Monday, August 03, 2009


I (Rachel) had another opportunity to accompany a church team from the U.S. to a village they have been visiting for 4 years. It's interesting to go back with them because we were also with the first team that came.

Relationships have been built, especially with the volunteers of the Child Survival program. This church set up prayer partners between people in Mucatine and people from their church. Everyone has a laminated card of their partner with a picture, some personal info and some prayer requests. Every time a team comes, the partners send letters and the people in Mucatine also dictate letters back to them. It really gets past the superficial chit chat pretty fast when you start learning about issues that need prayer in each other's lives.

I was approached by a woman who has not been a volunteer but who is part of the agricultural association that has been set up there. She said, "Will you be my friend?" I sure will, and we had some time to learn about each other. Sonia understands some Portuguese but not much so we talked via an interpreter. She has three grade school aged children and her husband works in the mines in S Africa. Last year he came home once. They are part of the Zionist church, which in Mucatine is a real mixture of African religion and Christianity.

The women are very busy with a project that was suggested to them by the last team. They are hand-sewing cloth bags made from capulanas. When each woman completes 100 bags they will have enough funding to buy a truck for their agricultural association. This is a long-term project as it takes 6-10 hrs per bag. I made one while I was there. It would take a lot of motivation to make 99 more!

Here they are ironing them on the ground with an iron heated with hot coals. I still haven't figured out how they can sit like that for hours.

Their irrigated field has tomatoes they are harvesting now, cabbages (huge ones), some corn,squash papaya and dwarf mango trees. Each person has a plot for which she is responsible.

During the Bible teaching sessions it was evident that many of the women are realizing that they need God. One said, "I couldn't sleep last night, wondering if I am walking in the fruit of the Spirit or the flesh." Many of them know all about Christianity but when traditions conflict with Christianity they choose their traditions. Maria, who is a Christian in the village told me that it is like cutting down a large tree. You have to cut all the branches, clean up the leaves, haul it all away and then you also have to dig out all the roots. (We're not talking about chain saws now, this is all by hand.) This takes a lot of time, but she sees the fruit of the teachings that have come to the village for the last years and she encourages us not to give up. That was good to hear because it is easy to think things will happen instantly and it can be discouraging when change does not come as quickly as we think it should.

I'll leave you with a beautiful sight that I pass by on my walks in Maputo.