Greetings! And happy week-before-Thanksgiving! We love hearing about what God is doing in your neighborhood, and we enjoy sharing with you what He is doing in ours. As one of the writers in Proverbs put it, "like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land."
Not long after our last blog post, we were happy to receive our teammates the Westerholms back from their furlough. And on the same flight, our first grade teacher, Rebekah Keese, arrived as well! Our girls were delighted to reconnect with Maggie and Jane, and Ellie and Maggie love having "Miss Rebekah" for first grade.The last weekend in October our team, together with the Napai church here in town, hosted the first-ever Youth Conference for Churches of Christ in Montepuez. It was exciting and refreshing to see so many young people (about 90, roughly 15-30 years old) worshiping and studying together. Churches here are still tiny compared to the surrounding population, which means that seminars and conferences are a huge encouragement to believers as they sing, learn, and pray together in such a big number. The theme of the conference was the book of James, divided into five different sessions and taught by both Mozambican leaders and some of our team. Alan co-taught one of the sessions with Cruz, a young man he has been discipling. Several of the churches that sent young people were also assigned certain sections of the book of James to put into song; several times throughout the conference they would share the new song and teach it to the whole assembly. The response has been good; in the area north of town we have noticed more confidence and enthusiasm in the young people who went to the conference.
Looking at the calendar, we should finish up this round of the Sermon on the Mount by mid-January, when we'll take a break during February and March. That time of year many people move out to their farms to cultivate and weed their growing crops and to chase the monkeys and rodents away, and it is harder for people to get together regularly. (Those are also the months that some roads become a nasty, muddy mess!) We're praying about what's next for these two groups; we may decrease the frequency that we meet so we can start visiting with women in Nkororo who've asked to study together in their village.
In October, Alan co-taught a seminar in using storytelling and oral strategies to produce better Bible translations at SIL/Wycliffe in Nampula. Translation teams for seven different Mozambican language groups participated. It was a great and stretching experience for Alan to step out of his usual routine and use some of the tools he uses in ministry and apply them in a different way - to Bible translation. Overall the seminar went well and the teams produced some texts that were easier to read and captured more of the way those languages are spoken on the street.
We are looking forward to getting together with our team and a couple other American families next week to celebrate Thanksgiving from afar; our traditions have grown to include not only a fairly traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but also a piñata bash, a half marathon, and lots of time skyping with families in the US!
We are thankful to participate in God's work in this corner of his world.
We are thankful to be blessed with such a dedicated, loving, servant-hearted team.
We are thankful for health and healing.
We are thankful for God's loving Kingdom that is already inaugurated but still coming.
We are thankful for dear friends, in Mozambique and in the States.
As we wrap up, please pray for our Mozambican friends in the "time of hunger," the annual three to four months (November-February) before the harvest (March-April) when food supplies are diminishing. And pray for the rains (December-March) to be strong and steady but not flooding.
We love and miss you!
Rachel for all of us