It’s 4:30 pm and I’m not smoking a cigar OR eating anything and no…hell hasn’t frozen over I’m just full:)
I was up at 5:30 this morning because I was eager to spend some time with God as the sun came up from behind the Indian Ocean. It was a breathtaking site, and a rich time with God. Psalm 104 was the passage I connected with. It’s all about the precision of it all, the perfect thoughtfulness. The psalmist rattles off detail after detail to validate his claim that God is in fact, “Very Great”. I look out at the sun rising and acknowledge that a little further away and I’d freeze yet a little closer and I’d burn to a crisp. The truth stares me in the face, no religion required.
So far I’ve mostly shared what we’ve been doing with our days here in Mozambique. I feel like the why, is coming to me little by slow…but it is coming.
It would be an understatement to simply say I was overwhelmed by all that is true about this beautifully broken place. Each time I thought my mind was wrapping around a thing, I would learn about the other side of the conversation and stand corrected, and a bit confused. At a glance, I look out at the seemingly obvious need all around me and my 1st world brain computes solutions and opinions and judgements, as if I were here for the purpose of sharing my precious brand of reasoning with all who had ears to hear. I’ve sincerely tried to catch myself as my ego runs amuck in this way. Instead of spouting “you ought ta” as my shallow epiphanies surface, I’ve instead worked on asking more questions and trying to get at the “real”. For the most part, it’s as you would guess. As it relates understanding what’s broken, how best to help, and who or what is to blame… I suppose there are more questions than answers.
One thing I have learned though, is this…My friends Amanda and Nunu along with their trusty sidekick Latino, are in fact, part of the solution.
When we first arrived and I got the lay of the land, admittedly, I was having a bit of trouble truly understanding “the mission” of The Widows Might. As Amanda talked about the things they were doing and the things they hoped to do I kept finding myself wondering where the bible tracts and toothbrushes were. Aren’t missionaries supposed to just bring God’s word to hurting people…and help with hygiene? OF COARSE NOT, but that’s the shallow ignorant image I’ve mostly carried in my head all these years.
Anyhow, I’m long past any reservations I may have had and have officially fallen in love with what God is doing through this faithful trio.
The three of them met about six years ago at an orphanage here in Pemba. Amanda was there on missionary assignment with the Dream Project and Nunu worked there in leadership. Latino was a 15 year old resident.
Amanda and Nunu fell in love and ultimately got married while serving at the orphanage…
Like most great work, The Widows Might is a response. A response to their collective experience at the orphanage. They came out of that season knowing beyond a doubt that an orphanage upbringing isn’t ideal, even for a child living in severe poverty, if that child has parents or stakeholders that love him at home. The Widows Might has a hope to empower the women of Muxura by helping them develop skills to make things, and then bring those things to market. This presumably lifts them out of poverty to some degree and takes the idea of their children getting a “better life” at the orphanage off the table. The women see the promise of daily rice and beans along with access to school at the orphanage and can’t help but think their kiddos would be better off. TWM exists to get in the way of this thinking by helping women rise economically to a place where they don’t have to entertain such morbid options. In addition to coming alongside women in this way, they are running a robust tutoring program in the village in the hope of building a culture over time that places a high value on learning. Under girding these two important pieces of the puzzle is the advancement of the Gospel itself. I’ve had a chance to connect deeply with Nunu on several occasions now since I’ve been here and I’ve been blown away by his passion for Jesus, and his ability to make friends in the village. As we walk down the dirt paths, kids are calling out to him with waving hands and parents stick their heads out to smile and wave. He’s able to come to these people where they are and talk to them about life…and Jesus. Also, he’s a sponge for knowledge. As we were driving into town the other day and talking, he was quoting A.W. Tozer and asking me if I had read Craig Groeschels’ new book. This morning I found him on the beach reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis! He is truly uniquely made for this work. A native Mozambican, gifted in pastoral ministry that speaks the major languages as well as English who is married to a feisty white girl with a passion for helping these women and a best friend (Latino) that is reliable and brilliant and beautifully in Love with Jesus. The whole thing causes me to yet again, stand in awe of the precision in all of it.
Ahhhh, it felt good to share all that with you, I hope it felt good to read it.
For the last couple days, we been at the beach relaxing at a resort called nZuwa Lodge. It’s only a few miles away from the village but it feels like a million miles. It was wonderful. We’ve eaten good food, the boys have played until they are totally exhausted and Rebecca and I have had a moment to breath in the ocean air and process everything a bit. Amanda, Nunu and Latino were with us as well which made for an even better experience.
Lastly, I’m happy to report than Decker (13) let his hair down today and played like kid, all day long, swimming and splashing and riding waves into the shore with his brothers. It’s an answer to prayer to see him uncrossing his arms a little more each day:)
Here are some pictures of the last couple days, Enjoy:)
See you tomorrow,