My Mozambique adventure began with half a month of travel to get there. This journey, much like the movie “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” included multiple means of transportation in effort to reach our intended destination. We began by bus, transferred by mini bus, crossed the Malawi waters by fisherman’s boat, road in the pick up truck bed until it died, pushed the pick up even further, and lastly arrived in Lichinga, Mozambique mid December and by way of a semi flat bed (The all together best part of the trip).
To say the least, God taught me a lot about what being a traveling missionary means, when your location days equals 13 and your transport 21 from site to site. He spoke to me in the angel like help he sent along the way, in the scenery in which we dwelt here and there, and even in the midst of my 3 dreadful hours at sea, where I upchucked the best fillet of fish dinner I just about have ever had which only added to the familiar scent upon the water. Yuck.
I said 3 but let me clarify, 2 hours and 40 minutes of dreadful living. Praise: the first 20 minutes among the swells were truly epic and the experience of a lifetime . . .the other long, long, long minutes? Well. This blog is titled “red and GREEN” for a reason. I have sailed/paddled boats, swam in the gulf, and thrilled my senses on a million roller-coasters in my lifetime but nothing, absolutely nothing, prepared me for the sickness that racked my body, mind, and even spirit for those 2 hours and 40 minutes across the waves between borders.
There was a moment, I laughed as I told my team later, that I literally made my peace with my life to that point. I believed it to have been full and complete unto God to date. Haha! I thought in my wrecked state, “God, you know I love you more than anything. I have lived a full life. I’m ready to go. I could just slip further than I am already hanging over the boat and float to heaven from here.” Hahhahahah! As morbid as it sounds, I can’t help but laugh now. I had heaved all I thought I could heave and had already disappointed myself with my lack of resolve to press forward. I could go not another minute as green as I was . . .and yet forward we rocked.
The border crossing, in and of itself, was absolutely ridiculous and included bribery, marriage proposals, and many, many prayers. At one point, a friend of mine (And a squad leader) walked over to a few of my team, reclining uncomfortably, practically scorched in the back of the awaiting flat bed and said, “Well, they are going to make us go back to Malawi.” (Aka, back over the high seas!). My team looked at her and their responses were, “Can I go to the bathroom first?” and, “Will we get our bribed money back before we go?”
. . . just goes to show how we can adjust when the pressures on and you have lived through the largest swells a fisherman’s boat should ever sea, I mean see. Ha.
I was so proud of my team’s attitude in that moment even though she was indeed joking about being sent back. We would all have to endure a week and a half as illegal immigrants in a foreign land until immigration could handle the situation of our obscure crossing and legalize our documents for further inhabitation. In the end, it meant traveling another 8 hours, 1 week later to another border to be stamped properly. Immigration is currently sending in weapon packing folk to recover the money that we should have never had to give for us to pass into the country to begin with (Update: This mission was completed successfully and the money was returned to us in full. Bless God!). What is done in the dark, will be brought to light? I think so.You don’t mess around with 7 missionaries of God, called to your country. God will have His way and I guarantee that it’s filled with justice . . .and mercy.
Oh, mercy. God has been raining it down on me. For real! His mercy has been prevalent in my heart and in the way that our Mozambique ministry has cared for it. I have been refreshed in my few days spent in this place. Glorious rest. After all that travel (Not to mention the travel to come! We’re looking at 3 days on a bus this weekend), God has truly met us at IRIS Ministries of Lichinga. It’s Christmas time and although I miss literally EVERYTHING about this season at home in the States, I feel that I have been given the best gift of all. A taste of True Religion.
I live in “The Village of Joy.”
Living on the grounds with us, are 5 orphaned girls. They are truly the SWEETEST little things you could ever imagine. Every day I am blessed by their presence. That’s it, their very presence. Wow. The care they show towards the things of our heavenly Father is remarkable and their leading in our life, even as children, is undeniable! As I taught a Christmas drama to the youth of one of the local churches this week, one of these sweet little girls played the part of the Holy Spirit in it. She flitted and danced around, just as I had shown her, only with all of the grace that only one of these precious angels of joy could. Ranging in age from little to littlest, haha, these angels swing their beaded weaves back and forth as they jump rope to high heaven with broken string and sing joyful melodies picked up at church or by guests such as ourselves. Their favorite melodic line learned from my team, “You are all that I need. You are all that I need.” Truly, this is honesty in song.
Prayer has become a way of life recently and I hope forever to claim it as such. I used to pray when the need arose or when my heart was particularly lifted in praise. After having lived with my newly known brothers and sisters at IRIS, prayer has further become my conversation with my best Friend, perfect papa, awe filled God, plus of course the King of the universe. nbd. The amazing part to me is that He is always available, never leaves, and never grows weary of my heavenly beckon. He is the best and I have NOTHING greater to do with my time than talk with Him. See what He’s up to around me and ask to be a part of it. This is something I can take with me, you know? It’s a new part of my changed life that can bring more trust in God for the future and more peace for today. Trust and peace. Two things that God is calling out in me day by day. Two things that I’ve requested to remain in me forever.
"Be, don’t do. Rest, don’t strive. Abide in my love because it’s there . . . period. Trust in me as your perfect Papa. Be yourself. “Lauren” is the only and best identity that I have called you to. Your giftings are from Me and therefore are powerful to set others free. Serve. Speak life. Cherish EVERY moment. Speak. Forgive. Let go. Heal. Dance. Sing. Choose Joy."
These are a few of the life-changing lessons that God has spoken over me. I’m here and yet moving forward . . . listening intently to every word. So. I. Go.
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27
"He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm." - Mark 4:39 (If Jesus can calm the sea, He can calm the storm in me!)