churches, we are receiving $3000. So our new total is $8,000 that we already have, wow praise God!! Pray for the remaining need of $6,000. Thanks for all your prayers, and for those who have given, what a blessing, Thanks!
We recently sent out an update Newsletter (if your not on the list and want to be send us an email saying so!). We shared that we have recently been asked to teach at a Mission school here in Maputo. We have been praying about it and after talking with leadership and meeting again with the school principal, we have decided to take the offer. There are many reasons we feel the Lord has led us to this point. First, being that Joash has already been teaching our kids until noon each day which is the same time schedule he will be teaching at the school. Second they have offered for 3 of our kids to go for free, that’s a $13,500 discount. We have been praying for our kids and their needs for interacting with other kids. While they do have friends here in our neighborhood, they are very limited friendships because of the cultural differences. We know that they will still be able to continue those friendships after school, but to be in a “Western school situation” we believe will help them a lot. This opportunity will also give Delia more time to learn the language. You all may be wondering about ministry, when will he have time for that. First thing, when we told our pastor here about it, he really liked the idea since all men in the church have jobs anyway, so he will fit into the culture better. He will still have time in the evenings and on the weekends. This is the time he has used anyways since everyone else is busy until they get home from work. Anyway, thanks for praying, we really ask that you would continue to pray for us as we live here and desire to be used by the Lord in whatever way. We hope to start any official teaching next year sometime after April, in which time Delia could take over any teaching since she will most likely be done with language learning.
If there is anything I left out in updating please respond and let me know!! Love to you all!
We have been busy lately but enjoying the opportunities we have had to get to know our church friends here!
Us at the wedding we had at our church.
Praying about getting this vehicle. We have around $5,000 already, praise God!! Pray for the remaining $9,000
Patience is no doubt a major theme in the life of any Mozambican. Whether it’s waiting for money at the bank or having to wait hours on end to get in to see a doctor that will inevitably just say “come back tomorrow”, patience is something one needs to live here in Africa. It’s not easy for us Westerner’s to sit and wait when we have been privileged to grow up in a society where our “rights” tell us we should not have to wait for this or that, that whenever we want it we should get it, and now! It has been good for us to learn this aspect of African society. We’ve been told about 100 times already “you must be patient” , and although our mind knew that a long time ago, our heart is slowly following and to sit for a long periods of time is not such a chore anymore. For instance, I was so proud of our kids this last Sunday as it was the first Sunday service of the month, which is always very long (4+ hours). Since it was all in the African dialect, they understood zip but they sat through it without hardly complaining at all. Of course once in a while I gave Chloe and Gabriel a special tic-tac that Grandma sent to us in a package, which kept them happy. But overall they did real well:-)
Really anything we have to go through is barely scratching the surface to what any Mozambican goes through. My friend was recently telling me how her daughter has been having ear problems for months. By the symptoms that she told me it’s obvious she has a bad ear infection, possibly a burst eardrum. Well, after spending many hours at the general hospital waiting in line to get in, the doctor just gave her pain killers and said come back if it continues, to which she continued to return week after week with no further help. The worse thing for me when I heard this was that the doctor never even looked in the poor childs ear! I feel (as an American) you must demand better service. Of course that does not exist unless you have money (and I’m not even talking a lot). $15 U.S. dollars would get you in to see a fairly good doctor, at least here in Maputo, at a private clinic. But most people can’t afford that so they wait in line for the next to free government service.
We encounter so many things here which could really side-track a person since the needs scream out at you all the time. Truthfully, it does not seem as bad here in Maputo as it is in the rest of the country, since we see many more people with jobs, whereas in Nampula it seemed everyone was in need (which was so hard to see day after day!). What becomes hard is that we wish somehow we could help here or there, or if they could just do this it would be better. One thing that we have learned is that we CANNOT be the savior for everyone and their problems. We can only show them the love of Christ and point them to the ONE that can help them, Christ Jesus!! With a Biblical understanding, then the world view and habits can change. Please continue to pray for us as we learn and grow here in Maputo, with the goal to bring more to the Saving knowledge of Christ and to equip the existing church to not only be followers of Christ in word but also in deed!
Joash ‘bargaining’ in the market
The kids on the back of a truck, going to church in a village.
Hanging out with friends at a “festa”
Ministry is a buzz word for doing God’s work. In reality ministry is something we should all be doing as we live. There is no hours to ministry like clocking into a job. Ministry is life lived intentionally.
Today I met with a lady I’m in a discipleship relationship with (a.k.a. she’s my friend!). We try to meet once a week to share and pray. This has really helped me in my Portuguese as I feel I can talk with her about anything without getting embarrassed at the mistakes I make, including while I pray. I shared with her about waiting on the Lord and trusting Him for His provision even when things seem bleak. She began to share the things they are facing and also about another woman with whom her whole life has been only suffering. I felt so small as I heard these things because in actuality I have never suffered as much as this woman has suffered (the friend she was telling me about!). This lady has been a source of encouragement to my friend as her faith has been strong in the midst of true persecution and suffering. I shared with her my experience with sickness and also the things the Lord has brought us through in the states when we didn’t have a place to stay and how the Lord provided for us. In the end, I came away so encouraged by my friends words and prayer. I came away feeling so blessed instead what I hoped would be a blessing for her. As she walked me partway home (this is the culture here, true friends when you leave their house they will accompany you almost halfway to your home), she began to share about how much I had encouraged her. She then declared that she repented of her thinking that she suffers when here is a woman (talking about me) that suffers more. I said, how can that be when it’s clear she has suffered more. We could have gone back and forth forever saying who has suffered more and who was more blessed by our meeting. Yet for the both of us, we came away encouraged in the Lord, to continue on even in the face of hardship and suffering for the glory of the Lord and the edification of the Saints.
After leaving her, I was just so impressed by the fact that true ministry happens in the course of life. Not in impersonal programs. God has placed each one of us in the life that we have. We have all passed through trials and difficulties. These trials are really opportunities for us to see the power of God and that He is faithful and no matter what comes our way we can trust Him. Through this simple thing (yet hard) we can then be vessels ready to share about the greatness of our God through our difficulties, that He truly is….”the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. Let us be real to those around us, letting them see that yes in this world we will have trouble, but to take heart and share that Christ has overcome the world.
How wonderful ministry is when you can forget you are doing ministry and just living life, redeeming the time not because people expect us to, but because it’s the call we have in Christ.
Joash and the kids got back late last night from their journey! We are glad to be back together and after a little rest after putting all our stuff away we are beginning the planning process for how we are going to implement the things we learned from our time at Conference. The things that were discussed with our team during our time with them was multi-faceted but all is for the goal of a mature church here in Mozambique. We are looking to the Lord how to implement these things while continuing our language and culture study(we hope they can actually be a platform for our study!). Upon our arrival the pastor here handed us a time- line beginning this Sunday until the end of November. This included all the churches Joash will have an opportunity to preach in until then! We are amazed yet overwhelmed at how the Lord is moving the ministry forward, not only for our learning and growing but hopefully challenging the church to mature and grow for His glory. Although this year is “supposed” to be the learning year before we really get into serious teaching and discipleship we know that serious teaching and discipleship cannot happen apart from relationship and friendship. As anyone that has lived anytime overseas relationships take time. Please pray that the Lord will bring key relationships our way. He already has started that and so trusting Him to complete that. Please pray that we can make the most of the opportunities we have with whomever comes our way to share the Love of Christ and the salvation He offers.
We were able to have so many neat opportunities during our trip up North and back to testify of God’s goodness to several people we came in contact with. We pray that God will use those testimonies to draw those people to Himself!!
Thanks for your prayers, what a blessing they are to us!
Well, the Lord really worked out our plans without any effort or planning from us. We were wondering whether we should send Delia back by plane or drive with the rest of the Family. A couple within our mission said that they would like for me to fly back and actually paid for the whole ticket! So here I sit already in Maputo awaiting the arrival of Joash and the kids expected to arrive in another day and a half. It has been such an amazing 3 weeks, rich testimonies of God’s watchcare of His children. We were able to testify all along our way to whoever was listening about the greatness of our God! What a thrill that God uses the likes of us to proclaim His goodness and mercy. I could really write a missive of all that went on, but since I’m actually expected to hit the ground running I better save it for later, I’m off on another adventure!!!!
Hey all, thanks so much for your prayers for us and our car!! We have been to conference and have already returned. We had such a wonderfully blessed time with our teammates around the Word. We were challenged, encouraged, exhorted by those that spoke and were pampered by the wonderful beauty that surrounded the campgrounds.
We are back in Nampula for 1 week before we head back to Maputo. We are praying about the idea of Joash and the kids driving back while I fly back. Reason is the truck is just too small for us and it was very hard on me (you just wouldn’t believe the roads!). I personally do want to leave them to go on alone but it might be easier for everyone involved (except for Joash!). We will keep you updated as our plans unfold and how the Lord leads us!!
Thanks so much for your love and prayers, they are very much appreciated!!
For those of you who don’t receive our updates, we have made a trip up to Nampula for our regional field conference. It was a crazy drive up North, driving 36 hours in two days, arriving at 5am in the morning!! We were a little crazy to do that since once we got up here we found that we blew the bearings on the front left axle (plus other stuff, which we are slowly finding out from the mechanic!) Thank the Lord that we made it at all! We really had a blessed time together even though it took longer than anticipated and there were many adventures on the way! Thanks for your prayers on our behalf! We will be driving to the town where we will be having our conference on Monday (4/20), pray that everything gets worked out before then!! We plan to be headed back down to Maputo by the 3rd of May. We will keep you posted on how things are going on up here!!We left at 4am Monday morning and so were able to see the sunrise. The roads look good here but that was for only 2 hours of the trip then the massive potholes began!
Getting gas in some small town! This is the truck we are renting from the Pastor of our church for the trip!
Delia buying “lunch” on our trip
Well, I know it’s been a bit since I wrote and there is reason for it….I’ve been sick. Not too sick where I couldn’t write, but too sick to do anything of significance so there was not much to share.
We have been doing o.k. despite feeling poorly. Joash continues to be able to go with the Pastor of our church here and do things with him. He has been learning a lot from him and also our neighbor that lives in the house next to us. The neighbor frequently asks Joash to go with him for this and that. He has also helped us out a lot lately with different things that we have needed to get done. One recent event was that of a visa renewal.
One of the things that us American’s women learn when coming over here is that the African’s feel much differently about weight than we do. For example, coming from the States I had easily gained 20lbs from our time there. Well, since coming back I was pretty anxious to lose the weight not only because I feel much better when I’m not as heavy but also it’s something (unfortunately) ingrained in my American mind that thinner is better. Well here in Africa it’s the opposite, they think you look better when you are “curvy”. So now that we have been here for 6 weeks I’ve lost almost all the weight I had gained and am feeling pretty good about it. Well, now I’m starting to receive the criticism that I looked pretty when I was fatter (those are the words they use). Not only have I been told, “oh your losing weight, that’s not good” but they go on and on about how much better my clothes looked (probably since they were tight) and so on. It’s funny how our thinking is different depending on perspective.
Keep praying for our schedule. We are still trying to figure out how to balance homeschooling with language learning/ministry and not over doing it. We had a very busy Saturday and Sunday, going out to the villages. So now Monday and Tuesday have been only recovery days for me (Delia), I felt pretty ill yesterday in which my kidney’s were hurting.
Trying to juggle life and my health is definitely not easy. But the Lord is definitely teaching us more and more about trusting Him in each and every circumstance, what I should do and not do (even if it seems like a good ministry opportunity).
Thanks for your prayers for us, they are vital!!
Well we’ve been here almost 6 weeks now yet we feel that we should already have been here 4 months. We have recently had a bout with illness, some weird virus, but we are all mostly on the mend. The latest victim was Joash, he is recovering well though!
In all of our adjustment thus far none has been so hard for me as our latest visitor, a rat! The kids keep wanting to name it but I refuse since I cannot stand the sight of it. There are few things in this world that bring me to such hysterics when encountered, but rats are definately one of them. The other night as I was getting out of bed to go to the bathroom I saw the little guy scurry under my bed from where my clothes were, I jumped and fell onto our bed, all the while, screaming at the top of my lungs and waking the family. In the process I fell on the mosquito net which broke under my weight. Thankfully, I was able to string it up and fix it. The next day I found rat poop everywhere, including on my clothes (we don’t have clothes drawers).
I know rats are not just here in Africa and many of you probably deal with them too! It’s just something that we are dealing with and so thought to pass it on.
I keep thinking that it’s about time to send a long pictures of our house and maybe some of the activities we’ve been invited to participate in, so hopefully the next post will be with a lot of those. I will have to go to a cafe to upload since we pay per megabyte. So as we say here…..Ate Ja!
Now that we have our internet up and running the boys are finally back to school!!!! Please be praying for us as we get a mutually beneficial schedule together for our language and culture learning (it’s actually pretty intense!) and the schedule for homeschooling all four of our kids.
Please be praying for us as we continue to adjust and become apart of this vast culture. We certainly are enjoying it but have our moments of frustration in adjusting.
It kind of hit me today as I was talking with our host and I started to cry for no reason (Delia speaking). I made him feel pretty uncomfortable but even more so I was very humbled. I think that I’ve just had emotions that I keep pushing back and it all came out!!! I now have learned, better to cry aloud behind doors than in front of everyone, either way sometimes I need to cry!!! Well another lesson learned.
Thanks for your love and prayers, God is certainly answering them!