Friday, September 28, 2007

Africa.




There is so much to tell. I'm not even sure where to start. I guess that I should start at the beginning but I am warning anyone that reads this that it will be an extra long post!
We left for Africa on Sept. 12th. Our flight left at 8:30 am. It was the longest flight ever! Total flight time to get to Mozambique was 28 hours, that is in the air time. Luckily, we had a few layovers and a over night stop in Johannesburg.

When we got to Johannesburg none of our luggage showed up at baggage claim, we came to find out that they had checked it through all the way to Nampula. So, we paid some porters to go downstairs and find it, which they found all but three. We were worried that the other 3 pieces were missing but they actually found it the next day after we had talked to everyone we could. They told us right before we boarded that it was being boarded on the plane. God is so good! Nothing was stolen out of those bags, which is a big issue in J-burg.

We flew into Nampula and our friends who are missionaries there had a huge sign that said "Welcome, HBC team!" it was so fun. I think someone got a picture of it through the plane window, but we couldn't take any other's because it is illegal to take pictures of public buildings in Mozambique. It was actually really hard to know what to take pictures of and what you could not, so I ended up not getting nearly as many as if I had free reign. I am so glad that the whole team is sharing pictures!

The first thing we did in Nampula is go shopping for Capalana's. They are traditional African skirts, and we needed them for anytime we were teaching. We were so tired that it was hard to know what to pick! We did manage to get a few each though.

When coming out of the Capalana shop we were getting into the truck and a man came up behind me, I thought he was trying to steal something, but he grabbed my face and tried to kiss me. I screamed and pushed him away! I was told that he is crazy, but I was really wondering if this was my welcome to Nampula what else did God have in store for me during the week! Luckily, it got much better!

On the 15th we did our True Love Waits Rally! I was really nervous for this because I was a main speaker and it is not a topic that I usually talk about. I'm a pretty private person and some of the questions I asked them to answer were pretty tough.
God really prepared people's hearts as there was much discussion going on! That is something that doesn't happen with Mozambicans and they were actually asking questions and giving us answers to our questions! One of the question's that is asked in the True Love waits program is "What age do girls and boys start having sex?" The answer that came from the mouth's of Mozambicans is 7 years old for girls and 12 years old for boys (which Corey and Jenni said is probably much younger). I almost started crying on the spot, I just couldn't believe that girls a year younger than Kaitlyn are having sex! It is so young, I'm so glad that God gave me boldness to finish going through that program with them! It is something that the entire continent of Africa needs to hear as so many people have AIDS! I pray that God used us to touch the hearts of those that were at the rally, they so need it.



On Sunday the 16th we got a special treat and were able to go to a church service. It was so much fun! I loved hearing the people sing in a different language! They sing in beautiful harmonies, they must be taught at a young age. The pastor asked us to sing and luckily Jenni had prepared us for that, so we got up and sang a song she had taught us. The people thought it was so fun that we were singing in their native language of Makuwa, even though we might not have had it quite right they still loved it and it was so much fun for us!

After church we went out to lunch at a restaurant named Bamboo. Tony, the guy that went with us ordered a meal that was called "Beef on a hot rock". The beef comes raw and they provide a slab of hot rock for you to cook it on. Well, Tony decided to put some pepper sauce on his beef before he started cooking it. As soon as he put the meat on the pepper sauce started to smoke and it started to waft around the patio. It was so funny because when the smoke got to each person we started coughing, it was burning our throats! Our translator Fernando thought we were crazy because he was sitting at the head of the table and it had not hit him yet, as soon as it hit him he started coughing too, so he finally understood what was going on! It was so funny!

We also got to go to the Sunday Market, which is the only day it is open. There were so many people there and everyone would spot the "white man" and start following us around saying "sister, sister" or "brother, brother" it was crazy! I did manage to get a couple of things at the market, but we had limited time there. I think we all would have liked a bit more time to buy souvenirs, but that isn't what we were there for anyways! God had more in store for us!

We went prayer walking after the market and I really enjoyed that. It was good to walk through the city and see it a little better. Nampula has a big Muslim influence and Ramadan was happening while we were there. We were able to pray for the Muslim's while walking by. We also saw a nursing school, the hospital that we were to visit later and many buildings that looked like the smoke from the war was still on them. It was interesting to see and yet hard to see at the same time. The city is in much poverty.

The next day was my favorite of the trip! We visited a village and did a "Creation to Christ" story. We were split up into two groups and half of us went to the hospital while the other half visited the village. I was at the village for the first group and one woman, Marcella, accepted Christ and when the next group came she had brought her husband (and several other's showed up as well!). God was really working there, and we all said we felt like "real missionaries" (like what you think of as a child). It was such a neat experience and I hope that someday my family can experience something like that!

As I said earlier after the village we visited the hospital. That was so hard for me. I enjoyed visiting the children in the play room, but when we went to the AIDS wing there were babies just laying listlessly. It reiterated to me why God had called me to be a big part of the True love waits program. Without teaching that program Africa is not going to last, as of right now I think 13% of the people have AIDS. We also visited the Malaria wing as well and those kids were a little more active and most were on the road to recovery. The sad thing in that room was there were mosquito nets hanging over all of the beds, but they wont use them! The people just don't know what will help prevent it. A few other things to note about the hospital: The pediatric ward is up about 4 flights of stairs (maybe more), there are usually 3-4 children and moms to one bed and in their culture that is actually preferred I think, and one last thing at visiting hours you can see hundreds of people lined up to visit their loved ones. The people of Mozambique are really community oriented, I think Americans can learn a lot from this.

On Tuesday we went to the beach! I got to put my feet in the Indian ocean! It was beautiful and restful. We were supposed to go snorkeling and that morning the company called and said it was too rough to go out. We were a little disappointed, but I think God knew that we just needed a time of rest and rejuvenation. We had fun looking for seashells and I even saw a small eel while looking in the tide pools. The water was beautifully turquoise and the sand white, just beautiful!

Wednesday was back to mission work! We visited an orphanage! It was so wonderful! The children were very welcoming to us, which I guess doesn't happen as quickly. We did crafts with them and one of those crafts was to take their picture and print it out, then they put it on a foam frame. I got to take the pictures, so I have a picture of each orphan. They thought it was great fun to have their pictures taken! We also made T shirts and necklaces with them. At lunch time they had a surprise for one of my friends, Roberta, it was her birthday and they sang to her. They also brought out a cake and we had a fun time of singing and dancing with them! It really broke down some barriers and I got to love on the smallest of the orphans, Mena and Ofieta. They are just adorable.

Thursday we were back at the orphanage, this time we did True love waits with the older orphans. It was not as exciting as earlier in the week, but I pray that God will use what we taught them. We also gave them the goodie bags we had put together for them! You would have thought it was Christmas! They were so loud and excited! It was such a fun way to end our time in Mozambique!

I have more to share about our safari, but I think I will save it for another post as this one is already long enough! I am just so thankful that God called me to go! I felt truly blessed by this experience. I also want to say thank you again to everyone who helped me to get there and helped my family while I was away, there are not enough words to express how grateful I am!

5 comments:

Stacy said...

I was startled to hear the ages that these poor children are having sex. I'm so glad that you were a part of the "True Love Waits" program. I am sure you will be saving someones life. God has blessed you and you have blessed many others. Your post brought me to tears and it didn't help my already stuffed up nose. I can't wait to read more and see more pictures.

Delta Linda said...

Can't wait to see and hear more.

michelle said...

What a truly incredible experience. I am so glad that you were able to go. I too was shocked when I read the ages that they were having sex. I am looking forward to reading more about your experiences there. I am glad that you are home.

Michelle

Anonymous said...

Shannon,
What a wonderful post. A life-changing experience on both continents I'm sure!! God will surely grow the seeds you all planted. I'm proud of you! Can't wait to hear the rest of the story and see all your pictures.
Love, Mom

Nikki *Ü* said...

I'm shocked by what ages they said kids start haaving sex!! I truly hope that your program and your teachings there will make a difference in the live of those who heard you so that they can then share it with others and continue to make a difference!! What an incredible experience for you! Although I'm sure scary at time, especially with that guys kissing you! Yikes!!! I've loved reading about your trip!