Wednesday, January 23, 2008

message from Rolland

This is a recent message from Rolland and includes his response to Mo's letter describing the flood situation in Moz.
Once again Mozambique has been hit by severe flooding. Few countries inour modern world have been hit by disaster so often and devastatingly.Already one of the poorest countries of the world, it struggles withoutthe mechanisms of modern countries that can deal to a great extent withregional weather fluctuations, food shortages and medical emergencies.Its transportation infrastructure barely exists. There is hardly anysafety net for the poor. Much of the world suffers from "compassion fatigue," and well-known relief agencies in Mozambique struggle with funding and distribution challenges. Christians hardly know what to do with still more pleas for financial help. We are all tempted to run and hide, and try to find some protection from all the assaults on our peace in this world. Forces of evil seem to get away with so much. But we are not helpless, and even in our weakness we find strength. We have a source of never-ending goodness and energy. This source is noti mpersonal and remote, unlikely and sporadic. No, this source is a personal and perfect Savior, the only person who can make sense of our lives in this world. He makes Himself available to all who call upon Him. And to those "who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life" (Rom. 2:7). Rather than seeing discouragement on all sides, we preach power and total salvation in every circumstance. Every disaster leads us to lean on our Savior all the more, and to depend on Him alone. Our joy is to be able to encourage believers everywhere even while facing the most overwhelming damage done by the enemy. In such situations, we cannot afford to be doubtful and down, depressed and immobile. No, in every circumstance we are called to be "more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Rom. 8:37). If we look into His eyes, there will always be enough, because He died! As I write, Heidi is returning to Mozambique after an Asian speaking tour, and with me she is seeking the Lord about our response to the flooding. We have seen the churches of Mozambique explode in number and fervency after previous major floods, and we look forward earnestly to what Jesus will do now. I am in the States, and will be there as soon as possible, accessing flood regions with my plane as Jesus leads. Meanwhile, our missionaries in Malawi, David and Joanna Morrison, are at work. Their location is not far from central Mozambique where the flooding is worst, and David has already visited this flood zone and written a report, which I would like to quote here at length: "We went to Mutarara District in the province of Tete and there learned that over 116,000 refugees have fled the flood waters. Thousands are still trapped on higher ground waiting to be rescued by helicopters and boats. All resources are concentrating on this emergency rescueoperation. Soldiers are assisting rescue workers as the banks of the Zambezi River continue to overflow and the threat of increased floodingis very real. For some, the idea of floods penetrating so far inlandf rom the Zambezi River is too obscure. However, the threat is real andi n some situations people are removed by force. "I was amazed at the vast amount of water and its destructive force. Fromt he vantage point of a boat on the Zambezi River, it looks like an endless sea. We traveled with the Mozambique navy in a little rescue boat several kilometers inland from the Zambezi River to one of the areas of evacuation, called the Inyangona region. The reality of the cost of the flooding was evident everywhere: the tops of drowned crops and banana trees, and even the roofs of houses. It was hard to imagine how just a few weeks previously people had walked where we now traveled by boat. And now, village life has been silenced by a sea of waterleaving only protruding tree tops and isolated highlands. We finally arrived at an island where desperate people patiently wait for a rescue boat. Helicopters were also flying overhead and assisting in the evacuation of people in more remote areas. There is calm and out of the misery, the people politely greeted us with a smile, gave us the nicest places to sit, and at one refugee camp I was even offered their last bananas -- I just wanted to cry. "Our Iris Team met with the District Commissioner and was invited to join the weekly debriefing meeting involving all the government officials and NGOs helping with this crisis. Although there is great progress in the rescue operation, the process is time consuming and more boats are needed. Some of the refugee camps are now becoming too large and it maybe necessary to establish even more camps. Some of the resettlement areas from last years flooding must now be relocated because they too are being affected by the flooding. Sickness and hunger are two growing concerns and the DC encouraged us all to try to mobilize food into thecamps as quickly as possible. We have been appointed to participate inthe relief effort and have been given freedom to assist however possible. "On our journey we visited eight refugee camps all of which are threatened by disease and hunger. Some of the refugees have been in thecamps since the beginning of January but none have received food. Many left in haste as their homes collapsed in the path of the rising water. A fortunate few had carried maize left over from last winter's harvest,but most are eating grass seed, water lily bulbs, bugs and mice. Wells are few so most drink the flood water which is resulting in dysentery.Many children have bloated stomachs and eye infections are common. This is malaria season, an added threat for the refugees who sleep withoutthe protection of a mosquito net. "In each camp we witnessed the arrival of new refugees. Hundreds are arriving everyday. They are quick to make a shelter out of branches and grass to provide a little protection to the family from the next rain.These tiny houses sleep families as large as eight people. We didn't take much with us, but managed to carry enough soap to give one bar to each family at three refugee camps. We also provided about 500 families with a good supply of water purification packets. A bar of soap is such a precious gift in situations such as these! "Everywhere we went desperate people quickly gathered and listened carefully to every word that came out of our mouths -- they were in search of hope. We gave them hope -- the message of God's love. So as we preached under the shade of a tree in the refugee camps, the precious poor, those who have lost everything, wearing only dirty rags, welcomed Jesus just like they welcomed us. There is good news to report: In themidst of great suffering and loss, Jesus is moving in the hearts ofAfricans! "So what are we going to do next? The only accessible road into this region of Mozambique is through Malawi. We are therefore prepared tohelp in any way possible. Actually we can't help but help! We believe God wants us to care for the refugees located in camps along the roadfrom the border of Malawi. "Malawi is also affected by the flooding. The swollen Shire River has destroyed crops and hundreds of people have been displaced. People living on Nchalo and Ngabu Islands in the Chikwawa District are evacuating - about two thirds of the islands are under water now. Acrossthe river from Bangula is another area vulnerable to flooding. We are monitoring the situation here carefully and expect that we will need to support 1000 additional families with food from now through June. Thisis on top of the 1,600 families we already assist each month through our feeding program." Already David "Mo" is loading up three trucks and leaving early Wednesday morning in a convoy to take seventeen tons of food to the flood area. Many have helped already, almost instantly, and we are pressing forward all the more to what lies ahead. Pray that corrupt Malawi officials at the border will not be able to block passage of thefood. Heidi and I, and all of us at Iris Ministries, want to thank oursupporters who voluntarily have enabled us to do so much in Africa. Welove the Body of Christ. We are proud of you, and look for what may becredited to your account (Phil. 4:17). Thank you for taking us to this point, and participating with us in the gospel and in the divine nature we share in Jesus. May you be richly, powerfully and lovingly blessed! Much, much love, Rolland

Monday, January 21, 2008

Message from Heidi

January 2008
Dear friends, I pray that your holidays were filled with joy celebrating Jesus' birth.As I think through the greatest gifts of our lives, we are most gratefulfor friendship and family in Him. Thank you so much for your prayers forRolland. Jesus has faithfully been healing him. The Lord spoke to me to still go on our Asia tour. We ministered inSingapore, Seoul, China, Hong Kong and Philippines with our good friendsChe Ahn, Dennis Balcombe, Lesley-Anne Leighton, Shara and Norberto alongwith a wonderful team. It brings my heart such joy to watch my spiritualsons and daughters preach alongside me as we run together as carriers ofHis glory. I am slowly learning to rest. I want to see more of God'sbeautiful children released to soar. How it encouraged my heart to hearfrom Dennis that many of the orphans (now in heaven) whom Rolland'sgrandfather raised in China still have a profound spiritual impact onChina today. We are trusting the Lord to release a generational blessing on our ownMozambican children. He caught the Chinese children up into His glory in"Visions Beyond the Veil." They saw the Lord in heaven and fell in lovewith Jesus. These children were either martyred or, if they survived theterrible persecution, they became pillars in the underground Chinesechurch. How I long for our sons and daughters to become the nextgeneration of leaders in our nation of Mozambique. We desire to see evenmore of this outpouring in our nation. My greatest desire is to live each moment in His glorious presence.Please pray that the Holy Spirit completely overshadows our ministrythis year. We started off our Asia journey in Singapore where thousandsgathered in an exposition center. Jesus' glorious presence came. A womancrippled in a wheelchair got up and danced with King Jesus! Of coursethe best thing was the Holy Spirit in and among us. Many gave theirlives away as full-time servant lovers of Jesus. There was a tremendoushunger among the people of Korea. God was so faithful to come with Hismanifest presence and fill the people with a greater measure of Hisglory. I loved being with God's people in China. It was a lot of fun tobe able to speak Cantonese again. Please pray for us as our nation has been hit yet again with terribleflooding. We long to feed 100,000 people a day. Some times I feel likerunning away from all the suffering, or at least not looking at it for awhile. Then I hear Jesus asking me to look into His face and believeagain. There is always enough because He died. Jesus will multiply thefish and loaves in His hands to feed our nation in our time of need.Because He died, there is more than enough! I will return home from Asiato mobilize our teams to minister to the people affected by the floods.Thank you for standing with us. Our friends are treasures to us. Much love in Jesus, Heidi

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Floods in Mozambique

January 11, 2008, Flooding in Mozambique by David (Mo) Morrison, Malawi
Dear Friends,
The challenges before us each day are always great – we keep looking to the Lord who faithfully carries us through – we give praise and glory to Jesus. Some days are really hard as it seems as though we only move from struggle to struggle. Humor helps to bring us a little relief. We have a saying among us here, "We don’t have problems in Malawi, only disasters!"
Once again, impending flooding is upon us but more seriously to our neighboring country of Mozambique. This disaster has caught us all off guard. We knew it was possible but didn’t realize the severity of it so early in the rainy season. The media is just starting to report about it. I suppose delayed because of many other troubling headlines from around the world. The number of households affected by the floods has risen, with widespread destruction of homes and livestock, displacement of families and outbreaks of disease.
We made contact with one of our Iris pastors in the area of Mutarara, Mozambique (120 km south of us). He has confirmed about the destructive flood waters. Right now, people are fleeing to refugee camps and re-settlement areas from their submerged homes. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that 5,000 people in Mutarara are trapped by the flood waters and are being rescued by boats and helicopter right now. The situation is sure to get worse as rains persist. World Vision field staff stationed in Mutarara confirm that the Zambezi River has been rising rapidly. The number of displaced people is growing as small islands scattered across the district become inundated. There are still 50,000 people being assisted in this area who were affected by last year’s flooding. Thousands of acres of potentially good crop harvest have been lost. In Malawi, up to 1,400 households have lost homes and livestock. Many people living on Nchalo and Ngabu islands have been affected. In Mozambique, up to 55,000 people have been affected by the flooding of the main river basins in the central region, according to authorities. The country is on red alert, the highest level of emergency warning.
Serious floods occur annually in January and February. The current adverse weather conditions are largely a result of the La Nina effect, and flooding could become very serious in Southern Africa during the latter part of the rainy season of mid-January to March.We don’t know what the Lord will have us do but we’re getting prepared. We can’t just sit idle. There are too many suffering. I’m trying to get my visa processed for Mozambique so that I can travel there and make a personal assessment as soon as possible.Please pray that the Lord will reveal His purposes for us, and His provisions for those affected. We are willing to do whatever He calls us to do. Pray too for the supernatural. Nothing is impossible for God! Believe with us in prayer that the destructive rains would stop and the flood waters will quickly recede.Thanks for your prayers. With love, Mo.