Monday, December 31, 2007

Welcome to Facebook!

Recently, the teenage boys here at the Iris Center have heard about Facebook from some of the visitors that have come through.  If you're not familiar with Facebook, it is a social networking website similar to MySpace where you can connect and stay in touch with people you know all over the world.  The idea of being able to stay in touch with the visitors they meet is very appealing to the boys so they've all wanted to create their own Facebook profiles.  And since I myself LOVE Facebook I have volunteered my computer and time to help them!!! 
Having been here twice before as a visitor, I know how hard it is to bond with these kids and then have to leave them not knowing if you'll ever see them again.  The Lord really blesses the relationships between visitors and kids here at the center.  He uses the kids to teach the visitors so much about His heart.  So I think its amazing that Facebook exists as a way for them to continue those relationships. 

Plus helping the boys set up their profiles gives me lots of quality time with them!!!!

Ernesto, Nelson, and Mateus gathered around 
my computer with Haley, a visitor from Australia.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas in Mozambique

I had a wonderful Christmas with the kids!!!  
Here are some pictures and highlights from the festivities:

Another missionary with Iris Ministries, Corry, has a small home in a village for 16 kids with AIDS.  Some workers from an AIDS clinic in town threw a Christmas party for the kids.

Children and missionaries dance and worship at the Christmas Eve candle light service.

Some of the older boys perform a rap at the Christmas Eve service.

The little girls act out the Christmas story.

Some of the little boys celebrating that Jesus is the Light of the World.

Me and some of the younger boys with the paper chains we 
made to decorate their dorm with on Christmas Eve..

The boys helped blow up all of the balloons to hang up in their dorm.

All of the kids got new clothes for Christmas.

The boys give thanks to the Lord before receiving their gifts.

Toys!  Toys!  Toys!

Inacio shows off his new toys.

Pai opens the gift he supplies, a frisbee, 
chinese checkers, bouncy balls, and lots of sweets!

The girls open their gifts.

We had a HUGE feast!

Chicken, french fries, potato salad, rice, 2 lolly pops, and a soda! 
The kids loved it and, yes, they cleaned their plates and ate the 
leftovers from the missionaries and visitors!!!!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

My New Home

My first week in Mozambique has been incredible! I've really felt the grace of the Lord as I've settled in.  All of the other missionaries have been incredibly welcoming and its been so much fun to reunite with the kids that i love so much!  
Sadly, my roommate, Inga, is moving back to Germany the day after Christmas.  All of the female missionaries spent time praying over her last night and I was really touched by some of the words they shared with her.  They spoke about how perfect the timing was of her arrival and how they had prayed for someone like her to come and pour into the girls here at the center in the specific ways she has.  I was reminded of Esther being set apart for such a time as this...called away from her family to live in the palace so that she might save her people.  I don' fully know what me "job" here at Iris will look like but I believe that I have been called here for such a time as this.     
One of my favorite authors, Erwin McManus, says, "home is ultimately not about a place to live but about the people with yom you are most fully alive.  Home is about love, relationship, community, and belonging and we are all searching for home."  I believe I am home.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Lavish Love

1 John 3:1 says, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children on God."  I remember one day last summer in Pemba, Mozambique I was getting ready to go preach in a village church on the love of God.  Suddenly it started pouring down rain.  This was one of the few times I've seen rain in Africa and certainly the hardest rain.  Other times it had been a light sprinkle or a summer rain here one minute and gone the next.  But this was a downpour and it lasted forever!  That's what the Father lavishing love on us is like!  Lavish is such a descriptive word. . . it's not a little drizzle or a quick rain. . . . it's a DOWNPOUR OF LOVE

What do we do with this love that is lavished on us?  We soak it up for a bit.  Then we lavish it on other people!  That's why I'm moving to Mozambique in 8 days. . . . to lavish the love of the Father on some of the children who are most precious to God. . . . orphans.

Over the past 9 years of my life, the Lord has given me a heart for fatherless children.  I long to see them confident that they are loved by their Heavenly Father.  All over the world, children grow up with messed up ideas of what a father is because their earthly fathers are not a part of their lives.  Whether they know it or not, this affects how they view God, their Heavenly Father.  Do these fatherless children stand a chance of truly knowing the love of God? Yes they do because God uses people like you and me to lavish His love on them!!!

What are you doing with the love that God is lavishing on you?