Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our many Kids...

You won't see many pictures of this boy because he does everything to escape being photographed. Luckily our new camera is quick enough to get a shot before he notices! 
This handsome boy is our Jonas! Look at how he has grown! It seems he is taller every time we see him! (You can see an old picture of him in our August 2008 posting).
While we were in Botswana we heard that he had left the home for boys where he spent the last 2 years, and went back to live with his grandfather, which unfortunately means he is back on the streets! (His grandfather is too sick to look after them so they have to fend for themselves). I was anxious to get back to see how he was doing. I was glad to see he was also anxious for our return!...He has been coming around every day now!
As you can see from the Mohawk and the earring he is wearing, he is not the little 11 year old boy I started working with 3 years ago! He is now 13....Officially a teenager!!! 
The day after our return from Africa he came ridding his bike to the base to see us! As a typical teenager, he doesn't know how to express his emotions very well to us, but the fact that he came after us before we had a chance to go after him really encouraged us and showed us that he does consider us important in his life! 
I had a wonderful talk with him and was glad to hear and see that despite his being back on the streets, the things he has learned in the past 3 years have stuck....Jonas is not a rebelious boy, he is just a hurt boy from being rejected for so long by those that should have loved him most. My only concern with him is the factor of how much time he will spend on the streets this time!
In the month since he left the boys' home, Jonas had stopped going to school. Luckily today I was able to convince him how important it is for him to continue, especially since the school year is almost over and he can still recover what he lost and go on to the 6th grade next year!
So I will gladly be taking Jonas to school and picking him up every day. 
Please pray for this little boy!
To our surprise someone else that came around during this time is Talita (Jonas' sister). You would never guess just looking at her that this 11 year old girl is prostituting herself with older men, sleeping on the streets, addicted to cigarettes, and in desperate need of Jesus!
But I am so glad to have her near. At least when she is with us she is free to just be the little girl she is! I praise God she is coming around....Every day now!
Last week my mom and I took Talita and Brenda (the other girl in the picture) to a furniture expo. in town and there they found a place just for kids full of fun things for them to do! Trying on wigs and hats, coloring and playing with dolls.
Let me tell you a little bit about Brenda. Brenda is a girl that lives close to my parents place and is being raised by her grandmother along with her 11 brothers and sisters. They live in a situation of extreme poverty, receiving help only from my parents and a little from the government. Brenda became a believer 2 years ago and has simply bloomed into a beautifully transformed person (she is even singing in the worship team at her church)....She is a great example to Talita. And what's best is they get along perfectly!
Please pray also for this special little girl who we love dearly also!
Another thing that is still happening around here is the Terceiro Espaco Project with the kids from the neighborhood. Last year we had only about 30 kids, this year we are beyond our capacity with 70+ kids...and growing! Our desire is to start building a space where we can work with these kids. We desperately need to start building! We want to be able to give them music, computer, and dance classes, but we lack the material and the space to do this. We also trust that as God provides the means to expand, he will also provide the voluteers and the teachers to work to an even greater capacity!
Unfortunately we are still struggling to pay off the land before we can build.
Today we had a special treat for the kids. We had a dentist come and teach they kids about how to take care of their teeth. Since the DTS students are on their practical training and not on the base, we were able to use the classroom for this event...
First they watched a short cartoon showing the attack of germs on an unbrushed mouth... 
Then the dentist asked questions about what they had seen and taught them the importance of a good dental hygiene....
Even Talita was there and seemed to really enjoy the presentation...
(she's the on in the back).
Then she showed the kids the proper way to brush...
and made some kids pretend to be teeth and showed them that they needed to floss between each other!
After this very nice and interesting presentation the kids went back to their usual spot for their snack...
...not the usual sweet bun and juice they get, but the dentist and her helpers brought the kids coca-cola, bread with ham and cheese and chocolate for dessert....
On a side note: Notice how the whole building is leaning...This is our lunch area (not just for the kids but for all the staff and students who live on the base). This is also another thing we need to fix SOON!
After that they each received a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss!!! Wow what a treat! And what's amazing is that our guests (the dentist and friends) weren't even believers!
God simply isn't limited when He wants to bless!
And look at that smile!

Friday, October 9, 2009

"Dumela" from Mahalapye, Botswana!
This means "Have Faith" in the local language, Tswana. We have been in this town over 3 weeks now, and we praise God because the Africa Mobile Team is succesfully training the 4th evangelism team in Africa. We have 10 young people who are anxiously learning everything we are teaching them.
We are so blessed to be here sharing the Lord and training still another team in Africa. Time has flown by and already we are on our last week here, but we praise God for all he has done, for the team of 10 that we are training and all the people we have been able to encourage and minister to by sharing the gospel in the community.
We were told that 1 of every 3 people in Botswana have HIV, including many mothers and innocent children.
Every where we go we are received with friendly faces, especially of kids, who are eager to hang out with the foreigners...mostly in hopes that we will give them something. This has been probably on of the biggest difficulties, because many people are not genuine about their conversion, they just want to give always a possitive answer.The man in the middle here is the Chief of Mahalapye, and next to him is Katharine a local who is a faithful christian and also running in the elections in hopes of being Mahalapye's next government Council member. She is HIV positive.
Katharine was able to make a contact for us in the Jail of Mahalapye (which we were told is actually the biggest jail in all of Botswana). We visited the womens' ward. We were glad to find that many of them were already saved, and as we shared Christ there many began to weep, and about 20 women gave their lives to the Lord for the first time! Praise God! Unfortunatly, we were not able to take our camera inside, but the picture below gives you an idea of what the jail was like from the outside...
These two ladies were sitting on the ground when we arrived. They were so interresed in what we had to say, and we shared the Lord with them, but like many in Botswana, they were afraid to give their lives to the Lord because of the witch doctors.
The missionaries that have been hosting us, The Monks, have started a home church for the local community, so for the last 3 Sundays our team has been in charge of the whole service. It has been neat to get to know some people from the community and bless them with whatever we can...about 3/4 of the church are actually kids, so for 3 sundays I told them the story of a missionary from Scotland who ministered among tribes in Nigeria in the 1700's.
In this picture you can see Marcello performing a drama with some others in the team...
The kids really enjoyed it! Because we have no transportation, everywhere when we do our house to house visits we have to walk. But it's been worth every step as we have been able to encourage many people and also see a few families give their lives to the Lord! Lorena praying for a family where a mother had lost her soon two weeks before...
I also have been sharing the gospel with the "Evangecube" which was a gift from Bruce and Vicky Ciotta on our last visit to the USA....What a blessing it has been! After I shared with this family, the mother and her daughter prayed to receive the Lord and the next Sunday they joined us in the church at the farm!
As we visited from house to house, this man also gave his life to the Lord!We also had several opportunities, not only to teach the team we are training, but also to perform skits and dramas in different places. Face painting is part of our strategy to attract people's attention when doing street evangelism... Here we are performing a drama at a school fundrasing event where we were invited to speak and perform.
Please continue to pray for us and also for the Africa Mobile Team as we continue to minister in Botswana!