Sunday, March 25, 2012

Looking ahead, looking behind
In a little over two short months, we will be leaving Mozambique and our MCC term. Some days it's fun to dream about what we will have access to when we get back to the States and some days I try to think of what I have appreciated about our life here in Moz.

I look forward to...
- libraries
- comfy couches
- relatively pot-hole free roads
- not managing a maid
- store bought tortillas (instead of making them from scratch)
- reliable electricity and water
- quiet, no raucous, loud parties all hours of the night that prevent us from sleeping
- looking for a place to live and not having to clarify that I want running water (with hot water) and electricity--kitchens that exist more than just a sink
- finding ways to become involved in a church more than just attending Sunday mornings
- four seasons (with only 2-3 months of hot weather)
- not having to treat our drinking water

Things I've appreciated in Mozambique
- outdoor cafes with delicious pastries
- ordering tea and milk and having it come in a tea pot and a small milk pitcher
- learning to cook with foods locally available and in season
- having a maid so when we are tired, we don't have to wash our dishes and having our bathroom regularly cleaned
- being able to spend all year outside
- fresh bananas, pineapples, mangoes and avocadoes
- learning a new language
- participating in the Anglican church liturgy
- shopping at local stores and individuals selling produce on the street for most of our groceries
- making friends with people of faith from all around the world
- seeing many different places in the region and having a non-tourist experience because we've lived here
- adventures that though they were frustrating at the time, taught us patience, endurance, character (?) and that we can survive when things fall apart or don't go as planned or as fast as we'd like them
Losing Innocence
Around the time of Luke's birth, we stayed at a guesthouse for missionaries. We realized (once again) that our faith that prompts us to work and promote peace and non-violence is not shared by all Christians.

When we arrived at the guesthouse some of the toys Nadia discovered were long plastic swords, about the same height as she. Various families with boys came through and she learned the purposes of swords and the inevitable phrases: "I'm gonna kill you!" and "You're killing me!" without understanding the meaning. Joel, in an effort to protect Nadia (a very social two year old who isn't afraid of joining whatever aged kids in their play) from being bonked on the head and limit her exposure to violent toys, hid the swords.

I'm not sure who lost their innocence more--Joel and I as parents or Nadia. I know that our belief that Jesus calls us to actively live out love to everyone, including our enemies, is not a common one and that when our children are older we will have to be very intentional to talk and demonstrate our beliefs that are so counter cultural. But I didn't expect it to happen when our daughter is two.

Monday, March 12, 2012

St. Luke's

Whenever we are in South Africa we take the opportunity to attend services at St. Luke's Anglican church. I can't begin to tell you how amazing this church is. And it was not in a place that I thought I would find it. There is no doubt that God is present and it is always a refreshing experience to be amongst people who care so deeply and remind us of what God can really do with his people.

On first look the church has the old stone structure that can suggest cold, damp surroundings but on entering the greeters are sure to make you feel welcome, get your name and welcome you. What is so amazing is we have only attended a few times each time we are here but people know us by name, ask us how Mozambique is and know what is going on in our life. They are very attentive. They have organized themselves by their gifts and those that have hospitality are directed to make sure you feel welcome. People had observed that we were expecting a child and as I presented myself to take communion someone had told the priest that the child was born and he said a special blessing and welcome over us. About 5 or 6 people noticed and asked us how mother and child were doing. Last week a couple just invited us out to eat. We had a wonderful time.

Beyond the friendliness, they have a real focus on all the elements of worship and discipleship. They have a somewhat informal worship led by various worship teams with a variety of instruments depending on people's gifts. It is quite informal considering that the Anglican church is of the high church tradition. They weave the liturgy in with the worship and yet keep it fresh each time. People can raise their hands in worship or kneel on the cushions provided. There is freedom. There is time for prayer, for confession, for celebration, for challenge. The sermons challenge people to discipleship, to spread the word of God's love in both word and deed, to commit oneself to justice and mercy. There are small groups that are focused on the sermons of the week and challenging people to walk forward in faith. There is time for prophecy or reflection after the word is given where people can speak what God has revealed. There are people who surround you with prayer if you need it, you just walk to the side of the church during the Eucharist with a bit of faith and they pray for you. Children are welcomed in Sunday School or they are welcome in church, receiving a blessing from the priest or priestess. And there is a spirit of love and joyfulness in the faces of the people and emanating form the walls of the building with persons of almost every color. It is anything but cold stone but a warm hearth of God's Love.

And if you think you can get out the door, Krish, an Indian man, grabs you by the arms and insists that you stay for tea before you go. We will miss this place.

We had a little attempt at a South African braai. In South Africa, like the US, a man is not a real man unless he can braai, grill, barbeque, or whatever you want to call it. We attempted chicken with lemon, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mmmmm... it was delicious and tender, just the way a good grilled chicken should be.

Nadia loves the pool

Is this what it means when we say 'God has us in the palm of his hand'?

Yes buddy, that is the opposite sex. Be in awe but you will never understand them completely.

And then there were four.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Today is World Water Day. The theme is "water and food security" so given that we are building dams and teaching conservation agriculture to capture water and produce food in Mozambique the theme is very fitting. There are some really informative videos at the World Water Day website found on the right of this blog that really outline what we can do.