We'll Be Home for Christmas, but Not Really.

As most of you know, we are having a baby girl in January. What you may not know is that we can't have Cypress here in Mozambique. It's complicated; I won't bore you with details. We have two options. She can be born in South Africa, where Cedar was born, or we can go to the States. Either way, we have to leave Maputo at least 4 weeks before my due date of January 20 because NO BABIES BORN MID-TRAVEL PLEASE! We prayed about this decision a lot, but we still had to make a pros and cons list because sometimes we are 16. Here's a peak at our musings...

It is an interesting thing planning which country your child is to be born in, and as you can see from our super-professional list, it's not just choosing the hospital or picking a doctor. Our conversations are more like, "Hey babe, are you thinking rent a place in Joburg, SA, or fly to the States?" and "…might be pretty boring to be alone on Christmas." Of course, our ideal would be to have our bundle be born in Mozambique without crazy time/environment changes for us and Cedar, BUT we really enjoy our life and all the adventures that come along with it. These challenges are just the nature of the call.

Both our options mean a time away from our students (who are amazing people; you guys would love them) and what God is doing here (even more amazing, but we know God can hold down the fort). Those are THE hardest parts of making any decision to leave Mozambique, but some of the stress this time is alleviated a little by the fact that our weeks away line up exactly with the summer break for all the universities here. That's right: It's summer right now in the southern hemisphere, so we won't miss any of the school year! Isn't God the best planner?

Both options also equal us being away from home and away from our ministry, but only one option allows for us to be with family over the holidays and for the birth. DRUM ROLLLLLLLL! We have decided to have Cypress in Arkansas. [Side note: We are coming for you Panera….And no, this is not most important, but I am pregnant and I haven't had access to any of my cravings so my priorities are slightly skewed. Family, we are coming for you too.]

Cedar hanging out with his bestie for the last time for a while.

Cedar hanging out with his bestie for the last time for a while.

The craziest part? It feels weird to say "I'll be home for Christmas," because Mozambique is now home. This place I once couldn't picture myself living no matter how hard I tried, where they speak a language I couldn't utter a word in correctly, where I knew no one is now not just where I live, but HOME. God is so good to not just call us, but to lead us and to settle us. And this doesn't just apply to missionaries; it's for everyone in every situation. It's for you.

Are you trying to feel at home in a new job, city, stage of life? With the holidays around the corner, are feeling alone and isolated? Comment below or email us at xamarlin@me.com. We'd love to pray for you. 

P.S. Now to just decide on where exactly Cypress will be born and who will deliver her!!! Can you say a prayer with us about those details?

3 Things My One-Year-Old Does That Will Change Your Perception of Africa

I should probably preface this post by saying that this DOES NOT apply to all of Africa, but it is applicable to lots of Africa, especially cities, and we live in the capital of our country. Maputo, Mozambique is by far one of the least progressive capitals in all of Africa, so city life in Nairobi, Kenya or Ciaro, Egypt would be an even bigger eye opener if you still imagine the giant continent of Africa as a place of spears and tribal drums. It's a new day, a different world, and this will hopefully help you imagine our life with more ease. 

So, here it is: 3 Things My One Year Old Does That Will Change Your Perception of Africa. (And, I should add, these are things I didn't think my one year old would learn/experience.)

One: Cedar says, "guard." He has seen and met so many guards that it ended up being one of his first words. Never would I have imagined that hearing my innocent babe toddling around saying "guard" would feel so normal, but here in Maputo and in most cities across Africa, guards are very common. Forget the image of a sweet neighbor gardening outside his hut. You are more likely to see a man in uniform with some sort of night stick or gun. 

Two: When mini-Matt hears a car alarm he immediately yells, "BIRD!!!" I know, car alarms and birds... sound just alike right?? Listen, my kid isn't dumb, he is just confused because he actually hears more car alarms go off in a day than birds sweetly singing. Trust me, you folks in Arkansas are hearing more "tweet, tweets," than we are. Also, I hate car alarms at 3 a.m. Welcome to modern day life in Africa. 

Three: Cedar hates the feel of grass under his feet. Hates it. Give the kid sand or pavement and he's a happy camper, but walking on grass... he looks like a cat in a room full of marbles. It's pretty hilarious. I laugh. A lot. Here in Maputo you rarely see grass. It's not the stereotypical image of Africa most people have in their heads: It's a concrete jungle. 

Can you see our world a little more clearly now? We often struggle to paint a picture of our city, so I will be back with more "Cedar views." (See what I did there? It's like "sea views," but only not at all. SO you don't get it. Ok, you're right. I'm lame. We can exit the parentheses...wait I had to google how to spell parentheses.) This is our piece of Africa. I pray you fall in love with it and all it's interesting modernizations just like we have. 

I would love to hear any questions you have about our life here. Ask away in the comments. If you have visited or lived in Africa, what surprised you most? 

A Life of Proclamation

This is Torichel--or "Tortoise Shell" as many Americans mistakenly say, but, hey, he's a good sport. Torichel is not poor and he's not oppressed. To be honest, the guy is pretty set to have whatever kind of life he wants. He's from a wealthy family, speaks English, has nice hair (okay, that's a bit irrelevant), and is going to the best University in the nation. BUT the guy just won't settle for the "Mozambican Dream."  You're about to hear him tell a quick story, and it's just one of so many things that have driven him to want a different life, a life of proclamation, a life fully submitted to Jesus and fully opposed to the enemy. 

...the enemy always tries to abort what the Lord is doing.

Some take-away's (I could use some take-away right now, preferably from Panera, but I will just dream about it...unless one of you wants to volunteer to ship me a cinnamon crunch bagel)...   

1. The possessed dude started yelling, "They are telling lies" even though he was too far away to actually hear what was being said. You guys, Satan is listening, even when man is not paying attention. Say something that matters. 

2. The man screaming drew more attention to us, and caused his OWN family to become interested in what we were saying. They ended up coming to church, and many even gave their lives to Christ! Don't let the enemies scare tactics intimidate you. Basically, the devil always digs his own grave. 

3. The man freaked the most when one of the students was sharing his testimony. MAN! That is how powerful our stories of redemption are! Satan is threatened by your testimony and he doesn't want you to share it, so share it all the more. 

Oh and btw, "A Palavra" is the name of our campus ministry movement here in Mozambique. It means "The Word" and, in less than two years time, the word is being shared on 23 campuses. Crazy right?!!? God is faithful! Thank you for praying for us and Christ's movement on the campuses of Mozambique.

Now, let's all go share Christ, let's shout our story of redemption, and let's see what God does with it. And watching Satan squirm is always nice, too.