As I said yesterday, today was a day largely of travel, or I thought it would be. We were busy in Dondo until after 8PM and then ate dinner, getting to the guest house at about 10:30PM.
No major travel snafus happened (yes!). A few random travel tips for those of you going to Mozambique and flying in-country. First, there is no ‘gate side check-in’ for when you are on a regional aircraft and your backpack won’t fit in the overhead bin and you have seat 1B which doesn’t have a seat to put a bag under. Second, you can be late. The flight attendant was almost done with the safety instructions, propellers going when there was a knock on the door. She stopped. Opened the door, and a passenger got on. Never in the U.S.
After we got to Beira, pastor Eurico, the VIM coordinator, met us. After picking up the pastor of the Dondo church and the microfinance project coordinator for the north annual conference, we headed toward Dondo. Our first stop was the site of the future orphanage. This has been my 3rd visit here since August and it’s been great to see the progress!
I had a moment of self-indulgence when I drank water from the newly drilled well on site. It was so great to participate first in something that many children and adults will be utilizing. It’s our dream to see children safe, educated, and cared for in a loving way here. That original dream from Dondo UMC is becoming a reality. The administrator’s house is under roof. The classroom facility has a foundation and is about ready for the walls to be coming up. We were given a tour by the builder and well driller. He showed us where the plans would be to next start on the dorms/housing units after the classrooms are constructed.
We left right at dark (6PM) to Dondo UMC, about a 10 minute drive. This is my 2nd time here, and they are Salem UMC’s partner (in Salem, MO). It was so great to see this church again. In August, the church was undergoing renovations and the new tile flooring, altar, pulpit look great! We were there to learn the status of their fairly recent (January) approved project.
Their proposal was to have a motorcycle as a chopa (taxi) service. We approved the proposal and they blew us away with their presentation. The project and motorcycles were dedicated in early April and have been in use, earning a good amount. I’ll post the pictures to Facebook. It was an impressive presentation and organization that Ezy and I hope to make a model for how to organize a project. Their expenses, revenues, accountability standards for drivers, reflective for the drivers (that have the Cross/Flame United Methodist logo sewed on them!), outreach methods like ensuring that all members of the congregation have the chopa driver’s names/phone numbers for when they need a ride (and yes, they pay!). They’ve built in the maintenance costs, understand that they need to be insured, licensed legally, etc.
During our visit, the project manager read Psalm 23: 1-6. He discussed how with God at our side, our cup overflows and that they are overflowing with gratitude. I reread it this evening after getting back to the guest house and think about the timeless and depth of these verses. They are used for comfort. For reassurance. For hope. It’s strange how things in your past are so vivid and stick out to you. I am 99% sure that President Bush quoted this scripture in his evening speech on 9/11 – and I remember seeing it vividly. Of course, emotionally today, when I see this verse, I think about the dark valley from just a few short weeks ago, that in some ways, seems like an eternity ago. In others, it seems like yesterday. However, the verse reigns true in my mind. I have felt God with me both before and during my trip.
Yesterday, I said I would begin with the random observations. I’ll start with a few of the obvious ones today.
More random observations (or thoughts?) tomorrow. We make the journey to Chimoio tomorrow through Gondola UMC and get to visit Inchope as well. It’ll be quite a bit of driving, but I’m excited for more church visits in the Sofala district.