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News Around Here

A Layne Post

If you guys went to visit our last blog post, you noticed the new look to our website. You may or may not have noticed all the new features, so I am going to highlight a couple for you. The main changes are under the “Pray” section. There are five options. Our hope is that you will be able to feel more connected as a team member and be able to pray more effectively for our project and our patients. Under the option “Pray for a Patient” we will weekly highlight a specific patient and their current needs, sometime even past patients that we remain connected with in their homes. Under the option “Pray for Our Family” we will post personal prayer needs for Jon and me and the girls. Under the option “Pray for Casa Ahavá” we will keep updated which patients are living with us, their needs, and needs within their little community. There is also an option “Ask Us to Pray for You”. We hope you’ll take advantage of this one. It is an opportunity for us to stay connected with YOU and your life and needs. It is an honor for us to be a part in such a way. The last option is super cool. it is the “30 Day Prayer Guide”. It is a static guide that doesn’t change, but gives you daily focus points to pray along side us. So, look around! Take part!

We also have some huge news! We have been wading through the process of getting our building permit here. For various, very normal reasons, things were moving slow. The paper process is just a slow one here and we knew that going into this. The Lord had really brought peace to our hearts, Our Projectknowing He had perfect timing for the expansion of Casa Ahavá. Then out of nowhere, God connected Jon with the right people at the municipality and things began to move. When I say move, I mean fly! One specific engineer liked the vision of the project, took it under her wing, and personally made it her mission to get us to where we are today – our project and all it’s plans (topographical plans, architectural and structural plans, building estimate, etc) are officially submitted and awaiting our permit. We have been warned this process could take from two weeks to one year. But do you know what? The connection God made… is one of the two people who approve the project for building. She said our permit will be out this week! Our contractor is ready to start Monday! In reality, it may take a few more days, but it is absolutely amazing! To God be the glory. The project is estimated to finish in 8 months. Please pray with us that Gods hand remains on every step. These time frames are, of course, not guarantees, but we hope and pray that they are realities.

Future BedsIn other news, our family is making a quick trip to South Africa this weekend to gather supplies for Casa Ahavá to officially reopen next week and to spend some time with dear friends to refresh our souls and prepare for the busy exciting season ahead. We are making some changes around Casa Ahavá, too. We are getting rid of our queen and double mattresses and getting all twins, creating space for 6 patients. Jon is busy this week making the 6 bed frames and drawers that will come with us to the new house. It is a small increase, from 4 to 6, but will give us a little glimpse into life serving more. Pray with us about which patients will come to live with us, as there are more than we can house waiting at the hospital.

Casa Ahavá VanAnd while everything is changing, so are our vehicles! We found out a bit before going to the States that the van we had been driving required a special license; it is twelve passenger van. We were initially told otherwise, but alas, it is true, our licenses do not cover above 9 passengers. We bought the van before we knew we were expanding with the idea that we could fit our entire family plus patients. With the expansion, however, this just isn’t possible. So, after talking with the Voices of the World board, we decided we should downsize and then buy a 3rd vehicle, one specifically for Casa Ahavá. We were able to buy locally a van equipped with a handicap chair, which will be awesome for our project. We are also in the process of ordering a family van and importing from Japan. We hope to be able to sell the twelves passenger van for near the same price of the two new vans put together. God is good!

Our hearts are anxious and ready for the next phase. Our girls are ready for new Tias and Tios (Aunties and Uncles) to join us. Anaya has been drawing up her own house plans, which always includes space for our patients. I love that they get to be a part of this with us!

Anaya    Jovie

Karasi  Selah

 

 

 

 

Starting Over

A Jon Post

Starting

Starting

Part of my job is starting things.

I’ve started a ministry. I’ve started a family. I’ve started a home for cancer patients. I’ve started mountains of paperwork. I’ve started a non-profit in Mozambique. I’ve started a 16 hour plane ride with 4 children. I’ve started a set of shelves for my living room. I’ve started reading a book.

Part of my job is seeing things to an end.

Starting AgainI’ve seen that book to an end. I’ve seen my baby-making days to an end. I’ve seen airplane rides come to an end. I’ve seen treatment for cancer come to an end. I’ve seen lives of those cancer patients come to an end.

Now I’m back home after 3 months in the USA and it’s time to start something again.

When we went on the first of our many plane rides back in March, I had to see the doors of Casa Ahavá close because we had no one to care for the patients while we were gone.

Now we’re home and ready to start again.

We have a half an acre. We have building plans. We have the resources to build Casa Ahavá anew and be a home to 12 instead of just 4. We are just waiting on Mozambique and her municipal leaders to give us the green light and we will put shovels in the ground.

We are ready.

Casa AhavaUntil then, we keep serving our King. Until then we are a home to the 4 we can fit.

This is the Kingdom of God at work. This is the Body of Christ intent on being unified across oceans. This is my job as part of that glorious bride.

What an honor.

Heart Change

A Layne Post

I am sorry for our lack of writing. This morning I actually feel like I have time. One of my children gave an early wake up call by wetting the bed, so it is 5:55am and let’s just say, I’ve flat ironed my hair, done the dishes, had my coffee… I’ve been up awhile. And I sit here on my couch with only the hum of my air conditioner (Because it is hot y’all. At 5:55am.), and I am reflecting on the goodness of God  in the midst of suffering, and His desire for me to love those around me out of brokenness and humility. I am thinking about the changing of heart He’s been working in me, the warming of a heart that had become a little cold.

Last week one of our patient’s 5 year old daughter died, about one month after her mother died. Then our dog of 5+ years died. Then some stomach pains that have been an issue for me decided to give me problems. Then one of our patients had to start taking an opioid for pain after being pain free for months, this was one day after Jon and I were talking together and praising the Lord for the miracle He’d been doing in him. Then we got news that our patient, who was home to bury her daughter, had come down with vomiting and diarrhea and was in the hospital herself and would miss her next round of Chemo. One of our challenging patients, who had gone home for a period, came back to perform some tests and will stay with us awhile. This week we had some surprising complications with paperwork.

Last week I cried a lot. I felt beat down. Tired. Empty.

But I was not crushed.

2 Corinthians 4: 7-12

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned;struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.  So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

There is a beautiful mystery of this walk with God, that when you stop fighting death and pain, then life sneaks in. The life of Jesus.

My devotional book “Humility and Absolute Surrender” by Andrew Murray has been saying things like, “Where the spirit of love is shed abroad in the heart, where divine nature comes to a full birth, where Christ, the meek and lowly Lamb of God, is truly formed within, there is given the power of a perfect love that forget itself and finds its blessedness in blessing others, in bearing with them and honoring them, however feeble they may be. Where love enters, there God enters.”

And so in my emptiness, Jesus came in and love began to stir up, a desire to bless again. Bless with my heart and not just my actions.

Please pray for us, as our hearts and emotions are easily wearied. Pray for us to know the love of God ourselves, so we can most effectively minister it to others. We so appreciate your support.

Merry Christmas!

A Layne Post

Merry Christmas from Mozambique

Merry Christmas from Mozambique!

I had great plans of getting a card in the mail, but something about the addition of a fourth baby has made my life, well, a bit less organized. We did manage to take a couple photos, which made me feel accomplished. This year you can print them out and maybe next year I’ll print it for you! ;)

IMAG1437

We also stumbled into tradition six years ago, even before we had children, of visiting our friends at the hospital who are unfortunate enough to have to spend Christmas day in Oncology. We take a simple mango and soft drink (Coke, Sprite and Fanta) and hand it out with a smile. It isn’t super spiritual. It isn’t super grand. It is just remembering those who are less fortunate than us and it is an effort to let them know they aren’t forgotten.

Since having children it has been a cool opportunity for my girls, and they are really able to get into it, as it requires only a simple “Feliz Natal!” and a handing over of a small gift. The patients adore their precious faces… and I do too!

 

As I reflect on 2015 and look towards 2016, I am filled with gratitude and excitement. Jon is still my partner in adventure and love of my life. He brings stability to my crazy. We added our fourth child, Selah, who is our last natural-born. What a delight she is! Our babies are growing into beautiful individualistic girls and I am head-over-heels for each one. We established Voices of the World Mozambique as a Non-Government-Organization here. We purchased property to build and expand our project from 4 patients to 12. Praise the Lord!

Thanks for joining us in this journey and holding us up in the special ways each of you do. We are so happy we aren’t alone in this.

May we each impart some peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Broken to be Given

A Jon Post

Where did we go? We used to post far more often here. We used to update anyone who happened across this little blog on an almost weekly basis about our lives and the ministry Christ placed us in, here in Maputo.

So what happened? Why the extended times between posts? Why so little substance in the recent posts?

It turns out we are still broken. We are struggling to learn how to do this. We still find ourselves approaching the end of most of our days clawing towards a fitful rest, wondering if we have the strength to do this again tomorrow. We are not trained doctors, nurses, psychologists, or counselors. We’re just a family trying to offer a home to those without one. We’re just a family trying to offer love and comfort to many who lack both.

It’s tough some times.

About 2 months ago, one of our patients died in my arms.

Broken.

Her metastatic throat cancer sent its dark tendrils into her lungs and pulled her breath from her body. Dear Momma Berta held me close, told me goodbye, and slipped home.

 

About 2 months ago Papa Gary and Ms. Janet in Texas, gave deeply from the bit the Lord trusted them with, and funded the purchasing of more than a half acre of land and the construction of a new home for Casa Ahavá.

Given.

We’ve begun the process to design and build Casa Ahavá from the ground up as a temple to Christ and a home for the sick and dying.

 

About 2 months ago, one of our patients writhed in pain as his tumor pressed sharply on sensitive nerves in his head and eye.

Broken.

He spent a week barely conscious, calling out for his mother and grandmother, terrified of a painful death.

 

Layne and I spent that week trading shifts with him making sure that one of us was with him 24 hours per day.

Given.

We slept in the room with him, administered morphine, sang worship songs over him, read scripture to him, and prayed deeply to a Merciful God that there would be peace. In His overwhelming mercy, the Lord brought him back from his pain and today, he is talking of visiting his family over Christmas/New Year then returning to continue his treatment.

 

About 5 months ago, we welcomed a patient to Casa Ahavá whose brokenness in her family begat bitterness in her heart and who lives now with a physical cancer to match the emotional one that cripples her spirit.

Broken.

Despite our frail attempts to love her and offer her a home and a family, she often spurns love and chooses loneliness and heartache.

 

Now she approaches the end of her treatment and time at Casa Ahavá and our hope to see Christ’s redemption transform her heart is sinfully weak. In our own brokenness we find it’s easier to choose anger rather than forgiveness, to choose indifference rather than love, to choose clean detachment rather than messy engagement.

Broken.

We are still struggling to learn how to do all of this.

 

Smiles

Smiles

I wish I could say that we are wonderful missionaries representing Christ perfectly to all those with whom we meet, offering only love and bright eyes to the broken and downtrodden.
But I can’t.
In our own brokenness we forget our Great King and choose selfishness over others.
But a great teacher and pastor once wrote that here, in the life of the Beloved, we are broken in order to be given. Our lives and our deaths are the greatest gifts we have to offer, even though both come through a great deal of brokenness.

Just as our Savior took bread…
Broke it.
And Gave it.

So we can choose to be a gift even as we are broken.
That’s what we’re trying to do. That’s what we’re trying to learn as we wipe fevered brows, hold writhing hands, soothe wounded hearts, and smile tired smiles.