Monday, December 29, 2014

As I reflect back over 2014, the word that comes to mind is “family.”  Our little Melina is now 16 months old.  It’s been a joy to watch her find her place among the street boys we minister to.  They all adore her.  And 2 weeks ago, we welcomed out little Maya Fé into our family.  Family.  

“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth” Psalm 127:4. 

In 2015, our family will be moving into the Masana house where we will have an even larger family.  We will be helping take care of 5 teenage boys who live at Masana.  These 5 boys are all former street kids but did not have good family situations to return to.  Over the years, they have become our sons.  We try to create a normal family environment for these boys – school, sports, music lessons, part time jobs.  Its our hope that these boys will grow into Godly young men who will one day lead their own families.  Family.  

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6. 

Living in the Masana house will also bring added responsibility of caring for the numerous young boys who call the streets of Maputo home.  We are the only center in the city with live-in staff which means we are on call at all hours of the day and night when the street boys need us.  Even boys who are not a daily part of our project know that they can come to the Masana house when they are sick or injured and in need of help.  The Masana day center also functions out of this house.  5 days a week, we open our doors to 20-30 street boys and provide a safe place for them to wash their clothes, bathe, study, eat a couple of meals, hear teachings from the Word of God, and hopefully make the decision to leave the streets and return to their families.  That is the heart of our ministry.  Family.  

“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers” Malachi 4:6.    

Masana’s reintegration program is successful because we are a small project and able to cater to the individual needs of a boy or his family.  Since I began working with Masana in 2009, we have seen over 60 boys leave the streets and return to their families.  We are still in contact with many of them today.  One of the boys we reintegrated in 2009 has completed the 12th grade and is now studying in university.  Another young man has received a work contract with the local railway and is working to help his grandmother who is raising him and his siblings.  It’s so beautiful to be able to look back and see the fruit of our labor.  God is truly restoring lives and families.  Family.

”lifting boys up out of the mud and mire and placing their feet on a rock, giving them a firm place to stand” Psalm 40:2.

Would you please consider partnering with Roberto and I as we continue this ministry among street kids?   As our family grows so do our financial needs.  Whatever God puts on your heart, know that it is being used for the building of His kingdom.  We raise our support through Abba’s Ambassadors, a non-profit organization.  All gifts are tax deductible and we receive 100% of donations given in our name.  You can give online at or you can make checks payable to Abba’s Ambassadors and send them to:  Abba's Ambassadors, PO Box 165,  South Salem, NY 10590

Blessings on you and your family and thank you for supporting our ministry of restoring families!

Roberto, Sarah, Melina and Maya Mondlane

Welcome Maya!

Maya Fé Mondlane

Roberto and I are so excited to announce the birth of our daughter, Maya Fé Mondlane.  She was born on December 16.  Maya is a Hebrew name meaning "close to God" and Fé (pronounced "Fay") is the Portuguese word for "faith."  We pray that our precious girl will be just that....close to God and full of faith.

We are still in the States as I continue to recover from the c-section and other procedure that was done.  We have begun the process of getting Maya's documents and ask that you join us in praying for all to go smoothly.  With the help of some dear friends, we got her birth certificate very quickly.  We will go this week to the passport agency in Atlanta for an expedited passport.  Then the final step is to send her passport to Washington DC to the Mozambican embassy for a visa.  If all goes well, we should get her passport back 3 or 4 days before we return to Mozambique.  Not much room for delays...hence prayers needed :-)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Change Is Coming

Roberto and I the day we signed the lease on our apartment

A little over 2 years ago, Roberto and I signed a lease on our first apartment where we have lived for the first years of our marriage.  It's been an amazing little place full of many happy memories for both of us - dinners with family and friends, Sunday afternoon lunches with reintegrated boys, video games with the boys, Melina's first year of life, afternoons with Felix.  We have been so grateful for these 2 years on our own as a family.  But now change is coming.  October will be our last month in our little apartment.  We'll be packing everything up and moving 2 blocks down the Masana.  

In July of next year, Ian, one of the other missionaries who works with Masana, will be returning to the States for grad school.  Ian has lived at Masana since 2010 and taken such great care of both the boys who call Masana home permanently and those who spend a short time living at Masana as they transition back to their own families.  Roberto and I will be stepping in to fill that role while Ian is away.  We've decided to go ahead and move in to the Masana house in January, when we return from the States with our new baby girl, so that we have 6 months to learn everything we need to from Ian. 

Roberto and I are so excited for this new season ahead of us and we ask for your prayers as we make this transition.  We are praying that God will use our family to impact the lives of the boys who live at Masana permanently as well as those who pass through for a short time.  We are so excited that God has opened this door for us to be more hands on with Masana and we look forward to serving Him as we serve the boys.

the Masana house

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Freedom for the Oppressed

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free
Luke 4:18

These past months, one of the young men who lives at Masana has been fighting an addiction to alcohol. He is 18 years old and has been addicted to alcohol for 10 years....that means he was 8 when he started drinking. Sadly, that is not uncommon here in Mozambique. Legally, minors can't buy alcohol but that law is never enforced and a vender would never turn someone away because of their age because that would mean less money in his pocket. Such a sad reality.

This young man finally agreed to go to the one and only rehab center located in our city....and it just happens to be Christian :-) When we first spoke to him about going to this center he was completely against it and chose instead to leave the love and comfort of the Masana house. And we had to let him go. But we didn't stop praying that the Holy Spirit would work in his heart and bring him back to us. After almost a week of wandering around the city, drinking way too much, and climbing the wall of Masana to sleep in our outdoor bedroom each night he came to his senses and returned to Masana for the help we so desperately wanted to give him.

Monday will be one week in the rehab center. One week sober. One week down in this battle for freedom from the chains of alcoholism. My prayer for this young man is that he will turn to the Lord in this time and that he will find strength to face each new day alcohol-free. Here amongst the street kids of Maputo, it is time for our God to be made known as the God who sets the oppressed free. Join me in praying....not just for this young man but for all the young boys in Mozambique who turn to alcohol at an early age for the comfort that only God can give.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

While I Was Away

A lot has actually happened in the 3 months I stopped keeping up with my blog!!!

The biggest news is that baby Mondlane #2 is on the way!!!  He/She is due around Christmas!!  We'll be heading to the States in early November and I'll deliver the baby there as well as have the surgery i wrote about back in January to remove a tumor that was found on one of my ovaries.  We will be in the Atlanta-area for about 3 months.

Melina is doing great!  She is 11 months old already.  Back in May she was hospitalized because of a severe ear infection.  The infection started to spread to the area between her cranium and scalp.  The doctor had to make an incision behind her ear and drain all of the infection.  She has recovered beautifully from the whole ordeal....except for the scar on her forehead from where the bandage was put on too tight after her surgery.  I'm using coco butter on the scar.  Any other tips?

We've had visitors from both Athens Link and the UGA Wesley Foundation.  Both teams were a blessing to Roberto and I as well as the Masana family.  It's always so nice to have friends from my other "home" visit!

Masana is going great!  We celebrated Children's Day on June 1 by taking about 40 boys to the local water park.  We've taken 3 boys back to their families, continued visiting the families of about 12 street boys that have returned home in the past year and a half on a monthly basis, and helped a few of those families work through issues they were encountering with their sons.  Our day center is still going Monday-Friday though the numbers are a bit lower these days because of the cold temperatures (low 60's).  All the boys will be back soon though...just got to get out from under there blankets a little earlier :-)

We've had to deal with sickness in our Masana family as one of the boys who lives at Masana was hospitalized on and off for a good 6 weeks due to some digestive problems.  He was unable to keep any food down and lost around 30 lbs.  He finally had the surgery that he needed and is now on the road to recovery!  During all of this, we were so blessed by the kindness of family, friends, and strangers who gave towards medical bills.  

So there you have the highlights of the last few months.  Will try not to be away for so long again!


I've been very absent lately from the blog world....perhaps because life is feeling very routine these days.  Wake up, get Melina ready, go to Masana, spend the day with the street boys, go home, clean some while Melina naps, bathe her, cook, put Melina to bed, enjoy a couple of hours relaxing and catching up with Roberto, sleep.  Then do it all again.

The life of a missionary is suppose to be exciting and full of adventure.  Living in another country.  Speaking a foreign language.  Interacting with the locals.  Learning a new culture.  And usually it is....but right now, I find myself tired of thinking in Portuguese all the time.  Tired of getting ripped off on produce because I'm white.  Tired of not being able to communicate all that I want to communicate because I just don't know the vocabulary.

Life is feeling routine.  And I want more than just routine.

I recently read an article on Relevant Magazine's website that challenged me :

"When we wake up daily with a full awareness of how powerful God is and how deeply He loves us, the ordinary becomes saturated with life. And it is wild.
It’s wild because not only do we breathe in and out under this perspective of God’s sovereignty, but we also remember that this incredible God invites us into the enormous story He is writing."
I want to wake up daily fully aware of the powerful God I serve and how deeply He loves me!!!  I want to see His love in the eyes of Roberto and Melina and my Masana family.  I know it's there.  I just need eyes to see.  God has invited me into an enormous story He is writing here in my little corner of Maputo, Mozambique.  It's a story of serving alongside my husband and raising my daughter in an environment surrounded by the poorest of the poor.  Its a story of sitting in the dirt with dirty kids.  Its a story of restoring prodigal sons to their families.

This is no ordinary life I live.
I just have to remember that when it gets to feeling a little too routine.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rejection and Hope

On December 1, 2012, I posted this blog about a boy very precious to me who had made the decision to leave the streets and return to his family.  Recently, some issues have come up in his life and tomorrow I have to be a part of a conversation informing him that his father no longer wants him.

My heart is breaking.  But there is hope.

On this Palm Sunday I know that my God is bigger than any rejection this precious boy can experience in his life.  My God who gave up His only Son did so, so that this precious boy could know his Heavenly Father.....a Father who loves him unconditionally and will never reject him.  There is hope.  If anyone knows how to comfort one who is experiencing rejection, it is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who experienced the ultimate rejection as He was crucified.  There is hope.

As we move into this week of celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I celebrate that this precious boy is in my life and that because of the sacrifice of our Lord, I am here in Mozambique to love him through this difficult time.  I celebrate that there is hope for his life.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

You Are Who You Are and Nobody Else

These last few weeks we have jumped through hoops to get 3 of our reintegrated boys registered.  In Mozambique, you are registered as an infant and receive a document called a “cedula.” With a “cedula” you can then request a document to process your BI, which is your official ID card with your picture on it.  Once that document is ready, you then go to the BI office and stand in line forever to have your information entered into the computer and your photo taken.  Then, sometime in the next 2 to 24 weeks, your ID card is ready to be picked up. . . and no, that is not a typo.  The official receipt says your ID card will be ready in 15 days but it sometimes takes months!

An ID card is necessary for many reasons – school, employment, playing on a sports team, random police checks, getting a passport. The “hoops” we have to jump through are often created because parents never registered their child as an infant.  So here we are with a teenage boy who, according to the government, doesn’t exist.  To register him at this age, we end up paying a fine.  Another “hoop” is that by the time a boy is a teenager, parents are often separated and we have to track them down to register their son.  Then there is the "hoop" of nothing in this country being digital.  Everything is still hand written in large books.  If a cedula gets misplaced or lost, you must go back to the office that it was processed at and flip through all the books til you find where your information was recorded.  If you don't remember the date you were registered, this task is nearly impossible.  These hoops are just something we endure for our boys because we know having an ID card is vital to their futures.

There is a book I love called “Chronicles of the Wind” by Henning Mankell.  It is about a Mozambican street boy named Nelo.  The author captures so beautifully the value street kids place on an ID card:

“They lay there in silence while Nelo considered.  ‘An ID card,’ he said at last.  ‘A document with a photo that says that you are who you are and nobody else. . . that’s what we dream about.  ID cards.  But not so that we’ll know who we are, we already know that.  But so that we’ll have a document proving that we have a right to be who we are.’ . . . If anyone had asked him what was the fundamental need of every human being, he would have known the right answer at once:  a roof and an ID card.  That was what a person needed, in addition to food, water, a pair of trousers and a blanket.  It was by having a roof over their heads and ID cards in their pockets that human beings differed from animals.  These were the first steps toward a decent life, an escape from poverty – building yourself a roof and obtaining an ID card.”

The hoops are worth it if, in the end, we help a young boy prove that he is who he is and nobody else.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Back To Normal Life and My Health

Sorry for the long absence from the blog.  Roberto, Melina and i had a wonderful time in the states with our family and friends.  Roberto survived a real winter and enjoyed his first American Christmas, very different than Christmas in Mozambique.  Thank you to each of you who made time for us.  Our time in the States each year is such a refreshing break.

Some of you may have read my post after Melina's birth, C-Section...A Blessing in Disguise, and know that I underwent a lot of testing while I was in the States to find out what is going on with a mass the doctor found on one of my ovaries.  I am happy to report that it is not cancer!  It's a dermoid cyst and unfortunately, it is considered pre-cancerous and will have to be surgically removed.  This surged will involve removing one of my ovaries as its impossible to remove the cyst alone.  The doctor says its not a huge rush and can be done in the next year or 2.  Also, the doctor recommends that, if we are done having children, removing my tubes as well as a precaution against cervical cancer.  So Roberto and I have a lot to process and pray about as we make decisions about whether or not to have more children and how long to wait before having the surgery.

Thankfully, I am not burdened by this news.  I know that God is in control of my health and our family and that He will reveal His perfect plans to us in His timing.  I am thankful for the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.

We are back in Maputo now and back to normal life.  Roberto is waking up at 4:20 am every day to open Armadura, the income-generating gym for Masana.  And as of tomorrow, I am back to Masana full time.  Though I'm not excited the boys are still on the streets, I am excited to see each of them again and the opportunity we have to help them reach the place that they are ready to return to their families.

 Melina and her Granny

 Melina and her cousin, Josh

 the family with our Christmas stockings my mom made us

 Nap time with Paw-Paw

 Melina and Uncle Shane

Melina with her great-grandparents