Monday, June 24, 2013

Hanging around at Irma Felizarda's House. With Pictures!

These are some videos and pictures from our dear friend Irma Felizarda's house.  We spent a lot of time here talking with the family, eating and celebrating everything from birthdays to the pleasure of each other's company.  

First up is a video of our friend Raphael chopping up a coconut.  Raphael is an amazing person, he speaks 10 languages, headed up digging a well that provides up to 500 liters of water to the church and CICA school, and is finishing up the 11th grade.  

This truck is the TownAce, the little truck that could.  We went everywhere in this vehicle, packing as many people as we could into the bed. After a couple of trips we got the hang of sitting on the sides and not fearing being bounced out onto the road.

Here's Jordan and Raphael hanging out at Felizarda's house.  He may not look it, but I think Raphael can pick Jordan up over his head.

This is Telesio!  He's the worship leader of Christina's church in Maputo and helped up translate a song into Portuguese that we sang with the kids at CICA and at church on Sunday.  This is a pic from his birthday party that we had.  Raphael and Rosa's kids decorated the veranda with flowers.

Capulanas hanging out to dry.  These are very colorful wrap around skirts worn by every woman in Vilankulos.  It's a versitile garment, it works as a skirt, head wrap, baby carrier, and probably anything else you can think of.

Two families live at Irma Felizarda's house as well as a bunch of animals.  At last count there's a hen with a dozen chicks, 7 ducks, and two dogs: Ninja and Peach.  Some of our first Portuguese phrases where "Sai Ninja!" and "Não Peach!"  I don't have any good pictures of the dogs, but I know Deirdre has more than enough.  This is Nadine hold a captured baby chick after 3 days of attempting to catch one while mother hen wasn't looking.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Eric - Follow the Leader

Follow The Leader

I found myself surrounded by twelve children who were too young to sit with the infants, but too young to participate in the water balloon toss.  I was able to hold them off with two water balloons being passed back and forth in the circle. “Círculo” in Portuguese, I am learning along with the 4 year olds.  Once the balloons have broken and there is surprisingly few tears I have only moments before the children remember that I am also “Eric the Human Jungle Gym.” Between the age of the children (crianças) and the language barrier I’m at a loss for what to do next.  How can I work with these children when I can’t even communicate with them?

So we circle up holding hands and I begin to jump up and down in place.  The children follow suit and soon enough we are all jumping and they are following me around the sand yard between the church and the CICA School.  We make big monster steps complete with sound effects; hop on one foot, made funny faces and swung our arms like windmills.  There are pictures and video evidence of all of this that will be uploaded when we have a more stable Internet connection.  I have never had so much fun.

These games lead me to think about leadership in the church.  It was not long ago that I had much trepidation about taking a role of spiritual leadership at the Upper Room.  My feeling at the time was that I had little understanding of my own faith, especially while surrounded by those that were so articulate in their beliefs.  Beyond parroting words and phrases I heard from others it felt like a language barrier as foreign a Portuguese.  I decided to join the Steering Team despite my hesitations.  My feeling was that adding my voice to the leadership of the church was be good for the sake of diversity of opinions and I could learn some new phrases along the way. 

My place as a leader in the church does not depend on my mastery of the language of faith.  My journey with Christ is far from over and I have already learned so much.  My place as a leader in the church is not limited to working with children or those whose spiritual vocabulary is less than mine.  Leadership will come through following Jesus, learning my his example and imitating it as best as a can.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Deirdre - The Great Commision

This morning we arrived at the school and the leaders went inside to pray before greeting the children. Irma Felizarda read to us in Portuguese Matthew 28:16-20 (when Jesus commands the eleven to go out and make disciples of all nations). She explained to us the calling that she and her husband had to move from Maputo to Vilanculos and minister to the people here. She said sometimes God calls you to visit different countries even if you don't know much about their culture or language and sometimes he calls you to minister to those in your own neighborhood. Over the past few days I have been touched by Irma Flizarda's spirit and passion for God. As she was speaking to us I began to tear up as I realized that God doesn't only command you to minister to those you go to, but also to those who come to you-- just as Irma Felizarda was ministering to me.

We had a wonderful time teaching and hanging out with the children today. One of my favorite moments was watching Eric and all of the children play "follow the leader". Eric was Mother Hen as nearly 30 beautiful children excitedly followed his every moment. For those of you who know Eric, you are probably already laughing at the thought of this. One of us, who will remain anonymous, said that at one point in the game they weren't sure if Eric was just being Eric or if it was something they were supposed to imitate. For those of you who don't know Eric, maybe this picture can help you imagine how funny this moment was.  Enjoy!

Love to all,


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nadine - Ups and Downs

On the plus side, from waking up too early, I get to see God's glory in his sunrise.

On the plus side, I have a renewed and abounding love for three-year-olds.

On the plus side, I've been prayed over in Português by the girl I'm sharing a bed with, named Melina.

On the plus side, while feeling extra cranky, I've noticed Jordan's exceptional initiative with learning the local language.  And with embracing love for peri peri.

On the plus side, I've discovered that Deirdre is an expert on finding and massaging knots.

On the plus side, whenever I wince, or screech, or cry, I'm reminded of how compassionate Eric is.  (Don't tell him, of course, because he'll try to deflect it with a joke.)

On the plus side, God is working out the rocks and weeds and thorns in the clay that is my heart, reminding me of the difference between knowing what it means to walk humbly in love and doing it. 

On the down side, I have a pinched nerve in my neck, and your prayers would be appreciated!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jordan - Jesus is very good

Music is definitely a universal language. That was very evident our first evening in Mozambique. We met up with some of Christina's friends to help us learn some songs in Portuguese to share with the children and what happened was pure joy. We sang the words "Jesus is very good" in 3 different languages, we learned how to spell (and sing) J-E-S-U-S in Portuguese, we translated a song from English into Portuguese, and some of us (read: not Jordan) danced along with the music. I think that it's safe to say that a worship service broke out in the middle of the living room.

At Upper Room we often sing songs in different languages and it's a great way for us to remember that Jesus is Lord over all of the earth and the people on it. But there is nothing like singing songs when you have native speakers to join in with you. It has been the highlight of the trip so far for me and I suspect that I won't soon forget that night.

We are on the bus now headed to Vilanculos and I'm singing the whole way: Jesus is very good, he's good good good good good good good.

Until next time,

Eric - safe on the ground

After 18 hours in the air it feels good to be on solid ground in Maputo. Christina met us with a big hug at the airport and our first experience with haggling in country for a ride. From there we settled in to Fatima's Backpackers Hostel. Our first 24 hours in Maputo feel like a blur as we are on a bus to Vilanculos as I am typing this at 5am local time. We are truly blessed that our travels have been uneventful so far, if a little uncomfortable. Monday night we met with the family Christina is working with a well as the worship leader of a local church who helped us to compose and translate some songs for the school we will be working with. If our internet connection allows we have some great video of us all singing and dancing. Be not afraid reader, I kept my own dancing well off camera.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Eric - Preparation Thoughts

Hi and Welcome to the Upper Room's Mozambique Team Blog!

I'm Eric, one of the team members that will be making our trip in just a few short days.  While we are there we'll visit with Christina, an Upper Room member that has been serving with a family of missionaries there.  We will visit and help out at a school, do some sight seeing and most of all immerse ourselves in the culture and community there.  It's in this time of packing and preparation that I want to share the journey leading to this journey.

Over the past 9 months I have been participating in a program/class/community called World Christian Discipleship.  WCD is something that several people in my life have participated in and I have never really perfected the elevator pitch.  Throughout WCD we formed a community and together read a lot of books, met every Thursday for dinner and discussion and we all participated in a mission trip of some sort.  Somewhere in that combination of things God came in and changed my life.  My "me" focus began to shift, I began to see Jesus between myself and all those I interact with, and I read my first Bible passage that made me cry.  I learned the value of solitude and silence in my life, and giving quiet time to God to hear His word.  It was there that I found my true self, the beloved child of God.  WCD has lead me to better know myself and God.  And God has lead me to apply the gifts He has given me to lead a trip to Mozambique.  Please follow along with us on our journey and stay tuned for updates as we go.