Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Fatherless

I’m reading 3 different books at once right now – Wide Awake by Erwin McManus, Hope Lives, A Journey of Restoration by Amber Van Schooneveld, and Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis . Today, the sections that I read in each one of these books all quoted Matthew 25:31-46 in part or its entirety.

"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

My Heart.

Gregg Hampton, at the Vine UMC, put this video together about my ministry.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Week of Car Problems

What a week this has been!  Last Tuesday, Brooke and I went to Matola to visit Zaccarius one last time.  It had been raining a lot the week before and it was quite muddy.  Zaccarius' house is pretty difficult to get to.  At one point we have to drive through a garbage pile.  We got stuck in it because of the mud.  As if that wasn't bad enough, the battery on my car decided to quit working at that time too.  

The people from the community all came out to help push the car out of the mud.  They ended up getting shovels and digging it out!!!  By the time we actually got the car out, there were at least 12 people pushing with a huge crowd of children watching and cheering them on.  

Then we had to deal with the dead battery.  Since there aren't an abundance of cars passing by in the middle of the village, you can't just flag someone down to jump you off.  Instead, we paid a guy with a bike to go get a battery and bring it to us.  They put the new battery in my car, got it going, took the new battery out, and put my battery back in.  On the way home, I stopped at a garage and bought a new battery.

Two days later (let me add that this was Thanksgiving and I was meant to be at home preparing our feast), I was leaving Shoprite and my car wouldn't start.  I walked over to the garage next to the grocery store to ask for help.  I even called my friend Vovote to make sure I knew what to say in Portuguese when asking for help!  The mechanic was very kind and came over to look at my car.  He said that it was definitely the battery (let's not forget that I just bought this battery 2 days ago).  Thankfully, the director of the center, Steve, was nearby so he came to jump my car off.  But that didn't work.  2 young guys who were at Shoprite came up to help us.  They ended up taking the battery out of Steve's car, putting it in mine, starting my car, then returning my battery.  They also informed me that the battery the mechanic put in my car was to small!

So back to the garage I went and got the right size battery.  The mechanic didn't argue as he quickly realized he had put the wrong one in.  So you'd hope that was in the end of my problems.  Not so.

Sunday, it was 110 degrees out so me and a couple of other missionaries went to the pool.  As we left to return home, my car wouldn't start.  So once again, I borrowed someone else's battery, put it in my car, started my car, then put my battery back in.  (I can do this myself now as I've watched it so many times this week!).  The car started just fine with the other person's battery so I'm thinking I just need to return the battery, get my money back, and buy one from another garage.  But I'm barely on the main road when the electrical system in my car goes out.  I coast to the bottom of the hill and pull over into a bus stop.  

A couple of guys from the center came and towed me back.  Now in Mozambique, we don't have tow trucks. . . you just pull the broken down car behind one that works.  This was quite an adventure as my car's breaks were not working either so we had to use the emergency break anytime we felt like we were getting to close to the car pulling us.  We made it back to the center and got some of the boys to push my car into my car park.  The key is stuck in the ignition and the windows are down. . . and it's looking like rain.  We tried the ole' swap the battery trick but it didn't work this time.  So I covered my car with a tarp, cried a little because I'm a girl and I'm frustrated with car problems in a country where you can't just call AAA.

Now I'm sitting here writing this as I wait for the mechanic to arrive . . . he's already over 2 hours late.  T.I.M. (This Is Mozambique)!

UPDATE:  Problem solved. Alternator repaired.  And it only cost me 1600 mets (thats about $65).  

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving in Mozambique

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

God's Faithfulness

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:

Unveiled Faces
c/o Church of Philadelphia
PO Box 72267
Durham, NC  27722

Unveiled Faces

c/o Church of Philadelphia

PO Box 72267

Durham, NC  27722

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Desculpe (that's sorry in portuguese)

so apparently i am horrible at this blog stuff!  the past few weeks have been quite a journey of faith.  i am going to south africa this weekend and will write a proper blog with an update on what the Lord has been doing.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

i LOVE these boys!!!

"There are days when I don’t think I can make it for another moment, and then I build myself up in the Lord by remembering all he has done, and by looking into the eyes of a precious child redeemed by His love whom I have the privilege of holding in my arms. "  - Heidi Baker

last friday, my roommate, erin, and i took my 8 boys out to dinner in the city, to ride bumper cars, and for ice cream.  the bumper cars were definitely the best part!  the smiles on their faces were so beautiful as they chose which color car they wanted to drive and sat waiting for the cars to start up.  it was another one of those moments where i felt so blessed that the Lord has chosen me to be here and to love them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dorm Snack

Every Sunday night I give snack to the 36 boys in my dorm.  This past week we made Rice Krispie treats!  I had some of the boys come in a couple at a time and let each group make a pan of Rice Krispies.  

They buttered the pans:
Melted the marshmallows:

And ate the leftovers!!!

Note to self:  Rice Krispie treats require rapid preparation because they start to harden really quick. . . maybe not the best baking to include the boys in!  

Monday, August 18, 2008

Go Carts!

A group of visitors from South Africa came all prepared to build go carts with a couple of our boys dorms.  The boys had a blast helping construct the cars, painting them, and coming up with names.  On Friday afternoon, everyone gathered on the football field for the big race...Mamba vs. Dodge.  And Dodge won it!!!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yay for Visitors

This week we've had a wonderful group of visitors here from South Africa.  Today, they led my dorm in hours of games!!!  Three legged race, wheel barrel race, water balloon toss, water relay, finding candy in flour, bobbing for apples . . . tons of fun!!!  The boys love having special things to do in the afternoons as hours on the playground day after day gets a little old.  

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Gone Again

Brooke and I planned on taking Gaspar to visit Zacarius and his mom today but one of the older youth informed me last night that he had seen him on the street yesterday.  So instead, Brooke and I went to the city to look for him with the help of Ernesto, one of the Iris youth.  We drove up and down the 25th of September stopping at all the spots where street kids hang out and asking groups of boys if they knew Zacarius and had seen him.  No luck.

Gaspar had come with us so we went ahead and drove to his mom's house, all the while praying that somehow Zacarius had gone back home.  Sadly, he wasn't there.  We visited with Gaspar's aunt and his little brother, Dodo, for a while.  A few other kids from surrounding houses came out to play with the random white girls too!  Gaspar's mom had gone to the market.  We waited for her to return for a long time but she never did.   A new KFC has opened in Matola, near their house so we took Gaspar, his aunt, and Dodo out for lunch.  We bought some take away for them to take back for Gaspar's mom as well.  

It was a good visit but I was very sad that Zacarius wasn't there.  He apparently ran away on Thursday or Friday.  I don't think I'll ever understand what it is about the streets that is so alluring to him.  There is a big youth service in the city on Monday nights and  Zacarius always comes when he's on the streets because he knows he'll find me there.  So tomorrow I'll be looking for him . . . and praying he'll agree to go back home again.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Brothers Reunited!

I'm sure you all remember my blogs about the 2 boys who were living on the streets - Gaspar and Zacarius.  Gaspar is living here at the center.  Zacarius was taken back home by his father only to run away again and live on the streets for a couple of months before he would all me to take him back to his mom.  Since taking Zacarius home, Brooke (my amazing friend from New Zealand who works here at the center with me) and I have been going to visit him every couple of weeks.  Last week, when we went to visit, we took Gaspar with us.  It was so cute to watch him reunite with his brother after not having seen him for months!  Gaspar enjoyed seeing his family so much that he wants to spend a weekend with them.  I'm going to take him this Saturday and pick him up again Sunday afternoon.  Hopefully these visits will become more and more regular and in a few months, their mom will be able to have both of her boys back at home with her!!!

This is a family portrait:  Gaspar, Zacarius, their mom, and DoDo, their baby brother.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What Can You Buy With $5 In Mozambique?


My roommate, Erin, and I love walking down to the produce market to buy fruit and vegetables.  Today we came back with potatoes, oranges, tomatoes, bananas, cucumbers, green peppers, onions, and bread.  And all for 123 metacis....$5!!!  

Thursday, July 24, 2008

School Holidays

What do you do with over 300 kids during school holidays?

We had a game day!

Some of the older boys put extensions in their hair....only to cut them out a week and a half later!

Some of the little boys came to my house daily to play!

David washed my car...he does a great job!

I took Paulo, Abel, and Inacio to the airport to watch the planes.

And they had their first ever milkshake!

As fun as the holidays are i'm glad they go back to school monday....a little peace and quite during the morning hours!

Friday, June 27, 2008


i wanted to let y'all know that thabo passed away today.  he had been really sick the past week or so with multiple trips to the heart specialist.  as hard as it is to lose a little one like him, it's worse to see him suffering.  now we know that he is in the arms of Jesus.  thanks for all of your prayers for him over the last months.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Casa de Street Kids

My friend Brooke and I have befriended a couple of little boys living on the streets in Maputo - Zacarius and Adilson.  They are both 8 or 9 years old.  You may remember Zacarius from an earlier blog that I posted about him and his brother, Gasper, who we brought to the center from street ministry.  Zacarius was placed back in his father's home while Gasper stayed here at the center.  5 or 6 weeks ago, Zacarius ran away from his father's house and has been living on the streets since.
Brooke and I  look for the boys whenever we were in the city.  Last Tuesday, we took them out to lunch at KFC.  During lunch, the boys told us about their house.  I was really confused because I knew they were staying on the streets and didn't have a house.  After lunch, we drove over to a little park to see their house.  They had taken bricks being used to lay new sidewalk and constructed four walls.  Their floor consisted of cardboard boxes.  At night, they curl up together and sleep.  On Saturdays, there is a big touristy market in this park that we take visitors to.  Yesterday, I was anxious to see how the market affected the boys house.  I thought perhaps it would have been torn down by the police.  But instead, other street kids have joined the boys and they've built a huge house with 4 or 5 room.  They've even found plastic to make a roof!  I would guess there are 12 - 15 kids living in this house. 
Every time I see Zacarius in the city, I ask him if he wants me to take him back to his family.  They answer was always no.  But Saturday he finally said yes.  He was ready to go home.  So today Brooke and I along with Ernesto, one of the youth from the center, met Zacarius at his "house" and took him back to his mom.  She lives in Matola, a suburb of Maputo, in a small straw home.  Their village is near the river with a beautiful view of the city.  
For now, mother and son are together and I pray he stays there with her.  I don't understand what it is about the city that would lure a boy as little as Zacarius but I pray that he'd be content to simply view the city skyline across the river with his mom rather than run back to the streets.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Where Does Time Go?

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!
In the midst of the team being here, I had all of my preparations for Children's Day, a big holiday on June 1 similar to Christmas with lots of presents and a big feast.  We had Children's Day with the street kids on Saturday with over 100 showing up.  Then we celebrated here at the center on Sunday with a day packed full of festivities - new clothes give out, church, gifts, and a HUGE feast.  It was a fun but exhausting day!
The Wesley team left on Monday.  I spent all day Tuesday in bed sick ...which was actually a blessing because I desperately needed a day of rest.
And here I am.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No Record of Wrongs

“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

Dinner in the City

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I have 7 of the HIV+ boys here at the center over to my house for snacks.  They have become "my boys!"  

A couple of weeks ago, after I bought my car, my boys started asking me when they could go somewhere with me . . . and before I knew it they had me roped into taking them all to Memo's, a restaurant in the city they had all heard of but none had ever eaten at.  Ever since I agreed to take them, over a week ago, the excitement of today built!  Over and over again they told me what they were going to order - CHICKEN!  Here at the center, they rarely if ever use forks and knives so they started practicing using them a couple of Mondays ago while eating hard boiled eggs at my house!  Soon word had spread all around the center that I was taking them out and I had tons of boys asking if they could go too!  Even the educator (adult Mozambican who works in my dorm) asked if he could go with us!  I wish I could take them all!!!!

Tonight was the long-awaited for dinner at Memo's.  We had so much fun!  All of the boys ordered half chicken with fries and rice.  They all tried eating with their fork and knives but soon abandoned them for their fingers!  After dinner we went to Jardin de Namorado, a park in the city, for ice cream.  

As we left the park and started back to the center, I got pulled over by the police for turning around after missing my turn and realizing I was headed for a deadend.  Police in Mozambique are notorious for bribing drivers.  He claimed I wasn't allowed to turn around there because I was near the president's house.  My fine was 2000 mets which is equal to $80!!!  My friend Vovote was with us so he told the police that one of them could get in the car too and we would go to the police station and pay the fine.  The police immediately said he'd cut it in half and we could just pay him.  At this point I understood enough of his portuguese to know that he was trying to bribe me and told him I was not giving him any money and the he needed to give me a ticket if he wanted me to pay a fine.  To which he responded "Go."  My first of many run in's with the police I'm sure!!!

And hopefully the first of many adventures with my boys!!!!

Me and my boys - Felis, Anecete, Paulo, Iva Nelson, Inacio, Frantza, and Augustino

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Baby Update

I'm so sorry it's been so long since i've updates on the sickness with the babies!  They are doing much much much better!!! The sickness that was going around among the littlest babies has ended.   Neimias, who was in the hospital with doctors thinking he wouldn't survive, is back at the center!  I saw him today out on the playground sitting with my friend Brooke and I didn't even recognize him from the time I had visited him in the hospital!!!  We truly believe that Neimias is a miracle!!!

We do still have a baby names Tino who is not doing well.  A couple of months ago, we had a bad scare with him and didn't think he would make it.  Amazingly he did but has not really been responsive since then.  He is now back in the hospital and heavily sedated.  We really want to hospital to release him so that he can come back to the center.  Our desire is that, even if he isn't going to live much longer, he would be here at the center surrounded by people who love him.  

Thank you all for your prayers and please continue to pray for Tino!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Selso (again)

Not even 2 weeks after I wrote the blog about Selso and the transformation I've seen in him the past month or so, he has run away again.  He left last Saturday and has not retuned yet.  Again, I just don't understand what it is about life on the streets that draws him away.  Please pray for him.  Pray that the Father would watch over him and keep him safe -- the streets are so dangerous and he is so young.  Please pray that he would willingly come back to the center and that he would know that he is loved and cared for in this place.  

Friday, March 21, 2008

Pray for our Babies!


We have had a lot of sickness here at the center this week and your prayers are needed! Our baby house has been hit the hardest.  Last night a little baby named Irene died.  She had malaria and was being treated but it worsened very quickly.  Tracie, the director of the baby house and Jannie, the nurse over the baby house, were rushing her to the hospital but she died on the way.  Today, that same nurse has had to take another baby, Niamias, to the hospital.  He has also been battling malaria and is not doing well.  On top of the malaria, a large number of the babies have had diarrhea for the last few days and they can not figure out the cause.  They decided this morning to shut the doors to the baby house this morning for 48 hours to limit the number of people coming in and out until the babies are healthy again.

Please pray for the health of our babies and for the missionaries (Tracie, Neil and Hilda), nurses (Jannie) and Mozambican workers who are pouring themselves into these babies right now.  Pray specifically for Niamias who is battling malaria.

Thank you!

update:  Neimias was treated for dehydration and sent back to the center.  This morning (Saturday), his temperature rose to 106 degrees and his breathing slowed to the point that oxygen was required.  He was rushed back to the hospital and is in icu.

monday update:  Neimias has gotten worse.  He is now in a coma and in the highest priority icu.  Please continue to cover him in prayer!!!!  There are still 5 or 6 other babies that are sick.  Tomorrow morning, they will be isolated in the clinic until all symptoms are gone.  2 more babies were diagnosed with malaria today.  Keep praying for all of the babies!!!!

friday update:  Today Neimias was moved to a normal room in the hospital!  He has come out of the coma and is even able to drink milk without a feeding tube!!!!  Please keep praying...we want to see COMPLETE RESTORATION of his little body!!!!!  Please also pray for Thabo, who I've written about before.  He has fluid around his heart and is in a great deal of pain. 

Saturday, March 15, 2008

New Boys!

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.  

The boys  were so excited this past Thursday as i let them go through our dorm clothes boxes and pick out some shorts and tee shirts.  On Friday I took them to our clinic and had them all checked out and started on vitamins and iron tablets.  

Sadly, we hear stories like that of these boys all the time.  Sometimes I find myself not even thinking twice about them.  But then yesterday, I seemed to hear heartbreaking story after heartbreaking story and became a little overwhelmed by how hard life is for the people of Mozambique.  2 new boys whose mother passed away and the fathers don't want them, a 17 year old girl at the garbage dump grieving the loss of her baby, another woman at the dump worried about the health of her infant after having her 10 month old die of malnutrition last year, another children's center down the road where children are not well cared for yet social agencies continue to give them more children . . . the stories are never ending.  I pray my heart never becomes numb to the stories of these people because I know they break the heart of our Father.

And somehow I know that their is hope for these people . . . that our Father will bring redemption to this nation.  Seeing the joy on the faces of Alberto and Enrique reminds me of that.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Garden

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


recently, i have been asking God what it means to live as a family.  for me, family is mom and dad and brother. so what is "family" to 350 orphans?  family is no longer so much about blood relation but more about people who are important to each other and offer each other love and support.  my question is, how do i fit into this family here in zimpeto, mozambique?  

when i first arrived 2 months ago, i was easily falling into the role of "friend" because i so love 
hanging out with the kids and youth. but i feel like God is calling me to be more than just a "friend" to these kids.  they have lots of friends already.  what they lack are mothers and fathers.  proverbs says to "teach a child in the way he should go and when he is older he will not depart from it."  i want to earn a place of respect with these kids so that i am able to speak truth into their lives. . . to teach them in the way they should go.  

let me introduce you to some of my "kids":

mateus is 17 years old.  in the past year or so, he discovered that his mom lives in the city so in october he chose to go live with her.  she practices witchcraft and disappears for days at a time leaving him to care for himself and his siblings living at the house.  he's an amazing young man who really loves the Lord.  he likes to sing/rap and dreams of starting a dance team to minister to people in the city.  

pai is 11 years old.  he came to live at the iris center in march of 2007.  when i first met him last may, one of the only things he could say in english was "pai love sarah.!"  he quickly won my heart!  pai has a hard time sharing me with the other kids though and gets pretty jealous.  he really loves one-on-one time with me and has become my helper when i bake cakes or cookies . . . which i do a lot of here!

manuel and nelson both work in my garden cutting the grass and watering the plants so they have a key to my garden gate.  they are 17 and 18 years old.  many afternoons i come home to find them sitting on my patio doing their homework.  they both speak amazing english and i love sitting and talking to them.  i think i have more of a "big sister" relationship with them because they love to get my opinion on things going on with them or at the center.  

inacio is 10 years old.  he lives in my dorm.  he is full of personality!  he knocks on my door multiple times every day to see if he can come play in my garden.  everytime i walk walk out to the play ground, he quickly finds me.  inacio makes the cutest faces and the funniest noises.  i just love being around him because he always makes me laugh!

i look forward to introducing you to more of my family!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

update on riots

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 burnt up, buildings vandalized, remains of burnt tires that had served as road blocks the day before.  

thank you for your prayers yesterday and please continue to cover us!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

riots in maputo

this morning at about 7:15 (just after midnight in georgia) as i went to get breakfast from the kitchen, i was greeted by a pastor who i am friends with named solomon.  in portuguese, he began to tell me about something going on out on the streets.  i was impressed that i picked up bits and pieces of his story before i got him to talk to me in english!  he had been on a bus on the way to the center this morning and the bus was stopped because of a roadblock so he had to walk the rest of the way.  as we stood outside of the kitchen, we could hear crowds of people yelling in the distance.  

last week, owners of the public buses known as "chappas" met to discuss a price increase.  the price was 7.5 meticai, which is equivalent to about 30 cents in us dollars, and because of rising fuel costs they wanted to increase the fare to 10 meticai or 40 us cents.  in my eyes that is nothing...i think riding a bus to the city for less than half a dollar is amazing.  you'd never find that in the states!!!  but when i think about the fact that most families live off of one us dollar a day, that extra 10 cents is a big deal.  today is the day the prices increase was to go into affect.  the mozambican people are not happy and have organized riots all over the city.  in america, you would see unhappy customers boycotting the bus or protesting with signs.  but not here.  the people have blocked the roads and are refusing to let any bus or car pass.  if a car tries to drive threw, they throw rocks at it.  

i stood on the soccer field with many of our kids watching everything taking place outside the walls of the center.  outside of the main gate of our center, about 100 yards down the road, rioters rolled tires out into the street and set them on fire sending up a black cloud of smoke.  looking to the left down the street i see the same thing about a quarter of a mile down.  apparently people are rioting all over the city with larger and larger mobs the closer into the city you get.  at one point, our guards opened the front gates.  a few seconds later a car came speeding in being chased by rioters.  it was one of our kitchen workers.  he had been stopped earlier by the mobs and forced to leave his car and walk into the center but then decided to go back and get his car.  our older teenage boys go to school in the city.  this morning, not knowing about the riots going on, the minibus left the center to drive the boys into the city.  they were stopped by rioters throwing rocks at the bus.  the boys were allowed to exit the bus and the driver had to leave it there.  we are praying the bus isn't destroyed in the chaos.  all of our boys are okay and will walk back to the center later today.  multiple times, trucks full of police and soldiers drove by firing rubber bullets in an attempt to break up the crowds.  however, the people only got more riled up and began throwing rocks at the police and setting more fires.  the police eventually left and after a bit of cheering, the crowds calmed down some.  a friend in the city phoned another missionary and said she heard on the news that 2 people had been killed not far from our center.

for now, things appear a lot calmer.  we've gotten all of our kids into the church to watch a movie.  looking out the window of my house i can see lots of people walking by outside the center and they appear to be going about their normal work.  however, there are still no cars on the streets.  

here are some things you can pray for:
please pray for the people to calm down and the riots to end.  
we are safe here in the center.  pray that safety is preserved.  
pray that the boys who are out in the city will be able to safely return soon.  
pray for protection over our minibus that was left in the city.    

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Street Ministry

zacarius and casper, the 2 boys we brought back from street ministry, playing at my house.

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.

i have 2 amazing stories from the night:

story #1
a couple of weeks ago, selso, one of our 11 year old boys ran away from the center.  he had been living on the streets before he came to iris so we knew that was where he had gone.  the missionary over the dorm he lived in was desperate to see him return.  as we prepared to head to the city tonight, i reminded the mozambican pastor, nico, and the youth from the center that were going with us to keep an eye out for selso.  and i prayed a lot that God would let us find him tonight.  as we were driving through the city one of the girls with us saw selso walking down the street near kfc!!!  so we stopped the car and pastor nico and one of the youth got out to go talk to selso.  however, when selso saw them, he took off running.  they ran after him for a while but were not able to find him.  the missionary from his dorm happened to be in the city so i called her and she decided to stay at kfc in case he returned.  and sure enough, he did!!!!  she was able to sit and talk to him for a while but he just did not want to return to the center.  pastor nico went back to kfc and was able to convince selso to get in the car with us.  it was amazing to see the Lord answer our prayers by leading us to selso.  please continue to pray for him.  i don't understand why he would choose to live on the street rather than at the center but for some reason that is a battle for him.  i know that we can't force him to stay here but i also know that he is so much better off here.  so please pray that he wouldn't run away again and that what ever problems he was having here would be worked out.

story #2
right as we began the preaching at church with the street kids, 2 little boys came in.  they were dirtier than most and neither had on pants . . . only ragged shirts and underwear.  the smallest one, casper, came and sat with me and his brother, zacarius, sat with brooke, another missionary.  after the service, we got pastor nico to come talk to the boys and find out their story.  their mom lives in a village about 20 minutes from the city.  she had recently remarried and the new husband didn't want the boys so they were thrown out.  sadly, that happens quite often here.  so we brought the boys back to the center with us!  brooke and i gave them a shower, dressed them in clean clothes (they were so excited about the camouflage croc-like shoes!), and fed them some fruit and yogurt.  afterwards we took them up to the dorm that i am helping out with where they are spending the night.  at first they were rather shy but not 2 minutes after we left them, they came running back outside and headed to the playground where they joyfully ran around for another 30 minutes before going to bed.  pastor nico will come back and get them in the morning and take them to find their mom.  if she refuses to take them back, they will be brought back to the center.  i believe that the Father knows what is best for the boys and whether they should stay here with us or return to their family.  please pray for His will to be done.

this is what the Kingdom is about. . . caring for the least of these!
"let the little children come to Me for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 
matthew 19:14

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Project Purpose

i went to visit another ministry in maputo yesterday. its called project purpose and is run by a woman named katie. she's been here in maputo for 7 or 8 years. her ministry's focus is on girls in the sex industry.  she leases the top floor/the roof of a building in the city right across the street from central market (its an incredible location with a great view of the city). the building is in the red light district on a street called "good death" (but the Lord has promised her it would become "abundant life"!!!). her heart is to provide a safe place for the girls to heal and grow holistically. she has over 50 girls that she's connected with ranging in age from 12-24. here are the things going on with project purpose:

* discipleship - walking through the healing process with the girls
* a sewing room where the girls learn to sew and then make clothing to be sold in a shop there at the center. 
*  a room that will be made into a salon and a beauty program to teach them so that they can work in the salon.  
* a preschool for the children of the girls. 
* a kitchen where meals are prepared for the girls during the day and where they are taught culinary skills

katie would love to see 24/7 prayer happening at the center/on the roof one day - just waiting for the Lord to send someone with that vision to oversee itl!!!!

she also has land in matola (a village about 15-20 minutes from the building in the city) where she is in the process of building a center for the girls to live at with their children.  currently, they have only built one hut and there is a woman with 5 children living there.  the vision is to build cement homes to house 40-60 women/children.  they have planted many crops on the property and they eat the food they grow.  the kids go to school in the village.

it's so incredible to see how the Lord is lavishing His love all over this city!!! He's desperate for His mozambican bride!!!! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Stopping For The One

"Love the one in front of you and God will multiply that love."
-Heidi Baker
My prayer each day here in Mozambique is that the Lord will show me one person that i am to stop for. . . one child that I am to intentionally love.  Can you imagine how powerful it would be if all of us lived that way?  If all of us began each day asking the Lord to show us one person we could love at our school or at our work or at the grocery store?  The love of the Father would multiply so rapidly!!!! 

Heidi Baker, the founder of Iris Ministries, has built this ministry upon the principal of stopping for the one in front you.  Today there are thousands and thousands of children cared for all over Mozambique and other African nations.  Its not just the missionaries caring for the children either. Mozambican pastors are taking in orphans and caring for them because they've seen the power of love!  It's an incredible thing!!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

My New Roomate

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!!!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!!!!

So much has changed in my life is 2007.  I left the ministry I had worked at for 6 years, spent 3 months at a missions school, sold most of my belongings, said goodbye to my family and friends and moved to Africa.  Now here i am . . . excited about what the Lord has in store for 2008!!!! 

Recently I have been reading Isaiah 49 over and over:
"Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, "You are my servant in whom I will display my splendor." Isaiah 49:1-3

Isn't it amazing to think about the details that Lord puts into every moment of every day of your life?!?!  All throughout 2007 and the years before that, He was making me ready so that He might display His splendor through  me here in Mozambique.   Before I was born He called me to the children of Africa!!!  What a faithful God we serve!!!!

I hope each and every one of y'all have an amazing 2008 filled with the blessings of the Lord!!!!

Here are some pictures from the new years festivities with the kids:
The missionaries and visitors served the kids hotdogs on New Year's Eve.

The hotdogs were almost as big as some of the kids!!!!

On New Year's Day, I helped with a party for the little boys dorm.  The party started with wheelbarrow races, which they had never done before.  They were so cute as they drug their partners across the floor to win!!!

Next we brought out the parachute for the boys to play with.  Domingos, the boy in the middle, is blind.  The other boys really look out for him though!

Here are the littlest boys in the dorm enjoying their hot dogs, yogurt, apples, cookies, and coke!

At the end of the party, all of the boys got their own jar of peanut butter which is a very special treat.  This is Thabo.  He has been living at the center since May of 2007.  He has been very sick for the last few months.  Please pray for his healing!