Thursday, May 31, 2012

Marta and Silmone Get Married!

Marta and Silmone, two of our staff members, were married a few weeks ago and we are so thrilled about their marriage!

Victor and I are the only married couple living inside the orphanage and we have been praying that God would send another married couple to be on the Evanjáfrica staff and live inside the orphanage for many years now.  We feel that it is invaluable for the kids to have both single and married people as role models who they live and interact with everyday.  We never imagined that Marta and Silmone would end up being this couple and now that they are, we are SO happy!

They both grew up in our church, in families who have always been very involved in the community.  Silmone’s mom is Mama Laura, who has been one of the orphanage cooks since the day the orphanage began.  Marta’s dad is a roofer and put the roof on the boys dormitory.  Marta’s mom is one of the pillars in the church.  There are far too many deaths where we live and she has a reputation for being the person who has selflessly cared for every family when they have lost a loved one – spending many nights with a family in mourning.

Victor has known both of these families since he was a child and has watched Marta and Silmone grow up.  Both of them felt called into ministry at young ages and Evanjáfrica was able to send Marta to bible school and she has worked at the orphanage ever since she graduated in 2007.  We were able to send Silmone to bible school a few years later and he has been on our staff since he graduated in 2011.  Soon after this the two of them fell in love and they were married this April.

Having these two on our staff has been such a blessing to us and the kids.  Marta is kind and humble, a good teacher, enthusiastic, willing to do any job, loves God with all her heart, sees the glass half full, and is always laughing.  She has been through a so much heartache since she has been with us – her younger sister passed away suddenly, her father and another sister have barely escaped serious illnesses, and she herself has undergone two dangerous emergency surgeries that saved her life.  Through all of these things Marta has sought strength from God and been an amazing example to us all.  She is joyful and it rubs off on everyone else.  She is always a safe person for the kids to run to and confide in and she’s calming to be around.  She has spent countless hours with almost every sick kid in the hospital.  I could go on and on as there are many more amazing things that she does . . . but basically – we love Marta and love having her on staff.

Silmone truly loves the kids and enjoys being with them.  He also has a natural ability to lead and it seems that God has given him a real gift of discernment.  He often notices things that nobody else is able to see and he knows how to give advice and point us in the right direction in a way that is honoring and helpful.  He is able to mediate problems well and he is passionate about doing God's work and being in the ministry, despite opposition from anyone who tells him he can make more money doing something else.  He can be trusted to give good counsel and advice and to do what’s best for the kids.  Having him in the orphanage, especially while we are gone, takes a huge pressure off of Victor and brings a great stability to the kids.  And having Marta and Silmone together brings even more strength to our staff and family.

Congratulations Marta and Silmone!  We are SO happy for your marriage and we are so grateful for all that you bring to this ministry and to our kids in the orphanage!

Marta and her dad walking into the Nampula courthouse.  In Mozambique everyone gets married in the courthouse and then in the church.  (I think this tradition/law originally came from Portugal.)

In the courthouse all the guests sing as the bride and her father walk in.  Then the bride and groom stand before a judge and clerk (the two ladies behind the table).  They are also joined on either side by Jonas and Erica, their padrinhos (another married couple who are supposed to guide them and give them advice and counsel whenever they need it – in planning the wedding and for the rest of their lives!  In Mozambique they have padrinhos instead of bridesmaids and groomsmen.)

Leaving the courthouse, in the center of Nampula.

In front of the new statue of Samora Machel, the first president of Mozambique.  This little round-about has been under construction since I first arrived in Nampula five years ago and has just now finally been unveiled!  It is literally in the very center of the city, with almost all major streets converging here.

Next everyone went to the church for a full traditional Mozambican wedding.  Victor was privileged to do the wedding ceremony and there was a great celebration with all the choirs.  It was one of the most vibrant and packed weddings the church has ever seen, probably because these two are very loved and both the bride and the groom grew up in the church and have families who are so involved.  Sorry there are no pictures from this part but it was great!

And finally the reception was at the orphanage.  Here the happy couple feed each other chicken, curry rice, delicious lamb stew, and cake! 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Back in the U.S.A.

Mike, Ann, Mia and Nate.
Yohani and his cousin Anthony watching the game.
Yohani playing baseball with his Uncle Mike.
Running barefoot in the grass for the first time in his life.
Love this time with family.
Being carried away by his cousin Mia.
Yohani giving me flowers on Mother's Day (with my dad in the background). 
With my sister and mom and our kids, Mia, Yohani, and Nate (Anthony was sleeping) on Mother's Day.
Yohani eating an American Cheerio.
Victor is finally here from Mozambique and if anyone is wondering why I look like this it's because we are expecting twins in July!
Thank you so so much everyone who has been praying for us during the last eight months and please forgive me for failing to update the blog for so long!