hey friend, i think i told you a couple months back that some of my friends from the bible school i attended in the USA would be coming. well its hard to believe that they have been here for a little over two weeks now. it feels like they have always been here.
i love hearing calvins thoughts on american politics or the NBA(so funny at times), i love seeing trina busy making breakfast early in the morning without even asking me if she should,its almost as if she has always been here. i love that logan enjoys just hanging out with the guys on the construction site and trys real hard to speak portuguese and i love taylors humour, it is extremely dry and you never know when he is going to drop one on you:D
i know i have been negligent in writing to you of late, well its because i have been very busy and to be honest just didnt feel like writing at the end of the day, too hot,tired and bothered. its been great having my friends over as a team. the guys have been busy with construction and trina has been with me running a bible study for about 11 girls(we have been meeting them almost everyday now going on to the second week). from my perspective i think so far its been a great trip. what i appreciate most about them is their willingness to learn and adapt. i know the language barrier has been quite frustrating at times and also adapting to the very laid back attitude that pple have here, i am sure has been challenging at times. whereas they are used to being busy all the time we here put much more emphasis in taking the time to making and maintaining relationships, sometimes that means hanging out at the construction site not doing any work but chatting with the other young africans who are volunteering as well.
i have really enjoyed having trina as my partner with the girls discipleship group, its so important for me that things are taken real slow when teaching, its important that the girls understand exactly what is being taught. i also put a lot of emphasis on just hanging out with the girls hearing them talk and interact with each other without me saying anything. it gives me more insight on who they really are and trina has adapted so well to that. a lot of times americans find it hard to take things slow when they come here and after living in the states for a year i understand why and therefore appreciate even more her willingness to adapt in such a short time. the girls have also enjoyed her company, even with the language barrier they love inviting her to join them in games or they ask her to teach them english, which is quite hilarious. i am of the opinion she will make a great counsellor oneday:D
for me the whole point of having teams is not that i give them a “good time” but rather they find it in their hearts to be ready to learn what ever God has for them and also to have an open heart and mind to learn from someone from a completely different cultural background. i do hope in the very least thats what my friends will take out from their short stay in mozambique.
PLEASE do continue to keep them in your prayers.
i have known antonio,alberto and momed for 5 years now. they are all boys from poor single parent households and they all lost their dads when they where very young. when i started mentoring them, they where a group of 6 boys all between the ages 11-15.they where some of the worst mannered boys i have ever worked with, all of them didnt know how to respect girls(they where horrible towards females in general) but for some odd reason they tolerated me. they always enjoyed visiting me, when i asked them to do anything they where prompt to do it. these boys became my gardening boys. for two years they came everyday to my house and we worked together, two hours sometimes three hours a day maintaining a garden that had the capacity to feed up to 70 orphan children. we never had bible studies nor did i ever sit them down to teach them anything, we learned through conversations as we weeded the garden, planted vegetables and watered all the beautiful greens that we where growing.
at the end of two years, i started to see less and less of the boys until oneday no one came. it was very hard and very dissapointing for me to see them change, not for the better but for the worst, most stopped going to school, some of them got involved in drinking and they all seemed to have the natural ability to find the worst boys to hang out with. it was not what i had envisaged would happen after two years of mentoring. oneday i realised that there was nothing i could do but let them go completely. i had to tell myself that i had done my part they knew what was right and wrong BUT you cannot force anything on anyone, every one has a choice. sometimes peoples choices are pretty damn stupid if you ask me!for two years i just prayed for them with a sad heart, wondering how they where doing, always fearing the worst.
at the beginning of this year alberto came back, it seems he finally realised how stupid his actions had been and was more than ready to change his ways. eight months later momed was with us again, and a month ago antonio too. the gardening project is no longer running but these three boys(especially alberto) are active members of our church youth group. alberto is back in school and we are working in finding how we can help antonio. all three boys are eager to help our church reach out to the orphans in our community(which is beyond miraculous). every time i see them i want to pinch myself, i trully thought we had lost them, i thought my 2 years invested in their lives had been in vain BUT no, that was not the case…THEY CAME BACK 🙂 i pray that the other three boys will also come back oneday.
friend, if you are involved in helping people change their lifestyles to become Jesus centered lives, you will agree with me that it is very very difficult work, mainly because what you are teaching is contrary to popular culture. there are no easy formulas to helping people, my part is to teach with TONNES of patience and love not to be easily offended and constantly learning to forgive at the drop of a hat. their part is to make the decision: will i stand up and be different from those around me or will i go with the flow?
…i wonder friend, do you like me struggle when to know “its time to let them go?”