Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bridge over troubled waters!

If you could turn back the clock a few months ago .... you would remember the tragedy that stared our community in the face in Mozambique.  Three children died in a very short period as they were trying to cross a river on their way to our bush school in Mucombeze.  They were all killed by crocodiles. Thanks to generous and amazing sponsorship from Canada and even South Africa .... a dream has come true.  Truly a bridge over troubled water has been built.

Mercy Air South Africa got involved with many other great people to make this project a reality.  At last after 10 months ..... the bridge was up and the rainy season and flooded rivers would take no more lives due to crocodiles.

A special thanks to all who helped to make this, not just a life saving project, but changed lives forever and left a great legacy.  Here are some highlights of the project as it went through construction to transformation.

Special thanks to Lynn Lagore and Anne Herbert for photos shared.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

About time

WOW .... it has been much too long since I have shared life stories through cyberspace.  I was awakened early this morning by a mail from Budleigh, United Kingdom inquiring why I have been so awfully quiet the last few months. (So this post is specially for you Barbara Rainford!)  The last few months were another WOW - but let me share all the stories little by little as there is a lot to tell!  I have mostly been on the road via Mozambique, South Africa (various provinces), Angola and back again.  Mission conferences, meetings ... more meetings and a lot of sharing.  And no ... I am not complaining it has been the greatest joy ever to share what God is constantly doing.

But before I share all those stories .... back to Mozambique ... as we took a few days with friends to just rest before transformation took hold of us all.  Here are a few lighter moments from the Mozambican coast.  Enjoy!

Going to the coast in Mozambique means .... eating a healthy and BIG breakfast.  And that is exactly what we did as Andy Kuret shows off his chef skills.
Catching a boat to the deep sea .... and a few islands on the way.  Visiting Pansy Island was a highlight.
We found pansy shells by the millions ... literally!
Deep sea fisherman fishing in the warm Mozambican current.
And of course .... a lot of snorkeling was on the cards too!
Joao, our Mozambican partner, saw the ocean for the first time ..... 
Did I mention that we eat a lot when visiting the Mozambican coast?
Horse riding was also provided on the coast and we took full advantage of the beasts as we explored the ocean from a different view!

Had to wait a long time for this shot .... but patience is a virtue.  Sunrise like no other place in the world.  Mozambique ..... early early morning.  The fishermen beat me though!
No pain no gain though.  With Mozambique still being in turmoil ... we had to be escorted for about 100 km's through dangerous roads.  As I post this a peace treaty has been signed before the general elections on 15 October 2014.

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.