Thursday, October 28, 2004

October 26, 2004 Update

"Mana Ana"
Anna Coumos, serving Jesus in Mozambique Africa with Iris Ministries
To all my dear friends and family, may the Lord bless you richly and may you be encouraged at what God is doing here!Greetings in Christ's precious name.

I have so much to tell you. God is doing so much, and I am just hanging on for dear life and living the ride of my life! What a journey Jesus takes us on when we choose to follow Him. It is so incredibly awesome, and so extremely stretching. In my last e-mail home I asked my parents, "How can I love it here so much that I never want to leave, and cry at the thought of leaving, but at the same time want to go home so bad it hurts and makes me cry?!" It is very hard to leave my family and go on the mission field. This is why Jesus said, "Whoever has left father or mother or sisters or brothers, etc, for my sake..." It's not an easy thing to do. But you know, the rewards are eternal, and they make it so worth it.

Today a boy came to me needing new sandals. His were broken. His name is Abu and he is 10. He has the sweetest face. So I took him to the clothing room and he traded them in for some shoes we found. I feel like a mom when I have them try on shoes and I feel where their toes come to, and have them walk back and forth to see if they are too big. After I gave him his shoes I prayed for him. It's so special to sit and spend time with these kids one on one. That's how you find out their personality and who they are.

Another boy, Mateus (Matthew in English) came to me today. He came to tell me that he needs to go home. His mom is expecting a baby, and he just found out she is in the hospital. He doesn't know if she is sick, or if she is having the baby. His educator (guy in charge of the dorm) said he could go if he gets the money for the bus. But also they said he should wait till school is out, which won't be until December. So I don't know what will happen with that.

Last night after the long tremors business meeting, Karen (who is in charge of the baby house) got a phone call that there was an abandoned baby at the gate. Today I went to the baby house to meet the dear girl. She is about 2 years old, I would guess. She doesn't have a name yet. She is very precious. I knelt down and talked to her and prayed for her.

We've had 5 kids come to the baby house in the last 3 months!
Carlos-Carlos is a dear little 7-year-old I grew attached to during my short-term visit. I spent the entire time I was at home praying God would bring someone to mother him and care for him. Since being here again God has answered the prayer in a way I never expected. Carlos is a very good boy. But he has behavior problems and it has recently been decided that he needs to be with an adult at all times. So we are now taking turns every day, looking after him, between 2 educators and a few missionaries. I have him on Fridays from after lunch until 4:30 when they go take showers. He is very sweet, but recently he has been manifesting demons. It is not scary, because we have the authority in Christ to overcome the evil one. But it is very sad and he needs lots of prayer. Please pray with us for him! I think most of his behavior problems will end when he is completely free from that. Both times he manifested Jill (long termer) and I were there, and immediately started praying over him and commanding the enemy to be still and to stop tormenting him. After praying he calms down.

Preschool is the highlight of every day for me (and for the kids!). We are doing a shape and color every day. Today we did yellow and stars. They made glitter stars and got lots of star stickers to put on their papers, and they traced stars. They had to find everything that was yellow. Their snack was yellow apple slices.

With the weather getting hotter, I am finding we don't do quite so much because they go much slower. I used to plan lot of different activities because they would just jump from one activity to the next. Now they are little turtles going slowly along. We still pack quite a bit into 2 hours though. They LOVE escola.

I am still working in hospitality and doing the clothing room. The sweet lady I am doing hospitality with (Jill) offered to help me in the clothing room. We are tearing through it and doing a major Spring-cleaning. We are taking inventory, and getting rid of allot of junky stuff that has been cluttering the shelves for years. I love organizing, as my mom would tell you, so this is most enjoyable to me.

I've been setting things aside for one of the missionaries who can't afford Christmas presents for her dorm. She has 50 boys. Today I'll be going through 8 big boxes that a team brought, full of donations! I am praying there will be some good things I can give her.It's so fun to sort through clothes and decide who they will fit and who would like to have what. Right now we need shoes for the older boys. Most of them have sandals or flip flops, but you can't play basketball or soccer in those, so they want shoes. I am praying God would provide, and they are all praying too!

Hospitality is fun. I get to meet the new short termers and show them around (so when are YOU coming?!). God does amazing things in the lives of everyone that comes here. They are all here because they felt God calling them, so it's awesome to just sit and listen to them pour out their hearts and what God is doing. I get to pray with so many people and watch their calling become clear and their lives blossom.

We are preparing for Christmas here. It's so fun sorting clothes for the dorms and little toys and toothbrushes, etc. I am really looking forward to Christmas here. It's going to be amazing. It was so weird going to South Africa and seeing all the stores decked out for Christmas, when it's 100 degrees F +! Some long termer who have been here for awhile said Christmas here is so different from home that you don't feel that home sick. The weather is getting hotter by the day, but we still have some cool nights. Apparently this is not like normal October weather at all. I am just enjoying it while it lasts, because I know it will be scorching hot very soon.

There has been a problem with theft around here lately. Yesterday Liz Lazar (long termer) had her clothes stolen off the clothesline and one of the boy’s dorms was broken into as well. I had one of my favorite skirts stolen off the line awhile ago. It's so annoying.

I've had the opportunity to pray for allot of sick people lately. God works in ways we don't expect. It's not during some big ordeal. It's just every day as I go about my normal business and someone comes and says they are sick and so I stop what I am doing and pray for them.

Next week we are having a HUGE conference here. People walk for miles to get here for it. There will be about 4,000 people here. They will sleep here in the schools and church. Please pray for us during the conference--November 4-7. I am really believing God for miracles, signs, and wonders as well as refreshing which everyone needs. God is a worthy, and He loves it when His children come together in unity to worship him in Spirit and in truth.

God has really been blessing my time with him. I find that the ONLY way for me to stay sane every day is to just start seeking the Lord the minute I wake up, and spend every moment of my day conversing with the Lord. If I don't, everything falls apart and I can't go on. I claim Matthew 11:28-30, which says...

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I have learned to take each day as it comes, and not think about tomorrow. I now understand why Jesus said,

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."(Matthew 6:34)

With so much happening in one day, I can't even begin to think about tomorrow, which is quite strange because I used to just plan out my week in my mind, and now I can't even plan out a single day. I just go with whatever happens. Each day lasts so long, but at the end of the week it seems like time has flown by.

Tonight my mom and dad called me! That was an exciting surprise If you want to call me, I have a cell phone now. I think my number is 011-258-82-365-702. You can call any time. But we are 6 hours ahead of most of you, so if you call at 6:00 p.m. it will be midnight here. But I wouldn't mind being woken up to a phone call. So call away!

After our lovely chat I went to the girls dorm. I passed out vitamins in my dorm, and I brought them nail polish to do with my girls. It's so fun to sit and joke around with them. From there I went to another dorm where I do bible study every Tuesday night. I was there for about 1 1/2 hours, and 2 of the girls walked me back to my house. I love spending time with the girls! They are so fun.

Well, I think that's all for now. I need to go to bed; it's late. I've included an updated list of prayer requests. Thank you so much to those that are praying for me--I can really feel it! May you be forever touched by the love of God. The Lord bless you and keep you.

Love in Jesus,Anna Coumos

 Pray for patience, grace, and new mercies when dealing with the boys who want stuff from the clothing room. I feel like all they do is ask me for stuff. I get so annoyed and sometimes just want to cry. They sit outside my door waiting for me to come out so they can ask me for shoes or a new shirt or whatever. They all need, but we don't have everything they need, and I can't spend all day every day giving them stuff, so they have to learn to stop asking me for things constantly. Pray for the boys I am dealing with, as well.
 Felismina is doing wonderful--thank you for praying! She can stand on her own now. We are still working on walking.
 Please pray for my health. I just got over my THIRD bout with malaria. I am so sick of getting malaria, but I just pray God would protect my body from those horrid mosquitoes.
 Pray for my time with the Lord every day to be refreshing and for my relationship with God to continually grow.
 Pray that my attitude towards the boys would change. It is very hard to keep that compassion for them when they are at my door 24-7 asking me for stuff. It's so tiring. But I don't want to lose my focus.

Please let me know how I can pray for you, too! Thanks for keeping me updated on what's going on at home. I appreciate it.

Please continue to write--I love to hear from you.
Also, my snail mail address is:Suite #5Private Bag X11340Nelspruit 1200RSA

Friday, October 01, 2004

Update #5 (I think)

Anna Coumos, serving Jesus with Iris Ministries in Mozambique, Africa!

I am loving it here more than ever! God’s been doing so much. I will try and fill you in on everything.

-God’s Protection-
Last week one of our drivers was taking out $11,000 at the bank. He got in his car and drove somewhere else, and when he got out of his car some guy came up and took the money from him! Vesco (the driver) tried taking it back and the thief shot at him and ran. The bullet went through his shirt and missed his shoulder! God was so looking out for him. This was Vesco’s THIRD time to be shot at. The first time it went through his pants and missed his leg, the second time it missed him completely, and now this. What a big God we serve! The money has not been returned, but it was GOD’S money and we are just praying He would return it 7 times to the ministry!
I continue to teach preschool 5 days a week. I love it. The 3 year olds are really coming along and learning quickly. Today they got to play with dry rice, and glued foam shapes and other small items to paper.My 4 year olds are learning to write their names (s-l-o-w-l-y but surely!). They are so fun. Right now I am doing the 5 senses with the older kids. I am so excited for Smelling, Tasting, and Touching. For touching I am going to make up touching trays. They will get to play with sand, dry rice, dry noodles, shampoo sealed tightly in zip lock bags, play dough, water…they’re going to love it! And I bought these fruit flavored har candies that fiz on your tongue for that day.
Felismina continues to grow and learn. She now talks a little bit on her own (instead of just copying me). I am working “therapy” into preschool which is so good for her. Just stuff like digging in a bowl of dry rice,and working on her fine motor skills. I’m also continuing to work on her legs, trying to help her walk.Continue praying for our dear girl.
-Chicken feet!-
The other day I got a bowl of rice and topping from the kitchen. I saw a piece of meat sticking out and said,“Oh, there’s meat on here! I wonder if it’s fish or chicken?!” So I scooped it out with a fork. It was chicken alright! The chicken’s FOOT to be exact. Claws and all. It was so disgusting. Talk about losing your appetite. I was very tempted to use it’s claws for a tooth pick. Or a back scratcher. Heehee. I gave it to one of the Mozambiquan girls, and she just stuffed it in her mouth and asked in shock, “You don’t like chicken?!” LOL
Today I was informed by a short termer here who is a doctor that my malaria here is resistant to the medication I am on! She is trying to get me different meds right now. She told me that after I just got over my SECOND bout with malaria! This time was more like a bad head cold and I had no voice. I found out the night before I went to South Africa, so I was able to rest up in South Africa and came back feeling great! Just in time, too, because…
-God’s got more in store-
I get to stay till January! The night before I went to South Africa I had a meeting with Steve and Ros Lazar (the couple that run this orphanage), and shared with them that I want to stay till January and possibly come back. They asked me lots of questions, and in the end they said, “We don’t usually let girls your age stay long term because we haven’t had a good experience with it. But instead of just telling you no, I think it would be best for you to pray and write us a letter stating why you feel God wants you to stay longer.”I went to my room that night and was up until 2 a.m. praying and writing the letter. I really felt God wanted me to stay longer simply because he is not done teaching me here!

To be honest, staying longer seemed very doubtful. But they day I arrived back from SA I learned I COULD stay longer! They prayed about it and really felt it WAS God’s will for me to stay. Yes!!I can’t tell you how happy I am. They have given me many more responsibilities, which I am just getting into.

I have started working in the clothing room where all donations come through. I will be doing that myself when Bonnie and Anton go home to South Africa for a month. I am doing hospitality e-mails, and working with the new short termers that come through. I will be working 1 or 2 afternoons a week in the girls dorm, and taking on a room of younger girls to do special things with like games, and sorting their clothes and spending time with them. And I will continue my 5 days of preschool, and doing the baby house a few nights a week.

It’s allot, but God is teaching me to prioritize, and to stay sane. I have learned so much about God since coming here. Every time we pass these tests, He trusts us with more. He’s an amazing God!

I’m almost finished reading “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. We have been reading it and discussing it at the long term home group on Wednesday nights. I encourage you all to get your hands on that book. It’s so good! God’s taught me so much through this book, about serving and friend ships and working together with our brothers and sisters in Christ… Every Christian should read this book! It’s been so good to read it in a group so we are all growing at this same pace and encouraging each other.

With that, I think I will close. It’s late and I need to go to bed. Tomorrow is church, and I am cooking all afternoon with Hannah (long termer) for a meal we are making for the long termers to conclude our study on “The Purpose Driven Life”.Thank you so much for your prayers. I feel them! Life here is amazing, and I love every moment of it. Even the times when I am feeling so weak, because in our weakness HE is strong. I feel that so much here. May God bless and encourage you every day as you press on in Him.

Love in Jesus,

I have a web site now! From now on you can read my updates at:

Special thanks to Mr. Williams for making this site for me. I will try and have updates atleast monthly. Please give feedback to my parents or me so I know what you think. I’m excited about it!