Wednesday, February 27, 2008

'I have but one passion - it is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.'-Count Zinzindorf

Winnie Banov Quote

“If you’re waiting for your physical death to be set free from sin, then death has become your savior, not Jesus Christ.”

Sunday, February 10, 2008

flooding in mozambique

This message is from Noberto Sango, a Mozambican who works with Iris Ministries. This is his report on the current flooding. There is very little media attention about what is going on

"I left Monday with Joe, we flew to Morrumbala. We tookoff from there to fly over the Zambezi river. As wewere flying about 200-300 feet high, I was so shockedbecause I had never seen so much water in the Zambezi.It is true that there was more water this year than in2000 or 2001 or the flood we had last year. I've neverseen so much devastation from a flood - I would sayhundreds and hundreds of houses under the water. Wefollowed the Zambezi from Morrumbala toward Caia. Wesaw so many people that were still being trapped bythe water. I believe the government still did not seemany of those people because you could only see themfrom the sky or a boat. I believe it would be really easy to rescuepeople with a boat because there are many places youcannot drive to. And also looking down, I found a lotof people have lost 1000's of acres of farms and Ibelieve so many of our churches near the Zambezi werewashed away.Basically every house is underwater and there wasnothing we could do. I was just really praying andthinking that I wish we just had a helicopter becausethere was so many people just waving and needingrescue but we could not pick them up because we werein an airplane. We did fly a little bit in Beira andwe found that even in Beira a lot of places have beenflooded. Then we flew into Tete where there had neverbeen any flooding. We flew at 4500 feet and lookedover Tete - the flooding was really bad and the waterhad taken over many places in Tete. The Zambezi hadcut lines through the city, wiping out everything inthe low places and leaving many people stranded onislands. A lot of people were waving and asking if wecould help them, but there was nothing we could do.I went with one of the teams to take the food to thecamps. It's not fair to see people living in thosekind of conditions because a lot of people don't haveany medical supplies or food. We took trucks with 200bags of rice and 18 bags of beans to the camp. Youcan see that the people had been waiting a long timeand were only living on black fish they got out of theriver. A lot of people don't have any tents and weremaking houses out of grass that they had cut. Thehouses were about 10 feet by 10 feet and some of thefamilies had 6 people in that small house. The landwasn't very clean like the land we saw last time -basically that people are tearing everything withtheir bare hands because they don't have machetes orhoes to clear the land. There was a lot of joy when wehanded out the food to the people, but there were somany people at the camps we passed that looked so sadbecause we had no food for them. It is true thatthere is so much more help that is needed and manypeople that need food and need to be rescued.On Wednesday evening, I went to speak to a man who wasa victim and ask him a couple questions. I asked himhow bad the floods were, and he told me that they hadnever seen so much water before and he had never seenso many of the farms wiped away. Everything had beenwashed away by the current including their pots andpans. As we were talking, he told me that the daybefore the team got there, there were 6 people in twocanoes trying to cross the river. The current caughtthe canoes and flipped them. There were 4 men and 1woman with a baby in a capulana. The woman managed tohang onto a stalk of sugar but when she looked behindher the baby had slipped out of the capulana. Thewoman was the only survivor, and the man took me tothe place where it happened. I was sitting with thisguy and he told me so many people were trapped by thewater.On the 6th, while one man was trying to catch fish tofeed his family, a crocodile came up and ripped offthe flesh off the man's left arm and thigh. There wasa man that came alongside and started beating thecrocodile until it left the first man alone. I couldnot take pictures because I did not think thegovernment would want me to. The man got taken toKilimani hospital, but already the man had lost somuch blood that he was not coherent. There are somany crocodiles and many people have been attacked oreaten by the crocodiles. There are many people thathave tried to cross the floodwaters and so many ofthem have been attacked by crocodiles. It's reallyhorrible.For a lot of people it's hard because their houses arein the water and they cannot stay on their roofsbecause they don't have the nice metal roofs. Ibelieve disease is going to be a real problem becausemany people are just standing in a couple inches ofwater. Malaria is going to be really bad and so isfoot swelling because everyone is just standing inwater all day. A lot of people really need clothesand plastic bags on the roofs. The kids need clothes,blankets, and plastic bags and they really need teamsof people to play with the people and tell them Jesusloves them and that someone cares about them. Ibelieve this is an opportunity for the worldwidechurch to come and show God's love to these people.There must be people that are willing to go and playwith the kids - a lot of the schools are under waterand the kids can not go to school. Instead of justfeeding people, I believe there is something else theHoly Spirit wants us to do - if we can buy rice seedand bean seed and corn meal along with hoes, thepeople will have a harvest in a couple months. Thiswill help the people a lot because most of the peoplelive through agriculture anyway. We feel like thiswill be a tool to help us invest in the people andgive them something a lot more lasting than a littlerice.From what I've seen, this is a really huge disaster.I don't know how long Mozambique is going to take torecover from this. So many schools are underwater andmany bridges were destroyed. The people need food,they need help, they need Jesus - they just need a lotof help. We have a team in Morrumbala buying andhanding out food, but we need so many more people.But this isn't the worst of it - I heard that Zimbabwe(or Zambia) has 5 dams that they are going to open upsoon. It's not Zimbabwe's fault - they really have nochoice or their country will be flooded too. When thishappens, the damage will be unbelievable...Pass on the message for people to pray about how theycan help us. Whether they send money, food, or comethemselves to help, we need all we can get."Send my love to all,
Norberto Sango

Saturday, February 9, 2008

mean ole stinky devil

I hate to even give the creep any credit here, but we must realize what we are up against. It is not profound that we all waging war in a constant battlefield of the mind. "Happiness is a state of mind". In the book The Art of War, most likely written during the 4th century BC Sun Tzu writes, "All warfare is based on deception. An indispensable preliminary to battle is to attack the mind of the enemy." Guy Chevreau's book Spiritual Warfare Sideways expounds on this and is quite enlightening:

"This is precisely how our enemy works against us; he is continuously attempting to deceive us and attack our minds. The devil's first ploy was to dishonor the character of God, and it is that which he ever hopes to perpetuate. In the Garden of Eden, the devil manifests as the serpent and asks Eve, 'Is it true...?' Those three words shake creation to its very foundations, and eternity hangs in the balance. 'Is what God said true?'

In answer to the question, Eve repeats what she has been told. 'God has forbidden us to eat the fruit of that tree;...if we do, we shall die.' With compelling assurance the serpent responds, 'Of course you will not die.' The sly one promotes himself as the truth teller and subtly implies that God is the one who misleads. This is ever the deceiver's method of attack: He attemps to erode our faith in the faithfulness of God.

'Why is there victory for everyone but me?'

'Why do God's promises come true for everyone else?'

'God doesn't love me. He doesn't care what I'm going through. He's deaf to my prayers.'

The strategems of the evil one are such that we will be tempted in all sorts of ways to believe that the Kindgom has not come near, at least to us. Lying voices try to convince us that we're still strangers to God's love, grace and mercy, that we must still be bound in our sins, that we are still under condemnation, that we are still unworthy.

Sun Tzu was right. 'All warfare is based on deception.' Our enemy is ever whispering lies about God, lies about our soulds and lies about our spirits, our minds and our self-images. We're lied to about what's most important in life and lied to about what we really need. We're lied to about our past and our futures. We're lied to personally, corporately and socially.

Our enemy uses a second strategy against us, one that is also based on deception. It merely has a different focus. Regrettably, it's not an either/or attack but rather a both/and attack. While the devil is attempting to cause us to find fault with the nature and character of our heavenly Father, he is also ever drawing us to find fault with one another. It is the essence of the distorted promise he makes to Eve: 'You will be like God himself, knowing both good and evil.' This deception is the telling of two half-truths. One is an understatment, the other an exaggeration. Firstly, the serpent lied, for we are not 'like God': we are made 'in his own image.' Secondly, while we know both good and evil, it is an imperfect knowledge, something considerably short of God's full understanding. This partial knowldge is the source of the fault-finding and judgementalism that tears at our relationships. Interestly, the origin of the Greek word daimon-'demon' mean 'to disrupt, to rend and tear.'

The enemy attacks our minds and seeks to rend our relationships through fault-finding, often with and by those closest and dearest to us. Our spiritual forebears were victimized by this very strategy. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect freedom with one another and presumably took complete delight in one another's nakedness. But once 'the eyes of both of them were opened,' they could no longer be so vulnerable to one another.

Perhaps it went something like this. Adam looked down at himself and then looked at Eve. He looked down at himself and looked at Eve again. Then he said, 'Eve, what's wrong with you? Why don't you have one of these?' She looked at Adam, looked at herself, looked at Adam and said. 'I don't know, but I'd rather have two of these than one of those silly-looking things." And with those accustaion, they wounded each other so profoundly that they had to hide themselves from one another.

The third deceptive strategy comes agsinst us as the consequence of the second. After Adam and Eve find fault with one another, they try to hide, not just from one another but from God. When the Lord comes calling, Adam defensively answers, 'I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.' The enemy's influence profoundly distorted Adam's self-understanding so that a sense of fear and shame pervaded.. In this Belial, the 'unworthy one,' ever attempts to impart feelings of unworthiness to his victims.

Just as we each find someting of our 'original' self in the account of Adam and Eve's creation, temptation and fall, so we also find something of our deepest self in the parable of the prodigal son. When he finally comes to his senses and heads for home, his confession is a mixture of both truth and distortion, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

The lie is preempted by his dad's unconditional love and unfailing mercy: 'Quick! Fetch a robe, the best we have, and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast. For this son of mine was dead and has come back to life, he was lost and is found.' Because the Father's love so competely restores all that sin destroys, the feeling of unworthiness have no place or grounding.

The dynamics of the Lord's high priestly prayer can appropriately be applied at this very point, not only for the prodigal but to the prodigal in each of us: 'I do not pray you to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one...Consecrate them by the truth; your word is truth.' It is but one aspect of divine mystery that Adam and Eve's eyes were 'opened' when they succombed to decption, yet it is a revelation of truth that redeems, restores and sets us free."

- Guy Chevreau

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

another update from Sarah on the situation in Maputo

just wanted to send another update and ask everyone to keep praying. the riots are still pretty bad all around the city and they say they will get worse tonight. our boys who were out in the city for school made it back. they had to walk for 4 hours and are all pretty shaken up by the violence they witnessed not to mention the tear gas they had to endure. one of the boys who works in my garden, manuel, passed out on the street while walking back and the other boys had to get him up and make him keep walking.
the power around the city has been cut off as well. at the center, we are running on a generator but we will run out of gas soon. some of the men have ventured out to try and buy more but all of the gas stations have shut down and many of them have been destroyed. it really is chaos out on the streets. but again i want to stress that i am perfectly safe and all of the children are fine. we have guards that work 24 hours a day and they will be watching the walls very closely tonight to make sure no one comes into the center.
please keep praying for peace to be restored to the city. many of the younger kids are quite scared by the gun fire and smoke everywhere so pray that the peace of the Lord would guard their (and all of our) hearts and minds. and continue to pray that the angels of God would surround this center.
thanks everyone and i'll update you again soon (as long as the power/internet is still on). love you all!!!!

message from sarah

Sarah was my roommate in Mozambique and has returned to Maputo, in Southern Moz as a full-time missionary with Iris. Sarah went to UGA and is from Lawrenceville, GA.

this morning at about 7:15 (just after midnight in georgia) as i went to get breakfast from the kitchen, i was greeted by a pastor who i am friends with named solomon. in portuguese, he began to tell me about something going on out on the streets. i was impressed that i picked up bits and pieces of his story before i got him to talk to me in english! he had been on a bus on the way to the center this morning and the bus was stopped because of a roadblock so he had to walk the rest of the way. as we stood outside of the kitchen, we could hear crowds of people yelling in the distance.
last week, owners of the public buses known as "chappas" met to discuss a price increase. the price was 7.5 meticai, which is equivalent to about 30 cents in us dollars, and because of rising fuel costs they wanted to increase the fare to 10 meticai or 40 us cents. in my eyes that is nothing...i think riding a bus to the city for less than half a dollar is amazing. you'd never find that in the states!!! but when i think about the fact that most families live off of one us dollar a day, that extra 10 cents is a big deal. today is the day the prices increase was to go into affect. the mozambican people are not happy and have organized riots all over the city. in america, you would see unhappy customers boycotting the bus or protesting with signs. but not here. the people have blocked the roads and are refusing to let any bus or car pass. if a car tries to drive threw, they throw rocks at it.
i stood on the soccer field with many of our kids watching everything taking place outside the walls of the center. outside of the main gate of our center, about 100 yards down the road, rioters rolled tires out into the street and set them on fire sending up a black cloud of smoke. looking to the left down the street i see the same thing about a quarter of a mile down. apparently people are rioting all over the city with larger and larger mobs the closer into the city you get. at one point, our guards opened the front gates. a few seconds later a car came speeding in being chased by rioters. it was one of our kitchen workers. he had been stopped earlier by the mobs and forced to leave his car and walk into the center but then decided to go back and get his car. our older teenage boys go to school in the city. this morning, not knowing about the riots going on, the minibus left the center to drive the boys into the city. they were stopped by rioters throwing rocks at the bus. the boys were allowed to exit the bus and the driver had to leave it there. we are praying the bus isn't destroyed in the chaos. all of our boys are okay and will walk back to the center later today. multiple times, trucks full of police and soldiers drove by firing rubber bullets in an attempt to break up the crowds. however, the people only got more riled up and began throwing rocks at the police and setting more fires. the police eventually left and after a bit of cheering, the crowds calmed down some. a friend in the city phoned another missionary and said she heard on the news that 2 people had been killed not far from our center.
for now, things appear a lot calmer. we've gotten all of our kids into the church to watch a movie. looking out the window of my house i can see lots of people walking by outside the center and they appear to be going about their normal work. however, there are still no cars on the streets.
here are some things you can pray for:
please pray for the people to calm down and the riots to end.
we are safe here in the center. pray that safety is preserved.
pray that the boys who are out in the city will be able to safely return soon.
pray for protection over our minibus that was left in the city.
-- In Him,Sarah Olds
Sarah Olds
Suite 337 Private Bag X11340
Nelspruit 1200
South Africa