The teams time here in Mozambique has come to an end. It has been a fantastic week of work and fellowship, but all good things must come to an end. Today was spent wrapping up a few projects that we have worked on during the week. Shawn spent a good portion of the day on the roof plumbing in our backup water tank. It got really windy as the day went on and there were a few times we thought he might blow off the roof, but the job got done. By lunch everything was connected and the tank was filling! It is good to get that project under the belt. Shawn also did a bit of modification on the hot water heater and got that set in position and ready to be hooked up when I can find the right hoses. Carl, Brent and I continued on the tiling work in the 2nd floor bath. We were able to get over half of the wall tiles installed in that room, so that is a good start. I think we all say that the bending, stretching and kneeling for these tile projects have awakened muscles most of us didn't even know we had. Maybe that's just me getting old, but it seems like we are all walking a bit more stiffly these days. Just after lunch we decided to call it a day and pack up We had put in very long days all week long and I thought it would have been a crime for the team to travel all this way and only really see the inside of the studio building. As we were packing up, after two days of trying, Brent finally was able to lure Sergio onto the roof by himself after which Brent proceeded to pull the ladder. All of a sudden we hear Sergio on the roof yelling "Help!!!". We all had a good laugh at that...and did eventually let him back down. We spent the afternoon touring around Xai-Xai enjoying the sights...which to be quite honest didn't take all that long. Those of you know have been here know there isn't a ton to see, but it was fun showing the guys a bit of what life is like in these parts. We ended up back here at the beach just before dark and Brent and I decided to head down to the ocean to see the big waves that the strong wind had whipped up. We made it as far as the path to the beach where we were greeted with a face full of flying sand. We decided that was as close as we really needed to go. We topped off the night with a meal at a local restaurant where Shawn ended up with the tiniest coffee ever served, and Brent was left sweating after ordering a spicy chicken dish that I had mistakenly told him was "not so much hot as flavorful". Oops...it was like they had doused the chicken in liquid fire. Sorry about that Brent. :) It was another evening of fun and fellowship with a chance to reflect on the past week. I am sad to see the guys go, but it has been a huge blessing having them here. A ton of work has been accomplished and lifelong memories have been forged. God has watched over us, protected us and blessed us amazingly through the past week. We give all glory and honor to Him! Tomorrow we are off to the airport to get the team on their way back home. Sergio has threatened several times to cancel their tickets, but he was threatened by the wrath of their wives so I do believe he has relented. I'm sure the guys would appreciate your prayers as they make the long journey home. Please pray for safety and traveling mercies over the next day. Thank you so much for your faithful prayers during the past week!
After five days on the job, we are all a bit tired and a little sore, but thankful for God's protecting hand over us. We have been healthy and injury free, although Brent did give me a bit of a fright when he was working the tile saw and started yelling "my finger, my finger!" Thankfully that was just to test my calm so it was all good. I told everyone at the beginning of the week that I wasn't going to take anyone to the hospital, so I hope that are taking that to heart. :) Work continued in the 1st floor bath, which had ended up being a rather complicated project. It is looking very good, but just requires a lot of complicated cutting. It is still missing just a few pieces, but it getting there. We were able to finish tiling the apartment bedroom floor. I'm quite happy with how that all turned out. Now we have the floor of 1 room finished, only 9 more to go! We were also able to wrestle our 400 gallon water tank onto the roof. It took a little engineering and a bit of muscle, but nobody fell off the roof in the process, so that is a plus. In the afternoon Shawn got started plumbing in the big tank. We have "city" water at our building, but it isn't always reliable. The big tank is going to give us a backup when the city decides that the water needs to be turned off. That will be a great help. We also started tiling the walls of the 2nd floor bathroom today. This bathroom is much less complicated than the 1st floor bath(no shower or built in vanity) so we were able to make some good headway on that one. Carl also did some painting and final touch-ups around a few of the areas that we have finished. Things are really coming together. I'm very happy with the progress that is being made, and I think we are having some fun along the way too. Amazingly, tomorrow is the last day with the guys. The week has absolutely flown past. We would appreciate your continued prayers as we finish strong and as the guys get ready to make the long journey back stateside.
It's hard to believe that a majority of our week is over! Time just flies when your having fun. :) The big news of the morning was that the Coke seemed like it did the trick on the sidewalk. The top layer of concrete came off nicely and we now have a fancy sidewalk. After all the head shaking of the day before, when Sergio arrived in the morning he just whisteled and said "It's beautiful!". I think he is still a little skeptical about the Coke, but he likes the results. Shawn contined the battle for the bathroom today. Great progress was made and it's now just missing a little decorative strip that goes down the middle. It is very very close now. Brent expanded his tile adhesive mixing and tile cutting operation as we started laying tile in the apartment bedroom also. He showed his artistic side cutting some very compliated pieces that fit around the doorways. Carl spent most of the day in the 2nd floor bath where he took up the task of cutting a channel in the cement block wall where a drain needed to go. He once again made a lot of dust, but got the job done. Sergio and Steve worked on sanding some new doors that we recently received. We are getting very close on having all the doors purchased, but there is still quite a bit of work on sanding and finishing. Every day we get a bit closer. For lunch we were blessed to endulge in a feast prepared by Juliette, Sergio's wife. We had a traditional bean stew along with a leaf cabbage dish that went over rice. It was very tasty indeed. As the week winds down, we are trying to prioritize what tasks we really need to get done. A ton of progress has been made, but the list of tasks is still long. We would appreciate your prayers over the next two days as we try and get as much done as we can, without killing ourselves.
New day...a lot of the same. Shawn and Brent spent the day again in the bathroom working with those pesky little tiles. The progress is steady, but there is a lot of surface area on those walls. Plus, I tried to do a couple of "fancy" elements with the shower which are coming back to bite a bit on the tiling. It is looking good though and I'm sure they will get that bath wrapped up today. Carl put the finishing touches on the apartment bath. The door is back on, seams are caulked, TP holder hung and sink installed. It looks fantastic! After the finishing off of the bath, he got to work "adjusting" the countertop of the upstairs kitchenette which included grinding away some parts of the cement surface. I attempted to take a photo of this process but all you can see is a shadow in the midst of a cloud of cement dust. It was dirty work, but now it's ready for tile. We also formed in a bit of sidewalk leading to the main entrance of the building. Shawn suggested, since we still had a bunch of rock left over from the roof pour, that we try an exposed aggregate sidewalk. We are always looking for new things to try, so we thought we would give it a whirl. I laughed when he said we would need a 2 liter of Coke to do the process, but he was serious. The process was actually quite entertaining. The cement mix was much different than we normally use here, and Sergio and Steve kept asking if that was really right. Shawn tried to explain what we were attempting, but I'm sure they were buying the philosophy. It got even more funny when Shawn started spraying Coke on the surface of the cement. There was a lot of head shaking from the peanut gallery that had gathered to watching this odd process, but we think it worked. We ended up going back after dark to remove the top layer of cement and expose the embedded rocks, so I think we are all curious to see how it looks in the daylight. One thing is sure, this will be the first sidewalk of this sort in Xai-Xai.
It was another day spent mostly in the bathroom...but not because of something we ate. Shawn and Brent continue to make great progress in the 1st floor bath. The wall tiles are going on fast! It is amazing to see the transformation. Unfortunately there are a lot of those little tiles, so the work is taking some time. It will probably be another couple days before that "little" project is done. Carl was able to put some of the finishing touches on the apartment bathroom. We had a little change of plans in the morning when the "dark brown" grout for the floor ended up being very red. We decided that wouldn't be great and reverted to the trusty ol white. Just a bit of caulk and that bathroom will be finished! It is the first room in the entire building to be complete. It feels good to finally be done with something. :)We also prepared the area on the roof where our 400 gallon water tank will sit. That ended up being more of a task than I had expected. The sealer paint I bought ended up being so thick that it was impossible to apply with a roller. I ended up applying it with a 2" brush, so that took a bit of time. I think we are going to have to come up with a better plan before we do the entire roof with that paint.Sergio and Steve continued on the seemingly endless task of sanding and varnishing doors. We are getting there, but that building just has a lot of doors.
I think we were all ready for the Lords day after busyness of the past few days. It is always fun joining our brothers and sisters for worship here in Mozambique. Unfortunately, Carl was feeling a bit under the weather in the morning. He stayed back at the house while Shawn, Brent and myself headed to a church about 30 minutes away in the town of Chissano. It was a rather lengthy(3 + hour), but fun service. We heard some amazing testimonies of how God is working in that place and enjoyed some lively singing and dancing. I had all I could do to keep Shawn and Brent from getting up there and busting a move with the old ladies. :) As an added bonus, we were able to start the first Scripture listening group in that area with the recently finished Shangaana NT. We pray that the Scriptures would continue to transform that congregation! After church we headed back to Xai-Xai and picked up Carl, who was feeling better. We went down to the local campground and enjoyed some grilled chicken and an ocean view. Brent thought the view was not quite good enough where we were and ended up close enough to fill his shoes with sea water. It was a beautiful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.In the evening we kept ourselves being blown away by gale force winds by weighing ourselves down with some fresh baked brownies thanks to Orai and Linda Lehman. We enjoyed an evening of fellowship with them before turning in to get our much needed beauty rest.
Praise the Lord, we were able to hit the ground running on Saturday morning. After a decent nights sleep, although I believe Carl had a few friendly words for the barking dogs, we headed to the building site. After a quick tour of the studio and a bit of brainstorming, we got right to it. Shawn started plying his trade by getting the shower floor properly sloped and ready for tile. Carl and Brent got to work straight away on preparing the 1st floor kitchenette and apartment bathroom for grout. The grout went on fast and by noon both areas were grouted. Shawn finished the shower floor and got straight to work on tiling the bathroom floor. With Brent as his official tile cutter and "butterer", that work went quickly. I believe that Shawn only threaten to send Brent home once during the day...so that was good. :) After the grouting Carl did a bit of demo on an un-needed wall and then worked on getting the kitchenette sink all plumbed in. It was a long, but very productive day. Before the team arrived I put together "dream list" of things that could be accomplished over the next week. There were 16 items on the list and I would be ecstatic if even half of those were accomplished. After just one day, 4 of those items are already crossed off the list. After we finished up, we headed over to Sergio's house for a meal with his family. We feasted on coconut rice, fried casava, corn meal mush, cabbage stew, goat meat and a special corn drink that Sergio's wife had prepared. There was also a big surprise when they pulled out a birthday cake to celebrate my recent birthday. It was a great joy to be able to fellowship and feast with the Muianga family.
Praise the Lord, work team #3 of 2012 has arrived! It seems that I have become used to things not quite going to plan around here, so I am grateful to God for watching over this team through the travels. Carl, Shawn and Brent arrived on time and with all of their luggage around 5:00 Thursday evening. They were a bit bleary eyed and tired of sitting, but it seems the flights went pretty smooth. I didn't give them much time to recover on arrival, and within a few minutes we were in the truck making the 4 hour drive to Mercy Air, where we would spend the night. I can imagine that it was not so much fun getting back in the seated position again after that monster 16 hour flight, but the alternative was spending the night in Jo-Berg where they were having a record cold streak. It was the first time it has snowed up there since 1981! Anyway, we made the trip down to Mercy Air safely and we were able to get some sleep...at least to varying degrees. Friday morning the journey continued. 8:00 AM we were back on the road making the drive across the border to Xai-Xai. Praise the Lord, everything along the journey went well. The border crossing didn't take too long, the roads weren't busy, and it ended up being a beautiful day to travel. By 4:30 we had arrived safely to Xai-Xai! We are so thankful for God's protecting hand around us through all these hours and miles of traveling! Thank you for all of your prayers through the past couple of days. Now, to the task at hand...
Well, our time in Mozambique has come to a close. We just cannot believe how quickly the last weeks have gone! Since the last update, nearly the entire building- inside and out- is covered in white paint. Only about 1/3rd of 3 exterior walls needs to be done yet. We wish it could have been completed, but are at least happy we got that far.
We had to leave Mozambique on Sunday since our visas ran out, so we took a little road trip and spent the last 2 days of our trip in the country of Swaziland. Before we left, we were able to go to at least part of a church service- I think one of my favorite parts about Africa is to hear and see the people's passion as they worship God through song. It's incredible and there really is nothing quite like it.
In Swaziland, the 3 of us shared a guest house on another Bible College's campus and were very warmly welcomed by the missionaries and the students there. It was a very relaxing time and, much to Jamison and Chad's delight,we got in some good souvenir shopping time. :) Unfortunately for Chad, though, he spent most of those 2 days inside a car repair shop. His truck had begun running funny and the check engine light would come on/off occasionally. Since he is leaving next week on a distribution trip, he thought it best to get it fixed. Some work was done to it in Swaziland, but the issue was still not fixed. We even began to question whether or not it would even get us back to JoBurg for our flight. But after many prayers, God blessed us with a very uneventful drive back into South Africa and back to the airport. His truck ran like a champ and no lights came on the whole day. Praise God for answered prayers yet again!
All of our flights went really well and we arrived back in GR around 1:00 yesterday afternoon. After spending that long on planes and in airports, we were glad to finally arrive home, but I can say without a doubt that I would much rather be painting the studio again today rather than getting back to life here. I have a feeling I am going to have a difficult time with the adjustment. We just keep praying that God is not done using us in Africa and that he gives us opportunities to serve there again. We feel incredibly blessed to have had this opportunity! And we have an ever growing respect for Chad and the work he does there for the ministry. He is so devoted and passionate- it is so easy to see God working through him as he serves the men and women there. Please continue to pray for him and the ministry.
And as a very specific prayer request, please pray for the car situation. After dropping us up at the airport, he took the car into another shop. I just heard from him today that they need to do a complete rebuild of his fuel pump, which is a very costly and timely repair. His truck is out of commission until Tuesday. He picked up another couple from the airport who are going to be joining him on the distribution next week and are planning to leave on the distribution 1 week from today. The devil is trying to work overtime to get them to not go on this trip (I feel like he has been trying really hard to mess stuff up for the studio and ministry lately). But, as we have seen from the past, our God is bigger and can overcome! You think the devil would get the hint and just give up! So pray again that God reveal his power and that ultimately, His will be done.
Thank you for your support and prayers. They have not been in vain. And one last little plug, keep your calendars open for Friday evening, May 18. ASM is planning a night of worship and stories about how God is working through this ministry. All of the missionaries, Chad included, will be in attendance, so you can hear the stories first-hand. We are very excited about this event, even though it is still very much in the beginning stages of planning. We'd love to see you there!
It is hard to believe that tomorrow is our final day of working on the studio. I first just have to say thank you so much for all of your prayers! A lot of great things are happening here and we can see God's hand in it.
First off, Jamison ended up with a little bug of some sorts on Saturday and spent most of the day in bed. He was quite disappointed that he didn't even feel up to going to the beach that day, but he felt much better that evening already and had made a complete recovery by Sunday morning. There could not have been a more perfect day to not feel well- on a day where we had absolutely nothing planned anyways, and it did not keep him away from the church service/player distribution on Sunday or any work on the studio. Thank you, God, for good timing. Chad also had a slight cold last week and for a few days this week had nearly lost his voice. Thankfully, though, he felt fine this week, despite the voice issue, and was able to continue his work too!
As of today, we have the entire apartment area complete with all final coats of paint, the rest of the interior covered with white paint, and about 1/3 of the outside painted white, too. As I said in an earlier post, time is working against us...all of the areas that have been primed must be covered by real paint within 30 days or it will start to break down. So the 30 day clock stops once we get those areas covered with the white paint. Our goal is to get the rest of the exterior walls done tomorrow, but we are thinking that we will run out of paint before they are complete. We are all amazed, though, at how quickly we covered ground this week. Prayers are being answered! And Chad and I even lost a day of work, since we traveled to Maputo on Tuesday with Sergio to purchase more paint and other supplies. (We are still struggling to find tile that will work and that will not cost the studio a fortune. Who would have even thought picking out tile would be so hard? I can't even count how many times we have commented on how nice it would be to open up a Home Depot here.) :)
Honestly, I didn't think we would even get this far before we had to leave. Praise God! The more we can do now, the less Chad has to do on his own later. It takes a huge burden off his shoulders. So please pray again for efficient work tomorrow, that the paint will stretch as far as we need it to (we can't get any more in town...we have to drive 3.5 hrs to Maputo for more, so this is officially the last bucket that we will have a chance to work with), and for safety as much of tomorrow will be spent on scaffolding.
I will try to put some photos up on Facebook maybe tomorrow...or at least before we leave Mozambique on Sunday. I can confidently say for both Jamison and myself, we wish that Sunday was not just around the corner. We are having a great time here doing this work and building relationships. We are tired, but would rather continue this work for a while longer before returning home. It is so crazy how God can change your heart. I don't think you could EVER get me to paint every single weekday for 5 weeks at home and have me still WANTING to do more of it! There is just something about doing it for His glory that changes your whole perspective. There is nothing better than playing even a tiny part in His plan for this ministry. We know God is going to do great things through this studio...we have seen and heard about such things first hand...and are so excited to see it get up and running! We are so thankful that God has called us here for this purpose and are already praying that God give us a purpose to again return in the future.
Thank you again for your prayers!