Saturday, May 21, 2011

Maputo, Mozambique.... There's always room for one more!

Well, Muputo came and went. I still haven't been able to post the blog from Swaziland, but it looks like Monday is a promising day for that. Now I have learned my lesson about having "internet access" from Swaziland. You pay money for time and it takes half of your time up to load the first page. Total rip off but you can't expect much from a developing country. I don't mean to sound spoiled or anything I just mean that I am not getting my hopes up or promising myself that the internet will be working on Monday. Its just what I have learned to do.

Any who, our time in Maputo, Mozambique was interesting. I can't say it is my favorite place in the whole world but God spoke to me a lot while I was there. As we made the drive from Swaziland to Mozambique God told me "this is not your country." I have fallen in love with every place I have been so far so I was expecting that for Maputo as well. When God told me this I thought it would be along the lines of me not wanting to leave. I later learned it takes a very special heart to reach the people of Maputo. Maputo is a city. It has buildings and public transportation. So picture a city with city people and add everything from a third world country to the mix. It was very hard to reach people here for me because, just like most cities, people are busy and very caught up in life. I am not good at this. Some personal highlights though would have to be the school ministry. We teamed up with a fellow YWAM-er from Russia to clean up a "school house." You could hardly call this a school. It was walls with spaces for windows and doors, but no doors or windows were there. The rooms were empty except for small chalk boards that had been painted on the wall. Picture an empty school house in your mind... Now take away even more of what you imagine and you might be getting closer. There is no bathroom, no crayons, no paper (except the trash that is thrown around the property), no water, not even a trash can. Nothing. Just empty rooms, one or two teachers, and hundreds of children. Heart breaking. We did our best at starting to clean up the school house and we were pretty satisfied with our work. We found out the next day that all of the trash was back. People came and in a days time had made another huge mess. We know that we can not change the people of Maputo so we decided to get them involved. We gathered a bunch of children and put them to work along side us picking up the trash. It was incredible to see the children want to help. I even talked to some older boys who spoke very little English. I'm pretty sure they only stoped to talk because I am white and they said they didn't have time to pick up trash. They were pretty funny. I made it clear that if they weren't going to pick up any trash then they were NEVER to throw it on that property ever again! They agreed.

We got to see the coast towards the end of our stay and it was fantastic. We were invited to attend a Wednesday night service of a church by the beach and it was totally Holy Spirit filled. We did our dramas and a few of my team members spoke but I think the highlight was actually at the end of the service. We got to shake hands and greet every person in the church. There was something about these people they was just so refreshing. The church blessed us greatly. After they took the offering they gave it to our team. Man, God provides.

There are things about Maputo that will never leave my memory. Like catching the chappas (taxi buses) and having people PILE on top of us. On one of our trip with the evil chappas, we were so crammed in that could hardly feel my feet touch the ground... and I wasn't sitting down. I thought to myself "wow, I think I can take my feet off the ground.." Sure enough I gave it a try and I was floating. I was so squished in that I could be held in the air off of my feet. CRAZY!!

We also got to visit a children's home for prostitutes children. These kid's had so much energy and we were able to just hang out and love on them. We brought face paint and bubbles. It was a really blessed and cherished time. Heart braking as well. We met a tiny girl by the name of Tanya. Tanya was very small and most of us assumed she was about two or maybe a small three. It turns out she is actually six years old. Because of being malnourished she is very under developed. Our hearts really went out to her.

Well I write this to you from Iris Ministry in Zimpeto, Mozambique but that will have to be a whole different blog!!

Old Blog from Swaziland!

Wow, outreach is flying by faster than I even thought possible. It has been very hard to keep up with my blog not only because of the lack of internet access, but also because we have been very busy. I write to you from YWAM Maputo in Mozambique on April 26th, but I have no idea when I will actually be able to post this! The biggest challenge about not having internet access is not being able to communicate with my family and friends. It makes me VERY homesick, but it has also given me a chance to really take time and listen to what God is saying to me. And believe me... He has been speaking loud. So I am going to have to back up a bit because I realise I haven't blogged at all about the two weeks I spent in Swaziland and here I am sitting in Mozambique!

So lets see... I already blogged in the DTS Blogspot about Swaziland so I hope people were able to see it even though it wasn't posted to Facebook (oh the joy of slow internet!). So basically it's just important to post in my blog about what has been happening to me personally, not just my team. I LOVED the Swaziland YWAM base. It's beautiful. Swaziland is very wet and rainy, which made it a challenge to do our washing (which I don't think that I have ever blogged that I have had to wash my clothes BY HAND and hang dry them since I have been in Africa). The Swazi base is very much like home. It's a cozy house on a farm and there is even a horse that just hangs out in the yard. A couple families run the base and we were able to help them out by doing a lot of practicle work around the base. Myself and the other girls took on a project of renevating a ran down building that will eventually be turned in to dorm rooms for boys of future teams. God spoke to me through working in this house. I was in the back room (our key focus and goal of finishing before our time was up) praying one morning during a prayer walk. God showed me that this building is like my life. We were cleaning it out and painting it room by room, step by step. The cool thing is that Two people would work on that room and get a lot finished while the rest of us would chip away paint in the hall and the other rooms. So it was like God was showing me everything is under construction but eventually rooms will be finished and made new. It was a beautiful thing. I just prayed that this project would help to restore other people like it did me. I knew God was going to speak to us a lot while we were in Swaziland and we trusted him for that.

Other awesome things about Swaziland?? Well, besides the cool fact that water is a problem so we had to use pit toilets in the forest and bath from a bucket (only if water was available for that, which at one point we did run out) I would have to say its the taxi rides..... Wow. I don't really know if this was an adventure or a real death trap. I guess it's only funny to look at now because we all survived and there were no injuries. That doesn't mean that we didn't have a near death experience because we prayed for our lives every time we got in... There are a couple taxi trips I would like to highlight (they are that crazy!!) Upon arrival into Swaziland, we were met by Jim, The Swazi base leader (really cool guy) who has his own taxi-like vehicle. We couldn't fit everyone with our backpacks in at a time so we took trips. The first team would have to walk part of the way so I said I would go first. We loaded up and threw our backpacks in the back and took off. As we pulled out into the round-a-bout the back door swung open and all of our luggage and bags fell out. It was just like a movie! Funniest thing I have ever seen. No bags were lost or damamged and we still joke about it now. GREAT first impression, we really felt like missionaries then! The next night we hung out with a youth group in the center of town. Most of the churches I have seen here offer transportation for people so ofcourse they said we could get a ride up the hill back to the base. We cramed our whole team plus a million Swazi teens into this taxi from the church. I tried to count exactly how many people were in it, but I lost count at 20.... So dangerous.... and totally illegal. But you know Africa! There's always room for one more! But of course we got pulled over (there were MANY cops because there was an uprising against the king during our time there... also crazy) but the officer asked us where we were coming from. We said church and he LET US GO because he was also a Christian! It was crazy. So we thought that would be the end of the crazy taxi ride home, but we were wrong! As we reached the top of the hill the fog grew extreamly thick. Our driver didn't know where to go in the first place so this made it even more scary. When we got to the dirt (and by dirt I mean mud) road we started to slip around. By this time I was closing my eyes and praying to God for my life. I knew my parents would kill me if I died in Africa (that's a joke....)! As we were trucking through the fog we slamed (and by slammed I mean slid) on the brakes because in the middle of the road was a huge COW! I thought the deer back home were annoying.... Not after having to brake for cows! Finally we reached the base... Thinking it was a miracle that we had made it we thought we were safe... Then the driver wanted to take us closer to the house and turn around before we got out (I have no clue why). We got SOOOOO close to an edge in the street and I could feel that we were tipping. I thought for sure we were going to roll and I just shut my eyes with my hands like a scared little child! I don't know why I was worried because if we were to roll I would have had a hundred Swazi kids to cushion me.... No but seriously it was so close. I thank God to this day for keeping us safe and now we can look back and joke about it. (Mom, I'm sure you find this all hallarious!)

Swaziland also had beautiful sunrises and we got to share the base with an outreach team from Durban. Its a team of all girls and we because very close with them. It turns out that we will be seeing them again because we will both be at Iris Ministries together, what are the chances??! We got to check out an awesome cultural village and spend time at a wonderful orphanage. We did go to a government hospital and thats where I quickly realised that hospital visits are not my thing...... Yes, I did get yelled at in a forieng language by a crazy lady and had to leave the women's ward in complete terror. Ugh so horrible. But I did manage to spend sometime with the sick children which was both a blessing and heartbreaking all at the same time. Its like what you see in those commercials to send money but a hundred times worse. Very emotional.
To sum it up, Swaziland is wonderful. I deffinatly can see myself back here some day. Maybe to do a SBS or lead a DTS which is pretty cool considering the fact that Jim sat down with me and asked me to come back and staff!!!! God is creating so many opptions for me. Its been wonderful, but I really need to keep praying for direction. Thank you everyone for the prayers! Keep em coming because I still have a whole month of outreach left!!

Love and miss you all!!