Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Bibles

Last April the kids at the SIL school raised money for bibles for our kids and then came to the orphanage to play with us. It was a great day of meeting, singing, hair braiding, soccer, and lots of conversation. Our kids loved having the SIL school here and we hope that they will come again.

In the meantime, we finally got new Bibles for 25 of our children. We got the Boa Nova Portuguese translation which is the easiest for all to understand. Last Saturday Jim and Karen and their kids Carissa and Ben came to hand out the bibles and present every child with a bible cover. The bible covers were given by Weslyan churches in the U.S. and Australia and many were hand sewn. The kids are very happy to have brand new bibles and beautiful bible covers. Thank you so much for the bibles SIL students and thank you so much for the covers Wesleyan churches! All the kids got new flip-flops too! Thank you to the one who gave flip-flops! They are greatly needed and appreciated!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Simba's Wild Play

Simba is the best, cutest, funniest dog and he is SO perfect for the orphanage. I’m sorry for putting so many pictures of a dog on our blog and I’m sorry the pictures are so blurry and not good, but can’t you see how great and funny his little personality is? Simba is the greatest joy and entertainment for the kids. And he LOVES playing with them. Simba has a stuffed animal lion that he guards but then flaunts to the kids. When the kids get the lion (or another toy that Simba’s interested in) they attach it to a string and then run as fast as they can with it. Simba LOVES chasing them and they LOVE being chased. When Simba finally catches the lion he does tug-of-war and then takes the lion back to his little sand hill, which is right in the middle of everything (so that he can see all the kids and they can see him and the game can continue on and on forever).

On Saturday I needed butter but the butter was frozen so I put it on a little ledge on the porch to warm up in the sun. When I went outside to get the butter an hour later it was gone. I thought somebody had taken it (maybe thinking that I had discarded it). I first went to Victor, who was digging in the construction place with all the older boys. They didn’t know anything about it. Then I went to the orphanage kitchen where they were making cakes for the church picnic the next day, but they didn’t know anything about it either. Then we remembered Simba, but he was nowhere to be found. I know that he likes to hang around where they dump (and later burn) the trash so I went to look there. By then all the kids knew that he might be the one who had taken the butter and they were all running along around me, thrilled and laughing and telling each other, “Simba robar Mana Christina!!!” (Simba robbed me.) This caused all the ones working on construction to stop to watch the commotion. When we got to Simba’s little place we found him lounging around and there was the entire block of butter (one of those HUGE gigantic blocks that are made up of lots of cubes) all mashed up in the wrapper. Everyone thought it was the funniest thing. I thought the funny part was hearing the kids using the word “robbed” when talking about our pet.

Simba is the perfect pet for the orphanage. He plays with the kids all day and he’s a guard at night. Whenever he gets wild the kids say he’s “playing bad,” which sounds so funny because it’s what adults always tell kids not to do. He is the first (invited) “pet” any of the kids have ever had. Most of them were very scared of him at first even though he was smaller than a shoe when he came. Now everyone loves him being here. We hope he will have a long life here at the orphanage.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Sueli comes to the orphanage every Saturday morning to do a Bible study with the children. Where we live the kids are able to see people outside the orphanage practicing witchcraft and ancestor worship every day. People visit witchdoctors and use charms and spells when they’re sick, need help finding food, money or jobs, desire to harm an enemy, or even want another person to fall in love with them. Many people believe that the spirits of their ancestors will harm or help them and describe the experience of being “haunted” when they don’t sacrifice valuable things to the dead. These beliefs are so strong that you can find a hungry family with no money leave the only food they have on the grave of a relative to avoid being “haunted” or tormented.

In church on Sundays and in the orphanage every day our kids are taught that these things are false and that we as Christians are free from them as we are protected by Jesus. Because of people like Sueli, the kids are able to hear the same message – the Good News of Jesus Christ – again and again, consistently, from many different people. Sueli teaches new songs, helps memorize Bible verses, and models great Sunday school teaching. She has been going through the Bible with the children chronologically using a method developed by New Tribes, which she has found to be the best for kids. She has also worked with the young adults and staff, teaching them how to develop good Sunday School lessons to use at church. The kids love Saturday mornings with Sueli and we hear them singing the songs she teaches them throughout the week. Having Sueli come with solid Bible teaching each week is a great blessing for us as we have another person giving the kids a strong foundation in God’s word.

Sueli Potocki is a missionary who lives in Nampula with her husband and kids and has been in Mozambique for almost two decades. She is originally from Brazil and used to serve with New Tribes before coming to Mozambique with the African Inland Mission. Her husband Don is a pastor who teaches at the Assemblies of God Africana Bible School. He is originally from the U.S. but met Sueli here in Mozambique, where he has been a missionary since the 1980s. Thanks Sueli for including us in your great work in Mozambique!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Water Update

Thank you so much for all your prayers for our water situation. After we sent out the prayer request email our water came back on that night, long enough to fill up our tanks and buckets, and everyone got showers, clothes washed, and even dishes done. We are so thankful for this. Now the water has been on and off or coming very little and slow. Under these circumstances we don’t mind if it goes off each day as long as we are able to have it on in the evenings long enough to fill up all our containers. Thank you so much for all your prayers and please continue praying for this. After receiving so much encouragement in response to our email we felt really great and even kind of “protected” knowing that so many people really care and are praying for us. Also – the kids have all been drinking as much as they need and we have been able to keep going with construction. All the men working on the dorm are our neighbors and have also had as much as they need to drink.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No Water

Please pray for our water situation. The orphanage gets city water through pipes that are often completely shut off for hours or days during the dry season, which is now. This can be scary and stressful. Right now we have not had any water for several days and there is nothing left in our tank or construction water cistern. The kids have been rationing drinking water and nobody has taken a shower or washed dishes in two days. Victor and the older boys have been searching for water outside the orphanage but this is difficult because everyone else in the area is in the same situation. They have driven around with all the red buckets looking for any place that has water and will share some with us. Even nearby rivers are dry (and extremely polluted) during this time.

Please pray that . . .
· the water will come back on today and then stay long enough for drinking, filling the tank, washing, and showers
· the nearest place with a well will allow us to use it if/when we need help the rest of this dry season
· that none of our neighbors will suffer because of water shortages

We need water for . . .
· drinking
· cooking
· showers
· washing dishes
· washing clothes
· construction

Please keep our water situation in your prayers during the rest of this dry season, which will last until sometime in December.

Besides the lack of water everything else at the orphanage has been going really well and all are healthy. Everyone is excited about the construction of the first dorm. We are clearing the land now and plan to begin laying the foundation in less than a week. We are grateful for all the prayers and support that have allowed us to begin building and eating well.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Help from Simon and Gracio

The kids have been praying for years to be able to build good dorms for them to sleep in. We do not yet have enough money to complete the first one but we have enough to at least begin construction! Everyone is overjoyed about this! The reason why this is even possible is because Simon in Chimoio allowed us to borrow his truck for hauling construction supplies while Gracio had the truck up here in Nampula for two weeks. Gracio’s help transporting materials has helped us tremendously and allowed us to pay for sand, rock and cement instead of spending all our money on truck rental fees. Gracio has been amazing as he has worked many days hauling loads of materials back and forth to the orphanage from 4am to 10pm. Gracio also used the truck to transport the entire orphanage to church, over three miles away, on Sunday.

Breaking Down the Boys Dorm

Yesterday afternoon the kids began sorting out and setting up tents (another amazing donation from Simon), which the boys will be sleeping in throughout the construction of the dorms. All the tents are now set up between the Dining Hall and the wall. (Again – none of this would be possible if we did not have the shelter of the wall around our property. Thank you so much to all who helped with the finances for the wall!) As it began to get dark the tents were finally ready and all the boys moved their stuff out of their old dorm with huge smiles on their faces. The next morning everyone got up before 5am and broke down the dorm. This is the most exciting event for everyone. Now we will begin laying the foundation and then start building until our supplies run out!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Ashlie from South Carolina arrived here on Friday night and will be with us at the orphanage for two months. Everyone is ecstatic about her being here. Last year she graduated from the New Life School of Worship with an emphasis in voice. Now she will be able to help some of the kids with techniques for producing the best sound in their singing and may even help with recording their music in the future. The kids have been enjoying a great exchange of games, words, and smiles with Ashlie since the moment she got here. They are thrilled with her Frisbee and have been teaching her all their favorite games. Ashlie’s flexibility is amazing and she is completely up for anything. So far she has already experienced matapa, Frango King, a quick visit to the village of Murrupula, a four hour Portuguese/Macua church service, transporting sand from the dunes, transporting rock being burned and chipped from the mountain, and lots of interactions with the kids (and with our pets).

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Our Living Room

Though it’s been in the 90s every day, a lot of kids have still been playing in our living room, which always makes it very lively in here. (No, we do not have air conditioning, and yes, we do have a tin roof.) Right now the youngest kids are having a great time playing each morning before school with little cars that people sent them. Also – whenever I’m on the computer I have a great audience. All the kids have seen our website and blog and they love it. Victor explained to them that people from all over the world can get on any computer and see their pictures. Since then I have heard some of the little ones say to each other, “People in America will see this!!!” whenever I take their picture.


Besides all our pet cockroaches, lizards, scary bats, bunny spiders, poisonous viper snakes, bugs that shed their wings and taste like bacon, and tiny frogs, we have one pet that we did invite here. His name is Simba and he’s a little yellow dog. Less than a week before we left for the U.S. last May, Alberto brought him to the orphanage as a tiny puppy. I think he is the first pet any of the kids have ever had and everyone loves him. When Victor and I returned here in September Simba was much bigger and was barking at us non-stop until we gave him food. Since he is now in the wild puppy stage he never stops entertaining. The other night we had a really serious orphanage meeting and during one of the most intense, silent parts, Simba started viciously attacking a lamp cord coming out from our missionary donation pile. When somebody tried to get him he became obsessed with little Caneto and wanted to play with him in a big wrestle! Whenever somebody else caught him, he would roll all over the place and then start doing twirls and flips. Victor kept interrupting his serious talk to grab Simba, put him outside, and then actually barricade the door with things from the missionary pile (all while the whole orphanage silently waited for the serious talk to continue). A few minutes later Simba broke through the door again and started racing around with glee. He then chose different kids to wrestle with. It’s also really funny when all the kids are behaving perfectly except for one little commotion in the crowd and then Simba will be spotted sitting straight up, just like everybody else, in the middle of the kids.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Studying for Exams

In Mozambique summer and winter are opposite compared with the U.S. so right now it’s getting hotter and hotter every day. School ends at the end of October and then all the kids get to play, except for those who are in 2nd, 5th, 7th, and 10th grade. In those grades there are exams in November that need to be passed in order to continue to the next grade. After 10th grade you can enter a training college to be a teacher, nurse, agriculturalist, or almost anything else. Right now there are four 10th graders in the orphanage – Ruben, Carlitos, Lazaro, and Sara. After hearing that all of them were behind in their studies, Victor hired four of their teachers to come to the orphanage and tutor them. Now, for the last five weeks of school they are going through intense test preparations in Chemistry, Math, Biology, and Physics after school three times a week, here at the orphanage. It’s too hot to stay inside so their class has been under the mango tree next to our house. This picture shows the kids with their Chemistry teacher who used to be Victor’s classmate back in the old days.