9/21/07 Friday

Thursday we arrived in Zimpeto. Over 50% of the children speak only Portuguese and the local tribal language of Shangaan. This means communication is interesting. Some of the kids speak English very well and are even taking English classes on base here. Some speak just a few words or understand more than they can speak. They are cute trying to ask you how to say something or just acting like parrots, repeating everything over and over, laughing at the sounds. Thank goodness more and more spanish is coming back to me, cause its allowing me to at least pick up on some of what they are saying and guess at what words I can try to use since Portuguese and Spanish are similar.

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

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