Living in Africa: Our Biggest Fears May Surprise You

When people say things to us like, "You are so brave for moving to Africa," I'm sure they aren't picturing us getting potentially smashed by a falling window. I know, you are so confused. I was too the first time I saw Matt swing WAY left before walking into the grocery store in the tall building adjacent to ours. When I questioned him, he said he was avoiding falling windows.

(Notice he didn't grab my arm when he did his window-avoiding dance.) 

I'll explain further. There are lots of apartment buildings in Maputo, most of which were built in the 50's by the Portuguese. Windows here are typically wood-framed and open out. In case you need a reminder, it's 2016. That's a whole lot of rainy seasons and coastal breezes. I'd be loose too, if I'd been hanging around that long…that sounded bad…not what I meant.


Windows fall from time to time; we have even lost one of our own. Praise the Lord no one was hurt! (We live on the 13th floor!) Matt isn’t afraid of snakes or our kids getting Malaria, he’s afraid of falling windows. 

If you want to see Matt tense, put him in a car in Mozambique at night. The guy is a nervous wreck and for good reason. Most Mozambicans don't have the luxury of having a car. Most Mozambicans walk everywhere. Some have to walk at night. Most Mozambicans are black. Not to point out the obvious or anything, but black people are hard to see in the dark. Matt's biggest fear is hitting someone; we pray about it often. 

It'd be pretty scary if you walked up on this guy. Photo credit goes to Matt. 

It'd be pretty scary if you walked up on this guy. Photo credit goes to Matt. 


Matt says I don't have any fears. And honestly, nothing really ever causes me to panic, but when we have a house full of college students and I misjudged the amount of snacks needed, my heart races. It is not easy whipping up extra snacks when you have a toddler and a baby, so I thank God every day for the little store where Matt perfected his window avoiding technique. 

Phone call.

I got nervous just typing out those letters, "p-h-o-n-e c-a-l-l." Most people of my-thumbs-are-the-new-lips-generation struggle with phone calls anyway, so when you ask me to call someone in a language other than English, yeah, that will give me chills. Move over freaky baby-doll movies meant to make grown men pee their pants: Calling someone on the phone in Portuguese is much scarier.

I'm pretty sure Cypress' biggest fear is sleeping through the night. She's terrified.

I'm pretty sure Cypress' biggest fear is sleeping through the night. She's terrified.

For real praise the Lord our students like to text! #blessed

Disease, potential war, and sand could cause us to live in fear…joking about the sand thing…well, kinda joking. (I may have to list that as another thing I'm afraid of. All you beach lovers may not understand, but when your whole country is like a giant sand pit, it gets everywhere.) There are moments when Satan gets at us (you can read about that here), but for the most part we have been so grateful that this verse rings true in our lives,

"God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind."

We have made a decision as a family that we won't fear something that hasn't happened; it's a waste of time and doesn't prevent anything. Instead, we are going to embrace what God has called us to. In that embrace we can find peace knowing that he is in control, good or bad, easy or difficult. 

A lot of you understand this WAY more than I do.

You have looked fear in the eyes with a terrifying diagnosis. You have faced another day after the death of a child, parent, sibling. You have lost everything in a fire or natural disaster and started over. Fear tried to steal your identity after a divorce. Abuse had its fingers around your neck, but you struggled free.


You are brave.

And Jesus. 

He is weeping over you and he's so, so proud that you aren't bound by fear. Praying for you today and believing that fear will never hold you back.

Let's not live in fear, okay?

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 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?