Written By: North African Missionary
As I gazed up at the amazing architecture and soaked in the serenity of a place saturated in symbolism, I was captivated by a series of sculptures portraying Christ and the twelve apostles. They were high above eye level and could possibly be overlooked by a person rushing in or out. I was thankful to have noticed and to have the time to simply observe from where I was standing. I know you’re wondering where I might have found such a place in the Middle East North African region, so I will clear that up before continuing. I have to leave periodically to renew my visa. When I flew out here, my family had a trip planned to Spain for a few days, so we arranged for me to renew my visa and visit with them at the same time.

On October 1st in Barcelona, Spain as many Catalans were looking to vote Si on a referendum for independence we drove about 45km (28 miles) away from the city to Montserrat Monastery. It was there that I was enthralled by a visual of Christ and the twelve apostles. I was reminded of my job and felt as if I was looking at a series of photos in the office hall of fame. I knew that these people were real and experienced much more than I have. They had wisdom that now helps me carry out the job that they themselves once performed. I again connected the people displayed not only as characters in a story, but people in history.

History is happening every day, some is significant, and some is not; some is good, and some is evil. As Christians with the Spirit of God inside of us, we get to make History.

As the team and I are working hard in North Africa to make history here, I know many of you have asked: How is it going? How can I pray for you?

Colossians 4:2-4Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

Paul the apostle from history wrote this book of the Bible, Colossians, after he had completed three ‘successful’ missionary journeys. In reading, I’ve learned that even a hall of fame guy like Paul still felt the need for prayer for God to open doors. In turn he could do his job; proclaim the gospel. He also sought prayers that he would make the message clear as it should be.

I find it curious that Paul also writes Ephesians 6:19-20 requesting prayers that he speaks boldly ‘as he ought to’.

The successful description of Paul’s missionary journeys is not on account of the multitudes receiving the message of Christ but that Paul did his part and shared the gospel where there was opportunity. While we must always remember that it is our responsibility to proclaim salvation, we must never forget that it is God who saves.theologian J.I. Packer. The success of ministry here is not measured by multitudes who we see come to the Lord in the moment. It measured by our willingness and obedience to share the Gospel at all times. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth,” 1 Corinthians 3:6. I encourage you continue praying for us and sharing the Gospel every time the opportunity presents itself – together we are making history.

Recently, we met Kapopo and Kauhanga in Cavulucamue II. I knew that Jesus had unfinished business with these women, and I was positively anxious to return as soon as possible to hear what God had been doing in their lives since our encounter!

This weekend I had the opportunity, but not before we overcame a number of extraordinary obstacles! It usually takes about 6 hours to get to Kapopo and Kauhanga’s community from our house, but on this occasion, due to assisting with the health issues of a local pastor’s wife, a local event that the entire administration department were in attendance at, and then the alternator in our car going out, it took us 24 hours instead! It was an unexpectedly arduous journey, as journeys sometimes are in this part of the world, and if I’m really honest, I was really hoping our efforts would be rewarded [read: I was about to get really mad with something if they weren’t!]

We finally arrived in Cavulucamue II the following day, pulling up to the “gate” to the community at apparent rush hour 😉 Cavulucamue II is a community based on a massive farm project, and we happened to be arriving at the same time as many of the people returning from the above mentioned event who were riding in the back of a pick-up truck. The advantage to this was that no announcement was needed of our arrival- our presence was known from the get-go.

We hadn’t seen another vehicle in almost a day, and yet when we pulled up to the gate to Cavulucamue II, we had to wait in line to get in, lol!

Opening the “gate” to Cavulucamue II. The locals have to construct and deconstruct this opening every time they want to get a vehicle in or out, otherwise they risk loosing livestock.

We headed to the spot we camped at the previous week, and were surprised to find that the pick-up was also headed there. An amusing dialogue ensued between us and the driver as we both perceived that we were in each other’s spot! Who knew that in all the acres and acres of farmland we’d have each been headed for the same shady tree! Again, the timing and location actually worked to our advantage as we and the truck driver made a plan, and we ended up being right at the heart of where the community was coming and going, which made meeting with people really easy.

As we began setting up camp, I kept one eye out on the fields, looking for Kapopo and Kauhanga. It was only minutes later that Kauhanga appeared and I couldn’t help noticing that her countenance had completely changed since our first meeting. She was without her bulky coat this time, and I asked her how she was doing and how her heart was feeling. “It’s been beating normally!” she told me with a fresh joy on her face. “I feel different. Since that day that we prayed, I haven’t been experiencing the same heart pain.” I was overjoyed as she shared these things, and the difference in her body and in her mind was clearly evident! She was insistant that she wanted to continue in this peace and asked if we could pray again with her sometime that day. We agreed of course, and she headed off to work the fields for the morning.

Not long after her departure, Kapopo arrived, almost skipping to come and greet me. She was beaming, and I knew that God had been moving in her life since the previous week in a way that she was recognizing and receiving for herself. I wish I could share with you the look on her face! The previous 24 hours’ trials faded in that moment as listened in awe at what she shared. Her heart had also stilled, both physically and metaphorically. But more than that, she’d begun sharing this change with her family and friends, and they had come with her, hungry for this life-giving, peace-bringing presence too.

Sharing with Kapopo and her family and friends.

We chatted and then settled down in the shade to share more of the word of God. In this community, we’d previously shared about creation and the fall of man. Today, I felt to build on that by sharing about why God created man. I posed the question to our little group, “Why do you think Huku (God) created man?” A discussion followed, and the group agreed that he probably created people to make more people. Reproduction was His likely end goal, the group explained. I agreed that was definitely part of His plan, but before that, His desire was to make man in His image, to have relationship with Him. This concept of relationship with God, we have come to learn, is usually very far from the minds of most Mucubal people. It’s a new concept, one with few, if any, existing reference points. But with the Holy Spirit’s help, Kapopo and others are embracing this new life.

Towards the end I wanted to ask who else in the group wanted to receive God in their life. Agosto, our Kuvale translator friend, had barely finished his sentence before the whole group had responded, “Of course! That’s why we’re here!” I prayed for the group and set about learning their names, to be better acquainted the next time we come back. It’s no easy task for me to learn correctly Kuvale names as you’ll see below! They’re often 5-7 syllables long with combinations of consonants that we don’t use in English or Portuguese!

From left: Kantchholo (Kapopo’s step-daughter), Mupombah, Kauhunambanga (Kapopo’s daughter), Kapopo, Kakendu (Kapopo’s daughter), Moankhoatonkhombe and Kangiola all shared desires to receive God in their lives after learning of what God had done in Kapopo’s life!

This meeting was just one of four that we had during our one-night stay in Cavulucamue II this weekend. As soon as we wrapped up with one group, another had always appeared and would ask to hear the news that we were sharing too! I can’t fit all those stories in this one post, but needless to say, our time was extremely fruitful, and the hardships of getting out to this remote community, were so worth it! Even our little Faith and Ivy have been excitedly talking about how Jesus healed their Mucubal friends’ hearts!

David at a later meeting with a group in the riverbed.

Meet Kapopo and Kauhanga (below), the two women I met recently in the small rural community of Cavulucamue II, about an hour and a half outside the small town of Virei, in Southern Angola. It’s hard to convey to you just how far from anything these women live. It’s a mission for us to reach them and it’s only with great intention and commitment that we have opportunity to meet people like this. You’re not going to run into ladies like these by accident while passing through, believe me! The terrain is tough, the administrative formalities of travelling in locations like this are stringent and costly, and infrastructure is non-existent.

Kapopo and Kauhanga (excuse my early morning appearance, did I mention it’s about 6am in this photo?!)

I am thankful every time we meet someone like these women, that through many faithful partners and friends, we have the necessary vehicle and camp setup. Our kind of gear is absolutely essential to enable us to reach highly remote, yet precious people with the news of Jesus. So if you’re any one of the hundreds of people who support our work here in Angola in ANY capacity: be it through prayer, finance, watching our kids when we’re in town, introducing us to new networks, sending human resource with us… the list is long… then this story is for you. I want you to know just how powerful and transformational your part is.

Our camp at Cavulucamue II. Everything we need to both reach the location and stay for a few days.

It was still early at our quiet, little campsite. The girls were eating breakfast and I was enjoying the green that surrounded us. Since the rains had come, it was amazing to experience the Mucubal tribe’s terrain in its new appearance. The night before, David had shared the creation story with ten or so locals around the campfire and had invited people to come by in the morning if they wished. A few came and went with a greeting, but two ladies stuck around. They seemed to be interested in far more than greetings, and after conversing with them a little more, they revealed what had led them to us. Each had pain in her chest and were experiencing what they described as an unpleasant pounding sensation in her heart. One also described the symptoms of TB and said the pounding in her chest was so strong you could feel it through her jacket. It was a cold morning by Mucubal standards (around 75F) so she was wrapped up in a winter coat. She took my hand and put it to her heart and sure enough, as I watched her chest, it wasn’t just the rise and fall of her lungs that I could see, but the beating of her heart. Now I’m no medical practitioner, but I’ve never seen anything like that. It looked like her heart might literally beat out of her chest, and this was through the weight of a bulky coat!

I kept listening as the women shared their stories, tuning in to what the Holy Spirit wanted me to do. At one point Kauhanga told me, “I came here this morning to speak to Huku (God) about this matter. I know He can heal me. I’ve seen Him do it before.” I was intrigued. How and when had this woman, so far from any church, not speaking a language with any Bible translation, seen God heal? She went on to explain that her brother’s hand at one point had become injured, and someone had prayed for him and it became well. She credited the God we were talking about with this healing, and now she wanted Him to heal her body too.

I prayed for the physical symptoms of the women, but they still reported pain. I called David over to join us and got him up to speed. We prayed again and both felt a sense that these women were dealing not only with physical issues, but emotional and psychological ones to. The presence of fear and anxiety weighed heavy on us and we approached the subject with them. “Are you experiencing any fears or concerns for something or someone?” we asked them. They both immediately and readily gave up their fights. “That’s exactly right.” They told us. They didn’t want to share details, but they did say that they had no peace, and were plagued with anxiety concerning some situations. They explained that the more they thought on these issues, the worse their chest symptoms became. We discussed peace and faith versus fear, and asked them if they would like to receive and walk in God’s peace. They did. We prayed again, now better informed to address not only the physical symptoms, but the underlying other issues too, and there was some progress.

As we wrapped up our conversation so they could continue on to their work in the fields, I explained that I would return soon, and I was eager to hear from them how God’s peace had been transforming their lives. Tomorrow morning, we pack up to go back to their community and I can’t wait to share with you the next installment, knowing that God is faithful, and He is in the midst of a mighty work in Kapopo and Kauhanga! It’s been a week since we started this journey with them, and I trust that good things await these women and their community! Stay tuned…

Our teammates spent most of March in Namibia getting work done on their vehicles, and when they returned, we headed out on a reconnaissance mission to the neighboring province of Huíla. We were expecting to spend several days in a remote community to assist the local church in pioneering a mission there. However, unfortunately the permission with the local authorities was not in enough order for us to remain. After much too-ing and fro-ing, the best we could do was be granted permission to stay the night before heading back the next day. After traveling more than 8 hours through tough terrain with six kids under 5 between us, that came as a relief, but of course, none of us were exactly thrilled to be told we needed to go home for more paperwork.

When you strike up story time next to the lake because the husbands are working through administration hiccups and it’s taking several hours, and your story is interrupted by a heard of cows. Yep, this is the life of young pioneer families sometimes!

While we didn’t have permission to stay longer in the bush or to hold organized meetings, we of course attracted attention at our camp, and we weren’t about to ignore the curious onlookers. Fiona struck up a conversation with Lucia, who is from a larger town and therefore speaks Portuguese (the rest of her family are local to the community and only speak the local dialect). With the aim of having a meaningful conversation with her that would hopefully lead to a spiritual one, we started to share a little about each other’s lives. After a while, the conversation did indeed turn to more spiritual subjects, and with Lucia as a translator for the group of young people gathered, we learned that some of them were eager for prayer to be free from troubling demons in their homes. We were able to pray for them, along with another request for healing in a sick child who was not present.

Fiona and 14 year-old Lucia.
Our curious onlookers.

We don’t know when the doors may open for this community to receive more regular visitors in the name of Jesus, but we do know that many of our curious onlookers were very interested in discovering more. And we know that the Holy Spirit is present to continue the work in people’s hearts. Our assignments are rarely black and white, and this was one trip that didn’t go according to any of our plans. But we are thankful for the word that the Lord gave us following our departure from the region: “For God is not unjust so as to forget the work and the love which you have shown towards His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” Hebrews 6:10. We know that the plans for these people’s lives rest in His hands and we will continue to intercede for them.

Our camp was situated in the middle of a popular grazing field, so we spent our short visit surrounded not only by the curious locals, but by cows, sheep and goats, much to Faith and Ivy’s delight!

In many of my conversations with God over the last year or so, it seems He’s been very clear and repetitive in something: He wants children to know Him! He’s made Himself utterly accessible to children and values them highly. And along with the promptings He’s been making in my heart, God’s been more than faithful to extend opportunities to demonstrate what He’s showing me. He’s cool like that, huh? He exposes truth to us, then gives us the opportunity to live it out!

In the last couple of weeks, the opportunities to sow into little lives have been abundant. To start, a friend and I in town were finally able kick off an informal kid’s discovery Bible group after throwing the idea around for months but not having our schedules line up! Then Becca, one of my Overland Missions teammates, suggested we offer to do kid’s ministry at an adults training that the husbands were running in Virei. Meanwhile, another friend in town who works a lot with Youth for Christ in Angola, asked if I could help her facilitate a training for children’s workers and leaders in Youth for Christ. “Sure!” I said without thinking. God, you really are moving on this notion, huh?! She came back to me later to say that she really felt she’d like to invite leaders from all the various denominations in Namibe to participate in the training seminar, not just those involved with Youth for Christ. I was ecstatic!

Here’s a few photos from the kid’s Bible club (we don’t really have an official name at present, so I’m experimenting with options here!) and from our Sunday day trip to Virei to serve the kids. On each occasion we ran with the theme God Wants to Talk to Me and led the kids in identifying God’s voice and developing a relationship with Him. We facilitated a couple of simple activations for them to experiment with forms of prayer on their own (thank you Flame Creative for an excellent, bush-friendly idea for this! We just used a rock instead of a coin.) And what exploration of communication with God wouldn’t be complete without a game of Chinese Whispers/Telephone?!

I’m so looking forward to seeing what God has up His sleeve for the next times we meet!

We spent this week in the Mucubal communities of Cavulukamue I and II. Some months back, David and our colleague Dan, along with a couple of our Kuvale translators had done a small recon to the area, and had promised to return.

After the usual formalities in the regional town of Virei were complete, we drove out to Cavulukamue and found the local chief. He helped us find a shady spot to set up camp and we began to reconnect with him regarding why we had come. Some of the locals brought sugarcane to share with us, and friendships were immediately kindled as we conversed in the sandy riverbed under the trees.

The local sugarcane was some of the biggest I’ve ever seen!

The girls loved it of course!

The people of Cavulukamue, like so many in the Mucubal tribe, are in a season of devastating drought. There is desperate need for the rains to come. The drought is so bad that rivers haven’t flown steady in eight years. The one we were camped next to, should have been flowing by this time of year, and instead it was so dry that it acted as a giant sandpit for our kids to play in. The desperation of the people was tangible.

During one of our meetings, this group of youngsters and I had a great time discussing the time Jesus fed 5000 people, and what that means for us today.

We held a meeting during the following afternoon and the people came, but with one resounding question: “If God is good, then where is the rain? Why are we suffering so, if He is good?” It’s an understandable sentiment, isn’t it? We responded with love and truth, and put our faith on the line that God would indeed demonstrate His own power and goodness to them in their area of need.

The next morning, the heavens indeed opened and rain fell heavy throughout the morning. I sat under our caravan’s awning, doing some homeschool with the girls and marveling at how God was speaking for Himself during that time. I wondered if we would actually have a meeting as planned that afternoon, or if it would be rained off! I actually hoped it would be rained off as the people absorbed the blessings of God being poured out on them. There didn’t feel much need to say things ourselves, when He was clearly speaking already!

In those moments under the awning though, God spoke something sweet to me. Something beyond the rain, something that is permanently true in the face of temporary circumstance. “This is just rain, Fiona.” He whispered, “What I really want, is to pour out my Spirit on these people. What they need more than the rain, is life in me. I send the rain only to demonstrate what abundance and faithful provision looks like. They asked for rain, and I am sending rain. But I want you to ask me to open heaven and pour out my Spirit on these people. I will come in even greater measure than the most abundant rains!”

And so my prayer is exactly that, that the Mucubal tribe and Angola’s other remote people groups, would become friends of God and vessels of His presence. That the heavens would open wide and that His life-giving spirit would flow into even the driest and darkest of places.

We walk the lines of cowpeas in Albertina’s field with excitement. Before our eyes is the reclamation of degraded land, the redemption of what was lost. Her joy bubbles over with ours. She recognizes the change not only in the land but in herself.

Albertina’s husband, once a respected community leader, is now an alcoholic. This sickness has placed all responsibility of family care on her shoulders. But she doesn’t walk with her head down and shoulders slumped. She stands tall and strong with a smile.

Christ in her, the hope of glory.

She walks in the freedom He offers and has given the weight of responsibility to Him. She follows Christ in everything, even her farming, and lives in His promises, passing on the message that has become her life.

Sustain, launched in 2013, fills a specific need that has been seen in missions. Our culture is so prone to categorize the facets of life. We divide the parts deemed “spiritual” from the “physical,” declaring them unrelated.  This leaves a missions movement that has not addressed a people’s total need or livelihood.

“And we don’t see how the spiritual world infiltrates our politics and our business and our neighborhoods and our homes and everything we do. And we’ve actually exported this distinction all around the world in the way we’ve done missions. Lesslie Newbigin said that Christian missionaries have been one of the most secularizing forces in the entire world. We’ve gone into third world context, and you know what we’ve told them? We’ve told them that it is not spirits who make the crops grow. It is scientific agriculture. So we got fertilizers and fungicides and pesticides and hybrid seed and we showed them their religion has nothing to do with agriculture. It belongs in the realm of science. What we should’ve said is this is a God-created and God-sustained world, and He has designed ways for this world to operate. And we experience the most, the best of His gifts in this world when we operate according to the way He has designed it. And so we seek Him, and we work in the context of how He as a perfect Designer of this world has made us.” – David Platt

Traditional beliefs speak into agriculture. Witchcraft, a religious system built on fear and superstition, hands out empty promises to farmers. Want to protect your field from theft? Kill a chicken in the field and line the fenceline with its blood. Want an unusually high harvest? Purchase a charm. If you have a difficult season, “Someone was behind you.” Perhaps a disgruntled friend or family member visited the witchdoctor to counter your efforts.

What happens if missions doesn’t address agriculture? It leaves a gapping hole that gets filled with these traditional beliefs- and the church combines her Christianity with witchcraft. Instead of experiencing the freedom and joy of Christ, they remain trapped in fear with no understanding that “He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.”

We must not limit the influence of the gospel, but instead recognize that it is God’s total solution to man’s total need. When people grasp the fullness of this message, we begin to see productive faith-filled farms and discipleship-minded farmers.

Farming God’s Way and Foundations for Farming are Biblically-based educational resources for conservation agriculture. They are discipleship that walks farmers away from harmful practices and mindsets and into the abundant life of Christ. They replace the idea that “You lack” and “You need this chemical fertilizer, this hybrid seed, this equipment” with “God has placed in your hands what you need already. He is enough for you.” Corn yield averages with current, harmful farming practices like plowing, burning organic matter, or monocropping may be 0 to 20 bags per hectare. But the potential? Over 110 bags. And we’re seeing the shift firsthand.

Our goal is that we do not carry this message to every village, but that farmers do. We want to spark a viral move of God that local leaders carry. Farmers have been told their whole lives through the government, through society, and through their harvests that they are not capable. But we have a new message. And the response is incredible. The Holy Spirit is touching lives like Albertina’s, starting a fire that will continue to spread.



The Arab World has a special place in my heart. Every time I am in the Middle East or North Africa I feel at home. I can sit at a coffee shop or restaurant for hours having a conversation with a complete stranger. The conversation is filled with laughter and deep thoughts about life. They will tell me about their family and fill me in on their life story. There are no boundaries once you befriend someone. They are the most hospitable people in the world.

These past few weeks, Bailey and I were in North Africa for our second recon trip. It was especially amazing for me to bring Bailey because it was her first time in the country. It was incredible to see how comfortable she was operating in the country and she was so eager to learn Arabic. We were able to make some incredible contacts and friends while we were exploring to see which city would be best to base out of. We were walking through the medina (old city) when all of the sudden a friend we had met earlier in the day came rushing up to us to say hello. We talked for a few minutes on the street and as he was telling me about his family and his home he paused and asked “why don’t you and your wife just come over and meet my family and see my home?”. So naturally we said yes. We followed this man to his home and sat with him, his wife, and their three daughters while sharing some mint tea. This family invited us back next time we are in the country and his wife is going to teach Bailey how to cook traditional food (I am excited for that).

This is just a small example of the hospitality of the people in this region of the world. It is unparalleled and will make anyone feel at home. Hospitality is an intimate concept to these people that is not taken lightly. One really quick way to befriend someone is to buy a carpet. Not only will you be buying a beautiful handmade carpet, but you will have one of the best experiences of your life (the best experience I personally had was at NW Rugs). It is a long and intimate process so be prepared to spend a few hours in the shop. They will show you almost every carpet they have in their shop. It doesn’t matter if you made up your mind in the first 5 minutes, they will show you a hundred more because they are proud of the carpets they have. Not only will they show you all their carpets, they will invite their families to come meet you, they will serve you mint tea, and they will tell you everything about their life. What a great ministry opportunity to open up to these people as they open up to you.


Man in Meknes showing us his carpet collection

This is a region that is so hungry for intimacy with our Father and they do not even know it. They are craving the love that can only be provided by Jesus. We know that God is moving throughout this region and bringing people to Him. We cannot wait to be a part of the viral move of God happening in this country. A lot of these people have never heard the truth. Yes, they have heard about Jesus, but they have only heard lies that the leaders of the Mosques are telling them. We have a unique opportunity to build relationships and share the true message of Jesus Christ with these people in the Arab World. We must share the Gospel!


It’s a beautiful noise. Over 200 children’s voices ring out with a shout of praise, as they celebrate Jesus being the Ultimate Winner: He won over death, He won over fear, He won over sin, He won over sickness. And He made us winners over these things with Him!  Over 200 young voices unite as they bring praises to their God, the One Who made them. 200 voices belt it out: “There is Power in the Name of Jesus, to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain.”. These moments send chills up and down my body as I watch in amazement what God has done in the lives of these kids over the last five months, since my best friend, Janet, and I started a kids group in our front yard.

It all started back at the beginning May, when we hosted a Child Evangelism Fellowship training in that same front yard. When our teachers wanted to demonstrate how to do a Good News Club, we quickly sent out two people and within minutes around 40 children materialized from the neighborhood.  Several of these children made a very serious decision to follow Christ as a result of the Gospel that was shared in a way that they could understand and respond to it. Janet and I COULD NOT leave it there. We’ve felt God nudging us to reach out to the kids in our neighborhood for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity!

A week later, 60 children came. By mid July 115 children showed up, and the very next week, attendance exploded to nearly 200. By mid-August around 250 children showed up consistently, and by the beginning of September, 270 kids attended! During these months we have recorded 208 salvations, and we’re not talking about the “raise-your-hand-and-say-a-prayer” kind either! No, each of these children have been thoroughly counseled in small groups and had to show they really understood the Gospel message and understood what they were saying “yes” to, before they made this biggest decision of their lives.  We truly stand amazed at what God has done in the hearts and lives of these kids! Numbers really mean NOTHING, because God will chase after the heart of ONE. But we are awed that He would send all these children to learn more about His goodness and love!

Some of my personal highlights the past few months:

The time we hosted a “Wordless Book” party, expecting no more than 100 kids, and 145 showed up…and 32 made a commitment to Christ!

The time when we started teaching on prayer, and when kids laid hands on each other to pray for each other’s sickness…and all of them received healing!

The time we taught on worship, and practiced “telling God about Himself”, and hearing what these kids had to say.

Every time a child decided to let the King of Heaven take control of his or her life!

But I think my absolute favorite day was just last week, when we decided to simply take some time to praise and worship God with the kids through song and dance.  That morning, God gave me a word for the teens. We’ve never had very many teens show up, but this time there were about 20 teenagers, and we were able to gave them the word and pray over them!  It was obvious that God had His fingerprints all over it! And then just to experience the exuberance and passion with which these kids sang, danced praised and worshipped…a priceless experience.  I can’t wait to see what God’s plans are for these kids over the next five months!!

Their eyes twinkled and faces shone as they brought their plastic coins – some in match boxes, some in tiny empty petroleum jelly containers, some wrapped up in a piece of plastic or a cloth; others clenched in sweaty palms or jangling in shirt or short pockets.  This was the day they had been anticipating for six weeks – their first ever kids tuck shop!

We started a new project at our Kids4Christ groups this year. It works like this: every time a child attends and/or participates in the kids groups, they receive a plastic coin. Roughly once a month they get to “spend” their coins at a shop where they can “buy” necessities like toiletries, school supplies, second hand clothes and some “luxuries” like small toys.

Of course this is be a great motivator for kids to attend, but it also gives us an opportunity to give to these kids, without cultivating a “beggar mentality”.  Kids in Zambia rarely have the opportunity to work with money, and so when they grow up, many are poor stewards of their money.  The shops give them an opportunity to practice working with money – looking after it, saving it, etc.

I think we were just as excited as the kids when our first shop rolled around. How I wish you could see and experience these kids’ faces and expressions as they “bought” things like soap, face cloths, lotion, pencils and exercise books with the coins they earned for attending and participating in the kids group. It was heartwarming, yet heartbreaking to see these children choose these necessities (that most of us take for granted) over toys and other “luxuries”!

I invite you to consider becoming a part of this project! Our tuck shop is donor-driven, which means we can keep it up only as long as we have stock donated, and we need your help. $5 will buy a bar of soap, a small container of hand lotion, tooth paste and a toothbrush for the shop.  If you would like to make a donation, you can give here. Be sure to put LIFEKids in the memo line. Thank you in advance for helping us to keep this project going!

img_5542Imagine that you live in an extremely remote part of the world, with no shops, markets, restaurants, internet or TV. Your family is part of Angola’s Mucubal tribe. You live nomadically in the Namibe desert, which is an arid scrubland rolling for hundreds and hundreds of miles without so much as a decent size town. Rarely do you see an outsider; someone not from your, or the neighboring tribe. You live meal by meal, each morsel scratched out of a meager existence of ground maize and raw milk (not the kind of raw milk that health bloggers rave about, but the kind that can be laden with TB and parasites). Clean water is a daily struggle, and is the most precious of commodities to you and everyone you care about. In this life, you can forget health care and physicians. Out here, you’re pretty much on your own.

Now, imagine the day that someone brings you a piece of chocolate cake.

You slowly take a bite after eyeing it up. It tastes good. Like, really good! It’s probably the best thing you’ve ever tasted, in fact. You now want more. But what is this stuff? How can it be duplicated? The words “chok-o-lat cay-ke” sound so foreign and strange to your ears. But this stuff, this stuff is the bomb. You feel that you could eat it forever, it tastes so good. Maybe a few of your friends try some too, and together you wonder if you could make some more.

img_4809Where do you begin? You’re a world away from boxed cake mix, so you’re going to have to make it from scratch. But what do you need to make a chocolate cake? You have no idea! The person who gave you some is around to ask, so you set about questioning them on how to make a chocolate cake. More foreign sounding words enter your ears as you listen to the ingredient list. It all seems so strange to listen to. But that taste. That delightful experience needs to be pursued!

In your attempts to experience that chocolate cake again you will need to learn to embrace new and foreign ingredients like flour, leavening agent and cocoa. If you’re lucky, you’ll patiently find your ingredients by way of someone bringing some supplies from a town a very rare once in a while. If not, you may have to start growing some sugar cane and some wheat. Then you’ll need to learn how to harvest and process it. You may need to find someone willing to trade something for a couple of chicken eggs, too.

One way or the other, in time, you should be able to make it happen. Especially with help from someone who is already familiar with chocolate cake. We’ll imagine for now that the person who brought the first piece is happy to stick around, until you and some of the wider community are prepared enough to make cake on your own. They can help you understand if a recipe attempt falls flat, or burns. They can enlighten you in the fascinating elements of chemistry that are at work in the process.

Over time, you will make that cake your own. As you grow in confidence and knowledge of the process, your cake will develop a unique and beautiful identity. It will be a wonderful addition to the world of chocolate cake! A chocolate cake to rival any other, as perfect and whole as any other. It’s a beautiful and marvelous thing to imagine, isn’t it?

img_6056My friends, this is what lies before us with our newfound friends in the Mucubal tribe. The words “God” and “Jesus” are distant, foreign concepts to the Mucubal. In fact, there is no word for Jesus in their native language; knowledge of Him simply doesn’t exist yet. A word Huku, exists for God, but interpretation of this word is very open. No-one can really define who God is, or what His intentions might be.

My heart flickers between excitement, sadness and apprehension at the situation we are coming to grips with. The room for God to move is vast. The needs are suffocating. We must be sure to lay a firm foundation. This is a from scratch mission field, where even the raw ingredients of faith will need to be grown and processed by hand. We cannot expect or assume that the Mucubal tribe knows any of our knowledge of God’s Kingdom. Our conversations with them reveal that so many of the basic elements of faith in Jesus are bizarre sounding and completely new. Nevertheless, we continue pursuing relationships with those we meet. Those who after a couple of encounters greet us fondly and even change their dress to reflect a more personal relationship. We have long conversations with them, and welcome their questions and contributions.

Above all, we lean on God’s Holy Spirit, thanking Him for being such a sweet and faithful teacher. We put out our own faith, publically, for all to see. We are expectant that all that He has said and promised, He will do. We know that the power of God will move in this people and our irresistible Savior will draw our Mucubal friends to Himself.

Virei is a small town nestled out in the desert of the Namibe province in Angola. It serves as a hub for the nomadic Mucubal tribe. It’s a place we’ve been directed to in previous years’ reconnaissance missions as we’ve sought a strategy for reaching this unreached group. We had heard over and over, that this group was yet to hear that there is an almighty God who loves them so much that He sent His Son to redeem them. Most had never been given the opportunity to choose to follow Jesus.

A crowd of Mucubal people quickly gathered.

A crowd of Mucubal people quickly gathered.

It’s been three years since I was last in Virei. A labor of logistics, linguistics and immigration has filled that timespan as we’ve worked and waited to get back to these people. This month it was finally time. 8 adults and 9 small children set out from our home base in Namibe for two expeditions to Virei, a 2+ hour drive away. We packed to be as self sufficient as possible, knowing that clean water, food and fuel, are often hard to come by in this region. I thank the Lord for His provision of an amazing off-road caravan that makes this kind of work as a family so much easier than before!

Our team's bush camp in Virei.

Our team’s bush camp in Virei.

We camped in the bush, about 10kms from town, positioning ourselves as strategically as possible to attract a crowd to share our message with. Once we found the right campsites, it didn’t take much to gather the people. The Mucubal tribe are herdsmen, following water for their animals, and sojourning between circular homes spread throughout the bush. They came together to eat a meal with us and we slaughtered a goat to feed the crowd, while we shared about God’s identity. At the first gathering, over 40 men and women joined us. It was the afternoon and as things were wrapping up, one of the elder women told us, “Some of us want to come back tonight to hear more on this subject. We will make a fire and we would like you to tell us more about this God. Will you do that?” Of course we were delighted! That night we shared under the moonlight around the fire. So hungry were the crowd of twenty or so that had returned, that they had brought their beds with them, to simply sleep there in the bush when the meeting ended!

It was a beautiful night to share about creator God.

It was a beautiful night to share about creator God.

During our second expedition, we visited a different location, one that we’ve been to in the past. We reconnected with a couple of Mucubal families that have now seen Overland Missions’ team return to them at least four times. They are always touched to be remembered. We shared another meal with another 40 or so people, and the Word of God was delivered again. The response? “We’ve never heard this before! What you’re telling us, we’ve never heard of. We need to know more about this. Please come back soon.”

These two expeditions have given our long-term vision here a massive kick-start. We were so encouraged to be warmly and curiously received. We loved how many questions we were asked. Deep questions, that we have deep and truthful answers to. We found the Mucubal we met to be so much fun. Our kids played with theirs, and they played with us, joking around as we took and shared photos, and we all laughed as we attempted to pick up some more Mucubal vocabulary!

Our team will be returning to Virei soon. The doors to the tribe have been opened by the tribal chief and the local authorities. The local church is in support of reaching the Mucubal tribe. We pray now for the unquenchable fire of the Lord to touch lives, and for revival to break out in the people!