Monday, June 30, 2008

Celebrate Life!

Thabo with Tia Judite, when he was staying in the clinic, regaining his strength.
Thabo, Vella, and Paulito on Children's day, waiting for their chicken dinner.
Vella is a very dear friend of mine, and the missionary over a dorm of little boys, where Thabo lived.

Vella praying for Thabo.
He received so much love in this family. He learned what it's like to be loved instead of rejected. He got to know Jesus while he was here. He felt God's love through the missionaries and tias who looked after him. Sometimes He would be mumbling and they would say, "Who are you talking to Thabo?" "I am praying to Jesus." He would say.
Sometimes he would be singing in his quiet voice, and they would ask what he was doing. "I am singing to God because Jesus told me to." Was his reply.

Thabo came to us about 2 years ago, battling HIV, TB, and malnutrition and rejection. 
But though his body was weak, His spirit was quite alive and full of Joy. Thabo means "Joy", and we know him by the joy he brought to so many. 
He spent a few months in the hospital, then stayed in the clinic here at the center for a few months. And finally, he spent the last 4 months in Vella's house, where she, and 2 tias, care for 5 little guys ages 5-6.

On Friday morning, while the rest of the boys were at school, Thabo was alone with the tia and Vella. In the last week he had gotten much weaker, and now he was asking for Tia Judite to hold him. She did for a little while, and then he asked for Vella to hold him. Tia Judite passed him off to Vella, who held him for a while. Then he said, "I want to go to sleep." 
Vella laid him on his bed, and said, "Go to sleep Thabo, and be free." As she pulled her hands out from under him, and took his last breath, closed his eyes, and went to sleep from this world. He woke up in Jesus's arms, with a whole new body, and able to run and play and dance with Tino and others!

Today was the funeral. It was sad, but sweet. Because we know where He is now.
Some of the young boys who were friends with Thabo came to the funeral, and with tears streaming down their faces, they said their final good byes.
Please keep lifting up Vella, and Tia Judite and Tia Victoria, who poured out love unconditionally into Thabo. They miss him terribly, and he has left such a sweet legacy.
We celebrate his life!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Reading Program

Aidinha and Mira writing the alphabet.

About 15 months ago we started the reading program. Many of the girls, and the boys, even up to fifth grade, cannot read. They did not catch on in first grade, so they were passed to second and third and so on without any extra attention. Or they started school late, but because of their age, were put straight into a class without assessing their abilities. Then in school, it is allot of repeating what the teacher says back to him, or copying off the chalk board. But not so much mental work, so it is easy to slide along, without ever learning. And this is the problem we discovered. 

It started with Ellie and one of the tias and I testing all the girls to see where they were at. If they could read 4th grade or better, or read a few easy words, or if they didn't even know their vowels, let alone the whole alphabet.

After that, the tias worked with the girls in the afternoons with chalk boards and paper and books and flash cards. Some of them still struggle, but many of them have improved so much! I started working last year in September in the school (we have a school for the children here, and the community--preschool through 7th grade), and now I am working with 40 fourth graders on Thursday and Friday mornings, learning to read. 

God has really given me some strategies. Some times I will be praying, and an idea pops into my head. Or I'll be laying in bed and God starts giving me creative plans how to teach these kids. Last week I was playing "Memory" with some of the girls. And then I thought, "I should make a memory game with the letters of the alphabet!" I did on the computer, printed them out on pink paper, cut it out, and laminated the cards. The kids in the school love it. They get to play a game, and don't even realize how much they are learning. It was great, because so many of them don't know the alphabet, and I have been struggling how to teach it to them so they would get it. This was such a great idea! They are learning the letters, and matching them. They are learning to memorize--by remembering where the cards are placed. They are learning to see small differences--like the difference between b and d and p. It's so good for them.

It's so exciting when you are teaching a child, and suddenly something "clicks" in their mind, and they get it! They are so thrilled and proud of themselves. God's doing some great teaching here, and it's a privilege to be a part of it.

P.s. 42 days---yes, just 6 weeks, and I will be going HOME!!:o)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The fair!

Today I was checking out
You should check it out if you live anywhere near Portage county Ohio!
And the best thing is, I WILL BE THERE THIS YEAR!! I am so excited.
After 3 years of not being at the fair, I am so excited I can hardly stand it!
My younger brothers and sisters will be showing their rabbits and market
ducks. Looking at the schedule just thrills me:-) When I was in 4-H, every 
year you can't wait for the fair to come. Then you have a week of amazing FUN,
and then when the fair is over, you just can hardly wait a whole year for the next
one to come around. That is how we mark our Summers. All year you are saying 
"Can you believe it's already been 3 months since the fair?!" Or "Can you believe
there is only 7 months and the fair will be here?!" And now, I will just inform you
that in exactly 6 weeks and 1 day I will be leaving to go home for a visit. And about 1 1/2
weeks after I arrive home, we will be loading up the camper, and heading off to the fair!
I can't wait...!:-)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What's cookin'??

Mmm...dinner! Hope your hungry!

Friday, June 20, 2008

::And God is our answer::

"It is important to remember that for every person,
there is a problem. Even more importantly,
for every problem our God has a prescription!"
--Woman, thou are loosed!

Sometimes things seem to be caving in all around. Sometimes I wonder if anything more could possibly go wrong? Sometimes I have trouble quieting down my mind to listen to God, and just rest in Him. To live out of a place of rest, instead of being distracted by all that is happening around me. But I have learned, and must constantly remind myself, God is the answer. And if He is the answer, I would do well to leave the middle of the problems, and come to Him.

Many people this week have been hit by cars and died, here in Maputo. 
Filipe (who lives here at the center), his brother was hit by a car up North and died. That was His only family member he has contact with.
A little girl was violated. 
Another girl who is in a wheel chair has come down with a very large and horrible bed sore. She has also lost allot of weight and has a bad chest infection that won't clear up. She is having her wound cleaned twice daily, and I have made her some nutritious pureed meals to help her regain the weight she has lost, and to fight the infections.
An elderly man we look after in the community, who is bed ridden, kicked his son out of the house. I was called upon to 'resolve the situation'. I don't know what I said, but apparently it worked because he has let his son move back in.
15 little girls had no undies this morning because it didn't dry yesterday from the rain. I didn't find out until this afternoon, and I quickly passed out new undies to all the girls!
A couple of the girls have been telling allot of lies to get things they want, and being very manipulative. 
I cut 3 of the girls hair today, because they have nasty infections on their scalp that needs treated. 
These are some of the things that happen in a week here. And for all of these things, I know that God is the answer. And when I bring these needs to Him, He will resolve them. I don't need to get stressed out, worked up, or drained from all these situations. I have to remind myself to bring them to Jesus. 
"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit, unless you remain in me...apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:4,5

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rewarded for their labor...:o)

Yesterday after church I walked into one of the girl's rooms, to see a mattress on the floor, blankets tossed here and there, clean and dirty clothes spilling out of their clothing boxes,
toys, etc. strewn everywhere. Oh dear! How do I drag those girls from their play to come clean this up, without arguing and whining. Ah, yes! "Everyone who cleans their rooms before shower time will get a snack of peanut butter on crackers. Those who don't help clean don't get snack."
Suddenly there were cheers and 48 girls ran (ok, 46--2 of the girls did not get a reward) to their rooms cleaning, organizing, sweeping, making beds. Wow! They waited in their rooms, beaming and a bit nervous, as Mana Anna came in to inspect. Yes, 46 girls did a very good job cleaning their rooms. And they all got to eat a healthy snack of peanut butter sandwiched between 2 crackers.
That was easy.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Children's Day, June 1st 2008

Children's Day is the First of June. We celebrate it like Christmas here, with presents, clothes, and a big chicken dinner! It's a joy to have a fun filled day, celebrating our Children that God has lifted out of the dust, and placed them in our big, happy family!

Pretty little girls in their pretty new clothes 
waiting for the Sunday morning church service to begin.
Checking out the cool new toys!
Eliza trying out her adorable hat and gloves with little finger puppets on them:o)
Aminosa filling her tummy with her yummy special supper.
Lots of satisfied children enjoying a plate of fried chicken, spaghetti noodles, potato salad, bread, and a banana (carbohydrate heaven!).

It was a fun day filled with lots of happy laughter, games, a puppet show for the girls, and song/dance entertainment in the evening put on by the children.

God has blessed these kids so much!

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I wanted to let you know that last night around 6 pm, Tino was being fed his supper, and
peacefully closed his eyes and went to be with Jesus. He did not have any big seizures like
he'd been having for days, just peacefully passed from this life into our Father's arms.
The medical staff and head of the baby house took his little body to the mortary, and today
they are making plans for the funeral (to be held Friday or Saturday). His grandmother was
able to come right away and the dorm mothers were around to comfort her. 
Please pray for those handling the funeral and those who looked after him and loved him into
Jesus's arms.
Thank you for those who have been praying for him. He's held on for a long time, way beyond the doctor's expectations! And He is now in heaven, he doesn't limp when he walks, he doesn't need glasses, and all those kisses and hugs he used to love to give out, he is now giving to Jesus! 
He's made it before us, and he's been promoted for this life on earth, to a perfect life and perfect body in heaven! Praise the Lord!