The Reason (The Sequel)
The second the mission van departed it began vibrating with songs, clapping and ululation! But this time I came prepared with my noise cancelling head-set. I felt a bit guilty putting it on, but knew my ears would thank me along with my whole family in the years to come. I had the sweet privilege to drive the 15 grannies who care for the 36 orphans in our Amigo orphan program to this years Christmas party and you cannot just drive somewhere without lots of singing!
The orphan Christmas party is always lots of fun with food, gifts, games and swimming. Every year we also have a wonderful time of sharing the Christmas story. At the end of the story this year I called Abel up to congratulate him on successfully finishing his second year (of 4) of university in architecture. Abel has been in our orphan program since 3rd grade and now has advanced to university in Beira (a four-hour drive away). His passion for his studies and his love for God are palpable and he is so grateful to be where he is. He told me that even some of his university professors pull out the Bible and share brief devotionals now and again and encourage the students in their faith!
I had the privilege of sharing with the orphans that the significance of Jesus coming to earth could be seen in Abel’s life (and is being seen in their lives). Although orphans, their true Father sent his only son Jesus as a gift to us. And Jesus is the reason all of us are here two thousand years later. Because of Jesus, we and all those who believe are called on to give our lives and our best so others can know their Father. And because a sponsor loves and gives and because so many give to support the missionaries, Abel has had the chance to know Jesus and get an education he could never have had! Jesus is the reason and because of Him…Wow! Thank you all who give and pray and stay!
Tuesday was a full day purchasing supplies, drawing salaries and buying gifts for our key government officials. Oh, and we also picked up 10,780 Eucalyptus seedlings!
Wednesday early, we started urgently planting out the seedlings. We had a little rain earlier in the week, but to be sure we planted each seedling with 3 liters of water. I rushed away from the planting to the airstrip just in time to say good-bye to Angela, a friend who had come to visit Shannon, our newest missionary. What a blessing and encouragement she was and now Andy was flying her to Beira. I had prayed for rain, but was torn since we still wanted decent weather for the flight. As I checked Spidertracks (our internet tracking system for the aircraft), I could see Andy and Shannon were already on the way back to the mission. And a good thing too since I had heard some rumbles in the sky. Well as they started getting close, it started to rain lightly and storm clouds were all around. I grabbed the hand-held radio and drove up to the airstrip so I could assist to guide them in if needed. About 15 miles out I was able to start talking to Andy, and a storm was moving in from the South and West. I encouraged him to approach from the North and he had already seen the window. They landed in the light rain. As soon as Andy shut down the engine, I hooked up the tow-bar and pushed them into the hangar. A minute or so later as we were closing up the hangar doors, the sky opened up and we had a downpour. We were all so thankful they made it in on time, and also so thankful for the rain.
That afternoon, I worked with our team of 21 other staff and we planted almost 4000 trees. The rains came each night but let up during the day and by Friday we had all 10,000 trees planted. Each tree has the potential to return more than 10 times its value within 6 years. Yes, they will need care and attention, just like our orphans, school children, women in literacy and pastors/leaders, but the potential is huge!
Thursday was a day for our missionary team to review the “why, the how and the what” for the year to come. It was a blessed time of sharing and dreaming along with praying and submitting our plans to the One who’s will we want done.
Friday, although other staff were already off for their Christmas break, our department leaders spent 6 hours together with our missionaries sharing goals, plans and dreams and again prayer. It was a blessed time and especially as we emphasized again and again the reason… the “why” we do all this hard work!
Thank you to each of you who sponsor, and support and pray for this mission and our team of missionaries! Although we are far from our families this Christmas, there is a good Reason! May God’s richest blessings be on your homes and families as you celebrate the Prince of Peace.