Those of you who read our lastest newsletter will probably remember that we ended up extending our stay in Malta due to our inability to get Mozambican visas. Eventually, God opened a way for us to apply for visas through the Mozambican embassy in London. The embassy initially told us that they only work with residents of the United Kingdom; however, after a lot of prayer, we felt that we should apply there anyway. Jon flew to London and came back two days later with the visas! They are 30 day residency visas, meaning we have a month to get the ball rolling on our "green cards", or DIREs as they are called here.
So many bags!
We had a wonderful time with Carla's family in Gozo, Malta. It was great to see some of the island's sights, help out with their ministry, and get involved with some local Christian groups. We even got to take a quick trip to Sicily with them aboard the YWAM ship, Next Wave, which was exciting.
We want to thank everyone who was praying for smooth travels. We (and all of our suitcases) made it through to Beira without any major problems. We narrowly avoided some issues with the luggage, but everyone was very friendly and we were able to work it all out. The kids were great travelers, and we arrived very tired but intact in Beira on the afternoon of November 6th.
Worship at Peniel
Now we're finally starting to get established in Mozambique! We are currently staying in a temporary apartment while we search for another place to rent. The people from Peniel, our new church, have been incredibly helpful and accommodating. They've helped with everything from picking us up at the airport, to wrangling all of our luggage up the stairs to our fourth-floor apartment, to providing transportation and helping us find a place to live. The church recently ended a 40-day period of fasting and prayer, and I (Janie) was amazed at everyone's cheerfulness and willingness to help, even when they hadn't eaten anything all day. Innocencio, one of the church members at Peniel, stops by every day to check on us. He has been a huge help with running errands, taking us on shopping trips, and helping us with whatever is going on at the time. He's also started learning English with Carla, and has been helping me add to my Portuguese vocabulary. Kyran is making friends with a 7-year-old neighbor, Dereke. He often comes to our door to ask if Kyran can come out and play with him. The two of them have enjoyed the game of Uno and sharing their toy cars with each other. Kyran and Jariel are slowly gaining confidence in speaking a few Portuguese phrases to people, and I'm sure they'll do much better with time!
Chappa rides are cozy.
Connections in Mozambique
We have enjoyed getting re-acquainted with Mozambique. I've remembered how much I enjoy shopping in the little shops and open air markets, and we've all been savoring the variety of delicious fresh fruits that are available here. The kids are especially excited about the bananas! Since we don't have a car yet, we have been riding the “chappas”, which are the most common form of public transportation here. They are a little bigger than a minivan and frequently hold about twenty people. As you can imagine, everyone is very cozy! When we took our first chappa ride through Beira, my thought was, "Yep! We're definitely back in Mozambique now!"
It has also been nice to connect with some old friends from the area, both missionaries and Mozambicans. Some of Jon and Carla's friends put in requests for computers and other electronics that are hard to get here. It's been great, after carrying these things around with us for the past few months, to finally get them into the hands of the people who've been waiting for them.
Now our three main priorities are finding an apartment, continuing to build friendships here, and finalizing our one-year residencies. We have also been working on the website for downloading audio resources. You can find out more about that project here.
Mosquito nets come in handy.
Though we managed to get the visas that allowed us to enter the country, we still need to go through the immigration office for our residencies. Bernardo, one of the leaders at Peniel, has been helping Jon with this process. Fortunately, it looks like it will be much easier to get that done now that we're actually in the country.
Once again, we appreciate all of your prayers as we get established here in Beira. We're excited to find out what God will do with our time here and we look forward to sharing more of our testimonies with you.
Shopping at an outdoor market
Please pray that we would soon be able to find a good place to live.
That we would be able to build more friendships and make more connections with the congregation of Peniel and our community.
There are a lot of different opportunities for ministry here! Pray that we would have wisdom about the ones with which God wants us to get involved.
That we will be able to get our one-year residencies quickly and easily.
Praise God for a fruitful and restful time while we were 'shipwrecked' in Malta.
That we were able to get our visas through the London embassy.
For safe travels and that all of our bags made it to Beira.
Great friendship and amazing support from the people at Peniel.
Goodbye, Gozo! Our last ferry ride from Gozo to Malta.
Jon printed a map of Europe and Africa so the kids could plot our journey.
Note: Donating through PayPal (through the button above) would not be tax-exempt, but tax-deductible donations can be made via a local church. Checks can be made to "Church Without Walls" with "Equip Mozambique" in the memo line and sent to:
Church Without Walls 10501 County Road 3010 Rolla, MO 65401
Jariel and a huge beaded elephant in the Johannesburg airport. "It's THIS big!"
Thanks for reading, please remember us in your prayers!
Even though we were scheduled to fly out four days ago.
When we embarked on this journey, we were all expecting God to show up and do the unexpected, but an extended stay in Gozo, Malta was not what we had in mind! However, since the apostle Paul was also waylaid in Malta during his journey to Rome (Acts 27-28), we feel like we’re in pretty good company. Just as in Paul's case, God has opened unexpected opportunities for ministry here, and we are excited to take advantage of those openings as we wait for what He has in store.
Those who read our last newsletter may remember that we were having trouble getting our applications for Mozambican visas processed. Our paperwork still has not come through, and we recently found out that the man who has to sign off on our work permits has been on the campaign trail for one of the contenders in the upcoming election. Our plans for flying into Mozambique and getting short-term tourist visas while we waited for our one-year work permits were changed when we learned that Mozambique has stopped issuing visas to almost all foreigners who apply. Even some of the long-term missionaries have gotten their applications for continued residence denied.
A look back at the history of Mozambique provides a clue to this sudden turn of events. During the Mozambican civil war, the rebel group (now turned political party), RENAMO, was primarily supported by foreign governments. Since a major presidential election is coming up in October, it is natural that the Mozambican government would be suspicious of outside interference.
Through much personal prayer and the prayers of many of our partners, we clearly felt God directing us to stay here in Gozo for the time being. So here we are! We are grateful for some time to get a few more Equip Mozambique-related projects finished before we enter Mozambique (an updated version of website should be coming soon!). It's also nice to spend some extra time with Carla's family and, of course, enjoy the beautiful scenery that Gozo has to offer.
Enjoying some extra time with family and friends
Serving in Malta
While we were a little disappointed at our delayed entry into Mozambique, we have had no shortage of opportunities to serve here in Gozo. Jon and Carla have been teaching on communications and effective partnership with sending churches for some staff who are serving on the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) vessel, Next Wave. Everyone enjoys learning from their wisdom and insight, and Jon's technical support and computer maintenance skills are thoroughly appreciated by one and all! I (Janie) have gotten opportunities to participate in the vibrant worship and prayer happening aboard Next Wave, sit in on some of the training sessions for the YWAM staff, and become acquainted with people from the ship and from the local church. I've been blessed with various areas of service, from showing someone how to edit photos to washing dishes and cooking. We will all continue to look for ways to participate with the things God is doing here in Gozo, while also preparing for our eventual entry into Mozambique.
We got to celebrate Jariel's second birthday!
Bible Distribution for Mozambicans
While we've been here, we've been praying and reflecting about the purpose God has given us for returning to Mozambique, the foremost of which is to disciple people. We believe the first step toward effective discipleship is to put the Word of God into the hands of believers, but in a country where only 50% of the population is literate and the roads are some of the worst in the world, Bible distribution has always been a challenge. Additionally, even if Bibles in the local languages are available, they are usually the only written communication in those languages so Mozambicans must go through a certain amount of education to even be able to read them. However, life wouldn't be fun without some challenges! Using the facts that most Mozambicans have access to cell phones with internet connectivity and that the Mozambican culture is considerably more receptive to audio than to written communication, Jon got the idea of utilizing our time here to create a website from which Mozambicans may download free audio versions of the Bible in native languages. It may come as a surprise that someone who lives in a mud hut, without electricity or running water, could actually own a cell phone, but internet-accessible phones may be purchased for $25 and it only costs $1 to download the full Bible (about 300 Megabytes). By providing audio resources that may be downloaded to cell phones, we will be utilizing an already-familiar and extensive platform to spread information in a culturally relevant way. We probably would not have gotten the time to work on this project if we’d flown into Mozambique in our own timing, so in many ways, our stopover here in Gozo is proving to be a major blessing.
A charging booth: one way to keep your cell phone charged when your house doesn't have electricity.
Peace in the Midst of Uncertainty
Throughout the days of indecision, when we were uncertain of our options or whether or not we would be able to leave Gozo on the day we’d planned, God gave me a tremendous peace about the future. He kept directing me to scriptures like Psalm 34:8; ‘I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with My eye on you, I will give counsel.’ I kept remembering how He has brought each of us this far, and that, as long as we are walking each day in obedience to God, we can have complete trust that He will guide us exactly where we need to be. Though the path may take a few more twists and turns than we’d originally planned, we can rest in the assurance that He is always in control.
We're not sure where this adventure will take us next, but we appreciate your prayers!
The cease-fire agreement in Mozambique. We have been praying for peace there, and so this is a major answer to those prayers.
That we have peace about our visa situation, even though it is still up in the air
Ministry openings in Gozo, and that we've been able to do Kingdom work no matter where we are!
Inspiration for the audio Bible website project
That our visa paperwork would eventually come through!
That God would help us make the most of the rest of our time here in Malta, and that we'd be able to accomplish all the projects He has given us to do
We've gotten to play a small part in helping the YWAM Next Wave staff gear up for the Discipleship Training School that began this week. We look forward to participating further with the school as time goes on.
Both Jariel and Kyran are enjoying time with 'Baba' and 'Poppers', Carla's mom and dad.
Mozambique's government and RENAMO, a rebel group -turned political party, have signed an agreement to end their armed conflict. Read the news article here.
Jon put up a blog post with some more details about God's guidance during our journey.
If you haven't done so already, please click *here* to see and "like" our Facebook page!
We are not a tax-exempt organization yet, but we are working on it and we should be by the end of the year. If that is important to you we can accept donations through a local church. Checks can be made to "Church Without Walls" with "Equip Mozambique" in the memo line and sent to:
Church Without Walls 10501 County Road 3010 Rolla, MO 65401
Thanks for reading, please remember us in your prayers!