Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer Graduation

Victor, Leonora, Anabela, and Noemia
This summer three of our kids from the orfanato - Victor, Anabela, and Noemia - graduated from a culinary program and one girl from church - Leonora - graduated from a cosmetology program at the Young Africa trade school in Beira.

Anabela has been in the orphanage since she was a tiny child and has been a good friend and sister to the other girls.  She is a talented singer and has been in the band and on the praise and worship team for over five years.  Anabela wasn't sure what she wanted to do after high school but decided on this culinary program after everyone thought she would be a great cook and that these skills would open doors for her.  She did well in the program and we are excited to see what she does next!

Noemia came to us more recently but has been a great asset to the orphanage family - taking on any responsibility asked of her and making friends quickly and easily.  She is quiet, observant and hard-working.  Noemia has always loved cooking and baking and gravitated to the kitchen to learn new things.  We love Noemia's enthusiasm for making tasty food and we expect her to go far with the culinary certification and new skills she's added to her repertoire.

Victor ("Little Victor" though he is very tall now) is a young man who has always shown exceptional character.  He is extremely hard-working and usually the first to volunteer for jobs that nobody wants.  He happily helps with the most difficult tasks and when he notices that something needs to be done he takes care of it without waiting to be asked or noticed.  Victor loves cooking and took charge of marinating and grilling chicken, preparing rice and beans, and anything else in the kitchen when he was very young.  The food he cooks is delicious and we were excited about him learning more about what can be done in the kitchen.  We hope the skills he's learned in the culinary program will open up lots of opportunities in the future and we will be thrilled if he chooses to come back to us to be on the staff!

Leonora grew up in our church and is Marta's younger sister.  She has wanted to be a beautician and after finishing secondary school, Marta and Silimone were able to send her to Young Africa with the kids from the orfanato.  She did well in the program and is very excited about her new knowledge of hair care and everything else she needs to know to work in a salon.

It takes more than 12 hours to drive from Nampula (where our orphanage is) to Beira (where Young Africa is located).  The roads are not easy to drive on and the trip can be dangerous due to frequent fatal accidents and sporadic violence.  Over the past eight years we have been sending kids from the orphanage and from local churches to this area for Bible school, trade school, and even university.  Most of our kids have never traveled more than a few miles and it's a very big deal for them to go all the way to Beira.  The people in Beira are from different tribes and speak different languages.  The local culture is different, and even the climate is different.  In the U.S. we have a heritage of traveling and living in far away places.  But in this part of the world people have lived in one place with their families and tribes for hundreds of years.  When our kids travel to Beira they are somewhat like pioneers making a new way.  After our first few groups of young people set the example and a handful of them are now settled in this area, it seems like there's now a bridge between us and them.  The following pictures show other kids who have graduated from our orphanage who are now living in Beira and have supported these guys in every way since they've been in school there:

Jeremias Victor, Leonora, and Noemia.  Jeremias grew up in the orphanage and is now a law student at a university in Beira.
Gizela with the graduates.  Gizela grew up in the orphanage and then went through the culinary program at Young Africa a few years ago.  She now has a great job working as a cook for a preschool at a Bible school in Beira.
Osvaldo with the graduates.  Osvaldo is an amazing young man who has been involved with our ministry for the past few years.  He has been a volunteer and mentor to the younger kids and is currently in Bible school in Beira.  He will join the Evanjafrica staff after he graduates.
Victor eating the special graduation meal.
Noemia.
Anabela and Pacheco.  Pacheco also grew up in the orphanage and is now a law student with Jeremias at the same university in Beira.

Catching Up

Jordao, Isaque, Belson, Canito, and Enoque.  (Photo by Grace Boto)

Dear Family and Friends,

Over the next few weeks we would like to catch up on our blog and tell about what’s been happening in Mozambique and with us over the past year.

OUR FAMILY IN THE U.S.

Our family is currently on furlough in the U.S.  We originally planned to be here only a few months but are now going to stay longer to work on fundraising and expanding the services of our ministry in Mozambique.  We are also staying longer to get speech therapy and other services for our four-year-old son, Yohani, who was recently diagnosed with Autism. 

We first noticed that Yohani was behind in his development when he was about six months old, but didn’t realize how serious it was until he got older and still never began to talk.  When we were in Seattle in 2012 Yohani got into a program for kids with developmental delays and started progressing with signing, speech, and in other areas for the first time.  But the next year in Mozambique he stopped moving forward again.  We have prayed about this constantly and have prayed for Yohani’s life since before he was born. 

After arriving in the U.S. a few months ago, Yohani was able to get into an amazing special education program and now has some phenomenal teachers, therapists, and other professionals working with him in and out of school.  We feel that this has been a huge answer to prayer as we have seen Yohani open up to things that we couldn’t imagine him doing before.  We love everything about Yohani and don’t even have words to describe the joy he has brought into our lives.  We are so grateful to be here getting services for Yohani at this time.  Yohani is still not talking and we would love your prayers for his progress and development.

Our girls, Leila and Aya just turned two and are greatly enjoying the treats of America – spending time with family and friends, cheeseburgers, pizza, Sunday School, wading pools, pet dogs, air conditioning, and Daniel Tiger.  I know they miss the kids back in the orphanage and still use some of the Portuguese and Macua words they learned there that I didn’t even know!

Kids and staff praying at the mountain.

NAMPULA ORPHANAGE

Since we've been in the U.S. the orphanage staff has been doing a wonderful job with the kids.  Victor keeps in contact with them through skype every day and we have been greatly impressed with how smoothly things have been going.  All the kids are on track in school and a small group of our kids from the orphanage have recently graduated from trade school.  We also thank God that there have not been any serious illnesses among any of the kids or staff since we’ve been gone.

CUAMBA CHILDREN’S PROGRAM

Daniel (Photo by Grace Boto)
Cuamba, a small town in the province north of Nampula, has many orphans but no orphanages, and over the past few years we have had to reject many requests to help kids from there because of regulations against moving orphans to another province.  For almost ten years Victor has dreamed of one day setting up an orphanage in Cuamba in the same way that he set up the orphanage in Nampula.  Before I ever met him, Victor had already purchased a piece of land there, and last year he traded it for something better for starting something like this.  Over the past few months Daniel, one of our staff members who grew up in our orphanage in Nampula, has been in Cuamba doing preliminary work for starting a feeding program for orphans there.  We are excited about expanding our services to help more children in Mozambique and would greatly appreciate your prayers for God’s guidance and work in the lives of the most vulnerable kids who we hope to work with in Cuamba.

VISITING CHURCHES IN THE U.S.


While we are here in the U.S. we hope to visit as many churches as possible so that we may share the work and ministry in Mozambique with people who may want to partner with us in caring for orphans, helping widows become self-sustaining, providing scholarships for young people from poor families, training local pastors, evangelizing, and much more.  Please pray that God will open doors for us to be able to share and connect with people in a variety of churches.

Thank you all so much for still remembering us, praying for us, and supporting us during this past year when we have been so quiet.


Love, Victor and Christina