Monday, July 28, 2008

internet? what internet?

We are finally home in Montepuez!

Heavy air traffic followed by rain in New York made us miss our flight Thursday night to Johannesburg out of JFK, though thankfully we were able to get on standby for Friday night's flight. That meant, of course, that we would miss our Saturday morning flight from Joburg to Pemba, which wouldn't fly again until Tuesday, so we spent three nights in Joburg resting and getting over jet lag, which really wasn't so bad. We have never had a good experience flying through JFK, so maybe we should try something else next time...

So we are finally home; we have unpacked, cleaned, dusted, and hung up a bunch of pictures of family and friends from furlough. It has been a very smooth transition compared to our return from our first furlough, and for that we are thankful. Our teammates helped open up our house for cleaning before we got home and prepared a bunch of meals for us; we are so blessed by our team! We are planning a number of visits over the next few weeks to reconnect with our friends in Montepuez and in the surrounding villages with the main goal of listening: to hear recent news and how people are doing. Yesterday we worshipped with the church in Chipembe, and it was like coming home; it was so great to see them all again. The day after we got home a number of women left with my teammate Martha to a womens conference in another province, so we look forward to hearing how that went.

Abby and Ellie did GREAT on the 19-hour flight, which means they slept a LOT. Of course, that also means that they woke up at 2am every night for the next 5 nights, but it seems they have recovered and are sleeping all night again now. They have been pretty good about jumping right in there and greeting people in Makua and Portuguese. Abby's fifth birthday is Wednesday, and she is SO excited, changing her mind at least once a day about what she wants her cake to look like.

Our house is in pretty good shape after being empty for four months, with only one leak in each bathroom, and the improvements the landlord made (without telling us!) aren't bad. =) Our snail-pace dial-up internet connection, however, seems to have given up and bitten the dust, so I am at the lone computer at the telephone company office in town working online, going through emails, copy/pasting, and getting kicked offline with technical problems every thirty minutes or so. We have some equipment coming soon on a container that hopefully will allow us to piggyback off of the internet service of the cotton-processing company here in town; we are all really hoping that will work.

Please join us in praying for the following cares:
-for God's kingdom to come among the Makua-Metto
-for vision as we pray and plan for the next three years
-for the health and unity of our team
-for our own spiritual nourishment
-for Abby and Ellie to learn Portuguese and Makua

We love and miss you all!
Love, Rachel (and Alan, Abby, and Ellie)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

See You in Three Years (or in Mozambique!)

Well, we have finished up packing, and the suitcases are in the car for our early morning departure. We have had a wonderful furlough – we feel so blessed to have seen and spent time with so many of you, and we are so sorry for the few of you that we missed. Though we have left the States to live in Mozambique, God has blessed us with many homes, especially in Nashville, Memphis, and Dallas. At the moment we are dealing with a strange swirling of emotions; we are looking forward to being home, but have been sick to our stomachs saying all our good-byes that we know will be for awhile, especially in light of how fast grandchildren grow.

Please pray for us as we travel:
--that we and all our luggage will arrive safely into Pemba and Montepuez
--for us as we get settled back in Mozambique and get re-oriented to life there
--for the next three years as we listen and discern how God is working and leading in northern Mozambique

Rachel, Alan, Abby, and Ellie

Monday, July 7, 2008

out of the mouths of babes

Our families (my parents and many of the Wilson clan) have all been together for the July 4th weekend here in Plano, TX. Since our family will be heading back to Mozambique shortly, we had an early birthday party for Abby and Ellie. They received some gifts and were really excited. After Abby, our four-year old, played with one of the toys she sighed and said:

"Wow, this is just what I always wanted. But, I just didn't know about it, yet."

We all laughed at her honesty. Haven't we all felt that way before?

Grace and Peace,

Thursday, July 3, 2008

memory and imagination

Two weeks from tomorrow our family will get on a plane with all of our luggage (yikes!) and head back home to Mozambique. We have been having a great time here in the US with our families, but our minds are starting to think about life and ministry among the Makua.

I’ve been thinking about our teaching ministry in Mozambique. Our team is using a chronological storying method. This approach understands the key stories of the Old Testament as necessary preparation for hearing about the death and resurrection of Jesus. So, the churches we work with hear about the Creation and the Fall, Noah, Abraham, Exodus, David, and the exile among other things before they hear about the coming of the Messiah. We believe that this approach gives the hearer the best preparation for understanding the story of Jesus and sets the stage for their own transformation in order to begin to look like Jesus.

I came across a quote that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

“Reading and interpretation, therefore, reflects a conversational mode that looks backward and forward – backward as a function of memory, which provides fuel for the imagination that looks forward. Embodiment of biblical truth in the present, therefore, stands at the place where memory and imagination meet.” - Gordon Matties

This quote is a little thick. What I’m taking away from this quote is that for the church to be the people that God has called them to be in any context they’ll need to draw on the deep wells of stored memory from the biblical text to inform their imagination as to how to live out the faith in that place. We need to be rooted in the biblical stories. But, we’re not expected just to repeat exactly what happened to the faithful who have gone before us, but instead to be faithful - be consistent - with the story we’re apart of.

So, our memory (formed by the biblical testimonies and local testimonies of God’s faithfulness) equips our imagination and allows us to live out the faith. My goal then is not to tell interesting narratives, but to outfit the Makua-Metto with the formative stories necessary for living out their faith in their neighborhoods.

Grace and Peace,