Sunday, April 01, 2007

Explosions


My dearest family and friends,
thank you sooo much for praying for me/us the last 2 days. I sooo appreciate your loving e-mails,
i really have felt lifted up in prayer and it's encouraging to know people are thinking about me and praying for me.

I don't think I can explain very well the events of the March 22 but please read Sally Cosgrove's (fellow missionary)
report on www.irismin.com click on "late breaking news". That is how it was. There's also pictures. I have not taken
any pictures, so you can see what is on there.

It was a lovely day, and Ellie and I were just closing discipleship with the girls. It had been a really good lesson on what
salvation REALLY is. The girls left and we stepped outside to see where this "thunder" was coming from. It was a hot
day and the sky was blue and completely cloudless. We could see smoke off in the distance and people were saying it
wouldn't be dangerous unless there were missiles (what we discovered was happening is that an old munitions base about 5 km's away had started exploding). I walked up to the baby house and was just going inside when a
missile hit the bible school just behind the baby house. It shook everything. Just after this a bomb hit the corner of the
church building on the other side of the center, and several windows shattered. I and everyone around picked up babies and
ran! First we were told to go to the soccer field. All the kids and everyone was in a panic and running with all their might.
Then a missile hit the soccer field and there was lots of shrapnel flying, so we turned and ran towards the prayer hut.
The kids that had already made it to the soccer field fled out the gate off the center. Some caught buses going by, and
the rest ran across the street through the fields. Several were taken in by families and hid in their block houses.

Those of us who ran to the prayer hut (about 150 people) weren't sure to go inside, or stay outside. We just stood their covering
the kids and babies as best we could, and calling out to the Lord with loud voices. Then shrapnel started flying overhead and
we ran into the prayer hut. We just crouched down on the floor. Some people put duct tape over the windows so if they broke
they wouldn't shatter. The roof is just reeds so you could see through and see missiles and shrapnel flying over head. We just
prayed and prayed and sang to the Lord. We sang a song in Portuguese that says "Jesus passes by, Jesus passes by. And when
he passes by all will be transformed. All sadness will flee and all joy will come." During this a missile flew very close to the roof,
and landed just on the other side of the wall of the center where it exploded.

This went on for 4 1/2 hours. I could not stop praying in tongues and singing. I didn't know what else to do. I had one baby between my legs, and
a child sitting on each leg. It was so loud with bombs going off (5 of which for sure exploded on the center) and the ground shaking.
The missiles would whistle as they flew overhead. Then everyone would go dead quiet waiting to hear where it would land and explode.

When it finally stopped we just sat there quiet waiting to see if it would start again. Some guys went to the kitchen and brought back the
food and plates and we fed everyone in the prayer hut. Around 9:00 all my girls except for 3 came back. Several boys came back as well.
That night walking back to dorms everyone was feeling very trembling and nervous. We checked the rooms, and the worst damage in the
girls rooms were some lights that fell from the ceiling and shattered, and windows had broke. A few had cracks in the roof, but nothing major.
We got all the girls into bed, some slept on the floor in other girls bedrooms.

I talked to my parents on the phone. I slept at another missionaries room that night, and we stayed up late talking. It was so quiet and strange to
go to bed Thursday night.

Friday morning the other 3 girls returned, and all the boys came back throughout the day. I just walked around the center with a couple Mozambicans
and another missionary, Ellie, and looked at damage (not too much). It is nothing but a miracle that NOBODY was killed or injured! God totally protected
us! Even our workers came back, saying all their neighbors houses were flattened, but theirs just had broken glass. All the neighbors were killed or
had lost limbs, but they walked away without a scratch (just traumatized).

Late Friday morning the police were worried it might start up again and asked for everyone to leave. We loaded up all the girls, baby house, and
youngest boys dorms on trucks and took them to another Iris Ministries center about 40 minutes away. around 5:15 last night we came back after
the police said it was safe, people could return to their homes. Driving down the road so many buildings were hit. The mental hospital close by was hit about 3 times, and several people died. The gas station was hit through the front window, but amazingly missed the gas pumps which is a miracle.

Today has just been a sort of strange day. It was the educator shift change, so all the dorm parents from the last shift went home (some were still unsure how their families were) and the new shift came on. The head dorm parent for the girls dorm was a wreck. I just wrapped my arms around
her and she cried, and then told me she and her sons were all laying against a wall, and 4 of her neighbors who were sitting against the wall were
hit and exploded from the waist up. It's horrible!

With all the terrible things that happened, God has chosen to keep us safe under the shelter of his wings. He has a covenant with Iris Ministries (shown by the symbol of the rainbow) that will never be broken, and He has brought us through in faithfulness. God is so amazing! I had it going through my
head this song: "My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty. There's nothing my God cannot do." I just say to you that even though this world may be
destroyed, with my eyes I will see God! He has brought us safely through to the other side. We met death face to face, and walked away in victory.
God is perfect and His ways we will never understand, but He is faithful.

We have LIVED through Psalm 91. And now may we see healing and peace flood people here. May this be a season of turning to God with ALL our
hearts!

Please pray for the healing of shock and trauma (for me, every time I hear a drum, or a loud truck rumbling by, or a kid whistling like that sound of a
missile flying through the air, I just cringe and feel so awful inside). Pray for God do draw these children and people unto himself, and for us to have
wisdom in dealing with what takes place after something so tragic.

I bless you for your prayers and love. i love you all so much!Love in Christ, my Victory Banner,
Anna Coumos
Mozambique Africa, Iris Ministries

1 comment:

Louise said...

Anna, I've been praying for you, and will continue to do so... You are in my heart, and God's watching over you. Don't give the enemy any satisfaction of fear. He wants you to fear, but through Christ Jesus, you are strong and full of confidence!!
Love ya heaps...