I Don’t Just Believe in Miracles-I Have Seen Them

I can’t count how many miracles I have experienced. Some are wild and others are more chill, but they are all miraculous. Here’s one I’ve been meaning to share: 

When we arrived back in Mozambique after having Cypress we had to say A LOT of goodbyes. In all my processing of us moving our lives to Africa, I never once imagined the “byes” we would have on this side of the world. 

I bawled as soon as the door clicked shut the night Tiane’s mom came by telling me the news that they were moving out of our apartment building. Tiane and Cedar played together weekly for over a year and he was the perfect little friend. You may remember seeing his sweet face here.

I cried, and then I promptly asked God for another friend Cedar’s age to show up in our building. 

Right around this time Cedar started coming home from his little pre-school that he goes to a couple of days a week. We started him there so he could socialize and learn more Portuguese, but for the longest time he never mentioned any friends by name--that is, until Martin.

Fast forward a week. 

Cedar and I are walking up to our apartment building when all of the sudden Cedar takes off sprinting (can 2 year olds sprint or am I just really out of shape?) and screaming, “Martin!” 

I realize that the lady who lives across the hall from us is entering the building with what looks to be her son and two-ish year old grandson. 

Cedar continues to scream, "MARTIN! MOMMA!!! MAARRRRTTTTIIIINNNN!!!" and "He's so fluffy I'm going to die." Ok maybe he didn't say that last part. 

I explain, all while they are looking at me bewildered, that Cedar goes to school with a little boy named Martin and he thinks this is his little friend. 

Then they both smile widely. “This is Martine! Does your son got to Xicoração?” (Ok, actually all this happened in Portuguese, but you get that it would take a way from the flow if I put a bunch of unnecessary text in…like I’m doing right now.) Cue the GOD YOU ARE SOOO WILD DANCE. Except for I’m lame and didn’t dance because I can’t dance. 

Ok, so listen to this. 

The school Cedar goes to is not in our neighborhood; it’s on the other side of the city. 

Our city has a population of 4 million and the majority of that population is children. 

Out of all the kids that God could have sent to be a friend for Cedar, he sent the only other friend Cedar already has! 

AND, out of the 48 apartments in our building, Martin’s grandmother lives across the hall from us. We can literally hear through our door when he arrives to visit!

I just kept goofy grinning as Martin’s dad told me they would be around more often and would love for the boys to play. 

We now see him all the time. (I had the cutest picture of the two of them I was going to share, but my phone just bit the dust so...I need another miracle.)

Isn’t that incredible?

I believe in miracles. I believe in the God that does the miraculous, even for a two year old. 

Matt and I have so many stories like this that we don’t always tell because of time or flat-out fear someone will think we are nuts. We are going to try to start telling more of these testimonies because Jesus is worth it. 

What is the last miraculous thing you experienced? PLEASE share!


In case you didn't get our recent email about a modern day Legion, the new space is up and running!  After over two years of looking, we have a training center, which is another miracle! Worship Night (above) has to my favorite thing we do there. Thank you to all who gave for renovation costs, bought chairs, and sacrifice monthly to cover rent. (Based on my choice in photos you would think Cedar lives on Matt's shoulder.)

On Becoming Mozambican: 3 Things That Have Changed About Me

I have been thinking about this post for a couple of months now. Part of me doesn’t want to post this because I am not sure how this will be taken. The other half of me wants to make people uncomfortable (is that rude?), myself included. I also want to remember. It’s too often I forget the deep lessons the Lord teaches me, and I don’t want this to be one of those times. 

While recently back in the states to have our baby girl Cypress I had my first true run-in with reverse culture shock. I had heard of people dealing with culture shock when returning to their home countries before, but to be honest, I thought it was a load of dirty diaper (pretty appropriate for my current life stage). I mean, I deal with issues when I return to the states like not being able to think clearly in English, being overwhelmed by a room full of people chatting (when you are used to straining to understand what one person is saying, it’s a crazy feeling to be able to understand all the conversations around you at the same time), and forgetting that I can drink the tap water. This last trip I went thirsty in the middle of the night many a time—hello, breast feeding—at my mom’s because I didn’t want to walk downstairs to get water out of the fridge. There was a bathroom sink 10 feet from my bed. Bet you didn't know I was dumb AND lazy.) This time was different. I had all the usual adjustments going on, but there was something else. I was having a lot harder time relating to the people and responding appropriately in conversations. Here's why: I was different. Two years in Mozambique had changed me.

ONE: YOU GUYS! I was totally in Hobby Lobby (think holiday crowd) with my mom and this lady in her mid 50’s kept staring at me…and it’s not because I was looking fly because I doubt I washed my hair that day. After the third eye contact as we were passing each other in a main aisle…I GENTLY GRABBED HER ARM AND TOOK HER HAND IN MINE AND ASKED IF I KNEW HER?!!!!? After her stammering, “Na-na-no” (and by the way my brain didn’t even register her look of terror until later) I continued to hold her hand in both of mine and say something like, “Oh, ok, you kept looking at me so I thought I knew you. Blah, blah, blah have a Merry Christmas!” Yep, that wasn’t weird. Nope, not at all. This is a true story! (I really hope you got a good visual; it deserves a good visual.) I let go of her hand and rounded the corner and something about seeing my mom with a clean buggy in an organized aisle full of giant paintings with things like, “Be your own kind of beautiful“ in scripted fonts made me snap back state-side and realize I had just freaked some poor women out. I went straight up Mozambican on that chick; direct, personable, un-rushed, with a dash of PDA. I knew in that moment that part of me was different. And I wasn't upset about it.  

TWO: The majority of Americans are so dis-satisfied with their lives. From conversations about hating work to commercials for medications that will put a smile on your face, I heard complaining everywhere. If I’m going to be honest, it was like nails on a chalkboard to me. Now please don't think I am saying I am above this. COMPLETELY FALSE! I have been in Mozambique for two years now and Mozambicans don’t have the art of complaining down. They are pretty much bad at it, especially believers. Let me say that again, especially believers. Ok, got that out of my system. Two years of not hearing un-warranted negativity AND having no one to complain to will purge you of your pettiness. Trust me. Every time I heard someone say anything even slightly negative, I automatically thought about the positive side of it. Being in Mozambique has taught me that every shadow is a declaration that light is near. This is not how I have always been and I am still working on it, just ask my friends and family. Right now, this positive way of thinking is a newly formed habit, but I want it to be my heart condition. I want to have satisfaction. Satisfaction—knowing Christ is ALL I need—what an amazing feeling. 

We were playing the other day when I looked over at this guy and he was practicing carrying water on his head. Looks like I'm not the only one becoming Mozambican. 

We were playing the other day when I looked over at this guy and he was practicing carrying water on his head. Looks like I'm not the only one becoming Mozambican. 

Look at that form...and the amount of drinking devices in this photo, haha. 

Look at that form...and the amount of drinking devices in this photo, haha. 

THREE: What in the world people!? I mean come on. Let’s give each other a break. I was in SHOCK at how many snide remarks, eye rolls, sarcastic comments, and hurtful things were said, but almost NEVER to the person they were intended for. This is straight up not normal for me anymore. If a Mozambican has an issue with someone or a question about something, they either keep it to themselves or address it. Period. Example: Two of our students were playing with Cypress and one of them looked over at me and said, “Is there something wrong with Cypress' feet?” Now, in the U.S. this would be a no-no, BUT five seconds after the poor mom walked away there would be hushed whispers and “bless her heart...” Here, everything is out in the open. You deal with things together. It took a bit to get used to...my jaw dropped in the middle of a leadership meeting one time when one of our student very directly called out another for being rude and speaking over someone else. Do you know how it was received? The guy said, "I'm sorry; you're right." That was the end of it. I was expecting drama, but nope, issue resolved. 

SIDE-NOTE: Nothing is wrong with Cypress' feet. But she does have freaky long toes. 

It's amazing how our surroundings shape us, how what goes in our ears really does come out of our mouths, and how what we see modeled in front of us, we often do. Sometimes, this works against us, but it doesn't have to. If I am becoming Mozambican in many ways after only two years, then I can become more like Christ, I just have to spend more time with him. I keep imagining how different I would be if I let myself be fully influenced by kingdom culture and, you know what, I am not going to imagine anymore. Who's with me? 

Have you ever experienced culture shock of any kind? I'd love to hear your stories!

Someone please go hold hands with a stranger in Hobby Lobby. Kidding, DO NOT DO THIS! Have I mention that I love Mozambique? You should come visit.