Greetings again from warm sunny Mozambique!
Our tropical “winter” has ended, and our temperatures are rising, and for the last week or so about once every couple of hours you can find Alan proclaiming “wow, it’s HOT!” Just to clarify, he’s not complaining, but describing the awe we feel knowing that it really is 95 degrees in the house at that moment. It seems like every year it always takes our bodies a few weeks to adjust to the heat at the beginning, so we’re waiting for our sweat glands to kick in…
Right after our last newsletter the national women’s conference for Churches of Christ was held here in Montepuez. About 150 women from multiple provinces and multiple churches gathered together for three days to study and learn together. Discussion topics ranged from loving your husband, teaching your children, building each other up instead of tearing down, not living in fear, and loving God and loving others. The conference went well, though we were a bit worn out by the end!
Unfortunately the non-profit chicken business had to be closed. There were a number of factors that made it difficult to stay in the black – being far away from our source of feed, chicken mites infestations, and too few clients. That has definitely been a disappointment, but it has also been somewhat of a relief since it was frustrating to try to keep it afloat over the last few months. For now our team is keeping the guards employed at full salary to guard the land. We did another sustainable agriculture seminar just this past Friday and had good participation, and we have another one scheduled for Balama next weekend. Our prayer is that a more sustainable method of farming can help communities in this area cope with problems like poor soil and low rainfall to make the land more productive, therefore increasing the food production for their families. For fun we also proposed a contest that whichever seminar participant produces the most crops from his or her farm will get a bicycle!
This year we’ve been going through the Sermon on the Mount in the weekly women’s study group, which has been great. Also, Alan just wrapped up his Titus study with church leaders from Montepuez and Chiure. Alan and 10 other men memorized (some or all of) Paul’s letter to Titus. It was a great experience and we celebrated by having a party here at our house a few weeks ago. We enjoyed generous portions of goat meat and rice and cokes! It was encouraging to hear what they learned throughout the study and what they felt like they needed to do to put it into practice.
Our August was busy and stressful! We found out in July that we’d be moving in August, so we adjusted our schedules and tried to do our part to be ready. Alan had to rearrange his plans in different villages, and I squeezed a month’s worth of homeschooling into a couple weeks. It’s been a long time since we moved, and our family has grown a lot since then… so we found out moving is hard work! The landlord of our new rental house was having trouble moving his things out of the house according to our original agreed-upon day, which meant our move-in date got moved back several times, but we were finally able to move into the new rental house at the end of August.
Trying to officially hand over the keys to the landlord of the old house was more difficult, however. To make a very long story short, it turns out he had never had the most recent contract officially registered at the appropriate government office (like he said he would and we had trusted him to do), so he was trying to hold us to terms of an old contract and threatening to take us to court if we didn’t do everything he wanted. Unfortunately, justice in this area often can have more to do with who you’re related to or how much money you have to bribe someone, so going to court is not a wise option. We realized the smartest option was to try to give him what he wanted (paint the inside of the house, leave the hot water heaters that were ours) so we could be out of that relationship as quickly as possible.
We are very grateful for the new rental house, mainly for being a peaceful place that has allowed us to leave the old house and landlord, and especially since there really aren’t many ready-to-move-in houses here in Montepuez. As a comparison, some things about the new house are a little nicer than the old one (nicer floors and a better paint job), while other things are a step back from where we were before (back to no grass in the yard and no running water!). We’re working on our water situation to cope with the ongoing drought, but mostly we’re relieved to have moved and be feeling “at home” again.
Our agreement with our new landlord is for one year, so we are still fundraising to build a house on the team land. So far $4,800 has been contributed towards the goal of $30,000 – we would love for you to prayerfully consider giving to this need! If a house is built with donated funds it will not be ours when we leave Mozambique someday but belong to the ministry. If you can give to this need, funds can be sent to Donelson Church of Christ, 2706 Old Lebanon Road, Nashville, TN 37214. Checks should be made out to Donelson Church of Christ and a note should be included that the gift is for construction in Mozambique. Please keep us in your prayers!
We are also asking for your prayers for RAIN. The past two years have had very low rainfall during the annual “rainy” season, and as a result the water table is very low. Many wells have gone dry these last two years, and people talk about how “everyone is thirsty.” Please join us in praying for a good, wet rainy season (December through March), enough for the rice to grow but not to the point of destructive flooding.
We were so happy to receive our teammates the Smiths back in early September from their furlough in the States, so we were finally able to meet baby Micah! Abby has started back to school (second grade!) with Luke and Andrew Smith with Martha as their teacher, and I’ll be teaching about one week a month. Katie Joy is growing well and babbling constantly to join in with her talkative sisters, Abby has lost her two front top teeth, and Ellie is learning to read and really enjoying our new puppy Yoder.
As we close, please join with us in praying for these desires:
· For the Kingdom of God to come here in our area!
· For a good rainy season
· For God to provide the funds for house construction
May God give you peace,
Rachel and Alan and the girls
PS – for those of you who’ve asked what our lives are like on a daily basis, we have another “week in the life” newsletter/blogpost coming up soon!