Monday, September 13, 2004

August 29th through 30th

August 29, 2004
Dear Mom and Dad, and everyone in my family Hey, I might just send this to my newsletter list because it is a news letter in and of itself. Probably more interesting than the other one!
Hi! I am sitting at Hannah’s waiting for the phone line to be free so I can send my newsletter. Tomorrow a short termer is leaving and I have 8 letters I am sending with her. There are ones for the grandparents but I am sending them to you guys because I don’t have the addresses.

Karen has malaria But today I went over to talk with her about the baby house and about starting the preschool for the next age group down (3 year olds). So to make a long story short… Laura is moving to Katie P’s dorm and taking over (Katie P lives in the city with Yolanda—the little girl she just adopted! And 3 other girls). So Laura will have 50 boys to look after. Anyway, I just found that out today. So I came to talk to Laura and she asked if I could take over preschool. Even though she loves it, it would be allot more stressful to do that AND look after 50 boys. So I start on Tuesday! Eek! I will wait to start the other preschool until next week. So I will be teaching 5 days a week; Mondays and Thursdays I will be teaching the 3 year olds, and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I will have the 4 year olds. PRAY FOR ME! There’s 10 in the older group and 7 in the younger group (including Felismina).
It’s so weird. I spent the last year and a half really learning to teach (in Sunday school and 2 children’s churches, as well as Girl’s Only cell group). But I never considered myself a teacher and I didn’t know why God was having me teach at church. Now a month and a half after I am here I am put over all the preschool and I am THE TEACHER!! Eeshi! (that is what you say in Portuguese for “Wow”).
Today is the LAST day of the fair. Send me pictures! I can’t believe I survived a week without the fair. Wow… I still want to be there next year. Chow!

August 30th, 2004—Okay, so am I ever going to get online to send all these letters?! I have NO idea! But today has been so good. The Monday morning meeting was GREAT. I went with Anton and a new couple here (George and Jill) to drop someone off at the airport, then Anton dropped us off at Shop Rite. I spent allot because I had to buy the snacks and juice for preschool for the next 2 weeks (healthy stuff like bananas, apples, crackers, peanut butter, cheese, yogurt). Anyway, while I was there I ran into a couple and there 2 young girls who are here working with Iris. They are from Australia, but they have been renting a house in the city for 2 months. Next week they are going to Pemba for a couple weeks, then going home. So anyway, they started talking to me and asked me if I would be willing to start an intercession group for Iris Ministries? They have daily intercession, but this would be different. If I could find people here (I just have to start with one other person because where 2 or 3 come together, God is there as well) who will be totally committed to spending say half an hour a week in prayer with me. I will get the prayer requests and then also make up a list of all the ministries Iris has and the long termers, and churches that support Iris, and once a week we will get together and do intercession for it. Because in order for this whole ministry to keep going, it needs ongoing, consistent prayer support and Spiritual protection. I am honored that God would give me the role of getting that going! It’s so neat to see what God has done in the last 2 days—from being put over preschool, to starting this prayer team. Praise God!
One final praise report. At Shop Rite today I finished quickly so I was waiting outside and got the opportunity to share Jesus with 2 guys. I think the one guy was just wanting to know if I was available cause I am an American. He was the guy that works at Steere’s (little place like McDonalds). The other guy was a Supervisor in the Shop Rite parking lot. So he came over to just make sure everything was okay and I had someone coming for me since I had been standing there for awhile (waiting for Anton). Then we started talking. He has a wife and 2 daughters. So he was saying money is bitter (I think he was trying to say it is hard to come by) and he wants to go to America where he could get a job and make more money than he does looking after cars. So I said to him, “Once you have money then you buy food and then you use up your food and have no money. Having allot of money is not so important. Because when you die what will your money have gotten you? But Jesus loves you so much. If you pray and trust in Jesus, he will take care of you and give you a job. And what’s better is then when you die you will get eternal life!” You should have seen him and heard the questions he asked. So then he told me he was getting off work at 5:00, and tonight he is going to go to church. I told him to go home and take his wife and daughters as well. I was like God really loves you and if you let him he will make you so happy! Because money and wealth don’t bring you joy, only Jesus can do that! Lord bless him. His name was Anenis. Pray he would find his hope in Jesus.
After that Anton arrived with 2 new visitors. I got to play the hospitality role and take them through Shop Rite (I think I am as fast as Anton now!), then I showed them around the compound when we got back to the Center.
It’s fun and totally tiring working here. But I love every second of it. Even laminating a huge stack of stuff for preschool, and lightening the load of other missionaries. And then just being able to encourage the long termers and the short termers. And they encourage me and bless me so much. God is so wonderful. It’s so awesome to have family in Christ!
Okay. Maybe you will get these 2 newsletters before I return home?!
Blessings. Chow!
In Christ,

August 21st through 29th

*August 21, 2004*
An update from Anna Coumos in Mozambique Africa, serving Jesus with Iris Ministries

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what you cannot lose.” --Jim Elliot
(Speared by head hunters in Ecuador while serving there as a missionary in 1956)

Bondia! Good morning from beautiful Mozambique!

I can’t believe I have been here for over a month already!! Time has flown by so fast. I can’t imagine coming home in 2 ½ months. If God opens the doors, I really want to stay here longer. My heart is here…
Every day brings new challenges, and with each challenge I learn more about God. He is so amazing and faithful.

The weather here these days has been quite hot. I am not looking forward to the summer heat and high humidity!

I love everything here. I don’t even mind the cold showers (sometimes they are actually hot!). I am taking Portuguese lessons, which is helping immensely with communicating. I taught preschool 2 days in a row by myself in Portuguese! But that is the extent of my vocabulary. Talking to preschoolers. I don’t know enough to carry on a conversation with adults yet. Please pray for me to learn Portuguese REALLY quickly
and easily. It’s hard when the educators or Mozambicans want to talk to me or ask for something and I only understand a little of what they are saying.

I was going to the prison a couple times a week with Corrie, and the last time I went one of the police officers gave me his name and phone number and asked me to call him. I did NOT call him. But I haven’t been back since because I was in South Africa. God is really working at the prison! One day Corrie went and the chief of police asked her to come into his office. She was so worried, thinking, “What did I do wrong?!” The police asked her to tell him exactly what we do when we come. She thought he was thinking we were preaching or something, so she said, “We just feed them and say a quick prayer before they eat.” What happened next took her by complete surprise! He said, “Well I am a Christian too, and I am so glad you are coming!! The boys here stole some things and that is why they are here.” He explained from a biblical perspective why he was punishing the boys. We still don’t like HOW they are doing it (shoving a bunch of guys into a tiny dark room with only a hole in the ground, and not feeding them), but this is a third world country so you just have to accept that.
So the chief of police said, “We are glad you are caring for them, but please don’t forget about us (the police)”. That was so cool! So after that Corrie decided to take a little more freedom and she started reading scripture to them and explaining it, and I get to pray for them when I go. So one day she got back from the prison and hurries over to me, her face glowing! “Anna, you’ll never believe what happened today! I explained God’s plan for salvation and they were listening so intently. So I asked who wanted to pray and accept Christ in their hearts, and ALL the guys raised their hands! So we prayed and everyone accepted Christ!!” Wow!! Praise God!! Please pray for the guys at the prison. Pray that this commitment would change their lives and turn their lifestyles around completely. I LOVE going to the prison. I don’t know why, but my heart is just there. God is moving and it’s so awesome to see!

Last Sunday we had a wedding here. This is a story that will give you goose bumps!!
Peggy and Helmut were married for several years and had 5 children, but they were not Christians, and they ended up getting a divorce. 3 years later they both got saved. Last year Peggy came to Iris for a short-term mission trip and loved it here. While she was here someone told her she would be married within a year. That kind of shocked her because she didn’t know anyone she’d marry, so she just forgot about it. Right after she returned from Africa she ran into her x-husband and they decided to go out for dinner. They started talking and realized they really loved each other. On Christmas Helmut proposed to Peggy! Then she asked where he wanted to get married, and he said, “Let’s get married in Africa!” He had no idea about the prophecy she had received when she was here; he just always wanted to go to Africa. So 5 years after their divorce they got married to each other again, and this time as Christians!! Peggy wore her capalana that she received last year when she was leaving (all the visitors get a capalana when they leave). The wedding was beautiful, and the newlyweds were just glowing. Pastor Jose used the opportunity to preach to the Mozambicans about God’s plan for marriage and purity, and how men should not beat their wives. It was really good. And kind of funny. When he was doing the wedding vows and saying “In sickness and in health”, he said to Helmut, “Even if your wife gets really sick and is so skinny and gets a hole in her cheek where food falls out, will you still love her?” “Yes!” (Helmut’s quick reply;-) Then to Peggy he said, “Even if your husband gets so sick you that he can’t work and you have to help him to the bathroom, will you still love him?” “Yes!” This sounds funny to us, but those are not uncommon occurrences for Mozambicans! The wedding was so sweet, and I loved it! (Don’t worry mom, I still want to get married at OUR church)

Last night I stayed the night at Don and Karen Braun’s house. I was watching their 3 children while they went to an overnight retreat for the long termers. We read books for hours, played games, made puppets, and made popcorn on the stove! Even in Africa I still don’t get out of babysitting…

An update on Felismina: She is doing sooo well! If you remember, she is the little tiny 4-year-old with HIV. I will try and enclose a picture of her, next to Addinha (who is the same age). Felismina is crawling now, and copying words you say. They think she might know Shanghan (the local language) and not Portuguese. She is very bright, and she has brought such joy to the baby house. Her smile is sooo beautiful, but I have yet to get her to smile for the camera. Her name, Felismina, means happy girl.

*August 24th, 2004*
I am now officially Mozambican. I still can’t believe it, but I HAVE MALARIA!! Two crosses. On Sunday I had diarrhea, and all day I felt like throwing up, so I didn’t eat anything. Debbie (one of the nurses) did a malaria quick test and it came back negative. Monday I was still feeling like throwing up, so I went to the clinic and they did a regular malaria test. At 1:30 I got a phone call and the Mozambican doctor asked if I was well enough to walk to the clinic? On my way over I kept thinking, “Wouldn’t he have just told me on the phone if I were negative?!” So I get there and find out I have 2 crosses of malaria. To have 2 crosses is not good, but it is better than one cross in a way. With one cross your not as sick, but it lasts longer. 2 crosses mean you’re really sick but you get over it quicker. I am on Coartem so hopefully soon I will be feeling a bit better. I feel like all I have done is sleep and lean over a bucket. All I can keep down is cream of chicken soup, yogurt, toast, and Maria crackers. Last night I watched a movie with Laura and Katrine (long termers). And my parents called me so I felt much better being able to talk to them.

*August 26th, 2004*
Yesterday morning I woke up early to say good bye to my dear sister in Christ, Christine. She is a long termer who I met last year. She now lives in Pemba (Northern Mozambique) at another children’s center run by Iris, but she was here for a visit. So our family has been writing her for the past year and a half, and she is sooo dear to me! It’s like having a sister on the same continent and in the same country as me. We had an awesome time together. She went back to Pemba and now I miss her so much. It’s so much easier to be here when you’re with someone you really know. Please pray for her while she is in Pemba. (And pray for me as I try to survive without her…)
I thought I was better this morning, so I spent a couple hours at the baby house. I am not better. I feel so sick and my head hurts. And I feel so tired all the time. Please pray for the malaria to LEAVE me in the name of Jesus!!

Bless you all! Thank you to those who have e-mailed me. I am sorry I can’t reply to each of you, but your e-mails are a blessing to me. Keep ‘em coming!!

Love in Christ,
Mana Ana

P.s. August 29, 2004 --- Oh my! ALLOT has happened since I last wrote, so I will be updating you ASAP. And thank you for those who have been praying for me. Today I am feeling MUCH better! I am definitely over the malaria. And Bonnie (a long termer here with her husband and daughter) brought me dinner today. She’s been concerned about me because my diet has consisted of cream of chicken soup, yogurt, and toast.
So it was great to eat normal food again, without hanging over a bucket afterwards. I HATE malaria!!

“My FIRST official update letter!!” August 8th, 2004

Mana Ana in Mozambique, Africa with Iris Ministries

Hello everyone!
I am so excited to be writing to you all and sharing with you God’s faithfulness.

I’ve never written an “update letter” before, so I have just been praying over the last
couple days that God would place on my heart what He wants me to share.

My dad and I had a great time together while he was here. It was so nice to have him here while I got started into my area of work here. It was very difficult for me to see him go, but God has blessed me and the long termers here are so nice!

I have settled right into the baby house (Casa dos bebes). There are 26 children in there ranging in age from 3 months to 4 _ years old. I love each of them so much! One of my biggest prayers before I came, and even while I am here, is that I would be able to be a mother to the motherless children. God is teaching me how to do that. From learning all their names and personalities, kissing them on the head every night before they go to bed, hugging them every morning, holding them, praying over them, laughing with them, kissing their booboos, working on colors and shapes with them so they remember at pre school, and sometimes disciplining them, … I believe God is reaching their little hearts.

All the little children call me “Mana Ana”. The kids love me and are constantly wanting my attention.
“Mana Ana, Olea akey!” (Look here!) “Mana Ana, Helena y Angelo…..!!” (Helena and Angelo are the 2 most strong willed children here. Heehee) “Mana Ana! Mana Ana! Mana Ana!…” Oh, how I love them!!

In the baby house I help feed the kids, oversee the bedtime routine, and take a couple kids out every day to spend more one on one time with. I also put together projects for the short termers to help with, such as washing and sorting all the toys.

Besides working in the baby house, I have been helping the hospitality team by giving tours of the center to the new short termers that arrive, and going on some ministry outreaches.

Last Sunday I went with a lady named Corrie to the police station to feed some street kids that the police arrested (they didn’t commit a crime, the police are just crazy here). The police took us outside behind the jail and they had 2 little tiny dark rooms and we did one room at a time. They let the guys come out (about 20 filed out of each little room). Some of the boys looked quite young—like 14 or 15. and we prayed for the food, then gave them plates of rice. After they finished the rice we passed out bread. They won’t let us take time to pray with each of them or share the word of God, but at least we can pray before they eat. Corrie has been going every day for about 3 weeks and feeding them. She has pleaded with the police to release the boys but they won’t.

Last week we took 10 children with aids out for lunch in the city. That was so much fun! They were cutting their french fries into little pieces and eating them with a fork. And they had never had sausage before so they weren’t sure how to eat it. Then we took them for ice cream.

The critters I am learning to get used to include: lizards and cockroaches (and a few other insects). The cockroaches are really fast so they are hard to kill. There are tons of lizards. I had one on my wall one night and I just prayed it would stay on my wall and not join me in my bed. It took me a long time to get to sleep that night because I kept wondering if it would grow huge in the night and come eat me. I’ve seen a few mouse droppings in my room but I haven’t seen the mouse. Corrie found a mouse in her BED the other day under her mosquito netting!! She came to the kitchen as white as a ghost and asked one of the guys to please come take care of it. My family can tell you that if I see a mouse in my room I will probably die….

Another thing I have gotten used to is the driving. Often times the roads are really bumpy dirt roads. And you just pile as many people as can possibly fit (or sometimes can’t possibly fit but we make them fit) into a land rover or pickup truck, and then you pick up people on the way and drop them off a mile later so they save a mile of walking. And every time you stop for a few seconds’ people are coming to your windows trying to sell you all kinds of stuff. And here people are constantly walking across the road and they come sooo close to getting hit by cars! It’s so insane.

Yesterday (Saturday—it’s Sunday the 8th now) I went with 5 long termers and 4 kids to the Indian Ocean to a beautiful beach. It was so incredibly gorgeous!! I LOVE the ocean. The water was cool and stretches on forever. The waves felt so good. We found a HUGE jellyfish washed up on shore. I took several pictures. It was really quite sickening to see a jellyfish up close. And it was still alive so we couldn’t touch it. I love seeing God’s creation. He is so smart. I don’t know how He could think up some of the things He’s made. God, you are so amazing!

I have been having some wonderful time with God. He keeps reminding me that I am called to the NATIONS. Right now I’d be happy to stay in Mozambique forever. But God is just giving me a vision of mothering children all over the world. And telling people about God’s passionate love for them. I have learned how to really “do devotions” in the morning. It’s not just getting up at 7:00, reading a chapter in my bible and a chapter in my devotional book, and then being done. I’ve been asking God to wake me up, and so sometimes it’s as early as 5:30. I’m learning to worship him without CD’s and without a worship leader. Just singing praise to Him from my heart. God is so faithful and I love Him so much! All fruitfulness flows from intimacy…

I have been lending my computer to a long termer named Erik for the last couple days, so it’s taken me awhile to get this written. Tonight I spent a couple hours in the girl’s dorm. I’ve made friends with several girls. Rosa is 16 and she is so sweet and so funny! When I was sick (last week I was sick on Sunday-Tuesday and throwing up. I think it was the flu.) she prayed for me and the next day I was better. So anyway, she always calls me “Hey, White” and I call her “Hey, Black”. Today we changed it…she is “Bronca” (white) and I am “Preto” (black). She’s is just so funny and crazy and I love being with her. She speaks English pretty well but she denies it. So she is teaching me some Portuguese. And Corrie is teaching me Portuguese as well.

The weather here was very cold after dad left! And it rained really hard for 3 days. The day I got sick we had hail! Now it is starting to get very hot.

All right, so I guess there is no real structure to this e-mail. I am just telling you what’s going on in some random order. But God is awesome. Thank you to everyone who has sent me, both financially, and with your prayers. God bless you all!!! I love you and miss you.

My prayer requests:
*Pray that I wouldn’t feel so lonely. It’s hard living in the short term compound because people are constantly coming and going. They are all very nice, but I hate that they have to leave so it is very hard emotionally.
*Pray for Felizmina--- She is HIV+, so she is 4 years old but smaller than a 1-year-old. She is very skinny, and only weighs about 14 pounds. She was just brought to the center 2 weeks ago. She is so precious and smiles all the time. Pray God would heal her from aids!
*Pray for health among the missionaries. It seems we are all getting sick—half with the flu, and half have malaria!
With much love in Jesus,
Anna Elizabeth Coumos

July 31st

Hello everyone!!
Just wanted to let you all know I am alive and well!!! and loving Africa.
I spend about 6 hours a day at the baby house or with the babies.
Right now my computer isn't working to go on line so I am using someone elses.
I have to get Outlook express, as well, so I can type e-mails off line and it is much cheaper.
They don't want you racking up time and $$ without Outlook. Pray my computer (Lord bless the Sahr's!!) will take it.
I love you ALL and miss you all very much. I will read the e-mails people sent as soon as I can.
I have so much to write about but it is about 11:00 or so and I can't spend so much time on line.
Have a great week. Pray for me. I have a cold and a terribly runny nose...and today my throat started feeling sore.
God bless you all!
Love in Jesus' precious name,
Anna (aka Mana Ana)
Please forward this e-mail to everyone---I love you mom and dad and all my dear siblings and niece or nephew to be. I miss you but not as much as I thought I would. I really love it here. I think of you all the time and what's going onat home and I read my notebook constantly (without skipping ahead;-) ~chow!!