Thursday, July 31, 2014

Caring means ... showing up! Part3

Life and death are never separated in Africa.  It's part of one event ... and the space in between is lived within a communal space where survival forms a key component of life.  On this road of survival .... the church in Africa plays a key role within every village and community.

Introducing visitors to the local church is integral for the whole community.  The team was visiting on a Sunday ... so it was good manners introducing them to the local church ..... and having a festa with them.  

Introducing the whole team to the church!
The 'way' of doing life in a village church is simple .... no one leaves if they have not been prayed for.  It's a touching and deeply spiritual time for everyone .... specially the local church members as it says:  You have not forgotten us .....!
Children are very important for every church.  In Africa they are part of the worship and the whole 'church' community.  They are prayed for and cared for too.
Social upliftment:  Supporting and handing out soccer balls to the local community school with it's principal and teachers.
Even on the medical front .... gifts were handed over.  The clinic received a brand new instrument sterilizer that will be used.  Simon Nicalau (health officer) receives the equipment from Francois.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Caring means .... showing up! Part 2

One of the things students do well (accept for studying of course) - is playing! As is the tradition for the last 10 years or more our students take responsibility to provide an athletics meeting (the full show) with the nearly 280 school children in our bush school.  It is a huge event which includes all the sprinting numbers, shot put, high and long jump and all the rest.  It is also a time of training the bush school kids and teachers on the finer points when it comes to athletics.  And who knows we might just train a future Olympic medalist!

Here is the day in action!

Loosening up ..... before the big day starts!
We have no or little sport equipment - so what we can find we use!
Long jump in action!

Shot put .... a school girl showing what she is made of!
Ok ... with the ladies in charge of the high jump - it seemed they started the bar very low.  I can promise you though .... the bar was set much higher later in the day!  A job well done!
My favorite part of the event - kids having fun and as spectators .... enjoying the fun.  Sports and athletics (so we teach) is all about developing yourself and most of all having FUN and ENJOYING the fellowship.
Little Red Ridinghood .... took of her shoes for the main running event!
After the event everyone received a prize for their participation!  The hats were a sponsorship from the previous year's students.
Very proud ... thank you!
Time to greet again .... ate a vista .... until next year!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Caring means ... showing up! Part 1

I have been really looking forward on posting the next few articles.  I am rushing off continually these days it seems - but looking back at what has been achieved the last few months - it is nothing less than a miracle.  God's goodness and grace is written all over it!

I have learned in Africa that caring really means showing up where there is a need.  And that is exactly what about 20 students did from the University of Stellenbosch and Stellenbosch Congregation.  They showed up .... after 3 days of continual driving - 3 000 km's and a few hair-rising border posts.  I will share a few posts .... it reads like a story book - and will give you a small peep into their transformational window!  Enjoy!

It was like ants attacking a sugar bowl.  Everyone attacked the women training center to give it the final touches before woman will be trained there.

Here is what I love about God  .... and receiving teams.  Here we have a leadership specialist, a current Olympian athlete and a final year mathematician (on her way to Wall Street, New York) working together to bring hope to woman in Mozambique.

A mean team .... with a common purpose - "bring HOPE"!  Bibles were transported more than 3 000 km's to help pastors and their churches.

A very happy Mr. Tobias receives a Bible for his church.

Our schools were treated like never before!  In our following-up article you will see just how they were treated.  Their welcoming gift to the visitors were filled with lots of song and dance.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Happening right now!

Yet again I stand in awe watching the group in front of me.  Teachers, theologians, super accountants, mathematicians and believe it or not ..... even a para-Olympic athlete!  What do they have in common.  A deep love for the Lord and a deep love for humanity!  As so many times in the past we have been tremendously blessed by visitors from the far south - 3 000 km 's in fact - Cape Town.  They had one goal and purpose only - to come and serve.  And as always the pictures will tell the story:

I have personally known blind Mateus Filemon for the last 18 years.  He is a courageous young man who attended our first Bible School in Mtsatza.  He came to the farm to collect a Shona Bible for his pastor in his church.  He might not be able to read but his hunger to make sure his church gets their own Shona Bible was huge.  Here is the Stellenbosch University and Congregation group busy handing over a Shona Bible which they transported more than 3 000 km's.
A time of reflection!
High op on a rock in Mozambique!
Deep into the bush to explore .... the group was ready for action!
And who do we meet in the bush ..... hard working woman carrying maize!
And then 2 cultures met!
A time of caring for one of our widows as she is receiving a prayer!
The men also jumped in ..... and took care of Suero, a leprosy patient.
And visiting the local baker in the bush is always a highlight for a hungry student.
Fresh bread right out of the oven!
The faithful guard .... watching over the baker!  He does seem skinny for a baker's watchdog though!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A place where everyone helps!

No it's not paradise.  It's not even a hidden civilization!  A Mozambique school ......  is a happy place.

  • It's a place where every time when I arrive the more than 280 children makes me feel like their president. And I like that.  
  • It's a place where they jump all over me and want to hold my hand.  I like that. 
  • It's a place where we call each other on our names - Frans is mine.  I won't allow that in any other conversation but here they can call me anything.   It always sounds sweet on the ear. 
  • It's a place where when I ask them to pray all 280 kids spontaneously lift up their hands to call on God.  They are my favorite prayer partners. 
  • It's a place where they just hug me .... just because I'm a friend.
  • It's a place where they look at me with eyes saying:  You're kinda my hero today!
  • It's a place where when I stop with food for the school the army of green ants tackle my vehicle to make sure everything is unloaded.
  • It's a place where I am loved without doing anything for them.
  • It's a place full of smiles.
  • It's a place ...... where GOD LIVES!
  • It's a Mozambican school ....... it's where my heart hides in difficult times.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Charlie 9 this is Foxtrot Romeo .... doing a dive!

"Francisco" .... Andy, our Swiss pilot called with his usual smile.  "What about a flight to see the school and library from the air?"  He laughed as he is one of the few people to know about my fear of flight in very small aircraft.  Please understand that my last flight in a small aircraft didn't go all that well as the passenger door opened on departure in the air.  But that is a story for another day.   But then again .... I thought ... my pilot also knows I don't swim that well .... so let's give it a try.  Dwight's 4-seater Cesna was ready and fueled for action and the pilot couldn't wait to get going .....!  It was an amazing 1/2 hour in the air.  This time around I will let the photos do the talking!  

Posing like a pro ....and I am talking of the pilot in blue!!  I'm just hanging on the propeller so my knees would stop shaking ... in anticipation of the flight. 
Andy, the Swiss pilot .... making sure everything works.  And after the normal safety procedures I realized that Swiss pilots do have an amazing sense of humor.
I wasn't sure what buttons he was pressing as it all looked very pre-historic to me.  But somewhow we got in the air!
The mission base with its housing from the air.  Left top is the litchie orchard.
PURPOSE OF THE FLIGHT:  Our bush school and clinic from the air.  The large building on the left is the primary school and houses 4 classes with about 280 kids.  And if you are very sharp ... down left is the new library building in progress.

Back on the mission farm:  On the left our leadership training center.  On the far right is the Women Training and Literacy center built by Alta.
A very busy mission base.  If you can spot my house ..... you are super good - it is the most hidden one!
The runway of the mission base back into the frame.
A safe landing after a super enjoyable flight ... thanks to Swiss Air and Dwight's Cesna!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Leaving legacies!

Try to imagine to have never seen a library in your lifetime!  You have no re-collection whatsoever of a collection of books or to have never ever read a children's story in your own language.  Oliver Twist?  Never had the privilege to read it.  Ernest Hemingway?  Who?  The story of Romeo and Juliet has never been told, Hamlet is a mystery and Jackie Chan is more known than William Shakespeare.  Imagine a life like that.  The most beautiful poems written ... never new poetry existed!  It sounds a total impossibility.  But it is very true and I live in a world like that. 

The great thing about being a Transformational Engineer is that we don't have to accept the status quo.  We don't have to believe that "that's just the way it is" .....!  Hopefully like you ... we get up and do something about it.  We have many projects that are ongoing at the moment.  Two of those will have a huge impact on hundreds of people.  Our new LIBRARY ... the first EVER in the region will allow children and communities to, for the very first time, be able to read books in their mother tongue.  It will be a huge blessing - here is a quick update report on how the work is progressing:


The other project is our Water Tower that is currently being constructed.  For many years we have had to pump water from a local pump we installed.  With the growth of our primary school and the establishment of a local clinic by the mission the need for more water was eminent.  Through many sponsors it was possible to start with the resurrection of a water tower that will provide clean water to the school, clinic and the community.
Our old and faithful water pump!  It has been providing water for more than a decade and served a few hundred school children as well as a whole community.

And YES if you wondered .... the fact that the pump 'survived' all the kids is an absolute MIRACLE!!!!