Thursday, February 28, 2008

SUGAR CANE!!

So what is this in the photo below?!?!  You may ask...

It's Sugar Cane (in Portuguese that's "Cana Do├že")! And this post is especially added for the enjoyment of Dr. Jackman. He is the dentist I worked for at home, and he is from the Islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
Often while working for him, he would bring up stories from his childhood, which often included the things he would eat. Mangoes, bananas picked ripe from the tree, and always sugar cane!
And here in Mozambique I get to enjoy all those wonderful things! We have mango trees all over the children's center, and when mango season comes, we eat them till we start looking like them... ha ha. And sugar cane is a big export here in Mozambique. Especially driving North there are fields full of nothing but pure, sweet stalks of sugar cane.

Now, let me tell you how this works. If you are a Mozambican, you hack off the sugar cane with a big machete. Then you sit down under a tree or on a grass mat, and with your teeth you start to peel back that light brownish green skin. Underneath is something like a woody fiber and you break off or peel off pieces of this. Chew on it for awhile and all the sweet sugary juice comes out. Then you spit the woody fiber bits on the ground (or more properly, in a bowl or the trash). 

I sometimes sit and eat this with the girls and the dorm mothers. They have the hang of how to peel the skin off with your teeth. I don't. (I don't want to give you more work when I get home, by breaking my front teeth on sugar cane, Doctor Jackman! ). So today I took a knife, and my goodness is this stuff hard or what! But after about 10 minutes I had a nice little 3 inch piece peeled, and my friend Rahel and I sat and chewed on the juicy fiber. Yum!
(And I figure the sugar contents doesn't really matter, as you burn off at least that much just trying to skin the plant to eat it!) 

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Women's Conference in Xai-Xai #1

On February 15th Tracey (my friend and fellow missionary) and I, along with many Mozambican women piled into one of our ministry's flat bed trucks, and headed 3 hours North to Xai-Xai for a Women's conference put on by several of our Mozambican Pastor's wives.
The trip was so beautiful! Long winding roads, wide open land, skies painted perfectly by the Creator.
There's always enough room for one more, you know...! I think we had a total of 20 in the back and 3 up front. Forget about leg space, just hope that the numbness in my leg goes away when we get there!

We crossed this neat bridge going over the Limpopo River. Pretty impressive.
And here's the Limpopo River itself! Beautiful clouds, perfect weather, what a great way to start off the women's conference!

He IS God of wonders beyond our galaxies...the universe declares His majesty!

Women's Conference in Xai-Xai #2

Glorious sun rise over the Indian Ocean at 5:30 in the morning! We were camping right by the ocean, talk about a gift from God!
"May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works-- he who looks at the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke. 
I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live." 
Psalm 104:31-33
The monkeys -- they were at our camping site. Right after this picture was taken, one started chasing Tracey and I! It was very cool to see monkeys so close and personal.
Our camp site...yes, that lop sided grey one was ours. We put it up at 11:30 p.m. by a tiny flash light. On the last day when we took it down we realized it was right over a dip in the ground. No wonder my back was killing me! The rocks by our head didn't help either... 

Women's Conference in Xai-Xai #3

About 300 Mozambican ladies gathered for the 2008 Women's Conference in Xai-Xai. God used this to transform the lives of many women. They came with their babies and their open hearts, and God did a work in them for eternity! There were several speakers, sharing testimonies and stories of women in the bible and more. The women were encouraged to be Godly wives, mothers, and to live for Jesus first. To be a lover of God first. To be intercessors for their unsaved husbands. We had alter calls for women who wanted to be set free from the bondage of guilt and shame, for those that wanted emotional healing from Abuse, for those needing physical healing, for those wanting to give up witch craft! It was sooo awesome to watch these women being touched and changed forever by our amazing heavenly Father who loves them so much!
They gathered 3 times a day for meals (bread for breakfast, rice with pieces of beef for lunch and dinner). 
Our last session was Sunday morning. After gathering once more for lunch, the trucks started taking the ladies home. We were the last to go. We left around 4:00, and 5 minutes later the brakes went on the flat bed truck, and we plowed right into the back of a semi flat bed! I had JUST said "Lord, thank you for your angels protecting us." And they were! 25 of us in the truck, and noone seriously injured! Only the 2 sitting up front with the driver had leg pain afterwards, but are ok now. What a miracle, God really kept us safe.
The flat bed truck after the accident. 
We then waited 3 hours for one of our drivers from our center to come with our ministry's bus to pick us up. We piled into the bus and the ladies started singing...and didn't stop till we got home! At one point they had quieted down, then the police pulled us over (normal here, they have police checks and they check anyone they feel like). At that point the ladies started up their singing again very loudly. The police did not like that at all, and took our driver's license away. They said we had to stay there until 5 in the morning for punishment! Then one of our Pastor's who had been helping with the conference, and was driving the other flat bed truck (also full of women) caught up to us. He went inside to the police station and pleaded for the license to be given back. The police said only if one of the ladies singing came in to apologise. 45 minutes after being stopped we were on the road again...!
I cannot tell you how good it felt when I finally collapsed into my own bed at 1 a.m.. I slept so well that night!

Thank you for your continued prayers. God is so faithful! It was awesome to see his hand of protection and love over the whole weekend. I can't wait for the next women's conference!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Enjoying Life...

Anna (me!) with newborn baby Eliana. 

The workers finished the new bathrooms in the girl's dorm, but left a pile of tile pieces and concrete pieces. It was such a mess. But then I walked out the door one day, and saw the girls putting to good use the tile pieces. It was so sweet I had to take a picture! Their dolls had a nice meal, I am sure.


We planted bean seeds in a jar stuffed with wet paper towels. This was just 5 days later! The beans grew so fast. We had planted beans in the garden, and I wanted to show them how God made seeds to grow, and what was going on with those seeds under the ground. Great science experiment. They loved watching the seeds pop open and grow roots and a bean sprout.

The thermometer hasn't gone below 100 for weeks. I think we need some rain! It's HOT these days!

God is awesome. This week for our missionaries home group we watched a video called "Indescribable" by Louis Giglio (Not sure if that is spelled right). He goes into great detail about the universe, the solar system, stars, sun, world---this amazing place we live in. God is SO Big, we haven't even a clue. If you can get this video, do! It's been a long and tiring week, but in the midst of that, to remember :
"Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name...Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:26, 28-31 
He NAMES the stars?! That's incredible. He created the heavens beyond what we can see or know. He keeps it all in motion. He has named each star in thy sky. And yet, He has counted the hairs on your head. And He knows your name. He is not too busy for you. You are the one He thinks about all the time. He has chosen you. He lifts you up with his righteous right hand. If God (who made all these things, and is beyond imagination powerful) is for you, WHO can be against you?! What promises we have in Jesus! You and me--Children of the Living King of Kings! 

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Thank you for your prayers!


Thank you for your prayers for me/us this week. 
At the moment the gas stations have closed down because they ran out of gas, and the gas trucks won't bring more in if people are still setting fires.

But most of the commotion and rioting has quieted down, after the government decided not to raise the shoppa prices for now. They are discussing what to do.

These pictures were taken right outside our front gate. The shoppas stop there to pick up passengers, so the rioters protested at all the major shoppa stops.

God really placed a blanket of peace over our center. The kids continued playing and being themselves, when normally this would shake them up and put them totally out of rest! But God is in control, and your prayers were felt! That day (Tuesday) the people were saying no one should be working, everyone needed to be protesting. So anyone working was in danger. They vandalized little shops and gas stations. Some men were saying, "Let's go attack the center! The workers are still working and not striking with us!" Some lady heard this and spoke up, "You can't go in there. They take care of orphans there!" So the men listened and left! Isn't God amazing?!

He did many other miracles, including using Katie, a missionary in the city, to provide transport for many pedestrians. Picking up people from school and taking them to their homes, and even picking up a lady in labor and taking her to the hospital. She also found diesel for our generator (that was running very low on diesel, and the power lines had been cut so we had no other electricity), at midnight. He showed her favor with a police escort the whole way to our center, and at 1 a.m. we unloaded 125 litres of diesel from her truck! To God be the glory! During her day people tried throwing stones at her car, but kept missing. And in the evening after spending the entire day driving around, her gas tank was still on full! With God nothing shall be impossible. 

Thank you for your awesome prayers. God hears and acts on the prayers of his children. We have had the privilege of seeing Him do mighty works here in Mozambique.

May the Lord bless you with the revelation of His power and love. 
Love in Jesus,
Anna Coumos

UPDATE ON TINO: Thank you for asking about Tino and continuing praying for him. He was here for a week being cared for by our medical staff and Tracey's dorm staff. Thursday he was readmitted into the hospital and is in intensive care. He had a high fever and hadn't wet or soiled his diaper for 24 hours. The doctors say he is detiriating rapidly. But we serve the living God and nothing is impossible with him! I dreamed last night that Tracey called this morning to tell me that Tino woke up today and was better! This morning that was not the diagnosis, but it gave me the expectations to keep on praying. I am reading a book on intercessory prayer, and it has also encouraged me to keep interceding for Tino's life. I will update you as I hear more. God is able to do abundantly more than we could ask or imagine!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST!

This morning the shoppa services (shoppas are Mozambican busses which everyone uses for transportation) doubled the price of fare! No warning, no slowly raising the price little by little,
just one morning you go to get on the shoppa and find out it is double what it was yesterday!

No one can afford it, and the people have started rioting. Outside our center people lined up tires across the road and are burning them to cause a road block. Down the road the other direction there is allot of smoke from whatever they have put in place to block that side of the road. People are angry and throwing rocks and letting their voices be known.

It's quite dangerous at the moment, and no one here is allowed to leave the center today. Many of our workers have not shown up for work because they cannot catch a shoppa and there are too many road blocks. If it is this bad here out side the city, I am sure that in the city it is much worse. This morning I could hear many gun shots, I think it was the police firing shots to scare people.

PLEASE PRAY FOR PROTECTION, PEACE, AND AN END TO THIS RIOTING AND INJUSTICE! 

Posted on Feb 5, 2008 at 10:06 Africa time, 3:06 a.m. in Ohio