a life of proclamation

by Andrea Marlin in , ,

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. 

A Name and A Date...Part 2

by Andrea Marlin in , , ,

Part two! (If you didn’t read part one and are currently super bored, click here.) Ok, so whoops, I forgot to mention last time that Cedar was born perfect and healthy, small, but healthy. He’s still little and actually at his last appointment the doctor said he was, “in the negative 30th percentile…but, hmmm…he doesn’t look like a dwarf.” My sweet friend Amanda pointed out that, “negative 30” isn’t even a percentile, so ha, take that doctor pants. I was going to use that as a transition and I’m losing my way…where was I? Oh, right, Cedar’s check up was right after another appointment, one we had gone into with lots of prayer: It was for our new baby on the way. I had been hemorrhaging for two weeks and I will leave out most of the gross details, even though I am pretty sure 99.9% of the people reading this are females. 

First photo as a family of four! Matt hates his face in this pic.

I need to back track a bit to my last plane ride after traveling from Vietnam-Qatar-South Africa. My thirteen weeks pregnant self was finally on a one hour flight home (that had been delayed three times) to wonderful Mozambique. It was a hallelujah moment until twenty minutes in when I was pretty sure my water broke. You can use your imagination. Now add in a plane 3 seats wide, a one year old who just started walking, exhaustion for two, a tiny bathroom with no sink or trashcan, and one male flight attendant…he may have also been the pilot, not sure. ;) I scooped Cedar up, rushed to the bathroom and tried to cry. TRIED! Nothing. I couldn't. Despite being a complete mess (told you, gross) and almost positive I was loosing another baby, I felt peace. Complete peace.

That's my Beband sticking out because my pants totally don't zip all the way now.

I'll fast forward through the ride home which includes us getting pulled over twice for bribes and Matt insulting a cop...stress guys, it gets to the coolest of cucumbers, but he did apologize. The next day at a medical clinic here in Maputo the doctor tells us the bleeding is normal and not to worry. Two weeks later I am still bleeding, so we make an appointment in South Africa. This doctor tells me that the hemorrhage on my uterus isn't normal at all and is likely caused by genetic abnormalities in the baby. Not what we were expecting to hear. Lots of blah-blah medical jargon later, and we leave with tests to run and a handful of prescriptions. We said a short prayer of trust in God before heading to the appointment I mentioned, the one where we find out Cedar is a "dwarf." As we left the parking lot, we found ourselves having a conversation with God very similar to that of months earlier with Cedar. No matter what, we trusted God, but we weren't owning the report.  

Two weeks later we were back for a follow-up and you know what the doctor said, "Wow! The hemorrhage is one third the size. Everything looks better." We ran more tests, but the results came back perfect. Even if they hadn't, our God would still be good. I have had enough experiences in my life--like we all have--to know that. He is always so good.

Praise God, right!?!! Our already-so-prayed-for-and-loved Cypress (we don't have a middle name yet) Marlin will be here around January 21. A little girl. I know what you are all thinking: "What's their thing with wood?" Themes...I am never into them, but here I am naming my kids after trees. Weirdo. So there it is, the whole story and a testament to who Jesus is. 

But one more thing. I know some of you out there haven't had good results, and still others would do anything just to have tests to run. For those of you in that place, there are no words, my heart hurts with you. So I ask, before you click out of this post, please take a minute to pray. Pray comfort for those who have lost children, pray healing and strength for those that are facing difficulties, and for those who desire a child, believe for them to have a name and a date. Our God is big enough and prayer is our most powerful tool. We are together. Estamos juntos.

A Name and a Date...Part 1

by Andrea Marlin

Ok, so there is much more to this story than just a name and a date, and I don't think I would be honoring God if I didn't tell the whole thing. It's a good story too, if you're into low lows and high highs, and freak-out moments followed by complete peace...and throw up...yeah, sorry about that part. 

Pregnancy with Cedar wasn't fun; they call it Hypermesis Gravidarum, but I call it, "when do I get to die?" You may think I am being dramatic, and that's ok. You wouldn't be the first to tell me that, and I still love you. So the scene is Lisbon. Enter our cute apartment and find me lying in bed. Not moving. This was me most days from 7-20 weeks. Other than 5ish days, there was lots of puking, dehydration, and weight loss paired with no eating/drinking, and rarely being able to stand. At first we thought I had some crazy Portuguese virus (I just pictured a little virus walking around yelling non-sense), but after realizing these were my pregnancy symptoms, we decided not to tell family about the baby, just in case. We had recently lost a sweet babe, and we didn't want everyone to go through that again. We prayed and prayed and hoped the symptoms would disappear and that the baby would be healthy. Did I mention there's no medicine or treatment for HG or any kind of severe nausea in Portugal? Well, unless I count my super tan, 5 foot doctor who was trying to channel a mafia supermodel (do those exist?) with stilettos and piles of gold jewelry, grabbing my skin and yelling at me to, "Stop losing weight! Eat food! And no throwing up!" It was good advice; I just wasn't teachable, I guess. Then I threw up. 

Fast forward to 30ish weeks and we now live in Mozambique. My symptoms have subsided enough to where I can get out of bed, but I am still extremely nauseated and having a hard time keeping food down. Our new South African doctor, after laughing out loud at the sight of me and asking if I swallowed a gum ball, tells us that our sweet boy is behind on his growth by 6 weeks and that we should be prepared that something is developmentally wrong with him. (For those who don't know much about South Africa, you can stop imagining a bush doctor in a hut. This was an amazing hospital with top of the line equipement.) I was carrying small, but that wasn't what we were expecting to hear. As soon as we got to our car, we told the Lord we weren't owning that report and that we trusted him to work a miracle. And we kept praying that everyday until our next appointment when the doctor said Cedar was only one week behind. ONE! 

But, the best part? It's all God taught me during the hardest days. I often worried I was killing our baby, but God brought peace, even showed me visions of Cedar in adulthood. When I thought I couldn't stand to lie in bed sick for another moment, Jesus told me to pray for those dealing with terminal illness. On days when the blessing of pregnancy felt more like a curse, the Holy Spirit led me to pray for the wombs of those desiring a baby. He opened my eyes. He always does when I let him. All that to say, thank you Jesus for our sweet Cedar and thank you for teaching me more about your character and love for people. 

To be continued...click here for part 2!

Momming in Moz

by Andrea Marlin in

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. 


(To set you up, we have never been to this church before and this is a VERY special event where Matt is presenting the campus ministry movement.) So, what you can't see is that behind me are 35+ elders on the stage, and I don’t know if you noticed the 10ish kids at my feet…because of Cedar. Right as I stop recording Cedar starts screaming, and he won't stop. Obvious solution, a lady comes up from behind me and runs, yes runs, out of a side door on the opposite side of the stage. You guessed it, Cedar starts whaling. I have two choices. One, pretend I don’t hear anything coming from ALL the open doors and windows. Two, get up and walk across the platform in front of Matt as he is speaking and rescue my tired, sweaty, and hungry babe. After about a minute, I look over to see a lady waving her arms at me to come outside. I am trying to politely be the BIGGEST distraction ever when I hear, in Portuguese, the pastor stop the presses to ask me to say something to the congregation. So, I literally spin on my heel and say something (probably a very confusing something) then scamper off to get my boy. You can laugh. Matt and I did, but we waited a couple of weeks. ;) PURE Moz momming. 

Speed the Light

by Andrea Marlin in ,

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.


The Marlins