We had our very multi-national youth group of about 20 people over for a movie night last night, which was fun. We have representatives from North and South America, Europe and Africa, making up the diverse group of people I’m happy to call my friends.
This morning he took me (Janelle) out for my first driving lesson on the back roads and around our neighborhood. I practiced shifting, turning and driving backwards while maneuvering the rough roads, bush, around pedestrians and the few vehicles we encountered. It takes practice but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.
Austin and Emily are right now enthusiastically participating in a Tae Kwan Do class that is given by a missionary here whose husband is a pilot. Austin has an orange belt and Emily, yellow.
Monday we start school again after our three-week Easter Break. It has been nice to have some time off though Austin and I have had lots of homework to do. Luckily, Emily doesn’t have to deal with that large of a school work load yet but her day is coming.
Thank God we’re all in good health and your prayers are always appreciated. I still hold claim that we live very typical lives here in Mozambique, though I guess it all has to do with perspective.
We Richardson’s have been blessed with a diverse family. That does lead to challenges when choosing a vacation venue. Last week we decided to split up in pursuit of relaxation and refreshment. Michael took two of the kids to the beach; Jessica stayed home with the other. Austin and Emily decided that camping in the sand was worth the fun at the beach. Janelle followed mom’s lead in thinking that a few quieter days at home would be much more comfortable and relaxing. Now the whole family is rested and ready for school to start again.
Child abuse – it’s right up at the top of our list of “worst sins.” Despite the stigma abusers exist in just about every place that children are to be found. Mission settings have their own set of challenges and our leadership has taken a proactive stance. A few weeks ago a colleague and I flew to Kenya to attend a workshop of likeminded organizations dedicated to the protection of these “little ones” that are so precious to Jesus. We came away encouraged that excellent policies and training can greatly reduce our vulnerability. We also have a network of people to partner with if a report of abuse ever surfaces. I’m still left sobered by the realization of how many precious little ones have been and are being taken advantage of. I pray that they find healing. (Picture) This sunset picture over a Kenyan tea plantation shows that we don’t always work in the worst places on earth.
I usually don’t like to announce my trips (for security reasons), but I sure love to talk about them once I get back. I get to work with such amazing people in such interesting places! Like Stephen and his pastor (pictured above). I was recently in Tanzania for two and a half weeks consulting with our missionaries who are doing culture / language acquisition. I found some of them working beyond their level and getting frustrated. I found others still working on activities that had stopped helping them move forward. I was able to help them see what activities are best suited to their ability to participate in life that’s going on around them. I love to see these self-sacrificing ambassadors with a fresh excitement and tools to do their ministries more effectively. I love my job! It does have its challenges, like taking a 15 hour bus ride without hearing a word of English. Keep in mind that I haven’t had the luxury of studying Kiswahili. As I was leaving Tanzania to come back to Mozambique I found myself strapping my suitcase to the back of a motorcycle taxi. I don’t think my driver had ever taken a passenger into the airport before. I had to show him how to get his parking ticket and then where to go. I enjoy the adventure most of the time. What adventure does God have you on?
First I worked with our Tanzanian team, which now consists of seven families. It was really encouraging to see our first team member there reach what we call “capable-high” in language and culture. This does not mean that he is done with his lifelong learning of how to love the Tanzanian people in a way that they will understand can move forward. It just means that this learning will take place in the context of other jobs, like teaching and discipleship. The other families there are also doing a great job of moving towards this goal as well.
After these evaluations, I had the privilege of going, for the third time, to a consultant training course which was hosted by the Highlands camp in the beautiful Morogoro mountains (see attached picture). The Lord brought together an amazing group of people to lead and take the course. I was challenged and encouraged as I rubbed shoulders with believers from other countries and cultures. I wish you could have met the lady who is reaching out to her Somali people with the truth, or the wonderful person who nurtured us into her South Sudanese world for 10 hours of “real practice,” or the young man from Zanzibar who is living against the tide of over 97% of the people who practice the dominant Middle Eastern religion.
This time I not only led a table group but also did some up front teaching. Together we studied how to be “growing participators” in the many people groups around the world. We looked at God’s plan to fill the earth with the knowledge of his glory and how these people groups are domains of God’s redemptive activity.
After five and a half weeks away from home, I returned on Thanksgiving Day, thankful to have been able to do the work I had done and thankful to once again be home with the family.
P.S. I while in Tanzania I also got to go on a Safari. Check out the pictures on the photos page.
For many years, NTM Mozambique has enjoyed renting an office in a nice neighborhood that’s not too far from downtown. Unfortunately, the rent price kept going up. We finally had to move. Thank you, Wycliffe Bible Translators for renting us some space. We are moved and pretty much up and running.
May this office continue to serve the missionaries out in the villages as they plant churches among the least reached peoples of Mozambique.
Someone asked while we were on home assignment, what physical obstacle are you dreading going back to in Mozambique. For me (Michael), it’s water – or the lack thereof. Sure enough, when we got back the water situation needed attention.
We have three sources: rain (we have two more months of dry season), city pipe (in three weeks it has been turned on for just a few hours) and a well. I opted against a rain dance, prayed for the Lord to allow city officials to open the valve to our area a little more often and went to work on the one source I could do something about.
As some of you may remember, our well is by no means a modern bore hole. This is a hand dug well roughly 5 meters deep with a cement cover on top with a hole in the middle for the bucket. There is just enough room for me to squeeze through the bucket hole and then reach my dangling legs out to find the little cutouts that I use for a ladder to descend into the hot, humid, oxygen deprived depths.
When I got to the bottom, sure enough it was dry but at least the reason was apparent. While we were gone the sides at the very bottom had caved in when the water got up over the casing blocks that I had installed. Then when the water table went back down… no water.
I went to work packing the dirt and sand that had fallen into the bottom back into the cavity where it had come from. Thankfully right above the area that had caved in is a layer of soft rock that provides protection from potentially life threatening cave in. (I work hard to make this point clear to my wife.) After two part days of digging and replacing old casing blocks that had disintegrated and installing a lot more new casing blocks it’s back in business. Praise the Lord that even though it has been an abnormally dry year we still have about a foot and a half of water at the bottom. It is dirty but I hope in a week or so it will be clean enough to at least wash clothes. With that and what’s left in our tank that will Lord willing get a little more from the city water line, we hope to make it through to the end of December when the rains should start. Then we should have plenty.
This physical obstacle has a strong parallel in the spiritual realm. Even in the city where “churches” abound, many are spiritually dry. Pray for people have the courage to dig down, find the lies that cover and dirty the water. Pray for missionary teams that are working in areas where there are no “wells.” Pray that the people of Mozambique will find and drink the life-giving water of truth.
A big thank you to everyone who blessed us this last year while we were on home assignment. The Lord answered our prayers as we traveled many miles safely, ate in many of your homes without gaining too much weight and had many opportunities to share about the kingdom of light overcoming the kingdom of darkness in Northern Mozambique. Thank you so much for partnering with us.
Growing up in South America I didn’t do a lot of fishing but what I did was with a simple line and hook with some sort of bait. I got to do a little more of the same kind of fishing in Venezuela. The trick was to keep the piranha off the hook long enough to catch something more palatable.
Earlier this summer Austin and I got a taste of a whole different kind of fishing. Austin was introduced to rods and reels, leaders and all sorts of flashy lures. Thanks, Mike Plett for showing us how to catch a “Jack” (northern Pike).
The vastly different forms of fishing remind me of the vastly varying contexts we are called into to “fish for men.” Each unique context presents its own challenges. Will you pray with us for our colleagues and the many new believers among the Lolo and Mwinika people. They are looking for creative ways to spread the gospel to more and more men and women who need the gospel in Mozambique?
We are looking forward to getting back to our own work in Mozambique after our year of home assignment.
Imagine a man, ready to start a journey, standing in the middle of a long road that stretches off into the distance. He doesn’t know what is in front of him and what all he will pass through. He anticipates the joy of discovering new things and building new relationships. He is awed by God’s creation that surrounds him and by the thought that this awesome and powerful Creator knows him intimately and still loves him.
Like this man we have also started on another stage of our journey. As we start out, yet again, we know that the Lord is always with us. He is always leading and guiding us. He has called us to follow Him even though we don’t know what the road ahead holds for us. By His grace, we will follow him.
It is sometimes hard for us to think of leaving newly made friends and family behind. Also, it can be very tiring to always be packing up or unpacking; but yesterday the Lord reminded me of an important truth. Hebrews 11: 13-16 says “All these faithful ones died without receiving what God had promised them, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed the promises of God. They agreed that they were no more than foreigners and nomads here on earth. And obviously people who can talk like that are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had meant the country they came from, they would have found a way to go back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a heavenly city for them.” The Lord reminds us that we are on a journey here on earth and are just passing through. We look forward to the day when we start the ultimate adventure in heaven. We will finally be home and will never have to pull up stakes again.
Thank you for praying for journey mercies and for those that we will have contact with as we share what the Lord is doing in Mozambique. We are leaving Spokane,WA today and are making our way up to central Canada.
From one traveler to another,
Jessica for the Richardsons