Monday, December 19, 2011

Africa to Canada-adjusting to change

Finally last week we departed the African world and left behind its blazing hot sunshine, tropical thunderstorms, and beautiful people. The Cessna stayed behind too at Mercy Air, and in our absence it will undergo its annual maintenance check.

From Mercy Air, Dwight, Andy Kuret and I left by vehicle for the Johannesburg Airport. Andy was headed to Switzerland on a short 6 week furlough, while Dwight and I headed for Canada.

Here we are lined up in Joburg, more or less ready for the next 35 hours of non-stop transit between worlds. We had 3 flights: London, Toronto, Edmonton, with hours-long layovers in between.

With a schedule like that, we were clearly smiling at the thought of arriving at our destination! Especially considering we were facing the usual sardined-together-trying-to-sleep-sitting-up-experience, made much worse for me by the fact that I came down with some nasty flu just as we were leaving. All I could think about as I sat on plane and airport chairs was a bed...but it was the farthest thing from me.

In Edmonton, we were welcomed warmly by loved ones and friends at the airport, and at home, by a bed! And now begins the process of settling (more or less) and getting ourselves organized for 6 months of travel--most of it by road. The settling-in process is going to involve a bit of adjusting to "climate change" though.

From this:
To this:

There will be a bit of adjustment to "space change" too since we've done the usual and moved in with our kids who share an already small suite in my in-laws' basement. It's not that we're new to this, but it is an adjustment nonetheless.

Running an office from the dining room table wasn't very do-able, so we picked up a little desk and chair for Dwight at Walmart and put it in our bedroom. Our bedroom is a curtained off section of the living room. Jokes about us closing the curtain "for some peace and quiet" abound.

Dwight working on the presentation we'll be using during furlough.

And now, it's hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner. For the first time in about 6 years, we will get to spend it with family. That's a change too, but the adjustment is an enjoyable one with family fun and the rekindling of ties as we celebrate the birth of Jesus: the One who came to bring us life-giving change.

So for now, goodbye and Merry Christmas everyone!

Be sure to check Heather's blog for a write-up about the orphan Christmas party that took place last week in Mozambique.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


(Stuff and the chaos of leaving.)

We've been in the process of leaving Mozambique for several weeks now to go on a 6 month furlough in Canada and the US.

Preparing for one's absence in one place so work can carry on as smoothly as possible while preparing for one's arrival in another makes for some very busy times. There have been many meetings, email writing, job description detailing, photo/video taking/editing, schedule/transport planning, govt/legal paper work wrapping up (as much as possible) on a number of fronts, and so on.

Generally, just organizing stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. And so it seemed like the logical time to do my spring cleaning and organize my entire house too, including medical supplies(!).

The bottles of medicine are for treating microscopic bugs.
The can of DOOM, for treating bigger bugs.

Which leads me to tell you how I dealt with last week's discovery of a big, thick spider web in some stored linen (see previous post).

First, I ignored it for a few days. I was either procrastinating or just too busy with other stuff. I kind of figured Spidey wasn't going anywhere far with such a plush home anyway.

But when all my other work was done, I had to deal with him. I (smartly and) off-handedly mentioned the situation to my husband who dutifully headed straight into the storage room and pulled Spidey's newly claimed (aka OUR) bedding onto the wide open floor and opened it up. At that, Spidey started jumping and scurrying about wildly like I thought he would. But I had my mini-vacuum ready in hand and, um, "air lifted" him to the safety of the outdoors. And that was the end of that saga.

It is not logical to take on mini-construction projects while preparing to leave on a big trip, but we decided to do that too. Tiling needed to be done around the kitchen sink and newly placed curtain rods needed to be secured. Oh, and curtains for the mission office needed to be cut and made ready for hemming too. With all that taking place in my kitchen over several days, finding an appropriate spot to put the dish rack became quite an adventure.

In the end, it all came together and we said our farewells.

Last missionary staff meeting before leaving: left to right
Dwight, me, Joao, Leila, Tony, Heather, Rick, Alta, Francois, Ron,
Allan (Mercy Air SA director)
Front: Tendai and Barb

Our leaving coincided with a long-time staff member having to go for emergency surgery.
Seems like a bad time to leave, but I know he's in good hands.
(thanks for the photo, Heather.)

Before we knew it, we were off flying south.

Odd photo taken from the cockpit with my cellphone.
I assume the black lines must be the prop?

We were on a tight schedule on our way down (because we always are, but this time because of weather), but got delayed at Vilankulo Airport. They were having power troubles and we had to wait for their electricity to be reconnected so we could fuel up.

We weren't sure how long our delay would be, but either way, we had a bit of time to kill at the brand spanking new airport. Air conditioned with white, shiny marble floors and restaurant inside instead of outside in the hot wind. Wow.

Here's what it used to look like:

What we feared may be an overnight stay turned into just a 2 hour delay, so we got to leave shortly after lunch. Here we are, wind-swept on the tarmac. We look a tad excited. :) That's because we'll be seeing our kids and family soon.

We're now in South Africa, still in the process of leaving, but enjoying our last bit of summer before we hit the land of cold, snow, and ice.

We will be traveling the width and breadth of north America sharing about the the needs and wonderful things happening in Mozambique between January and July. If you want to get together with us at some point, please email us at

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Choices, and Hope.

Personally, I don't like too many choices. When there are too many good things to choose from, it's hard to decide on just one. Which is why I had to smile when I saw the first-ever food menu posted at the intensive seminar this week. Now that's a good menu! Straightforward. I also liked that someone was considerate, creative about the content, and went to the effort to write it up.

Translation: SBF (Faith Bible Seminary): Menu/Notice Board

Lunch (but actually means "Breakfast", in Mozambique terminology)

*Pina Bread, Large (baked with firewood in a clay oven in Pina, a neighboring community).
*Sri Lanka Tea (not from a neighboring community. Not even from a neighboring country!)

Big Lunch ( Mozambique terminology for "Lunch")
*Pemba Beans (Not a neighboring community, just further north in Moz.)
*Baue Rice (also from further north)
*Quelimane Orange Juice (large city further north in Moz)

As you can see, there's not many choices. But in rural Mozambique, where hunger is rife...especially now as rains are just arriving and crops still being planted--people are just happy for whatever food is available at all.

So, the dust has been flying (figuratively speaking, since it's currently raining) here this week with the busyness of seminar plus us trying to organize the many, many last minute things we need to get done before we leave on Thursday.

Dwight sharing in the general session in the NEW general sessions room.

Attentive listeners.

After a week of intensive class time and learning,
certificates are handed out to those completing their course(s).

Today, these leaders all head back to their homes. For some, this means a 2 day ride in very cramped, overloaded vans. Many of them are from rural areas where living conditions difficult, and there is hunger. As they study however, they become better equipped to address these issues and help bring hope to their churches and communities. Hope is a wonderful thing to share!

And speaking of which, I need to share another thing that made me (all of us) smile this week. One of our partnering churches (Fort McMurray Gospel Assembly, in Canada) found a very creative way to celebrate this Christmas and share hope with people in Mozambique.

For donations made toward Unique Christmas Gifts,
cards with those gift items were hung on beautifully lit Christmas trees in the church lobby.

This gets my vote for "Most beautiful Christmas Tree, 2011".

Before I end this post, I need to share one more item on the "choices" topic. I was busy organizing my little medications/camp bedding store room here in our house yesterday and when went to fling a pillow on the top of an already very high pile, something strange caught my eye. So I got up on a chair and to my dismay, at the very top I discovered this extensive and craftily spun spider web. It even has an entry tunnel and all. Ni-i-ice. I shudder to think of the size/shape/look of that spider. I dislike spiders more than I dislike too many choices.

So right now especially, I don't like my choices. Do I get rid of him with a:

*High-powered vacuum?
*Can of Baygon?
Shoe clobbering session?

Just too many "good" choices there...

May you have hope, and only good things to choose from this holiday season.

But mostly, Hope.