Friday, February 6, 2015

Mozambique

My time in Maputo, Mozambique has come to an end.  It was a short 2 weeks, broken into 2 parts. The first week was spent attending the OpenMRS Implementers Meetings.  The second week was spent with Iris Ministries.

In my many years of travels and the countries that I have visited and the passports that I have filled up with stamps, Mozambique is the first to require a visa in advance.  Truly being an American and carrying a US passport is a blessing!
Maputo, Mozambique at Night
I have been able to attend several OpenMRS meetings, all over the world.  This year the event was held in Maputo, Mozambique.  Like other OpenMRS Implementers Meetings, it involved informal “meetings” to discuss the implementation of the OpenMRS Medical Record Software used primarily in the developing world.

I got to see old friends from all over the world that are implementing the same software that I implemented at Hospital Albert Schweitzer and the organization in the Grand'Anse.  I also got to meet new friends, including some people I have known and worked with “virtually”.  It was a great reunion!
OpenMRS Implementers
Enjoy all of my pictures from the OpenMRS Implementer's Meeting in the Photo Gallery.

This past week (my second week of the trip) was spent at Zimpeto Children’s Center (Iris Ministries). This is an orphanage with more than 200 kids, school and clinic for the orphanage and the community and pastor training facility.  They also have a wood shop in another community where they have integrated some of the orphans that have grown up.

While at Iris, I was able to go out doing street ministry to the homeless in the inner-city.  We went together in a minibus and had a worship service outside under a tree in a vacant lot.  Some of the homeless people joined us for the service, which included singing, prayer and preaching.  We left a sack of bread for them.  The ride back was special, as I chatted with Fabio, a former orphan who was saved as a street kid through Iris Ministries.

Another day while at Iris I got to go to the public hospital in Maputo.  Fabio was also in charge of this activity.  We went to the pediatric ward.  We prayed for the patients and their families.  We gave everyone (with teeth) a banana.

While at Iris, my time was spent primarily with the orphans; building bonds that will not quickly be forgotten!  I played soccer, basketball, something like baseball, keep away, tag, thumb wrestling, horseplay on the playground and cards.  They were generally well organized and well mannered. They live in dorms, separated by age and gender.  Meals are taken together in the dining hall/church, and each dorm sits to eat at their own long table.  At first I was overwhelmed with all the children, but Dorm 2 quickly adopted me into their family.  One day I took lots of pictures and videos of them, and then showed them after dinner on my “big screen” laptop in their dorm.

Run Salamayo Run!
They have church service on Sunday and Thursday on the base.  I sat with “my dorm” at church too.  It was a special time of worship.   There are several things that made worship special.  1.) The Holy Spirit of the Lord was present.  2.) Sometimes they dance and sing fun songs that the children really enjoy.  3.) Holding the fatherless during worship and praying for our Heavenly Father to be a father to them.  Allowing God to use my physical arms.  4.) Watching the children worship and pray. Feliciano (a mentally handicap boy who can’t speak) dances like crazy!  Oh, if only those of us in our right mind would abandon all in worship of our Lord like Feliciano.

This morning one of the missionary children asked me why do the kids love me so much?  I said because I love them.  In reality it’s a perfect analogy of our relationship with our heavenly Father. He loves us first, and in turn, we love Him back!  As I said good bye this morning and even earlier in the week, some of the kids asked if I couldn't stay longer, and if I will come back.  Our goodbyes even included a few hidden tears by one brave boy.

Marito and Jon
Enjoy all of my pictures from my time with Iris Ministries in the Photo Gallery.

Question for thought: Is it better not to love than to love and be loved but feel such pain when we can no longer be together?

Thanks for your prayers for major changes taking place in my life.  More details soon to follow!

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