Monday, December 16, 2013

after the break-in

On December 1st, armed thieves broke into our home, stealing money and our computers.  We are extremely grateful that no one was seriously injured or killed.  Our family and our team is committed to staying and working among the Makua-Metto people of Mozambique, and we have been blessed by an outpouring of love and support from friends and family all over the world.  Rachel and I are trying to be realistic about how we are doing and recognize that we are still in the middle of processing this traumatic event.  Many people have asked how we are doing and it has been hard to give a complete answer. 

We’ve been flooded with visitors. In the first few days after the incident we had at least a hundred Mozambicans come to visit and cry with us. They’ve called this kind of visit ‘okituwela’ which is the word to describe the visits you make when someone is mourning a death. They’ve come to grieve and encourage us. One of the Mozambican preachers was here within a few hours and cried with his hand on my shoulder as he prayed for us. At least 10 men came on Sunday from the Evangelical Assembly of God to pray for us and bring about 10 U.S. dollars to help with our losses. Others brought flour and peanuts and bajias (small balls made of fried bean paste) for the girls. A man that barely knows us sent over bread, jam and a jar of mayonnaise. Women sit and cry with Rachel. One man walked barefoot from a nearby town and started crying as soon as he saw me. Two other men rode their bikes from another town to check on us after hearing about it over the phone – “It wasn’t enough to just hear that you were okay, we had to see you with our eyes because the whole village is crying for you and we needed to be able to tell them that we saw you alive.” I have talked often with one of the Mozambican church members about the need to be ‘strong and courageous’ and I received that reminder in a text message from him as I drove to the police station Sunday morning. People have sat with us and told us their own stories of suffering and tales of God’s faithfulness in the midst of pain. One man who has been a follower of Jesus for just a couple years, rode his bike from another town to deliver a gigantic bag of flour and shared a testimony of Christ’s provision in hardship to me and the others present.

All these visitors have reminded me that we are really doing ministry ‘among’ or ‘with’ the Makua people. It is not just us doing ministry ‘to’ them. They are ministering to us as well and that is how it should be.

Rachel and I are still feeling a bit shaken.  This past week we resumed a more normal schedule but we still are feeling the effects.  We’ve both felt like it has been harder to hear and speak Makua.  It’s like our brains are moving slow, I’ve felt like we’re swimming in molasses and been harder to make normal decisions as quickly.

We are determined that God can be glorified even in this.  Our God has this amazing habit of turning bad things into something good.  He took 400 years of slavery in Egypt and turned it into a miraculous exodus for the Hebrews.  He took the betrayal and death of Jesus and turned it into salvation for the world.  So, we are resolved that this same God can surely redeem our recent experience – He can take it and use it for good.

Right now we are requesting prayers for healing of our hearts and minds.  We need prayers for peace and wisdom for our whole team, especially the teachers, Kara and Bekah, who have been affected by this event as well.

Thanks to so many who have been praying for us and carrying us through this experience.

Grace and Peace,

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