This was supposed to be Christmas letter, but I just couldn’t get it done before, so it’s a new year letter now, maybe better anyways cause you have more time now to read it… .
Joao & Jennifer & their kids (the other Iris Ministries missionaries here) are still in America until January, some others that are also gone left me some work as well, so I haven’t been bored … J.
Christmas with the kids has been at my house this time … the smaller ones hadn’t come here yet, ‘cause it’s quite far, so they were really excited … we had lots of food & fun, presents and new clothes for each one, a soccer ball for all of them, sweets, chocolate cake … J.
At the orphanage …The roof that had come off during the storm on the day I got back from Germany last year is finally back on, all the window frames have glass now, the kitchen is painted; one of the shops in town gave me paint and the biggest seed producing company maize seed which we planted right away … – God’s been good to us!
Streetkids …I’m still meeting with them, but something needs to change, I want them off the street!! I think, I told you in my last letter that I was given some property, just a bit outside of the city of Chimoio. I left it at that for a while ‘cause I just couldn’t find any time to put any more thought or effort into this issue, also I wasn’t sure what God wants and I’m still not sure where this is all going. Now on the day I finally went back there I was first preaching at the local Assemblies of God church there of which the community leader is the pastor. It happened to be that that his superior leader was there that day. He’s a man of vision and made sure I was given a big property.
In the meantime I’ve been back twice, once to measure & start using the ground and once to get rid of some of the bush that was at one end of the property. The guys of my prison & hospital teams are excited to work there, getting the property ready for the kids to move there. They constantly ask when we go back there, wanting to plant more maize, which is hard work here, and I’m not even paying them. Crazy. Praise God!
I guess at some point something needs to be built there … God only knows … I’m actually already busy enough with all the other things I’m doing but if God wants to add something who am I to say no?
Recently at the provincial hospital …When I was at the maternity ward a baby was born and I overheard 2 nurses, midwives or whatever discussing when & where to cut the umbilical cord… mamamia …they’re working there and should know that, but obviously both of them didn’t have a clue … I guess, it’s good that we’re praying there … .
In the prison … The beginning of December we had another baptism. This time it was their initiative, they approached us and asked for it. A week later I had a list of the people wanting to be baptized in my hands. So I spoke to the prison director and no problem. We had agreed on using their tractor and tank to get water from one of my friends (the only ones I know here that have a garden hose), but as usual nothing worked according to plans. When I got there the day before the tractor was not only gone but also broken down. Hm. What now, Lord? Baptizing without water is kinda difficult, but I know that with God there is always a solution. I prayed quietly. Usually there is no water in the prison, that’s why we had asked for the tractor & tank, but just a couple days before that water had started to come so the director allowed us to use it which was a miracle cause they’ve to pay for it, so they don’t ever allow anyone. Now the question was how to get the water from the ‘tap’ into the pool where we were going to do the baptism. I saw some prisoners washing the director’s car and thought that was the solution. The hose was almost long enough.
Then all of a sudden different people started to bring bits and pieces, I have no idea from where, but we put them all together and in the end it was just long enough to shoot the water into the pool – Halleluja (as we use to say here)! 2 hours later we had filled it with enough water and we had a wonderful baptism the next day!!
Also, lately the leaders of the prison are sending the sick, especially the lame into the church services. One has already been healed, another one God’s working on I believe (prayed for him last week) … .
On December 26th we had a big Christmas service. When I was asked about the number of people we wanted to participate I thought, let me try asking for 200. I was told the director says, that this wasn’t even half of the prisoners. Oh well, then let’s do with 600 I said. Got his okay.
Now we as a team had decided to give a little ‘lunch’, so the challenge was to buy enough bread rolls, juice and bananas for everyone that would participate, but we managed – praise God!
God was present and many experienced and gave their lives to the one we celebrate at Christmas – Jesus Christ!
Finally, finally, I got a chance to go back to Malawi …I’ve been wanting to go back for a long time, but I guess, when it’s the right time things happen. This time we went for 10 days, visiting friends in Blentyre & around as well as doing some evangelism and other ministry. It’s been 4 years since we took food to Zimbabwe together during the time of the crises. How time passes … . Good to be together again! I still don’t have a car so getting there & back wasn’t easy, 7 different buses, minibuses, private cars etc., it took a few miracles (as usual) and we managed in 1 day – thank God!
I’ve also been in Zimbabwe again, just before Christmas … . The people we stayed with all complained that we took too long to come back … we had a good time with them though, also in church … .
Lately things have been a bit more chaotic as usual; I never know when there is water and electricity or when there isn’t; it changes in seconds. After the last thunderstorm we didn’t have electricity for 3 days – I guess it is a miracle that things in my freezer were still frozen. I had just spend 3 days only eating bread ‘cause I just couldn’t find any time to cook, then this happened, so another 3 days only eating bread – halleluja! At least I have both now, even though not always. Most people living here don’t have neither electricity nor water, they have to carry every liter, walk far to get firewood … .
Often people ask me what keeps me here. Well, God and the openness of the people towards the gospel. Despite of all the hardships it is a priveledge to serve God as a fulltime missionary, seeing people saved on a regular bases, healed, delivered, experiencing God’s love and care, helping the poor, taking care of orphans … .
How do I survive? God’s grace only. It is good to live in a place where you fully depend on God for everything. If you live in a place where sickness, death, breakings, accidents, hunger … are common and the government doesn’t do much to help you, you thank God when you have food to eat (no matter what), wake up well in the morning, get back safely (driving is crazy here, hardly anyone does what he should) and everything is still in your house. Many people loose their houses during the rainy season and I live in a house now where it doesn’t even rain inside … .
I almost forgot … I have to tell you … The day we had the baptism in the prison in the morning we had a terrible thunderstorm in the afternoon, which started the moment I was on the way to the hospital where we always pray. By the way, another part of the roof came off, not the new one, and we already fixed it. Usually I walk to the hospital but that day I had to go to the bank before and some other missionaries wanted to bring me things to take the blessing of the workers at religious affairs. So I waited for them in the car. Suddenly I heard a big bang (literally), the car jumped and then I saw something roll down in the front. 1 of these big, almost 10 meter high, electricity poles had hit ‘my car’. The first word coming out of my mouth was ‘Oh my God’ and then ‘Thank God’! Cause I could have died if the pole had fallen on top of the car or on the screen. Unbelievable! I already don’t have a car anymore then there is damage on the car I’ve borrowed (other missionaries that are gone left me their car to use around town until January). Praise God! What is amazing though is that even though we could see well on the car where the pole had hit absolutely nothing underneath the hood was damaged. Either way we went ministering in the hospital, of course soaking wet, then I tried to resolve the issue. We always need to first seek first the kingdom of God, under all circumstances. So done praying I went to the electricity company across the street which of course didn’t want to take any responsibility for anything. They said to come back the next day and bring them something written. So that you can put the paper on your shelf I thought, but okay, I did as asked. Prayed for favor as I entered there the next morning. It happened to be that the person in charge of complaints was out of his ‘boss office’ and the one I talked to, not knowing he was the boss. He looked at my handwritten paper, then told me to write it on the computer, asking me if I don’t have a computer. I do, I said, but not a printer, or better not the cable that goes from my new laptop to the printer, and without printing it out there is no point of writing. He asked me to follow him to his office and gave me his laptop to write, then disappeared. So I wrote the document on his computer and he printed it out for me, signed it and promised me to hand it to the director personally (which he did) – not bad. When I finally managed to go back there (as I had been asked) it was already Friday afternoon just a bit after 4p.m. He was in his office and after he shouted at me that I was coming at a time when the office was already closed he attended me. We started talking about the damage on the car, then after about 2 minutes the topic changed and we talked about God & faith for about 30 minutes. Then he bowed his head and said he needed to be honest with me (the presence of God was so strong in the room I guess there was no way of lying), telling me straight to my face (which is very unusual here) that I’d only waste my time if I tried to get any money from EDM (the electricity company), they won’t cover the damage – unless a miracle – miracles happen I said, either they pay or God will resolve this is in another way ‘cause I cannot give the car back in this way. We talked some more about God, then he said, let’s go, he wants to have a look at the damage. No problem. After looking at it he asked me to follow him to the garage, he wanted to know how much it was to fix it. Okay. On arrival he talked to the mechanics and I overheard him saying to them he wanted to help this lady (referring to me), asking them to start fixing it. Then he took money out of his purse and gave it to me pay once they were done – wow – he paid for it out of his own pocket – I hadn’t asked him for it – that was a solution, too … J. God bless him.
Happy new year and every blessing the Lord Jesus has for you during this coming year!! Peace, strength, guidance & direction from on high, Claudia
P.S.: Unfortunately I lost my camera, so even though I’ve taken lots of pictures I can’t send you any, sorry … pray that I can find it, get it back, otherwise there aren’t any pictures until someone comes and visits me I guess… . If you care about things here … .