We want to again thank everyone for supporting us. We hope to post tomorrow from Johannesburg!
As we prepare for the long flight to South Africa, we offer these thoughts on why we feel called to Mozambique:
Molly – Mozambique is my heart. I return year after year to be nourished, to grow my faith, to witness the Kingdom—to spend time in the warm light of true discipleship. My Mozambican brothers and sisters model what it is to love and serve with your whole heart. I can’t wait to see them again!
Tina – My first mission was the Kairos prison ministry. Last year, my mission was children. This year, I feel the widows are my focus.
Erin – I went on my first mission trip to Haiti 16 years ago. I didn’t know what to expect, either from the place or my personal experience. I hope that I made at least some positive impact. But what I learned that it was a life-changing experience—for me! Serving in mission has deepened my faith—in God, in the church and in my fellow human beings. This will be my third trip to Mozambique, and I feel called to do whatever I can to provide a hand up to this extremely poor nation. My prayer is that my presence will serve as a reminder of God’s love and the hope which that inspires.
Doris – The story of the widows just touched my heart. I am a widow and feel very lucky that in the U.S. we are not treated as second class with no rights at all. To experience the loss of your husband as well as everything you have must be devastating. I feel that to go and be with them as another human being is a way to show, by our presence, that God loves them. I have been on two other UMVIM trips this year but they have not “called” to me like this one. I am looking forward to using my “Talents,” knowing that God will guide and provide whatever is needed.
Helen – I feel as though this trip has been planned for me for years. Maybe it all came about because my grandmother started an orphanage to help kids in need on the street. Through her example of kindness, I developed a heart for orphans. I’ve wanted to visit an orphanage for a long time, but in the hustle and bustle of life, I drifted away from my personal passion. God has a way of redirecting people to his purpose, though, and through Touching Heart, I was able to pour my energy into orphans. The trip to Mozambique became a clear calling from God. In my view, going to Mozambique will honor the spirit of my grandmother, who dedicated herself to orphans who need love. I want to take this trip to meet these precious kids, see the hardship they endure, and feel their aching so that I can be a voice on their behalf and provide for them and protect them as any parent would do. I feel honored to be serving his kingdom by sharing his love.
I have three children who still need a lot of guidance, but I also want to demonstrate that they should follow their heart and passion to serve God. If God calls you, even though worldly reasoning doesn’t make sense, you must follow him wherever you go. If he called you, then he will carry you to the end.
Pat – I am excited to again be going to Mozambique. I was blessed to go last year, and I am going this year because I left part of my heart in Mozambique with the orphans, with the widows and with our friends in Cambine. I am going because God has called me to be his disciple, to share love, hope and faith, and to renew old and make new relationships with our brothers and sisters in Mozambique. I go to be able to give of myself, to share my gifts and to share God’s love with others. I am called to love God, to love our neighbors and to serve the world. As the words to Jeffery Rowthorn’s song say, “We are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly, we are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God.”
Debbi – First, thanks so much for sharing this trip with us. We’ve been asked to write about why we decided to participate in this mission trip. To be honest, although I am over-the-top excited, I’m having trouble answering this basic question. For years, I have had a heart for international relief and development and was able to work for a not-for-profit the last nine years in that area. But that’s not the same as being there. Three times in the last four years it was necessary to cancel my participation in mission trips to Haiti, Cuba, and Haiti again, due to family illness, work requirements and civil unrest. When this trip came up, it seemed perfect for me. The two weeks would not be a problem since I have recently retired. My previous trip to Mozambique through Project HOPE was very positive. The team purpose is to both help with construction and strengthen relationships formed through previous visits by members of our congregation and other AUMC friends. And not least of all, it is to be led by two women that I greatly admire.
Having said all that, the foremost reason to go to Mozambique is to spend time with the people there. My spiritual journey is based on study and experiences with folks primarily like me. While I want to share what I have with the brothers/sisters in Christ, it will be just as important for me to learn from them and feel the Holy Spirit moving in that place. With God’s help, I can come back home and share that excitement with those who will experience it through our stories and pictures. Who knows what God has in store for the future? My prayer is to be open to His calling.
Gary – Being in mission gets into your blood, your head, and feeds the rest of your body. I am going to Mozambique to serve and be a productive member of a wonderful team. We all have our individual goals, but our teamwork is at the forefront of our mission trip. Our physical work is important, but often the blocks and mortar are set aside so we may listen to the people we are serving. These brothers and sisters have a faith that makes you proud to be a humble servant of Jesus Christ.
Jay – My passion for mission work began four years ago when I went on my first mission trip to Girdwood, Alaska. That got me hooked. It renewed my faith in God and taught me the power of Christianity in action. Living and working in fellowship, valuing everyone’s talents and skills, letting go so you can “let God” and loving everyone with all your heart—those are some of the lessons I’ve learned on past trips. In Mozambique, I look forward to loving my neighbors and losing myself in a higher power to accomplish things that I know I couldn’t possibly do on my own. It is a joy and privilege to serve when you are part of team that is committed to following Christ’s example.
Jolie – My friend Rhoda died last week. This very warm, extremely practical, and totally realistic woman always had a careful, crafted reason for all her actions. She would have been the first to ask “why” if I had told her of this trip to Mozambique. And, even knowing how she assayed information, I still would have had to reply, “I don’t have the words to wrap around a reason. I just know.” I can imagine her rapid-fire follow up questions—what skills do you bring (few); how’s your Portuguese (limited—very!); are there not enough challenges right here to be met (definitely)—and all I would/could respond with would be, “I just know. This is one of life’s thresholds, and I am going to cross it.” Rhoda, we will miss you.
Harry – God bless us everyone!