Monday, September 13, 2004

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!!

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