Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas/Feliz Natal!

Merry Christmas from Mozambique! It's been an exciting day, celebrating the entrance of Jesus Christ into the world! The girls all got new back packs, clothes, sandals, and other fun stuff. The kids all had a big chicken lunch. There is nothing like the joy in the children's hearts on Christmas morning, as they sing and dance, and anticipate the excitement to be had. God has lifted these ones from the dust and set them up in kingly places! The missionaries got together tonight for a Christmas feast, followed by a white elephant gift exchange, and lots of laughter and fun! I won a mug, hot chocolate, marshmallows, and best of all a foot massage from the giver of the gift! Yay:-) (I better scrub the sand, dirt, and blackness off my feet before she sees!). I talked to my family on the phone today, which always makes me feel happy. 

In closing, "I wanna wish you a merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart!" :-)

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; 
He is Christ the Lord." ...
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, 
praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace
to men on whom His favor rests."
Luke 2:11, 13-14

May the joy of the entrance of Jesus into the world fill your hearts to overflowing,
and may the peace of God rest upon you! 
Merry Christmas!!

(Photos from the day will come, when I recharge my dead camera batteries. This photo I took today with my built-in web came, to send to my parents while we talked on the phone;-) I am house sitting for a couple, and it's a very spacious house as you can see!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Update on Amina

Many of you are asking how Amina is, sorry I forgot to update about her.
She had malaria and is out of the hospital and much better. Thank you for praying for her!
If you want to add something else to your prayer list, about 5 of the little girls have come
down with the measles. Poor little things are covered in what looks like a rash from head to
toe. They are sleeping in room 9, which we are calling "The Pediatric Ward" of the "Girl's dorm
Hospital". That makes it a little fun for them to have their own sick room. A few of them are
already much better, but others are starting to come down with it now.

Mom, I did get a measles shot when I was little, right?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Beautiful Family!! -- and some updates

This is my mom, holding my newest niece Rachel (born about one month ago!). 
Isn't she precious?! She looks like she is smiling in this photo, I love it.

My niece (3 1/2) and nephew (1 1/2) in Amish Country, while I was home. Aren't they so cute?!

This is me (left) with my dear friend Lydia, who got married while I was home. I have photos and will down load them when blogger wants to cooperate. Dad said he wanted a picture of me on here because he forgets what I look like. 

My brother Daniel and his new wife Julie on their wedding day. It was a BEAUTIFUL wedding, and fun reception dancing all night!

And now the photo you've all been waiting for... (you have been waiting for this, right?!)

My family. My great big happy family. I will attempt to tell you who is who from left to right. 
Me (Anna), Christina, Seth, my sister-in-law and good friend Bethany (sorry your face is cut off Bethany!!), next to her is Greg, and in front of Gregory is Andrea, and my niece, Daniel and Julie, my dad, my mom, my brother Sam, my sister Bonnie, my brother Joel, my sister Cara, my brother-in-law Braden holding my nephew. That is the 10 C children, plus 3 sibling-in-laws, and a niece and nephew (this was before the newest niece was born). 
Merry Christmas my dear family! I miss you all!

And now for a weather update from Maputo Mozambique: Today's high was 105 degrees!! Yes, that's right, and it is December 13th!! A-hem, I do believe snow should be in order... how can we make snow men and snow ball fights in this heat?! I am sweating and the heat really takes away your energy.

Today's happenings:
This morning I went to visit an elderly man in the community. I help look after him, and he is unable to walk, and you can't tell what he is saying, but he's really sweet. I knew him before his speech was bad, and I have seen God really work in his life! He used to hold allot of bitterness and unforgiveness towards his family, because when he got sick they rejected him. He now knows the Lord, and is full of joy. I usually read to him from his Bible, pray with him, clean his house, get him water from the well, and make sure he has been fed. On the walk there I stopped and bought bananas for the girls for a snack tonight. On the walk home several  little boys who attend our school were playing outside one of their houses. When they saw me coming they came running to give me hugs. They are so sweet! Then one of them asked me, "Mana Anna, out of all of us here, who do you like the best?"  I don't think my response, "I like you all the same! You are all very special and important," is what they wanted to hear. They really wanted to know which of them was my favorite!
This afternoon I cut about 400 finger nails and toe nails on the girls. Then my nail clipper snapped so I had to stop. Oops!

That's the news from this side of the world. What's going on at your end?!
(by the way, 12 days to Christmas!!)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"I Can Read" is on!

With 41 girls on school break for 3 months, we have to find activities to keep them busy. I challenged those who can read to read 25 books per month. Some of them that is quite a big goal, and they are slowly working to reach it, and improving their reading skills very much with challenging words in the books. For others they are great readers, and have already zoomed past the 25 book goal and are heading towards 50 books by Christmas! We are so blessed to have a library here filled with donated and bought books in English and Portuguese (but the girls read Portuguese, not English). We have about 500 books, including allot of good information and reference books, as well as story books, comic books, chapter books, and National Geographic magazines in Portuguese! And games and puzzles too:-)

Those who cannot read yet, are going through the reading program the dorm mothers, older girls, and me teaching them to read. And also we are doing a book activity where each week we will read a book and do an activity to go along with the book. Yesterday I read to them a silly book about a chicken. Afterwards I took them for a walk into the community near the center. We walked along the HOT sandy paths between the thorn bush 'fences' that line people's little yards. We were on the hunt to find the animals we saw in the book, and we had great success! They found chickens roaming around, adorable baby chicks, ducks and a few ducklings, and even pigeons. It was good for them to see what's behind the center too, since the little ones never really get to go walking around in the community here.

The girls are gaining a passion for books and reading, improving their reading skills, and getting anxious to see what the prize will be in the end for completing their goals.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

~Hello and Good bye~

"Hi mom and dad! Just wanted to post a picture of you guys so I can look at you:-)" 
I love my parents!! And I miss them. It was nice to talk to you on the phone today!

Meet Rosalina! This happy girl [age 13] arrived last week on Friday. She is receiving medical treatment, and was transferred from a children's center an hour away that was being closed down. She has a grandmother who is unable to provide for her. Rosalina has settled in quickly, and is full of joy! She has made friends quickly with the other girls. She's just finished second grade this year, but she cannot read. So hopefully with the reading program up and running again she will learn the alphabet and be reading soon.

And the reason this post is "hello and goodbye" is because these two girls, Salma and Maizinha (pronounced My-zinia) were both reintegrated back into their families a couple of weeks ago. They have both living here for about 5+ years, and both have families who are now able to care for them. It's been amazing since we have started the cooking program (every Saturday night the girls make supper for the whole dorm), and both girls have been a part of the sewing classes. They are well equipped to go back to living in the communities, with skills they can use to live and work. And neither of the could read 2 years ago, and they are both reading quite well now since the reading program started! I always feel excited when any of the girls are reintegrated. It is so much better for them to be living in their families if they have good families. 

Salma and Maizinha asked if we could make a cake for the girls Friday night snack, as a going away gift from them. It was a special time to do one last activity with just those two, and then give them the opportunity to say good bye to their friends here. 

~Thanksgiving Celebration in Mozambiqe~

Yummy!! We had a HUGE feast for Thanksgiving, with about 18 people to celebrate. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, and a few Southern casseroles thanks to one of our missionaries from Georgia:-)

[Above] In line to get some dinner.

A display of amazing AMERICAN foods!!:-)

Erin cooked a delicious turkey, to make the feast complete:-)

And here's the gang (minus me, I was taking the picture). Our celebration included people from: America, New Zealand, England, Mozambique, and Australia!

Dinner was at 4:30, but several of us went early to set up. I had some fun fall decorations mom sent me 2 years ago, which made the celebration more festive! When we all gathered, I read about the first Thanksgiving, from something I printed off the internet, so our non-American guests could learn what this special day is all about. Then we prayed and ate! We were so full afterwards, that we decided to wait till after the weekly Thursday night church service to have the desserts. Afterwards we all gathered back and put on Christmas music, and enjoyed pumpkin pie, pecan pie, carrot cake, and strawberry jello with pineapple chunks. We stayed late enjoying the fellowship, and cleaning up. 

It was a wonderful day and I am so thankful for the family God has given me here, while I am away from my family at home. And for the 41 daughters he has given to me to mother for this season! It's a challenge in many ways, but it is so worth it!

And now Christmas is coming...!!:-)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hospital Central

Amina is the third of 7 sisters. Her 3 youngest sisters live in our center. Her sister just under her lived here for a year, and now lives at home with the older girls. And Amina came to live here for a short time while she was being treated medically. 

Yesterday she came to the center feeling quite sick. The nurses in our clinic decided she should spend the night here, and in the morning we would take her to Hospital Central (our main hospital here in Maputo). Last night while we were having our missionary's home group, the dorm mother's came looking for me and the nurses, saying Amina was having a seizure. It turned out she was sleeping in a bed, and suddenly started having a seizure-- eyes rolling back in her head, salivating, and shaking. The nurses quickly arranged a vehicle and took her to the hospital. As they arrived at the hospital, she went into another seizure. She had no fever, so we are not sure what brought this on. She was admitted to the hospital late last night.

This morning I was at the hospital with one of the boys, for abuse counseling which we have just started taking a group of kids to. I and one of our Mozambican educators, wanted to take a change of clothes, and some fruit and hygienic items to Amina. We found the ward she was in, but the guard said it was not visiting ours and we could not go in. I pleaded with them, explaining I just needed to drop off these bits, and I would not stay to visit. Finally he allowed us to go, being careful to explain this is not normally allowed. 
Tia Sidalia and I went up the stairs to the third floor. There was no one at the help desk, so we just walked down the hall way, which was crowded with nurses pushing carts of medicine, and doctors checking over their patient list of the day, and looked into each room to search for Amina. Her room didn't have any free beds left, so she was on a mattress on the floor. She had vomited in the night, and still had the dirty sheets on her bed. Her stomach was still hurting, but she looked much better than yesterday. A nurse was attending her, but the doctor hadn't made his rounds to her bed yet, so we didn't get a diagnosis. We didn't wait around long, because we didn't want to get in trouble, and the doctors were busy checking the patients in that room. 
As we were leaving, and walking down the crowded hall way again, I saw a small room with a light on. On the floor was a mattress, with a body wrapped in a white sheet, of some one who must have just died, and they put the body there until someone could come take it away. That really shook me up seeing that!
Our hospitals at home are so nice. The nurses and doctors are usually nice, and are there to help you. One of the doctors I had to deal with this morning at this boy's 7:30 appointment was so disrespectful of me and tia Sidalia. I have been praying that with going to these appointments so often (I have been 3 times in the last 4 days with 9 children!), that we would be a light of the Lord to these counselors, who are not Christians. And I felt like today I had to decide how to respond to this lady. She doesn't know Jesus. She doesn't know His love. She doesn't know she was talking to two daughters of the King of Kings today! But I believe God will open up the doors for these doctors to come to know Him. And if I am to be an ambassador of Heaven, I want to represent well my Father!
It was a rough morning. I came home and spent time with the Lord. I felt very heavy and unsettled about the events that took place. I chose to forgive the doctor who spoke down to us. My devotional this morning was about being humble. Pride always goes before a fall. The Bible says over and over how the proud will be brought low, but God will raise up the lowly in Spirit.
I can be proud and shove off what people say and leave no room for God to teach me or use me. Or I can choose to humble myself, turn the other cheek, and walk on in the grace of God. It's a lesson I think I shall never finish learning until I walk into the gates of heaven.  

That was my morning at Hospital Central.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Apples, Apples, Apples!

First of all, these pictures are in the backward order. 
Secondly, I am recapping my time with my family! Pictures of Mozambique will come...
But when you only spend 10 weeks with your family after being gone for a whole year...well, there is allot of catching up to do and fun to be had! So, I am posting some pictures so I can go back and remember the good times:-)

Okay, so after making a TON of apple sauce, you get a little slap happy! These are the kitchen slaves hard at work...
(Joel, Bobo --aka Christina, and Andrea)

Cooking down apples for apple saucing and apple buttering...

Some pretty apples at the apple orchard. Crispy and delicious. Nothing like biting into a fresh picked apple, and the sweet juice running down your elbows. 

The farm hands coming back from the orchards.
(Oh, wait. That's my family.)

That's me picking apples. I am so blessed to have been home for Fall! Autumn is by far my favorite season! I love the beautiful colors as the trees turn. I love apples, and apple cider, and candy corn, and apple pies, and scented candles, and a warm bed, and cozy pj's. I love bon fires and raking leaves and all the smells of Fall in the air.
It was such a gift from God to be home for this season!!

~My 3 Little Sisters~

This is Andrea, and my niece and nephew. Andrea has lots of energy. She loves to clean the house, bless mom and dad or her siblings by making their beds, and she does her chores very well (without complaining or being asked!!). I share a room with her (when I am at home). She always has her dolls all lined up on her shelf, and all her things arranged nicely. She is a joy to be around.

This is Christina. She has such a great sense of humor. I don't know where she gets her silly ideas from, but she is hilarious! She likes to dress up and pretend she is like a sales person or an old granny. She sings very well and is on the youth group worship team. She and Cara sang at my brothers wedding and my friends wedding this Summer.

This is Cara. She graduated high school this year. She also came to visit me with my dad:-) (you can come back now, guys!!) She is a tom boy all the way. The kids in the neighborhood used to beg her to be on their team of back yard foot ball! She works on a farm and loves it. She is slow to anger and doesn't hold grudges for long. She likes to keep peace.

Dad and his girls (minus one)
Cara, me (Anna), Dad, Christina, and Andrea
when we went apple picking this Fall at Stottlers.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

~My 3 Little Brothers~

Sammy, the little Foot Ball player! He loves to play catch. He loves to put on his foot ball gear (including the knee pads and chin guard he just bought with his own money) and play that he is a foot ball player. When there is no one to play catch with, he just tackles himself on the trampoline and pretends to be in the big leagues! 

Seth loves to hunt and fish. He also loves to fix cars. He got his first deer of the season his first day out hunting this year! It was with his new bow, and he shot a nice buck. We were able to restock the freezer with like 35 pounds of meat. He boiled the skull to make a nice mount. 

Joel went hunting with dad, and shot a squirrel! I made him pose for so many pictures that the poor guy got hungry and took a bite...   

   So these are my three dear little brothers. They all love to tease, and love to make people laugh:-) And they are all a blessing to our family.

I am alive and in Mozambique...!

Hello to the faithful readers of this blog!
I am very sorry for not updating in awhile, but I am back in Mozambique (I arrived one week ago today), and it's going great!

I have an update coming, but the pictures I am trying to load are just not loading right now, so please check back soon! 

God bless you all richly today!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Home Sweet Home

~My adorable niece, Honey, playing piano at our house~

Last night I was laying in bed, and I realized I only have 4 1/2 weeks left in the USA!!
When I first arrived home, I missed the kids in Mozambique allot. But God has given me grace
for that, and I am sooo enjoying my family here!

I don't want to take any of this for granted. It is truly a blessing to have 10 weeks with my family! I was thinking, "It is hard to believe I was away from them for a whole year, and now am only home for 10 weeks." In some ways it seems like I have been home for forever.
But also I know time is flying quickly, and I want to savor every moment.

Me, Christina (knitting), and dad
slouching on the couch on a lazy Summer afternoon...

Last night I was feeling kind of sad to think about leaving here so soon.
But this morning I woke up with a bubbling joy that I will be with the dear girls in Mozambique again soon!
I really have 2 families...

My brother Daniel, hoisting my 1 year old nephew up on the roof of our patio!
(Don't worry, he didn't let go)

I love both families so much! In one way, it is incredibly hard, always missing my family here, or always missing my family in Mozambique. But also, it is truly amazing! God's grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. And He is the one that allows me to enjoy my family, and do His work, and not be constantly sad that I am not with one or the other.

That might not make sense, but to sum it up, GOD IS SO AMAZING!
And HE is with me wherever I go. I am never alone, and it is HE who fulfills every need and longing that I have. What a blessing!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Akron Zoo

Welcome to the Akron Zoo!
Come along for a tour with me...

A leopard waking up from a nap:
(doesn't he look cuddly and cute?!)

Oh look, the new jelly fish display!!

Look at those tentacles!

This tiger was licking the glass. I think my sister was looking tasty to him...

I had to show you these pretty little pink and yellow flowers.
We have these in Africa, too! And the girls like to pick them and bring them to me as a tiny bouquet:-)

Okay, I will stop posting for today. Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

A wedding shower for my sister-in-law

This is the home of the Coumos Family, in Ohio!
I do love this place.......!

Okay, now on to the pictures of the shower my sister and I had for my brother's fiance.
It was held at the home of my sister Bonnie.
Some of the guests (I am not sure what Honey is doing under the coffee table there, haha):

Julie and Daniel
Wedding date is September 26, 2008

Some of the little monkeys that were there!:-)
C, Honey, Biscuit, and CT

My adorable cousin, M!

The Fair part 4!

Jelly Bean, our favorite clown! I am not big into clowns, they seem a little scary.
But Jelly Bean is just a normal person, dressed up for fun, and the kids LOVE her!
Throughout the week she does face painting (really cool, full face painting!), balloon twisting,
and tells jokes. We talk to her every day, and have gotten to know her a bit. She is a Christian, too!

Sam, after getting his face painted by Jelly Bean. He wanted a John Deere face,
but she was out of yellow. So he got the International tractor painted on his face, then he went
and bought a John Deere hat from the tractor tent! And those red neck teeth are fake. He won them, and wore them everywhere. He even wore the to the dentist the next week!

Oh look, some more clowns!
(Andrea-11, Joel-13, and Christina-16)

Our 4-H club's flower bed, celebrating 150 years of the Randolph Fair.
(and our 4-H club, Rootstown Small Ones, is celebrating 30 years as a club!)

This was the 150th anniversary of the Randolph Fair. We celebrated all week, and had a birthday party on the second to last day, with scrap books and news paper clippings through the history of our fair. It used to be only 1 day long, then they changed it to 3 days, and now it is the 6 days.
(To the tune of "Our State Fair" from the movie State Fair)
"Our county fair is a great county fair,
don't miss it, don't even be late!
It's dollars to doughnuts at the Randolph fair,
it's the best county fair in our state!"

The Fair part 3!

This is what homeschoolers do without tv...

The steer show:

A horse show:

Isn't this princess castle cake cool?!
(I cannot take the credit for making it, but someone sure was creative!!)

The rough trucks competition. Normally my brothers are a part of this, but not this year.
Our fair is famous for the demolition derby (2 nights!!), and our tractor pulls, truck pulls, and rough trucks.

And one more group of photos on their way!