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...!!:-)