Rain clouds were retreating from Mozambique as we travelled in on Monday to Xicumbane. A heavy rain had fallen. The land was suddenly turning green. The dirt road was rough and muddy. We had opportunity to help a truck that had gotten stuck. It took both Gabriel’s and Darren’s vehicle attached to one another to get it out.
The first stop was at Goudu’s house. This man is blind and the mission helps provide food for him and his family. Then we continued on to Matsilele for the first distribution of orphan food. Pastor Robert’s baby girl had some kind of skin rash. He said they had received some cream to put on her from the clinic but it had not helped. Some parts of her body were turning a bright red. Unfortunately none of us had any expertise to be able to care for her. We did gather around her and prayed for healing.
We finally arrived to Xicumbane around 4PM. We set up our tents and ate a meal of shredded chicken and potato salad. After showers, we went to our tents for the night which gave Doug and Darren an opportunity to study for seminary.
There were six men in attendance at the leader training: Pastor Albert, Pastor Robert and four men from the Xicumbane church. They completed the teaching on the book of Ephesians. This was followed up with a review of the books of Romans/Ephesians. They also discussed the next Pastors/Leaders Conference which is in November. The topics they were interested in learning about was the family, back-sliders, the qualifications of church leaders or how to do children’s ministry. Pray for these men, while the two pastors have a desire to learn, the rest of the men seem as if they are not as interested but come because it is expected of them.
“Lindah wants to know where your whiteboard is.” Annah, our translator, explained to me as the women’s teaching was to begin.
Lindah and the others love to take notes. The first time I taught them I did some things on the whiteboard, but the next time and this time I did not bring it.
“I don’t have the whiteboard,” I said, “but I have handouts for you.”
I had typed two handouts in Shangaan on the creation and the fall. I’m thankful to my fellow missionary/translator Member who made one of them better to understand for me. I explained to the women that the goal of these handouts is for them to be able to share them with others. I gave the challenge to them to share the account of creation with their children/grandchildren within the next month. They also received Romans 3:23 as their next memory verse. The women amazed me as every one of them had memorized the verse I had given them last time. I gave each of them a pen and folder to keep their handouts in. The first day of teaching we did a complete review. The next day we learned about Noah and the flood.
Words are not effective enough to explain the desire these women have to learn about the Bible. In so many of their faces, I see the wheels turning behind their eyes or the scowled up forehead when something is hard for them to understand. I trust that God is at work behind their faithfulness. The second day it was hot, a baby was crying and the women looked tired. The men had finished early so I asked them if they wanted to continue or stop for the day.
“We want to keep going, “they replied.
On Wednesday morning, since Gabriel was teaching, Doug and I took the orphan food along with seed packets for the church’s garden to Ngala. Along the way we picked up a woman with her baby who was walking to the Ngala clinic. Her baby was sick. Though it had rained, there still wasn’t much water in the river. The small hut that Albertina keeps the orphan food in leaked and she tried to repair it the best she could. We hope to take some plastic for it next time. The roof of the Ngala church is also in need of repair. Though they are without a pastor at this time, the women still meet there together. Doug and I hope that someday the roof can be repaired.
|The church is also where the orphans are fed|
We returned to Xicumbane just as the orphans began arriving for their feeding. While the children were waiting I thought I would try some shangaan with them but it wasn’t going very well. So I had them all stand up and we did the “hokey pokey” for a while. The children find such joy and laughter in the simplest things. When I realized I had a captive audience, I went and got Annah so she could translate for me. I had a few of the children act out Mark 4: 36-41 where Jesus calms the storm for the disciples. I then shared to gospel with them.
During the orphan feeding Florah came and asked if we could take her daughter-in-law to the Ngala clinic for she was going into labor. Doug and I went to her hut to pick her up and took her to the clinic. The doctor there was not very personable. He explained that he was going to a meeting about two hours away and would not return until the next day. He took his measuring tape and went to examine Paulina. We assume she wasn’t too far along for arrangements were made for Florah and another lady to stay with her while he was gone. We wondered what would happen if someone came with a life and death situation and the doctor was gone.
On our last evening as the sun was going down I went to the well to visit with the children there. I met Daniel an older boy who could speak some English. He had his leg bandaged so I asked him what was wrong. He untied the bandage to reveal a sore of some kind. I asked him if I could put some medicine on it. He said that was fine and I went to get some Neosporin and a fresh bandage to care for his wound.
|Some children hurriedly getting their work done before school|
The spiritual and physical needs in these villages are overwhelming. Yes, above all they need to hear the gospel but without us caring for a sickness or showing the simple kindness of taking someone to the clinic it will fall on closed ears. From the Old Testament through the New, God cares about the poor, the fatherless and the widow. We can only do the same.