Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 13

Today will mark our eighth full day of teaching in Nicoadala, as well as our last full day.

***Picture will be up later***

Pastor Olympio! This is THE guy, man. Pastor Olympio has been around since the beginning and has started soo many churches John has actually lost count. Most of the pastors in the training center were either lead to Christ by Olympio, or have come from one of the churches he started. When he speaks, people listen. Not because he’s “so important”, but because Olympio sticks to God’s Word and just doesn’t budge. I asked Olympio how many children he had, and he just laughed and said, “A lot of children”. Currently he is a pastor, mentor for several guys, driver for World Vision, husband, and father.

Please, take a moment, and pray for Pastor Olympio
It was kind of a bittersweet morning for me, realizing that the mission after today was coming to a close and it wouldn’t be long before I was several long flights back home. Wanne made yet another wonderful breakfast which prepared us for the day. After a quick meeting to discuss what we wanted to finish up that day, we were out the day and on our way to the teaching center.
Once there, I went around greeting the local pastors. Pastor Arcanjo tested my memory and kept pointing out people, asking if I knew their name. To his delight, I knew every person’s name he pointed to. He told me that my Portuguese was very good, and I think he told me that my memory was good as well...but, uh, I have zero idea what he said. haha

After worship and a devotional, I was quickly into my study of the Old Testament. Since I’m normally first, I usually start by asking how the pastors are, if they slept well, if they watched a movie, etc. I did learn that they LOVE 10,000 B.C., but they were not too fond of Mel Gibson’s Apocalyptio. Even in a foreign nation and culture his movies stink, haha. I reviewed the major points that I had made yesterday in Ecclesiastes, and then proceeded into the rest of the book. I showed them that as King Solomon begins to focus more on God, and who He is, then the book becomes less pessimistic and more optimistic on life. His conclusions on life, his warnings for youth, and his final conclusion to fear God were all things that these pastors loved and enjoyed.

Now the really fun/awkward stuff starts. Song of Songs! This book is hard to teach to American’s...let alone a group of pastors who I hardly know, in a different language, and a culture still very foreign to me. So, it was hard! haha. It was more the poetic structure that really had these guys confused...not much poetry in Mozambique I guess. A LOT of Song of Songs had to be adapted in order for these guys to understand the imagery also. For instance, the in Song the woman describes Solomon like an apple tree in which she delights,
and that the apples are sweet. Well, less than a third of these guys have seen an apple...and even less have tasted one. So, we changed that to a mango they can understand the imagery. The woman also warns the love-struck king to not allow “little foxes” into their vineyard. Welp, there are no foxes or vineyards, we changed that to a wild cat or jackal that gets into the chicken coup and steals eggs. Haha, not as romantic is it? But maybe you can begin to see why it was very hard (but fun) to break down these passages in order that these pastors can understand it.

And, oh, the questions! A few were no where related to the text, but I had to come up with biblical answers. For instance, I was talking about how the Shulummitte woman had a dream about Solomon and in this dream Solomon was missing the woman was very distraught. Well, simply because I SAID the WORD “dream”, pastor Dino asked, “What should we do about dreams? There are many people who have dreams and say that God has told them to do something. Are dreams of God? Should we be listening to these people?”

Then, there was a point in the notes that talked about loving with body, soul, and spirit. Dino once again, “What is the difference between soul and spirit”. Let me tell you...that one took a LONG time. Mostly because it would have been pointless for me to go back and trace the historical reasons in the Hebrew and Greek, since it would only confuse them.

It was some where during this time, that I was just blow away I guess. I I am in Africa, teaching God’s Word to a group of men that are taking the Gospel to completely unreached people groups. These men also have a HUNGER for God’s we are teaching the Song of Songs, and our discussion goes from dreams & visions to worshiping God in soul & spirit. Just awesome! :p
During the break, John attempted to show the local pastors the new Jesus Film stuff that we had brought along. The new technology would enable a pastor to take everything in one backpack and easily go from village to village on a bike. The power supply is solar powered, the projector is the size of a cell phone, and the speakers are omni-directional and VERY loud. After much work, John decided that maybe he should learn how to use it first, before he shows it to a bunch of guys. haha.

After the break, Rick started teaching on Pastoral Counseling which wasn’t new to the pastors here (they love to counsel) but the idea of making it more formal was. They cracked up though when Rick demonstrated a “side-hug”. haha

Soon it was time for lunch again, but at lunch the discussion of the difference between soul and spirit continued. Dino seemed to be the most confused, and with Bible in had he was trying to figure it out. Here is the cool thing...these guys have barley scratched the surface when it comes to using and understanding their study Bibles. Dino was USING the tools his study Bible has, and by doing so the other pastors were learning how to as well. First, he went and used the dictionary to find the definitions and then he used the concordance to find it in scripture. He’d read off a reference in the concordance, flip to that verse, read it, and then laugh because it would only confuse him more. haha. Jaoa asked me after lunch was done if I would like to help with some input (he called me professor again, haha). I pointed them out to a verse in Deut. which was quoted by Jesus in the book of Mark, and using my AMAZING drawing abilities, and the little Portuguese I knew, we tried to finally ease Pastor Dino’s confusion.

After lunch I went back into the Song of Songs, and we were able to finish with some time to spare. I’ll admit, I was a little sad because I knew this would be my last time teaching in this setting and that I didn’t get at least a LITTLE farther. This means that finished the historical books, and the wisdom literature, but all the prophets will be left for John & Jim. Both of which assured that I did a great job, and not to worry about what was in God’s hands.

We came home to an amazing dinner, and I noticed that Calesto finished my African shirt! I was super excited; because it look much better than I expected it to. I tried it on and it fit great, not to long and fit very well. The only thing that threw me off that Calesto accidently put the front pockets, on the backside of the shirt. haha. So, I told Wanne that I have a VERY unique African shirt.

After dinner we packed up, and got ready for the next day. The plan being to teach for as long as we can, then check in at the airport, go back to have lunch with the Dina’s, and then back to the airport to venture on our long journey home.

Things to remember...

* “When I first heard that expression, I thought it was a reference to how Jeremy wears his pants” –John Dina

* “I know what Solomon went through” –Pastor Manuel Jussa

* “Grown ups watching cartoons” –John Dina in reference to me watching the Simpsons

* “Ogi-Ogi!” – John Dina

* “Sometimes I am not very diplomatic” – Wanne

* “Well, for starters, at least ask like you’re friends or something” –Me

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 12

Today will mark our seventh full day of teaching...

Pastor Tchuse!!! Sadly, I do not know a whole lot about this pastor...other than he is a character. If you've meet him, it would be hard to forget him. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and a very caring heart.

Please, take a moment and pray for Pastor Tchuse (pronounced Chew-ze)

Well, back to the daily grind again! haha

After another wonderful breakfast, we were quickly out the door and on our way to the teaching center. Probably of all the days, I was the MOST tired this particular day...I don't know why though. Maybe because of Sunday, or just the whole trip is finally catching up to me...I dunno. The whole day was pretty rough.

When we arrived, we were greeted by Jim, Billy, and Jessica who came to hang out for the whole day...and I forgot to mention that Wanne had left the house with us as well. Basically, it was a nice change and all of them gave a little more energy to the day. The teaching is VASTLY beneficial to people like Jim, Billy, and Jessica who are working on their language development. They are able to hear how John translates our English into Portuguese...and they are also surrounded by Portuguese speakers.

When the service had started, I noticed that Pastor Orlando and Pastor Jaime were back...I was very glad to see them. You know the expression, "the elephant in the room"? Well in American culture, we ignore the Africa, they address it right off the bat. After a song, Joâo asked both men to tell the group what had happened so that we would all know:

Pastor Orlando...talked to his in-laws, and to his wife. They are no longer planning on meeting a witch doctor. Praise God!

Pastor Jaime...his wife is fine, and is getting better! She has been out to see friends, and even swept around their home. Praise God!

After hearing all that God had done, Joâo wanted to sing "God is so good" but in all the languages that were represented in that room. I truly think that I will NEVER forget just how amazing it was real worship. We sang it first in Chawbo, then in Senu, then in Lomwe, then in Portuguese, and then finally in English...had drums, the yambie, the whole deal.

After the song, it was my turn (how the heck do you follow that?!). I thanked the Pastors for the incredible worship, and told them that this was my first time singing that song in four different languages...turns out it was theirs also! haha. I was able to finish the book of Proverbs, and much to Wanne's embarrassment I used her as an example of "the excellent wife". Once we had concluded the book, the pastors had several questions and discussed a few things. At the end they said that this was a very good teaching. I then began teaching out of Ecclesiastes. We started pretty slow in this particular book, because it was hard for the Pastors to understand Solomon's extremely pessimistic view on life. Once we grasped the "why", and also understood the expression "like a vapor" we were able to move on. We spent a lot of time in Ecc. 3:1-8, a very well known passage. I talked about a time for joy, and a time for sorrow. We also spent a lot of time on Ecc. 4:9-12, which talked about true friendship and what it looks like. I shared how I once had a person in my life that I thought was a true friend, but then turned out not to be.

There was a point where I was talking about Solomon's grand test where he searches thousands of people to find a wise person. The text says that out of a thousand men, only one wise man was found and no women. Dino stopped me there and asked, "How should we interpret this verse? Does it mean to say that women are not wise?" I just about died laughing, especially because it was such a serious question. haha.

After this discussion, it was time for our break. It was nice having Jessica and Wanne around; we mostly relaxed and took it easy. Like I said earlier...for some reason I was super tired today, just not a lot of energy.

After the break Pastor Rick began teaching on goal setting, which is a new idea to these pastors. He did very well, and it created A LOT of discussion. In fact, even after lunch he taught the remainder of his major point so that the pastors where able to receive the teaching all in one day.

Lunch came...maza, beans, fish. Not gonna miss the beans, that's fore sure. haha. Jessica and I spent a lot of time playing with the kids from the nearby village.

After lunch, Rick went right back into his teaching and like I said before, he had the majority of the time. It was a vastly important point, so John wanted to make sure that everybody understood what was being said. Rick was able to finish his teaching on goal setting, and I was left with about 15 minutes to cover the last half of Ecclesiastes. Haha, let's just say I didn't get there.

Once we were finished, it was time to head home. The sunset was extra beautiful that evening, and John even slowed down enough for me to snap a couple pictures. Once home, I asked the night guard Calesteo (probably misspelled that) if he could make me a African shirt. This is the same guy who made my pants the previous year, so I knew this would be much easier for him. After a wonderful dinner, I was just plain ready for bed. I was out like a light!

Things to remember...

* John "rapping"...SUPER hurt.

* "There's a crazy guy" -John Dina

Favorite picture...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 11

It's hard to believe that I'm only here for another two full days :/

This is Carlito Carlos, and I probably have gotten to know this guy the most out of all the other pastors thus far. Carlito is not a pastor, but is a church leader and is at the teaching center due to his influence, ability to read, and his knowledge of Portuguese. The place that we went to today, is around the area that he is currently serving. I also believe he is the youngest of all the guys here. He actually introduced me to his baby daughter and his mother...his little girl is adorable and you can tell he is a very proud parent.

Please, take a moment and pray for Carlito

Today, is Sunday...and instead of going to the teaching center we went to a new mission off the coast of the Indian Ocean. By "off the coast", I literally mean about 25ft away. The village we were heading to was called, Madingoni and it was about a 2.5 hour drive out. It is one of my favorite drives though, because we pass through a coconut plantation, over a super old colonial bridge, and then onto sandy shores; it's a beautiful drive.

Once we arrived to the village, I realized it was unlike any of the previous ones I had seen. All the houses were entirely made of straw from palm branches, and goats were EVERYWHERE. I understood the straw, because this was the only building material close by to them...I had to ask about the goats though. John said, "Well, there are a lot of goats because this village is mostly Muslim Joshua".

"Why does that matter?", I asked.

"Because Muslim's love goats", John replied.

And that was my only explanation, haha

Once we got to the village, the first thing I noticed was the sound of crashing waves and the cool breeze. Most of the village was out at the preaching point to greet all the visitors, so we drove up to loud voices and a rhythmic drum beat. I can't really explain all that I was thinking and feeling at the time when I saw this new church. To be able to see and be a part of this new church plant, which is part of the seed that Jeremiah has sown, and to watch these great men that I have been teaching preach God's Word...just amazing. It wasn't long before we were all seated, and the introductions began. Because of my visit last year, I was able introduce myself in a mix of Portuguese and Chawbo...which made people laugh because John was all prepared to interpret for me. After some songs John looked over at me and asked if I was "ready"...which I had half-intended to preach today since Rick was not able to last week, but man...if you're gonna give me the opportunity, then I'm gonna preach! I taught out of John 9, and kept the points very simple. All through-out this trip, I have only had my words interpreted into one language, by one interpreter. This time however, John translated my words into Portuguese and then Pastor Gaspar translated John's words into Chawbo. It reminded me so much of last year with my youth, and then it made me miss them....awwwww. haha.

After I was finished speaking, there was more music and then tithe. It was around this time that I learned that Pastor Dino LOVES music. He kept standing up, clapping, singing SUPER loud, and even taught the church some new songs. I was laughing soo hard though, because he would get inches away from somebody's face and just SING at the top of his lungs trying to keep people awake and having a good time. There is no such thing as "personal space" here, haha.

It was Rick's turn to speak, and he taught out of Luke 9. I could tell he was having a lot of fun, but I could also tell that the double-interpretation was hard for him at first. As a speaker (I guess), I can certainly say that preaching in Africa helps you out GREATLY, because you have to make your points simple, concise, and vividly clear. After Rick spoke there was some more music, and an alter call. At this point the "spectators" who had come to see this event had left so it was mostly the people who actually belonged to the church that remained. Nobody made any professions of faith, but this is often the case with new missions...gotta lay that foundation of truth & love first :) People will come...and it's awesome to be a small part of that.

After church, we took advantage of the ocean behind us. Children from the village followed us in, so Jessica and I had a lot of fun with them. I could spend days on this beach taking pictures; the boats, along with the long shore line, trees, clear skies, all of this just makes for fantastic pictures. The boats are all handmade, out of freshly cut trees that resemble our pine trees in the States. They'll cut one down, and then carve out the poles for the skeleton of the boat, then they'll carve out the boards.

Here are a few more spiffy pictures...

These kids sure to love to pose, haha

What you don't see is the mass of children running towards us in hopes to also get a picture taken.

Again, these kids will do anything for a picture...haha

So, after a little break on the beach...we went back in for lunch; rice and chicken...or at least I hope it was. After lunch we stayed and talked for a while and then it was time to take the long and bumpy road home. I gotta sit next to John on the trip back and we talked for a very long time about all different kinds of stuff. The thing I like a lot about John, is that not only does he give a person godly wisdom and counsel...but he cares & listens. People like him are very rare in my opinion.

When we got home we ate, and then prepared to video Skype the church...which was fun! Just before the 10am service started, I was able to say "Hi" to many of the youth and it was great seeing their faces. It just makes me realize how much I miss home. Many thanks to Paul-o for that!!

Things to remember...

* "GOOD PREACHING!" -Pastor the top of his lungs, haha.

* For some reason Praying mantas love me here.

* "Interpret what I MEAN John, not what I say!" -Me, haha

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 10

Marking our sixth day of teaching here in Nicoadala...

This is Joâo Sulude, and he is one fantastic person. Joâo is not a pastor, but is heading up the theological school here and has been working with Pastor Olympio. I believe he is currently working at a church, kinda like a inter or interim pastor. It is probably only a matter of time though be he is ordained and has his own official church. Joâo is extremely bright; he speaks some English, is teaching Portuguese to Jim, and has been to a theological school. He's the one that taught out of 1 Samuel on the first day...this guy can PREACH! He is also very kind, patient, has a great sense of humor, and is becoming a great leader.

Please, take a minute and pray for Joâo (John in English)

Wanne made pancakes this morning (yum!), and it wasn't long before we were out the door. If it wasn't for Wanne, I would forget my coffee pretty much every single morning. Every morning though, she has a cup waiting for me just before I leave. John says I've inherited a second mother, haha. I few days ago I was comparing my cup to John's...which as you can see is MUCH bigger, so I told John I felt like a kid at a big boy's table. Pretty much right after saying that, I dropped my cup and spilled coffee everywhere. Prophecy fulfilled I guess, haha.

Billy picked us up, since John's truck was still in the shop and it wasn't long before we were at the teaching center. I said hi to many of the pastors, and several of them just laugh when they hear me speaking Portuguese back. After some songs and the morning devotional, I was up again. We were able to finish going through the Psalms and moved onto Proverbs...and there we got stuck, but in a good way. I starting outlined the MANY proverbs that deal with sexual immorality and in the curriculum I wrote, I did this in four major points. It took us almost 40 minutes to get past point one! Mind you, my first point was about sexual satisfaction in, I little awkward. haha. To give you an idea of what was asked, here were some of the question I had to address:

* After the birth of the first child, the woman's interest in sex goes down. What do I do when she no longer desires to have sex?

* What do you do when a man leaves his wife, has an affair, contracts a disease, but then wants to reconcile with his wife? If she forgives him, she'll contract the disease as well.

* How does a person who sins in this way find forgiveness?

* If a Pastor does this, and he repents, can he continue to be a Pastor?

Here was the two that just floored me...

* What do we do if a Pastor cheats on his wife with another women, the church confronts him, but he doesn't repent. Instead, he leaves his wife and the church to live with the other woman and continues to be in the ministry. Should this man be a Pastor?


* If that SAME man comes back to his church along with the woman he had an affair with, should he be allowed to come back since his former wife still attends?

Haha...Those where just SOME of the questions, and there was also a lot of discussion. That fact of the matter is, that all that is probably happening. The other reality is, it happens in America as well...probably much more than we think but we've just become insensitive to it. See, it's easy to answer these questions OUTSIDE of the situation but now lets pretend that you know the guy in the previous question. In fact, you've known him for years. You've had him and his family over for dinner many times, his children are friends with your children, you work along side each other, laughed together, cried together; he's your dear friend. Also add in a culture that is truly more about people then self, marriage is a foreign concept, polygamy is openly practiced, animism to generally believed, and the democratic thought process is practically unheard of. NOW answer those questions...tad harder, huh? What is amazing though, is that God's Word cuts through ALL of that. No culture can contain it. All of my answers were there, and nowhere else. In short; I am having soo much fun here :)

By the time we were done with all the discussion, it was far past the usual time that we had our "bread break". So, we relaxed and I spent most of the time talking with John and Jim about what had just happened (and also checked to see if I messed up at all, haha). In many ways I feel small compared to these guys...John is a seminary grad, long time missionary, in-your-face kinda guy and just pours out godly wisdom. Jim is very much the same way, he's not a seminary grad...but he should be teaching seminary classes. So, I always check to make sure I'm doing good amongst these two.

After the break, Rick began teaching on the concept of worship and it's implications for the pastor. It was a great teaching time, and he was able to answer questions and clear up some misconceptions. During his teaching time, I tested myself and while looking around the room I discovered that I THINK I have everybody's name down. Now I just gotta make sure I have the right name, to the right person.

Lunch, beans, fish. After I ate I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out a card game some of the pastors where playing. It was SUPER confusing, especially since they were only playing with about 20 cards, and for some reason all the 10's were placed off to the side.

As I said in earlier posts, today was a half day of teaching since tomorrow is Sunday. John had to stay for a meeting, so Jim & Billy took us home. Once home Wanne took me out to the markets and I found some pretty good things to bring home. I'll be looking around in Maputo and Jo-burg for a few more things though.

John's been having a lot of "car issues" though, so pray for him. On his way back home, a mat had fallen out of the truck in front of him...then struck and scattered windshield on the truck John was driving. He spent a VERY long time at the police station...which is very sad because earlier during lunch we had a throw down and were gonna settle a debate via Halo on the Xbox.

Tomorrow we'll be heading to a new work, which is about 2.5 hours away from home. Hopefully I'll get lots of pictures! Thank you for prayers & comments, they mean the world to us! Don't forget...I'll be video skyping the church during the 10am service!!

Things to remember...

* "I just wonder if it tastes like chicken" -Billy

* "That buck was soo beautiful, I could see the gravy dripping off it's leg" -Billy

Everybody getting that Billy is a hunter by now? haha

* "You flatlanders just don't drive well" -Rick

* "Josh, how many Samusas? 4 or 10?" -Wanne

Favorite picture...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 9

This will mark our fifth day of teaching here in Nicoadala...

This is Pastor Jaime, one of John's older pastors. Jaime's wife has been very sick all year, and just before the teaching began he had to drop her off at the hospital because she was getting worse. Throughout the week, Jaime has not been able to reach her, and cannot get a hold of anybody to help him know how his wife is doing. In light of this, he'll be missing the teaching tomorrow in order to find a way to his village and make sure his wife is okay.

Please, pray for Pastor Jaime...his wife...his children...his church.

Welp, today....started off much like all the other days! Go figure! Wanne made omelets this morning, and I told her I couldn't remember the last time I had one. It was very good :p

John's truck was having some issues, so it is currently in the shop which meant Billy picked us up. We got to the center, set up, and quickly began the day.

I began with the book of Job, and started by sharing some experiences from my life...this was also the day that I learned much about Pastor Orlando's struggles, which I didn't learn about until the end of the day. Pretty sure God had that worked out. I got a little over half-way done with Job, when we needed to take our "bread brake". I spent most of the time getting to know Jim Otter better...heard his testimony, how he came to Royal Palms, and we talked about things that drew him closer to God. He's a such a great guy; I very much look up to him and everybody should spend time with him to benefit from his wisdom, his humor, and his caring heart.

Rick was up next, and completely finished his major teaching on "the Role of a Pastor". There was a lot of really good discussion over the things he brought up.
However, during his lesson...a freaking HUGE spider crawled out from the roof, down onto the white boards, and then over by the corner next to me. The ENTIRE time, I was resisting the urge to catch it. I wanted to soooooooooo badly. Anyways, here he is...he had got near some instruments so I ended up killing it.

Lunch was great...maza, beans, fish. I spent some time and got all the remaining pictures of the pastors that I needed...I had to learn some new Portuguese phrases in order to get this accomplished though, because John is often off at "meetings" with some of the pastors. I also want to not be so interdependent on the other missionaries, and try to show the pastors that I care. Anyways, at these lunches the pastors often share stories about their congregations (which all pastors do) is one that John told me a few days ago, about two men who are neighbors:

One day, this man's dog enters his neighbor's home and kills the neighbor's chicken. Enraged, the neighbor kills and dog and returns it to the man's home. When this guy gets home, he finds his dog dead and is sad. He takes the dog, digs a hole, and buries it not too far from his home. However, once the guy buries his dog...he is struck blind, and dies instantly.

This happened, like, two days ago.

I don't know about you, but that's stinkin' miraculous right there. John was telling me, and I agree, that he gets annoyed at people that try to scientifically explain these things...we are always trying to find a way to explain away the miraculous. How true, huh?

After lunch, we met outside for the first time which I was delighted for. I was soo much cooler outside in the shade with a breeze. We taught through almost all of Psalms, and will hopefully finish up Proverbs tomorrow.

Tomorrow, we'll only be able to teach for half of the day since it is Saturday and many of the pastors need to return to their villages to preach on Sunday. Wanne will be treating us to the market, and we might even get to see the beach. We'll see!

Things to remember:

* Joâo gave me a legit test (paper and everything) for my Portuguese.

* I super impressed Joâo when I busted out some Chawbo that I had learned from my previous trip.

* "Mormons cheat" -Rick Butterworth

* "Does John often make up words?" -Me
The answer by-the-way is yes.

* African sunsets

* Pastor Olympio's mini-sermons, which always convict me

Favorite picture...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 8

Marking our fourth day of teaching here in Nicoadala...

This is pastor Orlando and he runs a sports evangelism program that goes from village to village playing various sports with the jovenes (youth) and then sharing the love of Christ with them. Recently, Orlando has lost two sons. One committed suicide when he found out he had HIV/AIDS, and then other died very young just this last week due to illness. Orlando's childhood is also a story of great tragedy, but also of great deliverance.

Orlando is also facing a terrible crisis right now. His wife's parents want to take (literally, to physically force) his wife to see a witch doctor in order to figure out who has placed a curse on the family to cause all of these deaths. Orlando and his wife are both professing believers, so they certainly do not want to do this because it would mean abandoning their faith. So, when Orlando told his in-laws that he would not send his wife to a witch doctor they said, "You go to your 'teaching', and we will take her and you can live without her". See, their tradition here is different. In American, when a man marries a women...she takes his name and forms her own family with her husband who is the head of the household. In Africa, the woman is still under the authority of her if they decide to take her, they have the full legal right to.

What do you say to this? I don't care HOW much seminary training a person goes through...I mean...goodness. All of this is admitted in front of the group, and they do EXACTLY what needs to be done; they pray. All of this actually happens on Day 9 (9/23), by-the-way. I thought I'd post it here, because Orlando was already mentioned.

So, when I post this story...I'm not trying to get a bunch of Americans into some sob story and go, "Oh, those poor third-world Africans". I'm trying to get you to understand, that when I ask you to pray....I MEAN it. Some of us are horribly unaware of the utter suffering our brothers and sisters in Christ are going through, because we are caught in a vacuum of our own self-absorption. Wake up.

Please, take a moment...step away from the computer, put down the cell phone...and legitimately pray for Orlando, his wife, his children, his in-laws, his ministry, and this whole situation.

Please, take a moment and pray for pastor Orlando, his family, and his ministry.

All that being said, the day was very much like all the previous ones. The major exception was that all the ladies were at the training center for some time. I was able to eat lunch with Susan Otter and Jessica Remeirsma, and get to know them a little better. Both greatly impress me with just how much Portuguese they have learned in such a short amount of time. If you are from Royal Palms and you're reading this, know they are doing your church proud :) I told them that whenever I visit Royal, I normally hear about how much they are loved/missed/and prayed for...they thank you for all of that.

Yesterday I also managed to finally finish the historical books! Once I pushed through the Kings, I was able to tackle Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther all in one day! Woot!

Learned more Portuguese, and I can manage to look around the whole room and know each person's name. It was very warm though today, so when we got home...we were just beat! I was dozing off at around 8pm, which is not usual for me. So, I called it a night early went to bed...hence being a day behind in posts ;)

Things to remember...

* Wanne translated for me while I taught, and I told her that I liked her better because she tells me what is going on and what people are saying, haha. It opened up a can of worms and John hasn't stopped teasing me since.

* I led the pastors in a congo line to wake up, LOTS of fun haha.

Favorite picture...
Is the one above! I couldn't take that much today :/

Days 7

Which will mark our third day of teaching here in Nicoadala...

Keeping true to my word...this is a local pastor that almost everybody that has come to Mozambique and worked with John should know. His name is Sobrinho, and he is one of the most sincere and caring men that I know. Sobrinho was with Jeremiah when he passed away, and still has scars to show it. He is a husband, father, and just all around great guy.

Please, take a moment to pray for Sobrinho, his family, and his church. Also pray for his he has to deal with my horrible attempts at Portuguese, haha :)

So, yesterday was pretty much just like the others. Awoke to a wonderful breakfast and good conversation (not to mention coffee), and then quickly out the door by 7am to head to the teaching center. I enjoy the long drives each day...each day I see beautiful African plains. I mostly just take it in; think about my family and how much I love and miss them. I'll think about my students, and the things that I'm missing. Mostly though, I think about God...and how He's put me here, in this place, for whatever reason.

I'm getting all cheesy...I'll get back to the day.

After arriving to the center, I got set up and it wasn't long before we started. As usual, we began with a few African songs. I can sing along to some of them...mostly just the chorus though, haha. The devotion was out of Matthew 5, but I had zero idea of what was being said. The pastor was making sure to explain each beatitude of Christ with careful precision though. I was content in reading through the scripture, and thanking God for comforting me.

After some typical business stuff I was up. I had reached the second major point in the curriculum for the Kings. The curriculum had all the history in the four books of the Kings (1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles), broken into three major time frames:
The Division, the Alliance, and the Fall. From those three major time frames it highlighted most of Israel's and Judah's kings. Needless to say, it is a TON of information.

It was during this teaching though that it became evident that the local pastors where really grabbing the context of the stories, and connecting the dots. They were asking great questions, and had really good insight to several of the stories. It was a very humbling moment for me, because in the smallest of ways I was understanding how HUGE this is. Many of these men have never heard or read these stories, but now they are getting it. Simply incredible.

Mid-way through the second major point we stopped for our bread brake, I tried/learned a couple new phrases and then Rick was up. Rick covered the role of a Deacon in the church as well as church discipline this day. Both of which seemed to be fairly new concepts, but Rick explained everything very well and has TONS of experience to share.

Lunch, rice, and beans (sound familiar?) I got some more pictures of the local pastors, and slowly but surely I am getting all their names down. Currently I have 18 photographed, and I have their names pretty well memorized.

After lunch Rick took about another half-hour to finish his teaching on church discipline, which lead to some very good discussion. I took the remainder of the time, HOPING to finally finish the Kings but half way through the 3 major point we had run out of time. We quickly packed up a few things, but we also had to take time and set up "The Jesus Film" for the pastors to watch. Once we got done, John kept going on about something and I couldn't figure out what he was talking about for so long...then there was a silence...and then all at once all the pastors started yelling, "Godzilla!". I was highly confused until I realized that John had asked what other movie they wanted to watch.

We had to leave very quickly though, because a birthday party was waiting for us when we got home. Once home, I'm greeted by Wanne who tells me that it's my job to decorate and John reminds me that it was apparently my job to come up with a way to make Sally's birthday special. John then dubbed me, "Master of ceremonies". For the record, I don't know Sally. I know that she is a journeyman, and that she is Jessica's roommate...that's it. So, I decorate a chair with the supplies given to me, along with some flowers I found outside. When Sally came we brought the chair outside, made her sit in it, hoisted it up and paraded her back into the house while singing "Happy Birthday", making sure to place her at the head of the table. When then ate a HUGE meal, and once finished we went into the family room for dessert and presents. It was a great night with a lot of laughter. Even though I have only known a majority of the people here for a few days, it seemed like family. Me, Jim, and John though make a pretty good combination...Susan must have rolled her eyes at us over a dozen times, haha. I live up to my title as "youth pastor", haha

We'll...that is it for the blog today, I'll have to post about today (day 8) after a good night rest.

Things to remember...

* The many "swag" and "that's low key" references from John and Jim.

* Jessica learned that I don't hide facial expressions very well.

* Rick basically called Susan didn't go over well. haha

Favorite picture...