Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A nice post for the end of the year

I guess today is a day for looking back, and as I was looking back I started to think about when I was a young child and Sunday afternoons.
I loved Sunday afternoons, it was lazy time, as a family we would all watch TV if we weren't out with friends playing or things. We always had a nice tea of toast, jam, pate, crumpets, Jamaica ginger cake, blue ribbon biscuits and big mugs of hot sweet milky tea.(I think I would be sick if I tried to drink that now) But by far the best thing was, what was on TV, it was a programme that was made only a few miles away from our house, and I think became one of the worlds biggest TV programmes of the 1970's. The Muppet Show. Mrs EB and I have been fortunate enough to visit the mock up theatre at the MGM Studio's Florida and it is wonderful. I defy anyone to go and not laugh. The TV programme was actually made at the ATV Studio's at Aston Cross, Aston, Birmingham.

Anyhoo I was just looking on You Tube today and found what I think was one of the best sketches ever.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did then and now.

Happy New Year

English Blogger

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another day

The New Year is almost up on us and I am thinking this year I may even make a New Years Resolution!!! I know, I never bother normally but I think 2009 I should do something. So I am going to try and eat a little healthier. I don't think Mrs EB and I eat badly, I do try and cook using fresh ingredients, even the Indian food I eat is not really that bad as they are all cooked fresh, yes they do use gee and that isn't really that good for you. I am thinking all around I would like try and eat a little healthier, so maybe I will lose a little of the spare tyre around my waste. When I was first diagnosed with Diabetes I cut sugar from my diet and I actually lost a little weight so I am guessing just by being a little careful I should lose some weight over the next year? who knows...

My health is awful at the moment, I am waking up feeling like I did a few years ago, the easiest way to describe it is like a massive hangover...well it can't be that as I haven't had any booze for a few days. So I am guessing it is the diabetes or a virus or something? anyhoo I hate feeling like this. I just would like to feel normal ..what ever that is.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

That Was The Year That Was

As 2008 comes a close and 2009 yawns and wakes up I thought now is a good time to think about the year and sum up what has happened.

The year started off well I was employed and I was sort of enjoying teaching in a Prison, I was using my knowledge of Radio and production and I was helping some guys who had made a few mistakes. Though it wasn't to last and in May I was made unemployed...

My health has been up and down this year, the worst thing about being diabetic is you are always aware that you have to look after your blood sugar, I don't make a martyr of my food intake I eat virtually everything. But this year I have learnt Chocolate gives me migraine, if I have too much sugar my body goes into a sort of sugar shock and it exits everything inside of me PDQ. I have also learnt to read how I feel, I don't really drink alcohol any more, the odd beer on a Sunday and the occasional glass of red wine at home and the odd brandy. I have found I get very tired quickly and I also get aching legs. Also health wise I have had a horrid blocked nose and sinus's for over a year, my Doctor has taken this seriously and I am now under a consultant and I am going into hospital in late January for the consultant to have a good look whilst I am under anaesthetic, not something I am looking forward to I have to say, but I am also tired of not being able to breathe.

I didn't get any diving in this year, money is very tight, also with my nose and breathing and blocked sinus's I can't dive. We did get some great trips out on The Robber Button We had a slightly wet trip up the Caldon Canal, and a few great weekends away with and without friends. I need to do some work on the boat over the next few weeks and we will be ready for some more trips out and about.

I have spent a lot of time at Church, doing the sound and getting involved doing various things, like going for a baked spud on a Friday at Friday diner. I was involved with the mission on Falcon Lodge, I videoed it and made a short film, I also did a little running around. I was involved in both cabaret's and really enjoyed both. They are very stressful and very tiring, the acts are always amazing and we are now growing with the technical side of things and all in all the are nights that just blow me away. They are a wonderful way of getting people into church in a safe and none cringey way.

The big highlight of the year was the Mission Trip to Mozambique I do not think in my wildest dreams I would be going to Mozambique this time last year., with the help of my wonderful friends and an amazing Church behind me I was able to go. I have blogged about this fully and all of my Blogs are in December and are labelled 1 to 7.

That sort of sums my up my year in brief, health not brilliant, but I am OK.I have some of the most amazing friends any person could ever want. I have a wife who I love dearly and by far my best friend and I am very happy and content. Yes I want a Job and I need to actually earn some money again, and I would like to feel better. Yes I would love a nice holiday away with Mrs EB, but that is just the icing on a already great cake.

Happy New Year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day

I loved Christmas day, it started off with a wonderful service at Church, by far my favourite service of the year. Team leader always enjoys doing the service and that just rubs off all the way down. The general hubbub and and noise in the Church is just so exciting and as always the sermon was just spot on.

After Church we went to my parents for Christmas dinner, we got to their house at about 12:30 and my Dad took us to the Pub for a beer, we got home just about the right time, my Mum had made us a splendid dinner. In fact I think I ate a little too much!!! I know me? After dinner we settled into some chairs and watched a tiny bit of TV but I was getting a nasty headache, I didn't say anything, but we headed home. We got home and by the time we got home I felt awful and yes I had a fine old dose of Man Flu!!! urgh...I had some co-codamol, we got some drinks I lit coal fire and we settled down and opened our Presents, and what a wonderful lot of presents we had. We have the most generous friends. My big prezzie off Mrs EB is a trip to London to see Avenue Q, I am so looking forward to seeing this. It is a sort of adult Sesame Street for want of a better description. One of our friends bought us the Sound Track fr I write this blog in my Studio I am listening to is brilliant.
So in early January we are off London for an over night stay a night at the theatre and a wonderful meal out.....Yay, woop, woop woop.

My good friend Baddog who has an amazing blog that I always enjoy reading posted an Amazing U2 Video and I have pinched that link to add to my Blog. One of my Favourite Christmas Songs is Greg Lake's "I believe in Father Christmas "(yes I know, how ironic). U2 have covered this in a way only U2 could.... please Enjoy this.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Father Santa Christmas

I have strong views on a lot of things. I don't tend to sit on the fence. Since becoming a Christian I find the concept of Santa so wrong. There are many reasons... like we don't want children to talk to strangers, don't accept gifts from Strangers. Never let strangers in to your house. Then this total stranger with a false white beard in a stupid red smock (red because of Coke the Coke company not the drug) is supposed to sneak in to your house, and even in some cases into the child's bedroom and leave some presents. I am sorry but that is so wrong!!!! Anyway here is the proof he no longer exists look he is dead. Christmas is about the birth of Christ, it isn't about consumerism and Santa (an anagram of Satan). Christmas is nothing to do with being good or bad and an old guy with a white beard keeping a list. Christmas is about Mankind's salvation and the birth of God Incarnate as Man. I buy gifts and I receive gifts for Christmas, in fact I love Christmas, it's a wonderful amazing time of the year. I really don't get why parents especially Christian parents keep up the awful pretence of Father Christmas.

Lets please keep Christ in Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Phewwww and now rest

That was a frantic few days...and boy am I tired.

Wednesday evening saw the technical rehearsal for the Christmas Cabaret, Thursday was the rehearsal for the Carol Service. Friday was the first night of the Cabaret, that was a fantastic evening, we had a few tiny problems, the biggest being that most of the cast has colds and sore throats!!! Each act was amazing though. Saturday morning was the technical rehearsal for Sunday Morning's young children's service. Saturday night was the full blown Christmas Cabaret, and what a night by far the best show we have put on, the quality of the acts were just brilliant, each act put 100% into it. Technically I thick we did a top job, over the years we have done a few shows and each one we try to improve on the show. I don't think anyone who came to either show could say they had not seen a show that was not 100% profesional, food that was 2nd to none and not had a great evening.

Sunday morning the young children did their production, called "Stable Manners" it was just fantastic, I laughed and really enjoyed the kids being just kids and really going for it. They all coped really well and the main 5 characters coped so well with the headset mics. Sunday evening was the carol service, and that was so beautiful, Mrs EB's solo was just wonderful and AmyandAmiability's solo was a treat and sounded so fanatsic. But I do have to say I am spent, my brain is all fluffy and my ears are shot.

Friday, December 19, 2008

What is Christmas? Well it's not Xmas!!!

It is Christmas, perhaps the best time to share faith, everyone talks about what they hope to receive as a Christmas present. A couple of year ago at a radio station I was working at someone had sent me an email saying Happy Xmas, I email them back saying I actually found that offensive!!! and explained that I like to keep Christ in Christmas, I was a Christian and that taking Christ out of Christmas was offensive. They emailed me back saying sorry, but it's only a phrase and everybody does it. I said thank you for the apology, but I didn't do it...

I really do hate Merry Xmas I think it sums up the World we live in, we have taken Christ out of it. Christmas has become all about consumerism and spending money, getting drunk, fighting and not about what Christmas is all about. "The Mass of Christ" I do not celebrate Mass, I am not a Catholic, but I do celebrate the Birth of Christ, and I will sing Christmas Carols at my Church on Christmas Morning. We will sing the 6th Verse of "O Come all ye Faithful" that is usually only sung on Christmas morning.
Yea, Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be the glory giv'n;
Word of the Father,
Now in the flesh appearing,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Christmas is a wonderful time to talk about Faith. I am not a hard hitting evangelist, I don't smack people with theology or condemn people for the way they live, but I do believe in inviting people to The Carol Service, or a special service. I try to live my life in a good way and share the Love of Jesus, hopefully through my actions as well as my words, OK, I know I am not always very good at it, in fact I am pretty lousy at it, but I do try, and that is what matters, as God knows what is in my Heart.

Over the next week Christmas will come and go, Millions if not Billions of Pounds will be spent, millions of gallons of booze will be consumed and hangovers will had, arguments will escalate, and people will be hurt physically and mentally. Just over two thousand years ago in a town in the Middle East a baby was born in the poorest of conditions to a young girl and young man. He would grow to become a carpenter and then a Rabbi. That Rabbi would preach sermons that some would listen too, he would heal the sick, raise people from the dead, he would walk on water. He would be crucified and die for being a Good Man, and on the third day he would be raised from the dead by his Father and over five thousand people would see this miracle over the next weeks. Every sin of man can be carried on his shoulders. They can only be placed there by the sinner themselves, no one else can put them there, no priest, vicar, minister or Pope, only the sinner. Christ will gladly take them and he will forgive each one of us, but there is a clause it is not Santa it is WE MUST ASK FOR FORGIVENESS and accept him into our hearts.

By far the best Christmas Present of all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So what's happening in my life now I am back in UK. well I am still looking for a job, not the greatest time to be looking. I am feeling quite ill, I have a nasal infection (saw a doctor at the local hospital at a ENT clinic, he said woooo that is really badly infected, we need to have a proper look inside) I am guessing this why I feel so tired and headachey all the time? and I guess I will be going in to hospital as a day patient soon.

At Church we are in full blown mode at the moment, we have two Cabaret performances Friday and Saturday night, tonight is the rehearsal for the Carol Service on Sunday, Thursday is the technical rehearsal for Friday, then Saturday Morning is the Technical Rehearsal for Sunday Mornings Youth Service. So all in all a very busy time especially for Mrs English Blogger as she is doing a full time job on top of everything else.

We are having the odd problem with The Robber Button and I just haven't the energy to go over and look at fixing a few bits ad bobs that need sorting. I will be putting the Christmas tree up soon, I went and fetched it out of the loft this morning along with all of our decorations... I have been watching a bit of TV, I read a Rebus novel on the Mission and I am now enjoying the TV show, it's on the Channel Alibi on Saturday night. Well that's about it really.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mozambique Mission Part 7 (Nampula and Johannesburg & Soweto)

We arrived back at the Missionary Organisation Campus in Nampula late afternoon, it was wonderful to be back, I was again in the man's house and we had running water and a flushing loo !!!..yay. Though a slight problem we had was; that the shower was either on boiling hot or cold, there was no happy medium, but having a shower that actually works was just so nice. It was American Independence Day and the guys at the Organisation had made us an amazing meal of BBQ chicken, rice and coleslaw, a couple of amazing desserts and bottles of Fanta and Coke. It was just a wonderful meal and a great time of fun and laughter. Back at the men's house, Mr C, Dr S and myself had an evening of reading and laughter... it was one of those nights, Dr S started to laugh and no one could then stop laughing, an evening that will last in my memory for a long time. J had made a visa for each of us, taking the micky out of the Mozambique Immigration Office... I didn't pack my copy just in case it caused problems later... like at Mozambique Immigration whilst trying to leave

In Johannesburg R & R met us and it was like seeing old friends, and I guess they are now. They took us home and we had a wonderful tea, it was Piri-Piri Chicken from Nandos !!!! yay!!!woop woop woop. It was wonderful, absolutely fantastic...Mmmmm it was a feast for any ones eyes. The four of us guys Mr C, Dr S, Camerman and I were stopping in a guesthouse as were the girls and Mr and Mrs Teamleader but they were in a different one. I got into my room, a power shower, a flushing loo, and a TV plus a huge double bed with fluffy pillows.... It is amazing, I never missed any of that stuff, but once you have it again it is so nice. I showered and then spent 20 minutes getting rid of 3 huge flying beetles out of my room, then got into bed to find I had disturbed yet anther one!!! got him out of my room and watched 5 minutes of TV to find it loud and annoying and I hadn't missed that at all. I Turned over to find my alarm beeping to tell me it was breakfast time!!! I then had a call from Mr R to say he would be collecting us in 30 minutes!!! eeeek, I rushed to the breakfast room to get some wonderful bacon and eggs...told camerman he would need to be packed up in 25 minutes...he left toot-sweet to pack. LOL he always made me laugh, he always took so long to do things.

Anyhoo we all jumped in Mr R's car and were taken to the lady's guest house to get on the mini-coach for our tour. This tour was totally mind blowing, we had a history of South Africa and Johannesburg and the Gold Mines, we went to Soweto and the Apartheid Museum... I will never understand racism? the colour of someones skin makes people different, how? Robert Mugabe needs to learn this, he is so anti white it is evil.

There must over 600 bricks each one marks someone who died in the anti-apartheid struggle at the Hector Pieterson Museum.

There are a million things wrong with South Africa, but it is really trying to sort things out. The biggest problem I can see is the problem between the haves and have not's, this means anyone with anything has to protect it by guns and barbed wire fences...not nice. This also makes it the most violent country in the World, Johannesburg is the car jacking and murder capitol of the world... I have to say we were all OK and didn't see anything happen.

We visited two museum's the first was the Hector Pieterson Museum, Hector was young boy 13 years old when he was shot in 1976 by the police and was one of the catalysts for the end of Apartheid, a martyr so to speak. Even though it would be another 28 years for this to happen.

We then went to lunch, at Wandies restaurant it's supposed to be really famous and is in Soweto, Richard Branson has eaten there and loads of other people... oh well, food was OK, but nothing to write home about.

After that we went past Bishop Desmond Tutu's house, couldn't see it as it has high walls and razor wire around any other house in Johannesburg. So we saw a white wall really ho humm.

The Apartheid Museum was a museum everyone should see once in their lives really, it shows what man can be like if he lets evil take over his life. Hitler did and look what happened, well this happened in my lifetime in South Africa. I fear it will keep happening in one form or another....Zimbabwe, lots of Eastern European Countries, India, Thailand various South American countries, will we never learn? God made man and woman in his image, black, white, red....what ever colour or sex we are, we are equal in Gods eyes and that is good enough me.

The South African Bill of Rights

A Poster of Nelson Mandela outside The Apartheid Museum

The wonderful Mr & Mrs R

After a wonderful day in Johannesburg we went back to Mrs & Mrs R's for tea, melon and a wash and brush up. Mr and Mrs R are the masters of hospitality and I love them to bits. I could never thank them enough for their warm and genuine welcome and opening up their home to all of us.

Well that is about it really, my Mission Trip to Mozambique, 16 days at times it was hard emotionally and hard on the body, but I have fallen in love with Angoche, it is so beautiful and genuine. I have met some amazing people, spent time with a wonderful team of people, Most of all I have learnt a little about what 4 brave and diligent people have done over 12 years, I am so proud and in total awe of them all. I think I have learnt so much and I think I will be spending the next few months mulling over everything I have seen and been a part of.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mozambique Mission part 6

This is by far the hardest post of the Mission Trip posts, my thoughts and musings about what I have learnt and taken away from the trip. Angoche is a poor town, I don't mean I can't afford those new Nike trainers poor, I mean hand to mouth poor, so poor that people sometimes cannot afford to eat. Angoche is a town that was once a really splendid town and a town that was once very rich before the Portuguese left and before war. But now it's a tired town, but it is also a beautiful town and a safe town. A town were Children can run around bare foot and play all day long. There are hardly any cars a few motor bikes and lots of pushbikes.

There is a gentleness about Angoche that you would never see here in England, it will take years for that horrid must buy, buy, buy, must have consumerism to catch up, if it ever does. I guess to have that they would need money, and in a way I hope they don't get it, as I like seeing kids playing in the streets being children, though I do wish they were at school at least some of the time. I am not saying the people of Angoche are happy, they are not, but there is a peace from not having to fight to get the latest Wii or PS3 for the kids or the latest BMW or Prada handbag. I saw a little boy playing with a flattened drinks carton with 4 big seeds in each corner pulling it on a string. It was a crude car, he was quite contented. It brought a tear to my eye, not for him, but for me.

I think being there and sharing with the Churches in Angoche spending time with a wonderful team of friends from my Church has shown me that I need to listen to God more. Being in a church and not understanding I spent time listening, I heard God talking through things; seeing someone get a book of God in their own language and hugging it. Having someone serve you by poring a jug of water over a bowl and washing your hands is just so powerful, as Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, these men washed our hands. Catching a Dow a basic wooden boat that hasn't changed in thousands of years and was probably similar to the boat that Simon Peter fished from, the sort of boat that Jesus walked out too. These things spoke to me in a way I have never had before. I was left unable to control my emotions on a few occasions but I didn't really care, I know God was working on me. I don't know yet what he was saying, I need to wait upon God and listen.....see I am learning.

I was part of a team an amazing team, we all bought along our own strengths and weaknesses and it isn't for me to point any of these out about the team. I will say that Mr & Mrs Teamleader did an amazing job, I think a large part of the success of the mission was due to them. and the way they served the team. I enjoyed my time with each member of the team our chats, our evening Devotion's, each night lead by a different member of the team, and each night was just fantastic. I believe I have grown as a person on this trip with the help of this amazing group of people.

One day on the Mission, it was Missionary Man's birthday and to celebrate this an evening meal out was organised, Missionary Girl did this at a restaurant, she pre-ordered the food and it was an amazing buffet of chicken, fish, king prawns, chips!! and Coconut rice. I was blown away by that evening, the food was excellent and it was just a wonderful night, one that I will remember for many years.I am trying to think of all of the emotions I felt during my time there. I had so many things going on in my head I at times I found it hard to cope. I saw things I didn't want to see and felt things I didn't want to feel. Seeing young children with rickets in ripped clothes and hungry it hurts, it cuts really deep, I wanted to hold the child, make everything better for him, but that wasn't why I was there and if I tried, it would cause so many problems.

As Missionary Man said it was all about how we were perceived, so we couldn't go out to one of the small bars and have a quiet ice cold beer. We were a large group of white people, and that caused us to be a crowd puller, we had people outside our house watching us most of the time, I really didn't like that, I felt like I was a goldfish in a bowl and as Missionary Man said whatever we did would be common news around the town within a very short time. So if I went for a beer it would be perceived that we were all drunks, people go to bars to get drunk....that is the perception. So whenever we were on show, which was anytime we were outside of the houses, we had to be on our best behaviour, and as anyone who knows me that isn't always my best trait....but I managed. Though I have to say when it was so hot and so humid a ice cold beer would have been very welcome on more than one occasion. So helping one child would have meant helping every child.... and that wasn't possible, so I would pray for them, it was all I could do at that time.

In our house as I mentioned in an earlier post we had Assani, he was amazing. We would go out, leave our dirty clothes in the bathroom on our return they would be washed, ironed and waiting for us. He would cook us a meal on our off days. He wouldn't use the stove, oh no. Assani would cook via a charcoal burner, and boy could he cook, it always tasted amazing. Assani will be working for a couple who have come from The Mission Centre for a year to help with discipleship, he will be looking after them and will be earning a wage. I know they will be so happy with Assani he really is an amazing guy.

One thing I will never forget are the smells!!! when you live a subsistence existence you can be forgiven for not buying deodorant and I guess if you are really busy you may not wash your clothes. Body Oder is a big thing there or I guess it isn't a big thing, but you can certainly smell people coming.

It wasn't all hard work, we had some great times just being friends and enjoying each others company, one of my favourite times was when we went to the beach, white talcum power beaches with warm Indian Ocean Seas it was just wonderful and relaxing and some great fun swimming and just walking along the sands and letting the mind wander.

One thing about being in Angoche is I don't think I have ever had such dirty feet in my life and I am sure I still have mud and dirt under my toenails, I don't think I have ever had a shower got dressed and needed a shower again so quickly. I also have never felt so hot and so laid back about so many things either. I am guessing as the weeks move on I will feel different and then as weeks turn into months a lot of this will change and I guess I will go back to normal? I want to keep some of this "special feeling" that is one of the reasons for these blogs.

As long time readers of my blog will know I blogged most days after Matt and Chris's accident, this helped me to deal with everything, the feelings, the anger, the grief. So I am hoping in the future I can look back at these blogs and remember how I felt, remember those amazing things I did, the boat rides, the services, the people I met, the food I ate and most of all how God made me feel. I had some amazing times on this Mission, my last post on the trip will be about the last few days of our trip back to The Mission Centre and Johannesburg. In this post I am trying to reflect on the time I spent in Angoche. One thought I did have was, I wonder if this is the pace of life in Britain a few years ago, before the rat race. Though I doubt even Britain was that slow, everything is at a slow pace for a reason, it's so hot you can't do it any quicker.

I will finish this off by saying; Seeing God working through what Missionary Man and Lady have done has been one of the most amazing times of my life. I have a million memories and it is going to take a lot of time to actually sort through everything, so I guess there maybe another post or two about my feelings and how this mission has affected me, who knows? I would like to thank everyone who made it possible for me to go on the mission, those that prayed for me and those that bought the CD and those that gave so generously of time, talent and money, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mozambique Mission Part 5 (2 Dedications and a Translation Office)

The next dedication was in Angoche itself so didn't require a mega early start, though with it getting light at 3:30am we tended to wake early anyway. The area was called Inguri and again this was outside under a Cashew nut tree. The service was slightly different this time with some drama and a Choir singing for us. The one big difference this time we were next to a water pump well. I managed to move after a short while of sitting on the floor and sat on a small wall by the well and did end up missing a few bits due to the noise of buckets being filled.

The Choir of Ladies singing the Worship

Missionary Man handing over Kithaapu to Jose

Missionary Man playing a Video message from Missionary Lady to the Church at Inguri

Me sat at the well listening to either a sermon or a bucket being filled

The following day was a free day and we did a few things one of them being a hospital visit, I decided not do that and had a slow start to the day along with Mr C and Cameraman. We arranged to meet the team at a certain time at the Church house building in Down Town Angoche. Well that time came and went...I kept forgetting Africa time and Missionary Man was great at keeping Africa time ;-) Anyhoo we were meeting there as The Missionary Organisation are now using a room there as a translation Office and Missionary Man was taking some of his books there for the library, and he thought it would be good for us to see where it will all be happening from now on. Also whilst we were there Dr S joined us!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay.

With Jose taking in some books for the new Translation Office

Sorting the Books for the Library

Happy that Dr S has joined us.

The last dedication was again on an Island and involved and early morning boat ride this the team were split up as it would be on two smaller Dow's. We headed off for Nyaluki at 6am I believe. There wasn't much wind and the tide was very low and our Dow did ground once or twice on very shallow sand banks. I spent quite a lot of this time with my IPod on just reflect on what I had taken in so far. I was also preparing myself to share my testimony. I had spent time over the last few days rewriting what I wanted to say to fit into 5 minutes (including translation) and also to be relevant to the Church and the people there.

The other Dow

So when we moored up at a beach...a quite smelly and muddy beach at that , and then we had a walk.....oh boy what a walk! it must have been a good couple of miles clear across the Island. I haven't really mentioned this before but now is a good time. These are Islands and they are very beautiful but they don't really have plumbing, the villages will have a well or two and that is about it. So trying to find a flushing toilet on the island would be like trying to find teeth on the feral chickens. What the Villagers tend to do is wait for the tide to be out, pop over to the mangroves do what needs to be done and let the tide flush it all away later.

So we had a very interesting and smelly walk through the low tide Mangroves to the first Village, then through that village across to the other side of the island to the other Village. It was so good to arrive there, I was so hot and shattered, walking in the heat and humidity was so exhausting. We were shown into the Church. Most of the Village and a lot of other people were gathering under the temporary gazebo Church not far away. When we got into the Church we were greeted with a wonderful Green Coconut each...I don't think I have ever wanted anything so much as the man with the machete opened my Coconut, it was amazing and so refreshing. We waited in the Church for about 20 minutes or so and then we were called over to the Church.

The Church at Nyaluki

The service followed the usual format for the services of Tarikki ya Hakki so we were introduced and then others were introduced. People had come far and wide and some will have travelled for a maybe even a few days!!! It is so humbling to think that people wanted and needed to come to all of these dedication services. We then had a time of Worship, listening and worshipping I was getting used to some of the songs and I was joining in, I really hope that wasn't videoed ......

After a short time I was asked to give my testimony, I think this was one of the scariest and most amazing things. I would say a sentence or two, this would be translated into Portuguese and then into Koti. I believe that it went well and will have spoken to at least one person. After I had spoken Mrs Administrator and Dr S both spoke and both were wonderful. We then had four Sermons, and prayer. Then we asked if the Church would pray for us on our journey home. The Church did this and it was mind blowing, one of the team described it as a Typhoon of prayer swirling around us.... It did make my eyes leak again. But what else would expect from me?

Jose bringing one of the Sermons

3 leaders from one of the Churches with their new Kithaarpu's!!!

After the service we then went into the Church for dinner, this one was different!!! Coconut Rice, Beans and Prawns and it was a magnificent meal. Again this was started off with the washing of hands. It is such a simple act but probably spoke to me the most.

Leaving the Church our Fan Club

After the meal we headed back to the boats, they had been able to move around the island as the tide had come up. This meant we didn't need to walk for miles, just a few hundred yards, as you can see from the photo it was still very muddy. I think I still have mud under my toe nails!!!!!

Getting on the boats on a very muddy beach

And that was all of our Dedication Services all over and done with, I think the impact of Kithaapu will not be known for several years. I feel very privileged to have been a very small part of the dedication services and being able to see what Missionary Man and Missionary lady and their family have been involved in for the past twelve years.

My Next blog will be a surmise of some my thoughts and what I think I will have taken away from the Mission Trip.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mozambique Mission Part 4 (8 weddings and a boat trip)

The next dedication was just amazing. We had to be up very early 4 a.m!!!! and walk to the harbour beach to catch a Dow at 5 a.m to an Island called Khelelene (pron Keya-laynee). The boat trip was 3 hours which I loved every second of. We sailed past Islands that could have been in Bounty adverts, I dipped my hand in the sea and it was as warm as a cool bath.

On some of the little islands there would be guys fishing with big nets catching everything they could, these nets would be so heavy when they were pulling them in it would make you wonder if they ever would pull them in.

When we arrived at Khelelene there was a shortish walk to a rest area a small gazebo like area they had built for us. we were then invited into the Church where one of the best things I have ever tasted was waiting for us.

The Church on Khelelene

Fresh green Coconuts!!! I have had a coconut before, they are brown and sometimes they have a little milk inside... naaa. Fresh green Coconuts taste nothing like that. The milk inside is clear and just has a hint of a coconut flavour to it, but they do taste slightly fizzy!!! and it is so refreshing!!! I have never tasted anything like it in my life. God knew what he was doing creating the Coconut. As Ray Mears the survivalist says...If I was ever marooned on an Island with Coconuts I could last forever. The tree gives you... Food, shelter and the best drink ever.

Cutting open our Coconuts for the best drink ever.

Enjoying God's Bounty!!!! without the chocolate.

After a break and time to collect our thoughts we were taken on a small tour of the island and to the beach. We were followed by loads of Children who it seemed were mesmerised by us. They would hold our hands and keep looking at us smiling, it was just wonderful. When we got to the beach I was taken with how beautiful the Island was and how perfect it seemed, I said to Missionary Man that the island was Paradise, to which he replied, Yes if you don't have to live here. Which was very true.

Some of the Children who had followed us to the beach playing in the sand.

A fisherman showing us his catch

Some of the fish caught drying in the sand, if only I could of bottled the smell!!!!

Again this island is a fishing Island and as we headed back to the Church we would come across area's of fish drying in the sun, you could smell them way before you ever saw them!!! We walked back by what must be the High Street!!! half a dozen or so houses with produce outside for sale Mango's, Rice, this root that is mashed up into a porridge that has no taste or nutrients but fills you up, clothes and this shop that even had Haribo!!! Julia you could live here!!!!

A General Store that even had Haribo!!!

As we were walking back to the Church we passed a slightly larger hut that even had a satellite dish next to it, it was a cinema and had a couple of posters up advertising films!! both were the violent types like Fight Club!!! Just before the Church we walked past a small hut and the little boy who was holding Mr Administrator's hand mimed getting drunk and said no and pointed to the Church!!! Then he mimed smoking a Joint and did the same...obviously what goes on that little hut come pub...but at least this little chap of about 8 new it's wrong to get drunk and high....

The service was again just amazing and it left me emotional and totally drained, it is just amazing that during most of the services I didn't really understand the words but I knew what was being said. I can see God working and feel that he is changing the lives of the Koti. Whilst the service was going on a little girl sat near me and would inch her way closer, eventually she got close enough and got up the courage and touched my arm where I have a tattoo and rubbed it gently with her finger then looked at her finger to see if it had come off. I couldn't help but smile.

After the service and a wonderful meal, the same sort of meal we had before Chicken, Beans and Coconut Rice, we had 20 minutes to refresh ourselves before we headed back to the beach to catch our Dow back to the mainland. I looked up at a Coconut tree and there was this little boy maybe about 8 years old, standing happy as anything a good 20 feet up at the top.

The Dow trip back was a little more exciting the wind had got up a little bit and this made the boat rock a little. I thought this wonderful, a few of the team didn't really like it, which is understandable. As we got closer to the beach the boat needed to cross the waves and of course this made the boat rock a lot....Yay I thought, it's like a fair ground ride. I don't think everyone agreed with me.

The next big thing we did was head inland early one morning to attend a wedding, this wasn't a Koti wedding but a Macau Wedding, Macau in an area a little further inland. It was a wonderful honour to be invited to a wedding and I was very excited to attend. It took quite a while to arrive at the wedding because the truck we had borrowed belonged to the shop we had earlier purchased the cokes from and changed our Dollars to the local currency at. Well, he wanted us to deliver some corrugated zinc roofing in exchange for the use of his truck. This involved a trip up a wonderful dirt track to a house nearly finished. We all thought ohh a Church with no roof!!! I hope I have enough sunscreen on. Everyone got off the back of the truck the roofing was removed and everyone got back on and we headed back down this track. It was so funny, as no one knew what was happening.

On the way back down this track I saw a Mongoose!!! Yay I saw some real African wildlife. It took probably another 30 or so minutes to arrive at the wedding, and an area had been saved for us at the front in the shade under a Cashew Nut tree, that was shedding cashew nuts, one landed on my head!!! and it hurt. There were a few sermons 5 I think and Missionary Man did 2 of them, the 2nd one was due to a misunderstanding about a passage and he cleared up what was being said. (Paul and it's better not to marry, Missionary Man explained the context and all was OK)

Sitting under a Cashew Nut Tree (sorry I am yawning) (yes I am in Mrs EB's trousers)

We then went through 8 Marriage ceremonies!!! I know but it was just amazing and wonderful 8 couples wanting to stand up in front of a entire village and say we believe in Christ and want to marry and promise to stay faithful to each other and God. In these Muslim Villages and the culture of many wives and divorce, it is an amazing and brilliant thing. Though affection is not really shown, after the vows (supplied by our Church's previous Minister using the book of common Prayer, the; to have and hold, richer or poorer) The couple give each other a small piece of wedding cake and then some mango juice, wipe each other face and then kiss...well a peck on the cheek. Then it's a big cheer and you then give them a present, usually a small gift, and most people do give them a present, some sweets, a small amount of cash, fizzy pop, a head scarf etc. After the amazing weddings we went to the Church and were given a wonderful meal of Chicken, beans and Coconut Rice and then someone came in with some wedding cake for us. It was possibly the best and longest wedding I have been too, unless of course I was at your wedding and then that was the best wedding.

The next post the last two dedications.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mozambique Mission Part 3 (A few Problems and what we did on some of the Rest Days, rest days indeed)

On the Mission we did have a few problems, most were concerning health and the heat, I had a migraine one day, that took me out of action. I sent out a txt to Mission Team Leader back at home and I was prayed for and it had lifted by the evening!!! A couple of others had upset tums and were taken out of action for the odd day but over all we all did very well.

The other problem we had was after the first dedication we were all full of the joys of an amazing day. After we arrived back at the men's house (there were a lot of us as about 6 or 7 extra people had arrived from The Organisation to join in the dedication) we were visited by the Police and immigration. Obviously we all kept a low profile and let Missionary Man + J deal with this. There was a lot of talking at the front of the house, a couple of armed police kept their eye on everything. Missionary Man and J would update us and say things like...well they want to check our passports and visa's, then, what the man from immigration really wants is a bribe!!! There was no way we would pay him a bribe so, things got a little worse. He wanted all passport numbers, names and visa numbers. J started to write these out for him then he said no, no, no I want everyone to come down to the Immigration Office with Passports.

So off we all walked. There will have been 20+ people all standing in his office, the armed Police waiting over the road with an eye on us. And one by one we had our passports and visa's checked, well the team from the Mission Organisation couldn't have theirs checked as they didn't have them with them... and Missionary Man hadn't had his passport stamped at immigration, he had given in his passport along with Missionary Girl and Boys and they hadn't stamped his passport. This was a big problem or so the Immigration Officer said. Missionary Man would have to go back to Nampula and try and sort it out. J would stay with us and Missionary man and Missionary Boy along with the Mission Organisation team would go to Immigration in Nampula.

Missionary Man's passport should have been stamped when he entered Mozambique, but they hadn't done this. This is a way of generating some money as they charge you $50 a day for not having it stamped!!! Well Missionary Man spent a very frustrating morning in Nampula, the Immigration man had caused himself a whole heap of problems!! when they got to Nampula and the Organisation team arrived with their passports all sorted with the right Visa's his boss was not well pleased and told him so. Mozambique are trying to encourage tourism and this was a real spanner in the works. Anyhoo Missionary Man couldn't get it sorted so J told him to come back and see what happens at the Airport. (Guess what? he left Mozambique without any problems at all, the Power of Prayer is amazing)

We all felt a little deflated and attacked back at the Men's house. I made us all some Homemade Soup for out tea, a hearty soup with loads of fresh vegetables. After Tea I lead the devotions I felt it was a good thing to debrief about the day in full. I started off by reading from John and the washing of the Disciples feet. Then said how I been so affected by this service, the washing of our Hands, the food and how I felt we had helped lay a massive foundation stone for the Church in Angoche, and if we do that Satan would be really cheesed off and we should expect to be attacked and this really felt demonic. As a group we had a great discussion and a wonderful time of Prayer and reclaiming of the day for God.

The day after the dedication was a rest day. I had a walk up to the shopping centre or Down Town Angoche ..... well this is an amazing thing. I think there are about 12 shops all selling virtually the same thing. I walked down to the town with Mr and Mrs Administrator he was buying some provisions for the team, cokes and other bits and bobs.

Mr & Mrs Administrator buying things in one of the shops in Down Town Angoche

I thought I would have a look at what was available....not a lot to be honest. As I have said Angoche is really a subsistence town so I guess there is no point stocking trinkets and nick-knacks that wouldn't sell in a month of Sundays. But there again in one shop window there was a clutch from a Morris Minor? I think there must be 30 cars in Angoche and not one of them is a Morris Minor.
Rush Hour Down Town Angoche

With Pipi in the shopping centre of Angoche

So we had a few rest days, on one of these I went to the market with Missionary Girl, the market is a wonderfully colourful place full of colours, smells (some not so nice) people and dust. I went with Missionary Girl as she can speak Portuguese and would help me buy some Kapulana's (a wrap worn by ladies) I wanted some as gifts. Missionary Man asked us not to take any photo's of the market as it a Muslim area and it may cause some problems. So I don't have any photo's from there.

In the Men's House we had a house man called Assani, Assani was Mr & Mrs Missionary Man's House Man. And as Mr Missionary Man said he is a golden find; he is honest and a very hard worker. He will look for work, he would do our washing, ironing, if the water was off he would walk to the Girls House and fetch water.... and he would cook a meal for us on the rest days. This is a photo of him cooking for us. He is an amazing cook

Assani Cooking us a wonderful meal

Now when I am away on I usually keep my head shaved, it saves time and its so easy to keep tidy, well don't let Missionary Girl and Mrs G loose with your razor........

The Men's unlike the Girls house only had Water for part of the day, also the Girls house had Air-con in the bedrooms...we didn't. I had a fan in my room that was louder than an aircraft taking off, which is more than Mr and Mrs Administrator had in their bedroom. A shower usually consisted of.... Standing in the bath next to a large container of water with a Jug, poor a jug of cold (well luke warm) over your head, this felt wonderful as by then I was boiling hot. Then washing yourself down, get another Jug of water and poor away. 1 shower completed, the toilet cistern needed to be filled the same way after use.

More about Dedications and 8 weddings in my next posting.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Mozabique Mission post 2

We arrived hot, sweaty and very dusty in Angoche, though the others in the other cars obviously had air-con so felt cool and relaxed!!! Our first view of Angoche thanks to John were of the harbour...Angoche used to be the Worlds exporter of Cashew Nuts, until a virus hit the trees and the factories went bust. There are about a dozen boats moored up at the harbour...they never moved when we were there.

Angoche is now a subsistence town, people fish, sell the fish so they can survive if they don't sell the fish they eat the fish. Obviously this isn't everyone but it does seem to count for a lot of the people especially on the islands. Some will be farmers, goats and chickens seem to be feral but will belong some people, how they can tell who's are who's is a thing I have wondered about as they have no markings or tags?

Anyhooo back to my Mission Trip. The next morning we were up at 5am!!! I know arghhhh.....But as it gets light at about 3:30am and when it gets light it gets even hotter you tend to wake early. This was the first dedication and was on the mainland It was about 25 minutes away near the beach. The village was called Thamoole (pron Tamooley). This dedication affected me the most, it was biggest culture shock I guess.

Arriving at the village I was blown away buy how simple the village was, grass and mud huts, children looking after children. Then I heard the singing coming from the Church, it was beautiful. We weren't actually having the dedication service in the Church as the Church would not be big enough, so they had erected a temporary Church for this occasion.

In the Church, after taking our shoes off!!! Chris had forgotten tell us this little gem, they had found us some chairs (that wouldn't happen again!!)

We were all introduced, then all of the other visitors were introduced, people from other Churches, from different districts etc. This was just wonderful and would mean so much more after a few more dedication services to see how far some of these fellow Christians had actually travelled!!!!

we then went into a time of worship, I was moved to complete speechlessness!!! I know me... this lasted for about 30-50 minutes??? not really sure (the worship not my speechlessness) Then 3 of the team gave testimony or a prepared sermon, then the dedication of Kithaarpu, then 4 sermons, then communion, communion was really special, unless I could hear a translation of what was going I was a little lost sometimes, but having communion was a united Christian act. Then we had a little worship, then prayer, lunch was prayed for and then the service was over. During the sermons, Ian asked if I would fetch the water container he had in his car.... I was passed the keys and off I went, and burnt my feet in the sand I ran much laughter from some children sat in shade outside. Put on my shoes and fetched the water.

Water was the largest part of our lives. The house we were in only had running water from about 5am to 5pm. That water was brown and needed to filtered so water so we could drink it!!! in the heat and humidity of Mozambique you needed a lot of water, and coke (isotonic drinks replace the salts and sugars lost) We also needed to wash.... There were two large water buts in the bathroom for washing and flushing the toilet. (more about this in a later blog...back to Thamoole)

I had brought some modelling balloons to make stuff for the kids...I started to do this and ended up mobbed not just by kids but by adults and it was ugly. I stopped after 20 minutes. (again more about this in a later Blog) We were asked into the Church, it was laid out with mats and some large cooking pots of food. I walked in and burst into tears. The generosity of the village was so overwhelming. I don't think the basics of Christianity had ever been shown to me in such a way. I left the Church to try and compose myself and bumped into Chris, I thanked him for letting come to this amazing place and just cried. The love and compassion of Christ is an amazing thing, I believe I glimpsed a tiny part of it that day. We sat on the mats in circles and a man came round and washed mour hands, again I just cried, it was all scriptural and so amazing. I have been a Christian 22 years I like to think I am a fairly nice guy and an OK Christian, Thamoole showed me I have so much to learn, even the basics are so important. Sharing and serving each other.

We had lunch of Coconut rice, chicken in a wonderful sauce and beans. (also it contained a bit of sand, well more than a bit) I loved every mouthful. To be honest I would have eaten and loved anything served to me I felt so honoured and humbled by the Thamoole/Angoche people.

After dinner we had our hands washed again. Then a few of us were shown shown around Vitor's house. a small Hut with a small kitchen, livingroom and a tiny bedroom. 8 people live in Vitors house...I left speechless again.

Vitor is the leader of Tarikki ya Hakki (this is probably spelt wrong sorry) which is a group of 5 Churches where the dedications will be taking place. Well 4 dedications. Vitor is an amazing man, and a very good pastor. Whislt in his house I made his children some balloon swords....this seemed to go down very well.