Monday, August 31, 2015

Mozambique Journal Day 1

I've been home for a couple of weeks now.  Kept thinking the right words would come, but they never did.  Going to a 3rd world country really rocks you to your core.  So many feelings.  So many thoughts and emotions and questions constantly circulating.  You just can't describe it without seeing it for yourself.  The level of poverty is mind blowing to typical people living our comfortable little lives in our comfortable little bubbles.  Putting things into perspective is an understatement.  First world problems now unnerve me more than ever.  Trying to find the balance between selling everything we have and giving it to the poor, or carrying on about my normal life pre-trip.  I don't know what the answer is.  I stay up all night trying to solve all the worlds problems and all I can come up with is that I sure as hell hope Jesus comes back soon to put an end to all of the hurt.  So, since I clearly can't articulate anything I'm thinking, I'm just going to share my journal.  Day by day, here we go...

August 6, 2015

Woke up early after a great nights sleep in our little hotel by JFK, got ready and headed to the airport.  I was still feeling crappy from the sinus and ear infection, but took a ton of vitamins and meds and powered through.  Facetimed the kids before boarding and Henny cried for me : ( 

Boarded African Airlines and sat across the aisle from a man from South Africa who kept questioning Christa and I about why on earth we'd go to Mozambique to do relief work in a country that is "demonized"?  He kept reiterating, after several glasses of wine, that he had traveled all over the world for work and had never met people who wanted to help his country.  So sad.  Why isn't the church more present here?

Within 30 minutes of the flight, thanks to some annoying passenger in front of us, the tv screens had to be rebooted because several weren't working.  This caused them all to crash and we had zero entertainment the entire 15 hour flight.  Shoot.  Me.  So, decided to take my neighbor's lead and have a few glasses of South African wine.  The flight attendant joked that I'd never drink California wine again, and she might be right.  I slept in a lot of 25 minute increments before landing in Johannesburg early morning, where we had a 2 hour layover.

We hopped on a bus that drove us to the other side of the airport and let us out in front of our tiny plane, which we boarded with about 15 other passengers.  The flight was freezing cold and the turbulence was fierce.  After 1.5 hours we landed in Mozambique.  The "airport" looked like a large office building straight out of the 1960's.  It only took about 10 minutes and a head temperature reading to get through to our bags and out the door.  Christa's husband, Todd, and our translator/driver Afonso was waiting on us.  The driver sits on opposite sides of the car and you drive on the opposite side of the road.  Very strange.  Afonso says it's the correct way to drive, he's funny.  The drive from the airport to the farmhouse we are staying in was about 30 minutes.  It's very flat and dusty here with lots of palm trees.

The farmhouse is very cute and quaint, reminds me of Pepaw's house.  Roosters, chickens and kids run around everywhere.  The roosters never shut up, that's going to get old real quick. We had a quick sit down to get to know each other.  It's just Todd, Christa, Braxton and I staying here.  Braxton is here for the whole summer, heading up one of the projects that ministers to teenage boys called Spark of Hope.  Max and Afonso are here to help drive me around and translate for me.  They're both in college and work for CRI.  They know everything about everything here and want to change the way marriages and families work.  They laugh at everything you say and are so charming and laid back.  I already love them.

We had a couple of hours to unpack and explore the house before we slathered on deet over every inch of our bodies (apparently malaria is for real a threat here) to head out to Vengahana, which is the local churches youth group that meets on Friday nights.
At Vengahana about 30 students came.  There was praise and worship, a speaker and then words from several students.  There were 3 toddler girls that kept coming up to me and wanting to write on my notepad and look at pictures on my phone.  A young English student did his best to translate for me.  I didn't realize it until later but the pastor's wife, Noemia, had a birthday coming up and so the students planned a surprise party for her.  There were several kids that got up to speak about her and talked about how she was the only mother figure they'd ever had.  How she always steers them in the right direction and leads them toward the Lord.  She's basically like the Mother Teresa of Mozambiue.  One of the toddler girls was actually a child Noemia had taken in.  To have a heart like that.
Afterwards, we came back to the house and talked about all the things God is doing here.  I cannot wait to see it firsthand this week!

'Then Jesus said to his disciples, If any of you want to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross and follow me.  If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it.  And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world, but lose your soul?  Is anything worth more than your soul?' Matthew 17:24