Saturday, December 27, 2008
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
God created you and I to express His goodness. “Every time you perform a loving act; every time you alleviate human suffering or bring hope and joy into a person’s life, you’ve expanded the good and increased the honor God receives for creating you in his image. God loves when his children reflect his character. (Wide Awake)
I’m a missionary in Africa. . . yet I’m challenged by this passage of scripture. How many times do I miss an opportunity to express God’s goodness to the people so close to His heart – the fatherless. Look at these statistics I read in Fields of the Fatherless:
•Today there are over 143 million orphans in the world. That’s one child in every 13!
•More than 13 million orphans were added to the total in 2006 alone, many due to HIV/AIDS.
•Every 5 seconds a child dies because he or she is hungry.
•10.9 million children under the age of 5 die in developing countries every year – malnutrition and hunger related accounting for 60% of these deaths.
•More than 1 million children are trafficked every year as sex slaves and another 8.4million children work under horrific circumstances – forced into debt bondage or other forms of slavery, prostitution, pornography, armed conflict, or other illicit activities.
•By the end of 2006, there were 2.3 million children living with HIV around the world, and over half a million children became newly infected with HIV in 2006.
These statistics break my heart. They overwhelm me. They challenge me. How many times have I passed by a hungry child begging for food without offering him something to eat? How many times have I seen a child living on the street and dressed in rags yet not given him clothes? 143 million orphans in the world. How many of them live in Maputo, Mozambique? How many of them do I pass by everyday?
I know God doesn’t expect me to help them all . . . but I sure want to.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving here at Zimpeto! It was lots of fun preparing a real southern thanksgiving dinner for 20 people from all over the world - America, England, New Zealand, Mozambique. My roommate, Erin, and I prepared for over a month. We bought ingredients in Mozambique and South Africa and even had things brought over to us from the States. Brooke, my wonderful friend from New Zealand, got a great introduction to casseroles as she helped me prepare every casserole imaginable! We had turkey, corn casserole, sweet potato casserole, pineapple casserole, green bean casserole, squash casserole, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrot cake, peanut butter cake, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie! If it weren't for the over 100 degree temperature I would have thought I was at my mama's house!!!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I wanted to update you all on some things the Lord has been doing in me over the last couple of months. As I reflect back on the past 10 and a half months that I've been here in Mozambique, the moments that I have felt most alive would be when I'm at a Tuesday night church service with the street kids or when I'm out in the city and run into some boys living on the street and just talk to them for 5 minutes or when I go visit Zacarius (a street boy that I've written about on my blog a few times) and his family with Gaspar. It's in moments like these that I feel an overwhelming since of the Lord's love being lavished through me. And isn't that why I came to Mozambique?
Over a year ago, as I was praying about coming to Mozambique, I was torn between continuing to minister in the inner city or Africa. The Lord finally confirmed my decision to move here when He clearly showed that He was calling me to both - Maputo, a large city in Africa. But the Iris children's center is 30 minutes outside of the city and most of our kids are from villages. Although I love the boys at the center, I don't feel like I've been walking in all that the Lord has for me.
For the past couple of months, I've been praying about whether or not to return to Iris Ministries for another year. I felt the Lord directing me to tell the directors of the center that I would not be returning. My heart is totally for Mozambique and I can't imagine not being here so the idea of telling them that when I had no idea where I would go or what I would do was rather scary. But the Lord told me to step out and trust Him. So I did. And over the past 2 weeks, since I told them I wouldn't return, I have been so amazed at how quickly the Lord has directed my steps!
A friend of mine from New York, Marcella, has been here in Maputo trying to learn about different projects around the city. 2 different people told her about a man names Pastor Paulo who had an incredible project with street kids. She set up a meeting with him and invited me along. As he described his project, he said that they have been praying for a missionary to work with them. At this point, he had no idea that I wanted to work with street kids full time! I have since visited his church and the project.
Paulo is the pastor of a reformed church in the city. His church partners with assemblies of God church and a Baptist church to run a project for street kids. They don't have their own center but meet at the assemblies of God church. Each day, they open up for up to 30 street kids and provide breakfast, discipleship, life skills (how to wash their clothes, cooking, etc.), basic education (reading/writing), and lunch. The day wraps up around 1:30 and the kids leave. This happens Monday - Friday. Ultimately, the goal is to get to know the kids and their individual stories and help them reunite with their families. They do home visits and assess the family situation as well as meet with the parents to discuss why the child is living on the streets. When parents are willing to take them back but need financial help, they help them start their own business. They also help get the kids enrolled in school and find a church in their community.
The project was started 5 years ago by a German woman named Debra. She moved back to Germany a couple of years ago. Since then, Pastor Paulo, along with a team of 7 or 8 Mozambican volunteers have been running the program.
Over the past months, as I talked to friends about wanting to work with street kids, the things this project is already doing are exactly what I described to them as my dream. I am overwhelmed with the faithfulness of God. His word says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." And He's doing just that!
I will return to Mozambique in late January and begin working with street kids. I am still sorting out where I will live when I return. I have a friend named Betsy that lives in the city and works with Samaritan's Purse. She is committed to her current apartment until April. Hopefully we will be able to get a place together after that. That leave 3 months that I need to make other arrangements. I have a couple of options that I am looking into. I am also hoping to go to Portugal for 6 weeks in May to attend a language school with my friend Marcella. I will take some more Portuguese classes here in Maputo in January as well.
I will be arriving in Atlanta on December 4th and look forward to spending time with my family and friends. Though I won't be in Mozambique for Christmas, I am helping to organize gifts for the 35 boys in my dorm before I leave so if you'd like to make a financial contribution towards that, I'd gladly accept. You can make checks payable to Unveiled Faces and designate it for Sarah Olds. Support can be sent to:
c/o Church of Philadelphia
PO Box 72267
Durham, NC 27722
c/o Church of Philadelphia
PO Box 72267
Durham, NC 27722
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
I can't believe it's been over a month since I've written on my blog! But i guess it's a good picture of how crazy busy the month of May was for me! First, there was an overload of work while the 4 main missionaries I work with were away. Then a team came from the UGA Wesley Foundation and I had a wonderful but busy time with them! It was so much fun having people from home here! More of you should come!!!!! I was even able to go on safari with them!
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
“Love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:5
This week one my boys stole a large amount of money out of my wallet. It happened while I had my HIV+ boys over for snack. We were all sitting at the table out in the common area of the building I live in. One of them asked to use the bathroom in my house. While in my house, he went into my bedroom and took about 3,000 metaci out of my wallet, which is equivalent to $120. I didn’t discover that the money was gone until later that night when I went to pay for my dinner at the Chinese restaurant in the city.
I immediately phoned my friend Brooke, another missionary at the center. I told her the two boys that I suspected. One of them lives in the dorm that she oversees and the other one in mine. In the back of my head I totally knew it had to have been the boy from her dorm because I thought for sure I could trust my boys! After all, these are the boys that I have over to my house for snacks three times a week. They love to help me bake or to carry my groceries into the house. These are the boys that I had just taken out to dinner in the city a week ago. We spend tons of time together. They would never steal from me.
Brooke confronted both of the boys and they both denied it. When I returned to the center, I spoke to Manuel, one of the older youth who works in my garden, about the money because he had been working in the garden at the time the money would have been stolen. Manuel immediately knew which of the two boys I suspected had done it because he had seen that boy at a little shop outside the center buying cokes and snacks for his friends in the dorm. Sure enough it was the one I thought for sure was innocent . . . one of my boys.
Twenty minutes later, Manuel and some of the older youth showed up at my house with the boy. I opened his school bag and found 2,200 mets ($88). At first he claimed he didn’t know how the money got there but after a bit of badgering from the older youth he confessed to having stole it.
Love is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. I’ve had to remind myself of this truth as I’ve gone through the emotions of being angry at the injustice done against me, disappointed in this boy, sad that he had broken my trust. Yet I choose to love. And love is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrong.
In the end, this boy was sent home for two weeks as his punishment. Maybe you’re confused. If he has a home why is he living at the center? Because his home consists of a mother dying of AIDS. Just before he left, I saw him on the playground and his one question was, “Mana Sarah, can I still come to your house when I return in two weeks?”
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
This past Wednesday we welcomed 2 new boys into my dorm! There names are Alberto and Enrique. They are 12 and 10. Their mom passed away back in December or January and they were living in the house alone with neighbors giving them food. Somehow the social agency became aware of them and brought the boys to us. They have different fathers. We've been in touch with Alberto's father and he wants nothing to do with his son. We've yet to locate Enrique's father. Neighbors told us there was an older sister who was married but no one knows where she lives.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Outside of my house I have this great yard for my boys to play in. Since I arrived in December I’ve wanted to plant new trees and shrubbery and really make it a beautiful place. That has finally begun to happen!!! Nelson and Manuel are two of the older youth who live here at the center and I pay them $8 each a month to work in my garden. They have really taken ownership over the garden and are so excited about seeing it improve. Manuel has all these ideas about putting plants everywhere and I have to continually remind him that the younger boys will trample all over them!!! But it’s so wonderful to see them taking care of the things entrusted to them.
Isaiah 35 has always been one of my favorite chapters in the Bible and even more so here in Africa where it is so hot and the ground is so dry. “The desert and parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy . . . water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow . . . They will enter Zion with singing, everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away!”
I believe that the things happening around us in the physical world are a sign of things going on in the Spirit. Replacing the dry dead ground with plants and grass and encouraging Manuel and Nelson in caring for them, is my little way of declaring that sorrow and sighing will flee from the fatherless children here at the center and that gladness and joy will overtake them!!!!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
For in you the fatherless find compassion. “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely.” Hosea 14:3-4
Back in January, I wrote a blog about a young boy named Selso who had run away from the center. We had found him in the city during street ministry and brought him back to the center against his will. Just wanted to give a quick update on him.
Selso has since moved into my dorm and is doing great! He is one of the sweetest boys!! I took him and some other boys to the pool recently. It was incredible to watch him playing and to see so much joy on his face! I was flooded with memories of the night we brought him back from the street literally kicking and screaming. I can’t fathom why one of our kids would choose to leave the center. Here they have a bed to sleep in at night, 3 meals a day, school, and a huge family made up of other kids, Mozambican men and women, and missionaries. What does the street have to offer? A dark ally to sleep in? Begging for scraps of food? Selso was not meant to live like that! No one is!
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? A perfect picture of the prodigal son.
So many of us choose to live apart from our Father because we think the world has more to offer. Eventually we end up disappointed because the love we search for in the world isn’t good enough. Although God would never force us back kicking and screaming, He is there ready to heal our waywardness and love us freely!!!
Friday, March 7, 2008
Agustino is one of the HIV+ boys who lives in my dorm. A few weeks ago, he came down with a severe case of malaria and was hospitalized for almost a week. Because of the HIV his body just can’t fight off sickness like the other kids. He still has not completely recovered. Most days, he shows up at my house after lunch looking pretty down and sits in my house or follows me around the rest of the day. He has lost quite a bit of weight and is very weak. He even struggles to walk sometimes having to hold onto walls as he goes. The nurses at the center and the doctors at GATV (a free AIDS clinic in the city that our HIV+ kids go to each month) are concerned his battle with malaria may have sped up the progress of AIDS in his body.
I have begun preparing meat for him every evening and giving it to him to add to his rice and vegetables in an attempt to increase his protein intake and build back up his strength. I am claiming the promise of God found in Isaiah 40:29 that He will give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak. Please join with me in praying for Augustino’s complete restoration!
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
This past weekend, I went on a should-be-7-hours-but-took-us-10-hours road-trip up the coast to a little village just outside of Inhambane called Tofo. I went with Laura, another missionary, and 4 visitors. As we drove up the coast, I was in awe of the beautiful creation all around. Multiple times, as i looked out the window of the car, I thought to myself, "is this really my home? Do i really live in this beautiful country?" Our God is so creative!!!
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
the riots seem to have broken up. there are cars on the streets again but still no chapas (buses). late last night, an agreement was made to re-discuss the price increase on chapas and around 7:30 this morning, a couple of chapas passed the center with a police escort firing off tear gas. throughout the morning we heard a few random gun shots but everything appears normal now. i have not left the center yet but a couple of missionaries have and they said it was like driving though a war zone....cars burnt up, buildings vandalized, remains of burnt tires that had served as road blocks the day before.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
every tuesday and wednesday we have street ministry. tonight was the first time i've gone and i loved it so much!!!! i was so in my element surround by over 50 boys ages 6-18 that live on the streets of maputo. i was overwhelmed by the heart of the Father for these boys who have nothing. most of them were dressed in clothes full of holes and were covered with sores. yet they cried out to the Father with such passion. . . perhaps because they are so desperate for the love and provision of the Father.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
If you take a good look at this picture, you'll see shredded notebook paper in my tennis shoes. This is where my new roommate hoped to reside.....a mouse!!!! But upon discovery of his new home, i quickly evicted him and took back possession of my shoes!!!! Sadly, he also found my reese's pieces that my friend deanna gave me before i left the states. i think he only ate one though and you better believe i'll still be eating the rest of them....can't buy reese's here!!!!!