I know I am not alone in feeling like - after such a fantastic start to the year - the plug has suddenly been pulled and all the lovely, warm, clean, fresh, bubbly bathwater is down the drain without being used! Truthfully, sometimes it's felt more like someone has flushed the toilet on 2020. However, as time has ticked ever so slowly on since 'shutdown', the sensation has turned more into one of being in a washing machine - being cleaned out and tumbled around from one side to another - not sure of what we can do or can't do as restrictions changed daily for a time. As we sunk ourselves into other 'stay-at-home' projects, the spin cycle has started to gear up!
Mozambique is in a very strange place - for once, Africa seems to be escaping the brunt of this dreadful pandemic, so far at least. Whether it is due to lack of testing and therefore cases we don't know about, our compulsory BCG vaccinations, our stronger immunities having braved years of malaria and other vicious diseases, or simply being a few months behind in the world patterns, we see this as God's grace on our homeland. Our prayer has been, "Oh, God, spare us from this malady, Africa has enough to deal with!"
We are under restrictions in that we cannot have any social meetings of any kind - no Bible study groups, no religious, sporting or any activities whatsoever, although the population can still go to work. This is imperative, as a lock-down situation would be catastrophic, since only 7 percent of the population live in conditions with running water and electricity, and the rest have to go to their fields and to collect water in order to survive. So we are in a kind of limbo, waiting and watching. So far, so good. Mozambique has only 31 confirmed cases and these do not seem to be in critical condition. We pray things do not worsen.
We are praying for the USA and the rest of the world, so severely affected.
In other concerning news, the terrorist situation in the north of Mozambique has been spiralling out of control for some time, and although no-one is completely sure what is going on and why, many of our Christian family and the local population are finding themselves in increasingly dire situations as terrorsits burn villages and churches and destroy food sources. The armed forces, as is Africa's way, take advantage of the plight of the people for their own benefit as well - there is no-one but Jesus for these people to turn to. Pray for us.
We are all well and healthy and full of hope for the future. It was a great sacrifice to send out students home, and it is a great sacrifice to limit our ministerial activities, but we know that there is a great JOY set before us!
Thank you for always holding us up in your prayers, and for your love and support. You are so important to us. We love you.
Saying goodbye to our students was incredibly hard - but we know they have been well prepared for whatever lies ahead of them in the months to come. Some returned to the North, where there is even more uncertainty than the rest of the country. All returned home with the promise that they can return, once things have settled down. They have been released as a light to their corners of Mozambique - we are the carriers of God's light in these dark times.
Our electrics course received their tools and started their practical training just days before shutdown - their toolboxes are all packed up and stored at the Vocational Centre, awaiting their return so they can finish their training.
Kitted out in lifejackets, students hitch a ride to the beach to catch the 'boat taxi' to the other side of the bay for a weekend of evangelism, before shutdown.
Ashira teaching math to children at the Kids Club in Muzuane before shutdown.
Right now it seems like so long ago - in the beginning of March we travelled to Nampula for a leader's training seminar. We had a sweet time of fellowship and teaching together with the key women leaders from across the north of Mozambique. Thank you Mãe Lurdes and Nampula wa Yesu for the opportunity!
In Other News...
Open the picture above or select here to read about the situation in the North of Mozambique.
Meanwhile, Busy at the Base
With the extent of the COVID-19 situation somewhat uncertain and the government imposing all sorts of regulations, we decided it would be a good idea to make a few fabric masks in case of shortages and critical conditions. The experiment soon turned into a full-blown project, as Rod & Ellie gifted the Vocational Centre with two sewing machines and we quickly had a production line set up with available staff and team members. So far, all our workers have masks (which are compulsory to use when using public or private transport and in groups), and we're in the process of teaching our team how to sew. Who knows, this could be our next Votec project! We've often talked about tailoring, and now we have a chance. God is so good at surprising us with unearthed treasures when things don't turn out quite as we had hoped or expected.
Pascoa ~ Passover
For Christians all over the world, Passover has taken on a whole new identity - quarantined in our homes as the angel of death passes over. The foreign concept of no church on Sundays and especially over Easter made for a quite weekend, but all over the nation families remembered Christ's sacrifice in their homes. What precious memories are we making, that will become milestones in our lives?
"But when this Priest had offered the one supreme sacrifice for sin
for all time he sat down on a throne at the right hand of God,
waiting until all his whispering enemies are subdued and turn
into his footstool. And by his one perfect sacrifice he made us
perfectly holy and complete for all time!"
~ Hebrews 10:12-14, TPT
We do enjoy a good laugh around campus! Here, Vulamide is practising his social distancing with his fabric mask and a special frame designed to keep others from getting too close to him!
WELCOME TO THE WORLD! We rejoice with Álvaro and Nazarena as they welcome their son, Elioenai ~ pictured with his mum and dad above. We also celebrate the birth of Gilca, pictured swaddled above - Pedro and Lucia's baby girl. Our team family is growing!
We have two teenagers in the house! Ashira turned 13 in March, we were able to have a celebration for her just before the social restrictions were laid out. She is growing tall, smart and beautiful, and is such a joy!
Cover the situation in the North with prayer, remembering in particular our pastors and many church members there, as well as all those displaced and affected by terrorism.
Divine deliverance from the plague in Africa!
An inner strengthening in the church as we use this time to press in to discover the deeper places of God.
We love hearing from you!
Let us know what the Lord is doing in your life
and how we can pray for you and your family.