Being a mom in Mozambique is the strangest thing I have ever done, and I hear regular momming is pretty crazy. I REALLY don't know what I am doing half the time, ok, ok, most of the time...ALL OF THE TIME. I am being dramatic, but here's the deal, what's weird about it is doing something I have never done outside of the context I have always seen it done in. There are some days I don't know any different, but then there are days I go cold at the thought of his grandparents not squishing his little checks, or get frustrated that there are no restrooms for diaper changes, or panic on Sunday's because I have to hold my in-desperate-need-of-a-nap babe through a 3 and half hour 95 degree church service, or feel suffocated by not being able to go anywhere safely without Matt... It all seems so hard in the moment, but then I realize how trivial it all is. ALL. OF. IT. While there is a learning curve, and sometimes I fail miserably (below you will find a clip with a little description of what happened afterwards. Hilarious!) in our time here with Cedar, God has really put his finger on areas where I am selfish, insecure, and just plain silly. Happiness is not a babysitter on Saturday night or stroller worthy sidewalks. Happiness is, after putting a tired boy down, walking into a living room full of college students singing praises. Happiness is a sweat dabbled baby getting loved on by countless people every Sunday. Happiness is your babe smiling and waving at the "least of these" without judgement and with all the acceptance in the world. Happiness is being in God's will, and for me, that is momming in Moz.
Our Speed the Light car does more than just get us from point A to point B; having a car literally multiplies what we are capable of doing here in Mozambique. Thank you for a place to load construction materials for a new church, for prayer drives around Maputo, for making room for one more player on soccer Saturday, and taking us to our 15 university campuses (and counting). God is moving in Mozambique, and Speed the Light is part of the movement.
A couple of years ago God began to grow a vision in our hearts, one of a redeemed Africa through transformed cities, realized in the lives of renewed university students. The road so far has been difficult at times, and complicated, but thoroughly satisfying. Nevertheless, my greatest joy yet happened a few days ago. I was sitting across from Bonomar, one of our committed leaders, and we were discussing how things were going. His eyes were on fire, and with passion in his voice, he described our movement from his perspective. It was like looking into a mirror and seeing the deep desires of my heart, as if God had transplanted what is inside of me to the depths of him. His excitement for what God is doing is contagious. Lives are being changed, the lost are coming to follow Jesus, and believers are hungrier for his presence.
The ministry here is comprised of groups that meet on the various universities. Made up of around 8-12 people, they are focused on creating spaces where discussions about scripture and Jesus take place. Through a facilitated conversation, the groups discover together the truth that's in specific passages, and then together find ways in which they can be obedient to those truths. There are many reasons God has led us to use this method, but one is that a lot of people who wouldn't normally come to a seemingly "churchy" thing, are participating, and being transformed. Our groups have succeeded in eliminating some of the traditional barriers that have kept this generation from encountering our living Jesus.
One of the many incredible stories from our groups is about Edson, a guy with whom the leader of the group, Carlos, has a lot of history. Carlos had tried, in semesters past, to share the gospel with him, and talk about the things of God, but Edson didn't want anything to do with it. He was convinced that Jesus was a fraud, and wouldn't even allow Carlos to talk, as he would berate him with arguments and accusations. Fast forward to this semester, and Carlos starts one of our bible studies. He invited Edson, not thinking much about it, but to Carlos' surprise he accepted. Carlos was worried as he didn't want Edson to come in to the discussion and dominate it with irrelevant arguments, and distractions, but he trusted God. Edson came to the group, and praise God, he participated in the conversation about the scripture, and experienced the love of God as he was welcomed into family. He was able to see Jesus with fresh eyes, and experience him truly for the first time!
We are convinced that there is no person who, given the ability to see Jesus for who he truly is, would reject the Lord. That's why the scripture says that "every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God," because on that day everyone will see God for who he truly is (Rom 14:11). Jesus is giving our community here in Mozambique fresh eyes. Please pray that more Edson's are found, and brought in to discover their identity as sons of God, and culture shapers of Mozambique.
We are working to see a new dawn in Mozambique. God is faithful, and is ever expanding his influence, his kingdom in greater ways. Please continue to pray for the future leaders of Mozambique, some of which you will see in our latest update video above. We wouldn't be here without your prayers and support. Thank you. Isn't Jesus wonderful?!?!
We are incredibly blessed to be from the ARK. Our wonderful leadership decided it would be a great idea to bring all the missionaries back home to help celebrate the centennial of the Assemblies of God in Arkansas. This decision, paired with the fact that Cedar came 2.5 weeks early meant that we wouldn't miss the celebration, and that we would be able fly home for a couple of weeks. God is the God of miracles, and we don't need to shortchange him whenever he does incredible things; sometimes he divinely heals diseases, and sometimes he divinely arranges babies to be born early, and emergency passports to be issued so that spoiled missionaries can show off the new member of their family. Oh the stories we have just trying to get our little sonic tater tot a passport. We have a great father! Imagine all the elated faces of weary grandparents when they found out they would be able to meet the bundle of giggles so soon. Without further ado, allow me to present the first voyage of Cedar, photographic edition!
Our wonderful baby boy, Cedar Asaph Marlin, was born on Palm Sunday, April 13. He was 5 pounds 9 ounces, and 18 inches. God is so good!