Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Mozambican Wedding Story, by Lynne

I'm the kind of person who doesn't like the spotlight, not even for a minute. I like to "blend in". Though I like and enjoy people in small numbers, I'm not extremely social and HATE large crowds. Imagine my distress this past Sunday when, in an effort to be a part of the community in which we live, I attended the wedding of my next door neighbors. I was to be accompanied by several of my Mozambican sons, but they all bailed on me for various reasons, so, I went alone.

It started out okay. I sat and chatted with a group of women under the shade of a tree. It's hard to "blend in" when you are the only white person, however, and I was soon "promoted" to the table of the wedding party. There I sat with the bride, groom, matron of honor and best man...sticking out like a sore thumb! The meal went off without a hitch. I chatted with the matron of honor and we exchanged phone numbers AND THEN it happened! The gift giving part of the celebration began!

I've lived in Mozambique for 6 years now and I KNOW what this means: Each family group presents the gift they have brought with singing and dancing. I had brought a gift, but was the only one from my family group there. I CANNOT TELL YOU the terror that struck me when I thought about the possibility of presenting the gift, the lone white lady, singing and dancing? I looked for an escape but I was quite literally backed into a corner.(See the lady in the background with the yellow dress in the first picture? I was sitting in the empty seat next to her.)

It was then one of the neighbor kids approached me and asked, "Tia Lynne, are you going to give your gift alone?" "I don't want to", I told her, "what should I do?" "Come with me," was her response. She proceeded to round up all her brothers and sisters and relatives, about 20 people in all. Much to my relief, they let ME carry the gift and THEY did the singing and dancing. Just when I stopped shaking and sweating, IT happened: one of the girls grabbed me and, in moves that I can only compare to "The Funky Chicken", she demonstrated how she wanted me to dance. It was do or die! I can only say that I am eternally grateful that there was no video camera. My neighbors and all 150 of their friends and family, however, were delighted with my efforts! After all was said and done, I received lots of smiles and warm embraces. Hopefully, I opened the door of relationship just a little wider. I firmly believe in what our friend Duncan once said, "Belief follows belonging."

Do you think this is what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he said, "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some."? (I Corinthians 9:22) If so, I will say with him, "I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." (9:23)

The bride and groom are 60 years old if they're a day! They have many children and grandchildren together. Some are pictured below. In Mozambique, most young couples cannot afford to get married. The cultural mandates make a wedding financially unattainable.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Party in Heaven!!

Just a quick note to let you all know that you have 6 new brothers and sisters in Christ this week! 6 out of our 18 pre-evangelism/discipleship class members have made decisions to believe in Jesus and receive His gift of grace.

This is in the midst of one of our most personally discouraging and trying weeks ever. He is mighty to save us...our souls and far beyond!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


We started discipleship classes 2 weeks ago in our 2 locations. The interns are teaching the classes and doing a great job. The books are simple and understandable. Last week, our lesson was on "New Birth". The verse we memorized together was John 1:12.

The discussion around "believing and receiving" Jesus went like this:

Artur: "Who here has received Jesus as Savior?"

The class: no hands up except those of our interns and my own. Dead silence

Artur: "It's a simple question; who here has received Jesus?"

The class: 2 tentative hands go up

Arture: "Katia, how do you know you have received Jesus?"

Katia: "Because I have done what the verse said, I believe in Him and I received Him and now I am his child."

Artur: "Manuel, how do you know you have received Jesus"?

Manuel: ""Because I prayed to receive Jesus and invited Him to be my Lord."

Artur: "Mama Ana, have you received Jesus?"

Mama Ana: "NO"

Artur: "Rita, have you received Jesus?"

Rita: (giggling) "No".

Artur: "Have you received Jesus?"

Fabiao:(eyes downcast): "No"

Artur: "Why have you not received Jesus as your Saviour?"

Mama Ana: "Because we don't understand it all yet."

It was that bold; that direct and a really painful interaction for my "oh so non-confrontational" ears to hear. It brought tears to my eyes to hear two twenty-something young people verbalize their faith and to know that, as we continue on, the others WILL understand and come to faith.

Thanks for sending the Schmidt's to Mozambique. The work we are all doing together IS so very important and life-changing.