Tonight we welcomed this year’s J-term team from Delaware County Christian School to our beloved Mozambique. They have endured 34 hours of travel consisting of a bus ride to JFK airport, one 7 hour flight to London, a 30 minute race to connect with a second 11 hour flight to Johannesburg, and finished up with 8 ½ hour transport across the border and to Matola, Mozambique where we met them at the guest house. They arrived in good spirits and were surprisingly peppy for a group who has been through so much. After we unloaded the people, suitcases, bookbags, and pillows from the transport, we greeted each other. We got to say “Welcome Back!” to former team leaders Tracy and Scott. Then we got to welcome our new team members for their first time in Mozambique. It was already dark when we began moving everyone into their accommodations. I overheard a student comment on how beautiful the African sky is; which it is. There are no city lights to obstruct the view of the stars so they shine brilliantly in the dark night sky. I knew I would like this team very much. They already were noticing the little things about Mozambique that make it such a special place.
Each year I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the students and chaperones who make this trip. It is not easy travel and their time here is demanding as they adjust to the summer heat of Africa each day. It is also a very costly trip to commit to. Not to mention the fact that they are coming to a third world country where they will be stretched beyond their comfort zone. They do all this to share the love of God with the people here. They do all this because Jesus said to go out into the nations and share the Good News. They have put aside their needs, their wants, and their comfort to put the needs of others first. Thank you to Machaela, Kendal, Grace, PJ, Haley, Ron, Tracy, Scott, and Tracy for coming, and thanks to all of you who are supporting them financially and with prayer for this trip.
After a dinner of KFC chicken, potato salad, and Mozambican Cokes, we had an informative meeting to introduce them to what to expect while they are here. My family then left our travelers to get a good night’s rest. We traveled home with a car filled with suitcases of donations (15 to be exact!) to unload and sort through. I now sit here in the midst of toys, soccer balls, shoes, candy, playing cards, hula hoops, construction tools, more shoes, crayons, coloring books, clothing, school uniforms, jump ropes, puppets, Kleenex, soaps, deodorants, even more shoes, Band-Aids, rubber gloves, pillow cases, gummy vitamins, skateboards, hats, playing cards, nail polish, Frisbees, and… did I mention, shoes? There are also 300 pillow cases that were tie-dyed and decorated by the DCCS elementary students- FINALLY we have gotten them here!!! THANK YOU to all of you who donated these items for the children here. You cannot even begin to imagine how treasured each and every item will be to the children here. You really would have to come here and see them to know how needy they really and truly are to comprehend how needed these items are.
In addition to these items are others that were sent to bless us personally – good coffee, candy of all types, macaroni and cheese, hair gel (for me!), Auntie Anne’s pretzel making kit, and chai tea (Guess who that is for?) which was given, according to Tracy Clark, from all over by everyone. J You all know me so well! There were even home baked chocolate chip cookies from a very good and thoughtful friend as well as little blessings from other friends like candles and Vera Bradley items that make me feel so pampered! Don, Brent, Will and I thank you for thinking of us and sending a little bit of America to us!
We have a full schedule in these 7 days ahead of us. The team will be spending the majority of their time at the Iris Matola-Rio children’s center. They will be adding on a visitors’ room to the director’s house. This is no small feat considering that the work is very labor intensive. For example, concrete must be made by mixing wheelbarrows full of sand and stone with bags of cement and buckets of water by turning and turning it with shovels. While working each day on this project, the team will also be present to interact with and love on the children there. They have prepared Vacation Bible School types of activities and stories to share with the kids. They are going to introduce new games to the kids like whiffle ball and card games. It will be fun to share these new experiences with the children and to see how they react to it all.
Please keep us all in prayer as we go through the upcoming week. The work that will be done is physically demanding. Loving on these children can be emotionally overwhelming. Fitting in and feeling comfortable in a drastically different culture is challenging. Each member of the team will face situations that will stretch them and grow them. They really do need covered by your prayers and they really will feel your prayers as you lift them up.