Thursday, December 5, 2013

Will You Partner with Us?

hello family and friends!  Roberto, Melina and I are happy to in Georgia for the holidays!  One of the tasks we have each year during this time is to raise our support for the following year.  Below, is a summary of 2013 and information for those who would like to support us as we continue ministering to the street boys of Maputo.

2013 was truly a year of family for Roberto and I as we welcomed our little Melina!  She has been a joy to love and care for.  Melina has fit perfectly into the Masana family where all of the boys love getting to play with and hold her.  It's beautiful to watch the street boys care for little Melina and we hope and pray that her presence among them will remind them of their siblings back home and that their desire to return and be big brothers will be ignited.

At Masana, we helped 17 boys be reunited to their families this year!  These boys range in age from 12 to 18.  Some were on the streets for as long as 3 or 4 years.  We were able to help these 17 leave the streets and begin their lives back home by buying clothes, blankets, and shoes for them as well as registering them in a local school and providing their school materials.  Over the course of the year, we visited these boys and their families numerous times.  During these visits, we are able to sit with the family and teach on Biblical principles needed for a family to function.  Each visit, the boys and their family members look forward to the traditional stories Luis, our director, tells to teach Biblical characteristics. 

In 2012, 5 street boys started saving up their money to take swimming lessons at a local pool that Roberto was teaching at.  It's amazing how that hour or 2 a day of participating in a sport and being around "normal kids" transformed these boys!  All 5 of them went home towards the end of last year but only 2 of them have done well at home.  These 2 boys continue to participate on the swim team but now paid for by Roberto and I rather than money they make on the streets.  We have the privilege of having these 2 boys over to our house every Sunday for church and lunch and a time to catch up.   

Armadura Gym was opened in January 2013 after many months of prayer, fundraising, and remodeling.  It is Masana’s first business to help the center one day be self-sustainable!  The gym is in Maputo and currently has over 100 clients with monthly contracts.  After rent and employee salaries are paid each month, the rest of the income goes towards the general budget of the Masana day center.  Roberto manages the morning shift at Armadura.   During this time, some of the older street boys have the privilege of working out which gives Roberto the opportunity to build relationships with them and help them realize that God’s perfect design for them includes their families. We have also been able to employ 3 former street boys at the gym so that they have an income!

There are 6 boys who live at Masana.  These 6 boys lived on the streets in the past but their family circumstances were not ideal to return to so they became our Masana family.  They live at the Masana house with Ian and Alexis, 2 other American missionaries.  Roberto and I have really tried to continue to be a part of their lives even though I no longer live at Masana by eating dinner with them at least once a week, helping some of them with activities like swimming and guitar lessons, and opening our home to them.  Our apartment is close to Masana so these 6 boys often stop in to visit, play games on the computer and watch tv.  Though we are an odd looking family of Mozambicans and Americans, we are none-the-less a family.

We are grateful for our family and friends who support us year after year so that we may continue this ministry of restoring families in Mozambique, Africa.  With the addition of Melina to our family, our annual budget has increased a bit and we are in need of additional support.  We are working towards raising $34,000.  If you are able to help, donations can be made online at or mailed to Abba's Ambassadors, PO Box 523, North Myrtle Beach, SC  29597.  Please just indicate that the donation is for the Mondlane Family.  All donations are tax deductible.  

We pray God's richest blessings over you and your family this holiday season!
Roberto, Sarah and Melina

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Lost Boys in Neverland

Sometimes I find myself asking what is so alluring about the streets?  Why, when the boys have perfectly good families, do they keep returning to the streets?  And that’s when I always think of Peter Pan and the lost boys. For the street boys, the city of Maputo is like Neverland! Each day they wake up and beg at the red lights for a few coins to buy bread and then they spend their day looking for treasures in the trash dumpsters.  At night, they find a place to sleep – sometimes in a shopfront or abandoned house and sometimes they build little houses out of cardboard, sticks, and plastic.  All day long, they roam the streets looking for adventure.  No adults telling them what to do and when to do it.   No one forcing them to bathe or wash their clothes or go to school.  It’s a carefree life. What 10 to 15 year old wouldn’t love that life?!

But then there is the harsh realities to life in this Neverland.  Sickness.  Drug addiction.  Crime.  Nights of suffering because of the cold and rain.  Beatings.  Rape. 

I see boys that have been on the streets since 2009 when I began working with Masana and I am shocked at how old they look.  They are growing up on the streets and because of their addictions and lives of crime, it’s like they’ve aged 10 years in these past 5 years.  Their innocence has been lost.  Eventually, Neverland looses it’s allure but for many of these boys it feels hopeless.  They have been estranged from their families for so long that its hard to go back.  They know no other life. 

But there is hope.  The God I serve is a God of redemption.  He longs to restore the hearts of these boys to the hearts of their fathers!  And so I’m reminded that God is still at work in the hearts and souls of these boys.  He’s still using Masana to restore these “lost boys” to their families. 
Proof?  In the last week, 2 “lost boys” who have been on the streets for 3 or more years decided to leave Neverland behind and return to their families.  God is restoring their hearts to their family.  That’s what He loves to do.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Melina and Her Brothers

A few pictures of Melina during her first days at Masana:

 Melina's first visit to Masana

 Melina and Luis

 Melina and Jorge

 Melina and Simeão

 Melina and me with Jorge and Little Luis

 Melina and me with Big Luis and Jorge

 Melina is one adored little girl :-) 

Melina with "the baby whisperer"

Sunday lunch with 2 reintegrated boys, Jose and Erson

Paito and Melina

Big brother Felix with little Melina

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mommy-Daughter Time at Masana

After 2 months away from Masana on maternity leave, I started back this past Monday.  Roberto and I spent much time discussing our options for Melina once I was back at Masana - hire a nanny, ask a family member to watch her, or take her with me to Masana.  We opted for option 3 and week number 1 was great!!  

Mama Julia, Alexis, Deanna, and Izilpa are all a huge help taking turns holding Melina and giving her a bottle. The boys love the chance to cuddle with her between naps.  It is amazing to watch these often hardened street boys interact with Melina.  Each morning, as we enter Masana, the youngest boys run to kiss Melina's cheek.  One of the toughest boys at Masana, Joao, is one of the best at getting Melina to stop crying.  Simão, an older boy who does his own thing most of the time, loves to talk to Melina and pinch her little cheek.  As I watch the boys interacting with Melina, I find myself praying that these little moments they have with her will remind them of younger siblings they have back at home who they should be helping take care of.  

I always wanted to be a mom who figured out how my baby fit into my life rather than completely changing my life to accommodate my baby.  And so far, Melina is fitting into life at Masana perfectly!  My prayer for her is that as she grows up around these boys, she will develop the heart of a servant filled with compassion for the least of these.

Melina with Mama Julia in the Masana kitchen

Monday, September 2, 2013

C-Section . . . a Blessing in Disguise

Two weeks ago today, I was in the hospital awaiting the birth of my little Melina.  After hours of contractions, we went to the hospital at 5:00 am.  Contractions were coming every 4 to 6 minutes but I had only dilated 2 cm.  The doctor decided to break my water to bring on labor faster.  Over the next 4 hours, the doctor monitored my labor that seemed to be lessening rather than progressing.  At noon, I had only dilated to 3 cm and contractions were slowing down rather than increasing.  So my doctor made the decision to proceed with a cesarean.  From there, everything happened super operation room was vacant, I was given papers to sign as I was being pushed down the hall, different doctors were introduced to me, my epidural was topped off, Roberto appeared all dressed in scrubs to sit by my side, the surgery began and minutes later we heard the beautiful sound of our baby girl crying. It was a beautiful moment that will forever be etched in my memory.

Roberto then had to leave the operating room with the nurse who would be taking care of our precious Melina.  And I found myself all alone.  Yes, there were doctors and nurses all around doing their jobs...but I was all alone.  And then my doctor peeked over the curtain to tell me that he had found a lump on one of my ovaries and was a bit concerned so he had called another doctor to come have a look.  And I felt so alone.  That is not the kind of news anyone wants to hear but especially not someone who had already been through a battle with breast cancer.  As much as I prayed in that moment, my mind automatically went to the worse and the tears started flowing.  It felt like an eternity as we waited for the second doctor to arrive.  He came in and was introduced to me as I fought back tears not wanting to show how scared I was.  The two doctors discussed what they were seeing but I was not able to hear.  I was later told that the second doctor felt it was best to close up and wait a few months as it is very likely the lump had been aggravated by my pregnancy and would shrink some.  My doctor said that he doesn't think the lump is cancerous based on how it appeared but that further testing will be needed in about 6 months.

Roberto and I quickly realized that my labor failing to progress and the doctor recommending that we proceed with a C-section was actually a blessing in disguise.  Otherwise, we would not have known about this lump.  And now we pray and wait for the doctor to continue with further testing.  Please join us.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

All Things for Good

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

Sometimes at Masana, we get to see this verse played out so beautifully.  God often uses what our earthly minds perceive as bad to bring about His perfect plans.....street boys leaving the streets and returning to their families.  

Emergency appendicitis....former street kid is now at home with his family.

Severe case of malaria....former street kid is now at home with his family.

Tumor on neck....former street kid is now at home with his family.

1st and 2nd degree burns on chest and face....former street kid is now at home with his family.

Hit by a car and endured multiple surgeries...former street kid is now at home with his family.

HIV+ diagnosis....former street kid is now at home with his family.

Pray for these boys who are now back with their families.  Some have been home already for a year or more while others have just recently faced these tragedies and made the decision to return home.  And praise God for His promise to work all things together for good to those who love Him!!!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Superheroes of the Bible

A few months ago, we started dividing up the younger and older boys of Masana a couple of times a week for our church services.  It has been so much fun!  Myself and the other girl missionaries have been rotating teaching the younger boys.  It's so much to come up with creative lessons ideas when we have just the little guys.  We spent a few weeks teaching on the fruits of the Spirit and now we've moved onto superheroes of the Bible.  

The boys have been so captivated by the stories of "superheroes!"  We've covered Samson and his great strength, Noah who cared for all the animals, David who killed the giant with rocks, Jonah who survived in the belly of a whale, Daniel who entered the lion pit and survived, Moses who showed the power of God in freeing His people, and Gideon who defeated the enemy with torches, trumpets, and glass jars.  

Each day, we chose one boy to put the superhero letter on  his chest and a cape on his back as we tell the story of another hero of the Bible.  It's amazing how attentive the boys are to the stories that most of us have grown up hearing.  And every day, I am impressed by their ability to remember the stories as we review the chest emblems!  

Please be praying for our precious little boys as we continue to teach them about the power of God and how He still does amazing things even with ordinary boys like them!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Children's Day 2013

June 1 is Children's Day in Mozambique.  It's a day to celebrate the children of our country.  The responsibility of helping out at home with chores, cooking, and caring for younger siblings is forgotten for a day and the city is full of laughter as children attend parties at local schools and roam around the streets proudly knowing that it is their day.  

This year at Masana, we took 40 street boys to the local water park.  It was such a blast to watch the boys running up the stairs, sliding down the slides with screams of joy, splashing into the pool, jumping out and running right back up the stairs!  For a few hours, these boys were able to forget that the reality of their lives on the street and simply enjoy being children.

Enjoy a few photos!

The Maputo Water Park...not quite White Water but unlike anything the Masana boys had ever experienced!
Me and my this boy so much :-)

Roberto was able to join us for a couple of hours when he got off work

And at the end of the day all of the boys were exhausted!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mondlane Small Car Fund

The cost of gas in Mozambique is $1.36 per liter.  That is $5.10 per gallon for us Americans who don't understand the metric system :-)

We drive a Toyota SUV with a gas tank that holds 87 liters.

That means we spend $118 to fill up our gas tank.

On average, we fill the gas tank once a week for ministry related home visits as well as our personal use around the city.  Once a month, I make a trip to South Africa for baby related doctor appointments.  As I get closer to my due date, these trips will be more often.  Each trip to South Africa is 1 extra tank of gas on top of our normal, day-to-day use.

All this means, that on average, we are spending almost $600 a month on gas and that number will increase in August when my doctor's appointments become more frequent.


In 2010, many of you chipped in and helped me buy the SUV that we currently drive.  This SUV was a life saver to Masana as the one and only reliable car for our home visits.  There is no way that we could have taken over 30 street boys back to their families and remained connected to these families without this car.

But, as so many of y'all know, my life changed drastically in 2012 when I married the love of my life in July and then in December found out I am pregnant with our first child.  Now our growing family is in need of a small car for personal use so that we do not have to use the large SUV for normal errands around the city or the frequent trips to South Africa for doctor's appointments.

The SUV will remain the Masana reintegration car and will continue to be used 3 or 4 days a week for home visits.  A small car would allow Roberto and I to cut down on the amount of money we are spending monthly for gas.  I have spoken with our local mechanic who can help us find a small, reliable car for about $6,000.

Would you consider giving towards this need?  All donations are tax-deductable and can be sent to Abba's Ambassadors who oversees all of our personal finances.  Please indicate "Mondlane Car" on your check so that the money gets directed towards this specific need.  The address for Abba's Ambassadors is PO Box 523, North Myrtle Beach, SC, 29597.  Donations can also be made online by going to and clicking on the "Donate" tab.

We appreciate all of you so much and look forward to seeing how God responds to this need.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Gates of Masana

Most 10 or 11 year olds are like little Selso in this picture above.  Happy.  Carefree.  Full of joy.  Loving life and the opportunity to just be a kid.  This was Selso while he was living at the children's center where I worked in 2008.  Shortly after this photo was taken, he gave into the temptation to return to his old life on the streets of Maputo.  He gave up his opportunity to "just be a kid" and instead returned to his old life of begging on the streets for money, digging through trash dumpsters for scraps of food, scrounging up old clothes or blankets to stay warm at night, seeking for a safe place to where he is hidden from thieves and those who would harm him.

But grown-up Selso (on the right in the photo below) is still happy.  Still carefree.  Still full of joy.  Still loving life. . . for at least 7 hours a day while he is at Masana.  At Masana, we often pray that as boys walk into our gates each morning, that the stresses and problems of life on the streets will be left outside.  For a few hours each day, we try to create an environment where boys like Selso can be happy.  Where they can be carefree as they don't have to worry about where breakfast and lunch will come from that day.  A place where they can be full of joy as the have the chance to let down their guards and "just be a kid."  At Masana, our hope is to see a love for life re-instilled in these precious boys as they learn about the heart of their Father and the plans and purposes He has for their lives.

At Masana, we are grateful for these few hours each day to provide this environment for the boys.  But ultimately, we want Selso and all of the street boys, to leave the streets and return to their families.  We know that that is the best place for them to live the life God has designed for each of them . . .a life that brings joy and happiness for more than just a few hours a day.

Please join us in this daily prayer as the boys enter into the gates of our project.  Pray that Masana would be a place filled with God's peace and joy.  Pray that all of us who work with these boys would be filled with the Father's love to pour out on these boys each day.

And pray for Selso.  Pray for God to move in his heart and place within him a longing for home.  He's been on the streets for more than 5 years.  It's time for him to return home.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Change to Our Support

Back in 2011, Masana began a partnership with Abba's Ambassadors, an organization based out of South Carolina.  Abba's has turned out to be a huge blessing to Masana on the part of overseeing all of our finances.  They handle all of the project finances as well as the personal support of the other long term missionaries and visitors that pass through on a short-term basis.  In recent talks, Abba's has expressed their heart to make sure that none of us are being under-supported.  They have asked that Roberto and I consider moving our personal support to their organization so that they can have a true idea of all of the center costs, ministry needs, and missionary support so that they can better help out when there is a lack.  Roberto and I have prayed about it and feel that this is a move that we should make.

What does this mean for you?  If you are one of the amazing people that support our ministry with the street boys here in Mozambique, we'll just need you to change the information on the checks you send.  Abba's Ambassadors is a 501c3 and all gifts will continue to be tax deductible.  In fact, they are super organized and send out email receipts with each gift received as well as a year end receipt.  If you'd like to check out Abba's website, the address is

For those of you who would like to set up an automatic debit each month, here is the information that you will need to give your bank:
1. The bank should make out the check to Abba's Ambassadors Inc.
2. Have their bank write "Roberto and Sarah" on the memo line. 
3. The bank will then send a check to:
Abba's Ambassadors Inc.
PO Box 523
North Myrtle Beach, SC 29597

For those of you who send checks once a month, annually or every-now-and-then, those can be made payable to Abba's Ambassadors with "Roberto and Sarah" on the memo line and sent to:
Abba's Ambassadors Inc.
PO Box 523
North Myrtle Beach, SC 29597

There is also a paypal option on the Abba's website

Roberto and I (and baby Mondlane) are so blessed by our faithful family and friends back in the States and around the world.  Our ministry with these precious street boys would not be possible without y'all.  Thank you for all that you give and may you and your families receive the richest blessings of our God!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hope and Family

Yesterday, my friend Deanna suggested taking my pregnant belly picture on the front porch of Masana under the cool arch-way entrance.  As I looked at the pictures on her computer, I was drawn to this one as my favorite:

In spite of the ugly power cord that the electric company rigged up after our house lost power for a few days back in 2011, the "hope" and "family" decorations speak volumes about my personal life and ministry.  How fitting that it would be the setting for announcing the soon-to-be-birth of our daughter.  Back in 2011 when we had that power problem, it was the very same week I found out I had breast cancer.  I was 31 years old and single.  My natural family was thousands of miles away from my home in Mozambique.  My closest friends know the struggles I went through during my 7 months of cancer treatments. . . the decision to leave my home in Mozambique to receive treatment in the States, the heartache I experienced over having to make treatment decisions without the input of a husband, the fear of chemo treatments and what it could do to my ability to have children in the future.  

April 6, 2011 I woke up early and went to Emory Hospital in Atlanta, GA to have the tumor removed from my breast.  

April 6, 2013 I woke up in Mozambique with my husband by my side and this beautiful photo taken yesterday to announce that baby Mondlane is a girl.  

We see over and over in our ministry among street kids that God restores hope in hopeless situations and rebuilds families when all seems lost.  That's why I bought those decorations for the Masana house proclaiming "hope" and "family" to every child that enters our gates.  But now, the God of Hope has made those words even more personal and given me the family I've always hoped for.

But I will hope continually, and I will praise You yet more and more.  Psalm 71:14

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Defending the Weak

"Defend the weak and the fatherless, uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed." Psalm 82:3

In the past weeks and days, I have been reminded of the call God has given us the defend the weak and fatherless and uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed.  At Masana, we are surrounded by boys who fall into these categories.  As can be expected, life on the streets is cruel and horrible things can happen to these precious little ones.  We seem to be coming face to face with that reality more and more at Masana.  

So how do we defend them?  How do we uphold their cause?  In the face of horrible things happening to children of 11 and 12 years old, how do we help them?  Do we take them into our center allowing them to sleep within the safety of our walls?  But how does this help the cause of getting them off the streets and back with their families?  Do we load them up in the car and force them to return to their homes? But what is to keep them form coming right back to the streets in a few days?  

So many questions . . . questions only God can give us the wisdom to respond to.  And boy do we ever need His wisdom in these days.  Please pray for the staff of Masana as we seek God's wisdom on how to defend these little ones while not abandoning our purpose of restoring families.  

Friday, February 22, 2013

8 boys and 1 girl

Ned Ved, Cesar, Olivio, Arlindo, Alexis, Felix, and Paito (not pictured:  Ian and Hilario)

2012 was a year full of changes in the lives of the missionaries at Masana.  Both Lauren and I got married and moved out of the Masana house into apartments in the city.  That left Alexis as the only girl in a house full of boys . . .  and being the only girl in a house full of boys brings lots of responsibility.

Grocery shopping . . .  sometimes multiple times a week.
Preparing meals
Taking boys to doctors appointments
Helping with homework
Organizing chore charts
Controlling the coming and going of 5 teenagers as well as dealing with their moodiness :-)

And then there are the responsibilities to the boys who don't live at Masana.  And if you've ever visited us at Masana, you know the doorbell rings multiple times a day!

Taking care of sick street kids who stop by the house for medical care
Offering a cup of water to the countless number of street boys who pass by just for a little attention
Chatting with reintegrated boys who stop by for a visit
Looking after visitors who are staying at Masana

"This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. . . If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."  (1 John 3:16 and 4:12)

Alexis is doing just this.  She is no longer the typical 22 year old single, young woman.  She has made a great sacrifice in giving up this "typical lifestyle" and moving to Mozambique to lay down her life for the lives of these boys.  Alexis is making the love of God complete.  May we all follow in her example.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Baby Mondlane

Roberto and I are so excited to announce that Baby Mondlane will arrive in mid-August!  I had my first doctor's appointment this past week and all looks great!  Please pray for wisdom as we search for the best place to give birth either here in Maputo, Mozambique or in South Africa.

For those who have followed my journey over the past years, you'll know that this baby is a huge testimony of God's faithfulness.  After my cancer treatments in 2011, I was so worried that I would have trouble getting pregnant.  But shouldn't I know not to worry....for "the Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all He has made.  The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.  He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them." (Psalm 145:17-19)