**If you've just started looking at my updates from this trip....they start on 9/19 so you'll have to click on SEPT in the right hand column toward the bottom and work your way back. I compressed my journaling into a few days at a time and points of interest plus a few pics. I hope you enjoy. My prayer requests and major updates surrounding the trip are on the post titled Back Home on 10/4. You may have to click on OCT. in the right hand column to see all the Oct. blogs since only a few at a time are shown on the main page. Again thanks to everyone who has been supporting me this last year. Ya'll are amazing and I have been truly blessed by each of you!**
Worship: here's a small taste of what worship was like at Iris. This was the community service on Sunday mornings.
Sounds from Iris: this was the soundtrack we heard most nights because the girls compound was right next to the visitor's compound...(video taken by my roomie Rachel)
Baby Prayers: The babies were oh too precious. They prayed and sang songs before every meal! Here's 2 video's from one of my roommates Rachel:
Yesterday was our last worship service before going home. Every Sunday they have a time of blessing for all the short-termers or any missionaries that it is their last Sunday. You sit on the edge of the stage and then all the little kids run up, wrap a capalana around you, lay tiny hands on you and pray for you. I cannot really explain those emotions. First it is amazing enough to just hear all these little kids feverently praying over you . Then all the hands pressing on you....it was just too precious! An amazing blessing, even if I couldn't understand all they were saying. I again made my way to the baby house section and worshiped with them. Something that has been a theme for the week is how we each are CHILDREN of God. We should have faith like them; dance, sing and worship before Him as though we are. He is our Father and begs for us to come crawl into and rest in His love! How often do I take this message to heart? I am being taught this daily by the people of Mozambique by their utter dependence on Him for everything from their provisions to their joy. I was reminded by a small 3 yr old who grabbed both my hands during worship and started teaching me a dance she was making up at the exact same time. She was too cute. I don't think I've had that much fun in a really long time.
Today I spent the day doing the last ofs....last staff worship service...last time with the beautiful girls in the girls dorm...last moments in the baby house....last bowl of rice with some yummy topping....last youth worship service in the city. It was really hard as I am not ready to leave here in the morning. I can hardly wait to come back. This evening at the youth service I watched a room full of young men and wome come to the front so hungry for you....dedicating their lives, arms stretched out to you, tears streaming down their face. You can see His life in their eyes, the earnestness, the passion. In each of these moments I feel as though I'm watching Isaiah 58 being fulfilled right before my eyes. You are doing something so amazing with these people and through this ministry!
This afternoon a team from South Africa brought bead supplies, so we all sat and made bracelets and necklaces. The kids really enjoyed it and went for 2 hrs making as many as they could. It was a neat treat for them!
I have been blessed with a room full of amazing girls. We had worship tonight for just all the kids, staff, and missionaries at the center. The children are amazing and all dance around, filled with joy and love for our God. Their joy despite their circumstances or the past they have been saved from is unimaginable.
Today we went to the Bocaria-the city garbage dump. About 3,000 people call it home and live with absolutely nothing-no roof, clean water, any utilities, ect. Many more come here during the day, scouring through the trash to find anything they can use in their home or can sell. There are also hundreds of homes within the walls of the bocaria that live daily with the smells as well as smoke and heat from the fires that spontaneously errupt everyone on the trash heaps. Everywhere you looked there were people bent over digging through the trash, from the oldest women to tiny children with ratty clothes on. We began and ended our time there at the church that Iris has started at the bottom of the bocaria. It was filled with children singing, dancing, laughing, and joy. So we danced. Even the tiny tots who could barely walk danced, clapped, and raised their hands, smiles spread across their faces. We danced in the middle of a trash heap and poured our hearts and eyes out to the Lord. I was surrounded with girls about 5 years old that had babies strapped to their back....some were so small that the baby they were carrying practically touched the ground. Yet there they were dancing around and singing. My heart was filled with such heaviness as I sat down listening to the pastor in portuguese with 3 tiny kids in my lap and about 2 more hanging on. I was completely struck by what I saw-beyond their situation, it was their response that hit me hardest. In the middle of the dump children were so in love with God that they did nothing more than worship Him with a joy I can say I have never seen in any church back in the states.
We went up onto the dump and walked for about an hour, asking whoever we met, if we could pray with them. One lady we met said she had never heard of Jesus and through translators we shared the gospel and prayed with her. At the end of our time, we went back to the bocaria church and asked the children if they had anything they needed prayer for. I turned around to a room where 75% of the kids held tiny hands in the air. We went around and prayed over them, some with tears streaming down their face, hugging or holding hands with the child next to them. I couldn't even communicate with them so I prayed as I felt the Holy Spirit led me. For most of the kids I prayed that God would raise up a generation of His warriors, using these children, His precious children, to turn this earth around, starting smack in the middle of the bocaria, then stretching to the small huts boardering it, then Maputo, then Mozambique, and across Africa.
After the prayer time, we handed out loaves of bread as the children left. Some of the children immediately gobbled it up faster than you could blink, the rest of them grabbed the bread with both hands, pulled it to their heart and then hid it underneath their shirts near their heart, running towards home with their prize to share with the rest of their family.
"Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heir of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?"-James 2:5
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has annointed me to bring good news to the ppor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted..."-Isaiah 61:1
Prayer requests in the meantime:
-I will have a stillness and peace, a time to recharge in these next 30 days
-Financial support will continue to come in (praise-my first trip was completely covered by gifts and pledges and i have 1/4 of my monthly support goal met with pledges).
Since I had no access to internet or phones while there, I'm posting some of my journal entries and pictures now.