I have been here in Lichinga for over two weeks; I can hardly believe I came all this way for just one month last time, because the time goes by so fast. It has been a good two weeks. Jesse and Tanya are a couple on staff with Iris here and they arrived back from the states last Tuesday, so it has been very nice not being the only one here in the house anymore. Antoinette Wilcox and here friend Melissa arrived here from the Iris base Pemba last Monday afternoon, they were just here for five days. Saturday morning Peter and Annelisa drove back to Pemba with them. Annelisa has malaria so it was a long ride for her. I think they were traveling for about 23.5 hours and I think it is only a 400-500km trip that shows you how poor the roads are. Lord willing Peter and Annelisa will be back here Sunday evening.
While Antoinette was back she and Annelisa went to the prison here in Lichinga. They have been going since November I think and working with the women. There are about 300 men and there were only four women when they started going. All four of them have accepted the Lord. One of them has been let out and three new ladies have come in. Annelisa and Antoinette enjoy going so much just to see the transformation that God is doing in the ladies lives. Wednesday or Thursday of last week they went and one of the new ladies accepted the Lord. The ladies were telling them that they have bad dreams sometimes but now when they wake up because of a bad dream they just pray to Jesus and they sleep well the rest of the night. They had a prayer time and wanted each lady to say something even if it was short. When it was the ladies turn that had just accepted the Lord that day she said "Jesus your nice I like you." This was probably here first time ever praying. Peter has been to the prison to ministry to the men but not very much. He and Tyren one of the other men here at the base are planning to go regularly to see them. I am hoping to go along some as well. They say it is kind of weird because you walk in the main gate and there are the prisoners just walking around and there is nothing between you and them no gate or fence. I guess the really serious criminals are locked up but the others are aloud to walk around and do some work.
This past Sunday morning I was out pulling water up out of the well and when I brought the bucket up I realized there was a snake hanging out of the bucket. I ran inside and asked Jesse if they often have snakes in the well and he didn't think so. We went out and looked closer and saw that it was dead. For the past few days we had been seeing what we thought was a stick floating in the water, but it must have been the snake. The snake is what they call a two headed snake. Maybe you are thinking the same thing I was when I heard someone talking about a two headed snake. I thought both heads were at the same end. Both ends of the snake look like heads. It was about two feet long. Here these snakes are thought to be sacred or something so people want kill them. They think the snake was probably thrown in the well because there is always a cover on the well and it is not likely it got in there by itself. They also think it might be witch craft and someone trying to put a curse on us because some people don't like the presence of the Lord being here. Here it is very common for curses to be put on people to make them sick it is hard to believe but it happens all the time. In a village if someone is richer then the witch doctor will often put a curse on them so that they will get sick and loss there wealth and be at the same level as the others. If people are wealthy they will often dress very poorly and not make it know because they are afraid of a curse being put on them. So many people are held in fear of witch craft. In the past they have found bones put all around the property here where I am staying that looked very human. Again they feel it was someone trying to put a curse on them. Wherever the Lord is at work Satan is there trying to stop Him. We praise the Lord that we are fine because we drink the water out of that well. Greater is He that is in us then he that is in the world. We are so thankful that we have a message of hope for these people that Jesus has come to set them free from all of the bondage that Satan is holding them in. Even for the Mozambiquian Christians it is a struggle for them to understand that they can be set free. They are set free but they don't enjoy their freedom till they start living in the good of it.
I have been wanting to go to Malawi to visit some missionary friends there and I had been trying to get a hold of them by phone and email and hadn't been able to. On Tuesday I received a call from them and they want me to come, so Lord willing I will leave on March 3 and go for a week or two. I will be going by boat across Lake Malawi. Jesse and Tanya have done it a couple times in the past and they say that it can be calm one minute and the next a big storm can blow in and start tossing the boat all over. Once when one of the people here was on the boat the captain came on over the intercom and said be ready for anything because I don't know what to do with this boat anymore and people started freaking out and throwing things over board. Not all the trips across are like that, but I would appreciate your prayers for this trip. While in Malawi I don't think my cell phone will work just so you know.
We have been surprised at how fast the work is coming along. I have had Elisa Wilcox helping me a lot and Victor (One of the Mozambiquian brothers) came one day and was a big help. I am so thankful that the Lord is showing me what to do. The same as last time I was here, they are asking me to do things that I have never done or have little experience in but God has been giving me wisdom. We have the two doors installed in the bathroom and a good majority of the kitchen done. On Friday I just finished all the concrete work inside and over next couple of weeks I will be working more with wood while making the counter top, cupboard doors and bathroom counters. Wood projects here in Mozambique come with there own challenges, because the wood it not dry, it is quite rougher and not always straight. Also I am not a real carpenter and when it comes to making things out of wood with mostly hand tools instead of power tools I feel a little out of my league. I am thankful to have a drill, a circular saw and sander. These will make it much easier, but it sure would be nice to have a table saw, router and will I am listing things a mitre saw. The missionary that I am going to see in Malawi once told me "It is a poor workman who blames the poor quality of his work on his tools." These are some wise words I should keep in mind I guess as I work. The Lord has given me wisdom for each project so far and I am sure this one will be no different.
Thursday evening I was walking through the tall grass down to the house where I stay and James another one of the brothers that works here was cutting grass with a machete. He showed me a snake that he had just killed. It was about twenty inches long and had come through the grass and coiled around his leg. Thankfully it never bit him. I have never seen any snakes in the grass before but I might walk a little faster now when going through there.
We are getting excited about the first 12 out of 24 orphans that will be coming in the next two months or so. I really hope to get to meet them before I leave and hopefully we will have the house all ready for them. They will be accepting girls between the ages of 5 and 10. I mentioned Tanya before a lady who has come here to Lichinga from the Iris base in Pemba. She is doing a lot of sewing for the girls, but will be like a dorm mother as well along with a Mozambiquian lady. They are not sure yet who the Mozambiquian lady will be yet so you can keep that in your prayers that the Lord would show them who it is that should take this responsibility.
Let me describe for you what a day here in Lichinga is like. Any where between 5 and 6am I crawl out from under my mosquito net that mind you hasn't been keeping the mosquitoes out very well. Every night at about 2 or 3am I wake up and there are several biting me. I turn my flash light on and try to kill as many as I can find. One night there was one that had drank so much that he couldn't even fly, I almost felt sorry for him then I remembered that he had stolen all that red stuff from me. Oh I have heard that the mosquitoes that don't buzz are the ones that can carry malaria, so I guess as long as I heard the buzz that is something to be thankful for, a sound I have managed to ignore while sleeping. Ok so I crawl out from under my net. Just so you know I usually go to bed by 8:30 because once the sun goes down at about 6:20 the mosquitoes come out and start to eat me and there is not a whole lot to do unless I am typing an email like right now. I naturally wake up then when the sun comes up at 5 or a little after.
After having had breakfast, maybe pulled some water out of the well to wash my face and brush my teeth I head of to work around 7:30. It is weird I don't have running water or electricity for lights or anything but God has just helped me not to even think about it. I have never found myself looking for a light switch or reaching for a tap, God has just helped me to feel that it is normal.
It doesn't usually rain first thing in the morning so I can usually get to up to the girls house with out getting to wet. I mix up some mortar in an old broken down wheel barrow that has been used to make a lot of concrete and mortar in the past and the bolts that hold the barrel part on have long since come undone so it has been wired on several times. The bearing in the wheel is gone and there is about a two in hole that allows the wheel to flop around on the axle while trying to push it. I was using a really flimsy shovel at first that felt like it was going to break every time I used it. About a week ago I found a good shovel but the handle was broken. I was able to get the broken part out and put a piece of bamboo into the shovel for a handle. It now works like new. I lay bricks and plaster walls till 12:30 when the Wilcox invite me in for lunch. They always have a monstrous serving of some delicious food served up for me. I am not sure what they think I do every morning to gain an appetite like that, this is probably why I gained weight while I was here last time. Anyways I am not complaining there are so many people around this world who don't have enough to eat so I will enjoy every bit of it even if it is avocado or eggplant. These are some foods that I have not overly like in the past but I am starting to.
After lunch I drag by belly from the table, well maybe not quite drag. Get my shoes back on which I leave outside because it is so muddy from all the rain. It often rains at lunch time or a little after for a few hours. I go back over and lay some more bricks or install a door till around 5pm. I then enjoy a quarter mile walk through the snake infested grass while try to take in the beautiful sunset in front of me. It is so beautiful here with the mountains all around, beautiful sunrises and sets and I don't know I don't usually notice the clouds very much at home, but there are such nice cloud formations here too. If any one is dying to come here and admire the sunset while walking through snake infested grass just let me know.
I am usually getting to my house right around dusk. After getting a bath I start to chop up onions, carrots, green pepper, garlic and throw it into a pot and start to boil it with some rice or pasta and maybe throw in a can of tuna. I am not sure what to call it, but I am all about one pot meals nice and easy. Usually my veggies are under cooked or my rice or pasta is over cooked, but that is ok because I am the only one that has to eat it. I sit and eat it by light from my kerosene lantern, have a cup of tea. I quite often eat supper with Jesse and Tanya and they will sometimes make enough for me and I don't have to cook anything. We sometimes chat for a while about our day but before we know it the mosquitoes make us have to go and climb under our mosquito net for what good they do. Well that will give you an idea of what a normal day here in Lichinga is like.
I can honestly say I would not want to be anywhere else right now. I am sure I am supposed to be here and I am so blessed to get to be in Lichinga. The others at the base are such a blessing and I think God has great things in store for me over the next few months. Please pray that I would spend good focused time in His presence everyday and learn to here His voice more clearly. He has been showing me that time is short and I need to live my all for Him. He is seeking people who will stand for Him and change the nations and not the let nations change them. Oh I want to be this kind of person, life is too short to let anything make me look back from what he has called me too. Satan definitely tries to get me to focus on other things, but the Lord has encouraged me this morning with a few verses in Romans.
Romans 6:6-11 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that w e would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Satan has no right, reign, rule or authority over me, he is dead to me and I must remember that every moment. No matter what he throw out there for me. I am a new creature and this new life I live I get to live for God. It is a joy to obey and not to be bound by that old master. I know Satan will continue to try to distract me and this is why your prayers are so important to me. You are in my prayers as well and we are all in this new life in Christ together, let us enjoy our freedom in Christ, to be able to live as we were created to.
I am sorry this is so long and I will try to make my next updates shorter.
Your Brother in Christ,