Christmas this year was unlike any other with the 30+ degree heat, but we still enjoyed celebrating it in a different way. On Christmas Day, we had a barbecue with some of the other missionaries Liz and Sergio know, most of whom are Brazilian. Alex and Andrew also attempted to teach them some ceilidh dances, which was a laugh for everyone. We can’t imagine our Boxing Day was similar to yours either, unless you had a water fight in the morning!
On New Year’s Eve, we attended a service to celebrate 2018 and the New Year. The service ran into the early hours, and we enjoyed being with the people there. There was worship, drama, talks and lots of dancing, including a routine we’d practiced with people from our own church (more on that later!)
Children in Mozambique don’t often have the opportunity to be imaginative and creative, but at Wagna’s church we try our best to give them time to just be kids. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been running a holiday club two afternoons a week. The kids are split into groups, and they rotate through different activities. There’s English and crafts with Alex, music with Andrew and art and games run by Jack and Rebekah. We have to give all the instructions in Portuguese, which can be difficult, however with the help of the young leaders at the church the kids usually understand what to do. Making zebra masks and painting shells have been some of their favourite activities. Also, who knew how much hilarity someone falling off a chair during a game of Minha Cadeira (My Chair) could cause?
On Saturday afternoons, we attend the church youth group. At the beginning there is a Bible study and then, recently, the young people have been preparing dances to perform in the service. Believe it or not, we’ve joined in too! It turns out Mozambicans are very good and very energetic dancers, but we do our best to follow them and it’s actually a lot of fun. Here’s a video below of our attempt at dancing Mozambique style!
What have you really enjoyed?
ALEX – Meeting new people over the Christmas period. We’ve befriended another teenager (who speaks English thankfully) so it’s been nice to spend time with her and her family.
ANDREW – I really enjoyed going to a project run by two Americans called Carla and John. The work they’re doing there is incredibly valuable, particularly the apps that John’s team are developing, one of which focuses on basic healthcare tips for people to prevent themselves catching diseases like malaria.
JACK – Learning how to carry bricks using a metal cart and helping to build a wall at Kadesh (a boys’ orphanage). The boys also encouraged me to carry a very heavy concrete arch with them.
Spending time over Christmas with other missionaries in the city was really nice as we generally don’t get time to talk to other people doing similar things to us.
REBEKAH – Last week Liz and Sergio set us a challenge of each exploring a character from the Christmas story. I was researching Joseph, and was particularly inspired by his complete obedience to God’s word despite his own emotions or cultural expectations on him. It was very interesting to look at a different side of a story that we all know very well and hear every year.
What has challenged you most?
ALEX – On our way to buy the weekly shop a young boy came up to us and grabbed my arm. I was a bit startled but when he kept repeating that he was hungry I thought we could offer to buy him a banana since we aren’t encouraged to give money. He was so thankful and started eating the banana straight away. I felt extremely sad and was really impacted because we were about to buy a whole week’s worth of food and he was so grateful to receive a banana.
ANDREW – Trying to get a Christmas parcel from Customs at the airport was an absolute nightmare, not least because of the language barriers. The whole ordeal took about an hour and a half, and I had to go all over the airport and to the same places multiple times.
JACK – Alex and I were walking to a shop when a small boy grabbed Alex’s arm. The language barrier often makes it difficult to understand exactly what people are asking for but we understood this boy was asking for food. After talking to the lady selling bananas, we managed to buy two bananas rather than the big bunch she was trying to sell us. The boy then ate the banana, seeming to enjoy it, however it is sometimes difficult to decipher whether the people on the street are begging for themselves or whether they have someone taking everything they are given.
REBEKAH – Over Christmas there have been times when I have found it hard being away from home and normal traditions, especially when the WiFi cut off on Christmas Day!
What are you looking forward to?
ALEX – More dances at church! It feels amazing to be able to join in with the culture and have a laugh with the young people at church.
ANDREW – I’m looking forward to getting stuck into some new projects in 2019, as our timetable is changing and we’ve got the opportunity to serve in different ways.
JACK – I’m excited for our growing relationship with our Church and hopefully being able to dance more and run an English club there.
REBEKAH – Spending more time with the children at Wagna’s church and the missionary kids’ club: playing games, doing craft activities and having fun with them.
- We all enjoyed celebrating Jesus’ birth in a new culture
- The new club at Wagna’s church has been good fun and the kids have really enjoyed themselves.
- Getting to meet new people over Christmas was really refreshing
- Wagna has returned to Brazil for a few months for an operation so please pray that everything goes well and that her husband Jean, who’s still here, will have comfort and peace.
- For God’s compassion on the children we see struggling each day.
- That our planning for our team holiday to Zimbabwe will get organised