November Adventures!

10649607_10152933680817059_8701072180265939430_nAn aerial view of the mission school…complete with a game of tug o’ war happening in the field! We played tug o’ war for an hour at VBS that day! (Photo credit: Helen Gilbert)

The last few weeks here in Mozambique have definitely been “buzzing”!

I can hardly believe it’s December and Christmas is almost here. The last few weeks have just flown by filled with wonderful activity, seeing God’s hand at work and some tough challenges.
November 14th marked the end of the school year. I was thrilled to be here for all the activities surrounding that time. School closing parties, awards ceremonies and a week long VBS children’s program at the mission school in the bush. The theme for the week was the Armor of God. The week was filled with Bible stories, crafts and games including the huge sponge/water/mud fight one of the days! I even got to experience the joy of a wet, muddy sponge right in the face! Being white you’re a pretty big target and with 200 kids you can’t possibly watch everyone. I was in charge of the crafts and we had fun painting, stringing beads and coloring. The highlight for me was just being with the children interacting, loving on them and having fun. I’ve really enjoyed putting faces and personalities to the names of the children in the Child Sponsorship program. I hope to communicate those things more with all the sponsors.

Here’s a few pictures from the week…
IMG_0902 Listening to the Bible story

1526746_10152439345617116_322698963892816554_n I enjoy every moment with these adorable children

IMG_2677 Field games

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Concentration required Concentrating hard! (Photo credit: Helen Gilbert)

untitled event - 076 The finished product…name tag with Bible verse for the week on the back

IMG_2697 Getting ready for the big water fight!

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IMG_4364 (2) Let me give you a hug…you’re not wet enough!!

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IMG_4448 The face of joy and happiness

This year we had the opening ceremony of the bridge, built this year in memory of our 2 school children taken by crocodiles earlier this year. The whole community was there for the celebration along with some dignitaries and government officials. It was a wonderful time with ribbon cutting, speeches, singing, dancing and food. The program was finished but the music and dancing continued until a whole other adventure started! Some children decide to throw rocks at a bee hive down by the river. All of a sudden everyone was running and scattering in all directions. I was standing there thinking, “What is going on??” Next thing I know I’m completely swarmed by African killer bees…they’re stinging me and I’m swatting (or doing the “bee salute” as someone called it!) trying to get them off me. Not such a fun adventure! When the dust all cleared, six people including me were stung numerous times. One of the guys stung badly was allergic. We saw God perform miracles and his life was spared! Compared to the number of people who were there and the fact only a few of us were badly stung was a miracle in itself. My recovery from the around 60 bee stings I received has taken awhile. Thankfully last week I was finally able to stop taking any medication to keep from being itchy. I was sooo itchy! I was so thankful for the prayers and messages of encouragement especially in the days right after it happened. I can’t begin to write the whole story of what happened on Nov 20th, the day we still talk about and refer to as “Bee Day” but ask me sometime and I’ll tell you the whole story. Needless to say, I can now say I survived African killer bees! The story is still a “buzz” …just today at devotions one of our workers was telling his perspective of the day…we were all laughing and smiling. It’s funny now to look back and tell the crazy stories of the day. I’m so thankful for God’s faithfulness to us.

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Memorial sign

10476133_1493224407631812_6961759512269217947_n Inaugural walk…”Is it going to hold all of us??”

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The following week, I was blessed to share my story of God’s faithfulness as I walked through cancer with two different groups of pastors in our Leadership training program. The way I was feeling physically as a result of all my bee stings was exactly how I felt some of the days during my cancer treatments. God used my sharing to remind me of those things and to draw from Him once again. I’m always amazed as I look back and see all God has done in my life!

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December has been a little slower and given me a chance to catch up on Sponsorship program administration and organizing for the coming school year. It feels good to be able to get some of these things done.
This last week I’ve also had a chance to do some Christmas crafting which I enjoy…creating Christmas cards with buttons!

10846111_10152486342032116_1930652373741802426_n (2) Jenn, my partner in creativity!

Christmas is very different for me this year…my first African Christmas…which definitely doesn’t include snow, cold, bundling up to go outside, hot cocoa with marshmallows and sadly being with all my family and friends. I’m experiencing a “Green Christmas” complete with lots of sweating…unlike the ones I normally know! It does however include a renewed sense in my heart of the wonder of our Savior’s birth and all Jesus brings to our lives. This year many of the things I associate with Christmas have been stripped away…allowing me to see more clearly and focus on what is really important. A true gift to me this year!

I can’t thank you enough for your prayers and support. Many days knowing you are praying and standing with me has be a strength and comfort for me. I’ve been blessed to see God providing for my needs and giving me continued health. There are always days that present challenges…for me recovering from the bee attack resulted in some tough days, but it provided me with an opportunity to receive grace and strength from God. He has also placed a wonderful team around me here…who ministered to me physically and emotionally.

Prayer Requests:
•We are now heading into the rainy season here which is also the “high” season for malaria. I would appreciate prayer specifically for continued health.
•Wisdom as I look ahead to the new year and plan goals, objectives for the Child Sponsorship program and lay out my budget.
•For all the children in our sponsorship program to really know God’s love and plan for them.

Well I’m going to sign off for now…there’s always so much to tell! God is at work and I love being part of what He is doing here in Mozambique. If you want to know more…send me a message. I’m always happy to hear from you!

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