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. 

A Name and A Date...Part 2

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.