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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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




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.

When Service is a Struggle

A Layne Post

I love what we do. I am a people person.

I love the people that have come into our lives and stolen our hearts.

I love the diversity we have seen over the years.

I love the ones with whom we had that instantaneous connection. Ones we liked from our first introduction.

I love the ones that grew on me as the weeks went on, that slowly opened up to trust and let us in.

But there are some others… let’s be real. When you are in people ministry there are always going to be a few that are difficult. We are not exempt in our compassion ministry. We talk a lot about loving people well and about serving, even sometimes about overcoming challenges, like wounds, but we haven’t talked much about the people that have come through that have made us want to scream, made us want to kick them out, or perhaps have made me want to throw a food item at their head. (Note: I did refrain. No food was thrown.)

Serving people can be HARD. And keeping a humble heart and forgiving 70×7 times can be exhausting. Finding the all too blurry line between generosity and tough love can be confusing. Attempting to facilitate peace in a community of the sick while feeling undermined by a poisonous drip of constant negativity from within… that’s hard. We aren’t that good at it.

And even when we want Jesus to meet that person and change their heart, when we want to love extravagantly and see freedom and healing come to a soul; it isn’t something we can force. We can pray for the Holy Spirit to draw, daily forgiving and serving.

We are currently in a season like this, and we aren’t perfect, and we don’t always love extravagantly. Sometimes it is easier to avoid a person than to humble myself, go out of my way, and ask them about their day and their family. Some days it is easier to just come home rather than purposely stop and get their favorite soda to bring home as a treat.

I know, however, the Lord can work in our souls during these seasons and even when we don’t see change in a person, we never know what seeds are being planted. And so we trust Him, and we continue serving, even when it feels like struggle.

Would you pray for us as we try to lead Casa Ahavá over the next couple months?

Thanks so much. We love you and cherish your support.


I am a Son of God

A Jon Post

Luis, father of 4 sits in my back yard reading a paperback New Testament. My children laugh, play, fight and scream nearby, all at once asking for independence and constant attention. My wife stands in the kitchen preparing a meal for our hungry children and her goofy, bearded husband. I’m sitting with my back against Casa Ahavá’s wall next to Luis, watching my daughters bounce from dog to toy to treehouse to slide to ground.



“What have you been reading in there, Luis?” I ask, trying to be as respectful as possible.

And a conversation centered around a scripture in the Epistle of First John begins.

The afternoon draws on, the mosquitos come out, the dusk draws the curtains of sunlight down and my kids have been called into the kitchen where my wife has finished dinner prep. God’s gift of abundant grace enables her to recognize the import and urgency of the moment and she selflessly gathers all four children to the dinner table, leaving Luis and me to watch the sun’s droopy eyes close over another day as we talk about the right to be called God’s children, not just His creation.

“What do you think it takes to be called God’s son, Luis?” I ask.

“I don’t know, Jon.”

So we talk more, the sun finally falls asleep and the stars wake up and still we talk.

Then a whispered prayer, an urgent voice, and a resounding chorus of angels rejoice as Luis and I look at each other. “You have the right to be called a son of God now, Luis.”

“Yes, brother Jon.” He replies, “Yes, I am God’s son now.”

Luis had a tumor pressing on his esophagus at the beginning of the year. He noticed the discomfort, went to a provincial hospital, had an x-ray, and a surgeon scheduled him for a surgery that was never explained to him nor was he asked if he’d like to proceed. He trusted the fledgling health system here in Mozambique and went under the knife.

4 months later I found myself sitting with the head oncologist who looked at Luis’ patient history and a current x-ray of his esophagus. The tumor, barely touched in the surgery, had grown and closed a badly mangled esophagus that had been stretched to (needlessly) bypass his stomach. In every sense of the phrase except literal, Luis had been butchered.

“This cannot be fixed, Jon”, said the oncologist. “We can only give so many chemotherapy treatments, but we can’t fix this.” He gestured in futility at the patient file on his desk.

Some weeks later, Luis and I talked about his prognosis. We used some awful words;





And we used some wonderful ones;







Now Luis lives with a tube inserted into his upper intestine where he injects liquefied food with a large syringe in order to stay alive. He cannot swallow, he cannot go anywhere without a small tupperware container to put his saliva in, he never tastes food.

And I’ve never seen him go for 10 minutes without smiling.

You… Yes you, supporter/prayer-partner/curious reader… You would be so proud to see the way Luis cares for his roommate who is blind in one eye and in consistent pain. He cooks for him, cleans the room alone, holds his hand to walk him across a dangerous road, gently and graciously teaches him the game of checkers, and never once complains about his own pain or discomfort.

You… yes YOU, reading this right now… If you consider yourself a child of God… you can be extremely proud of your brother, Luis. He will probably make it home to his Father before you do, and you will probably not meet him until you get there too…

But be proud of your brother, Luis.

Sons of God

Sons of God

He Chose Love

A Layne Post

My stomach turned, my lip curled. It was involuntary, but guilt washed over me like a flood. I felt unloving. I took a big breath through my mouth, careful not to let air in through my nose. I poured lots of detergent and carefully poured the clothes into the washer making sure nothing touched my hands.



Wounds stink. It isn’t something someone can control. Baths don’t help. It comes with advanced cancer, cancer like many have probably never seen. We change and clean bandages. But the fact is we don’t have access to nice charcoal bandages that can help with the stench; they are expensive and not practical. And so we have learned to breathe through our mouths, and when the person is near, we are careful to control our facial muscles, willing them to stay steady and not move, in an effort to honor the person and discredit the wound, in an effort to love.

The washing machine played its little chime from the veranda. The laundry was done.

I carefully lifted a shirt and with trepidation I sniffed. The smell was gone, washed away by streams of cleansing water. Into the dryer they went. An hour later I pulled clean fresh clothes out, carefully folded them and walk out back.

Gratefulness. I was greeted by a man physically suffering beyond what most of us will ever know. He with all humility, not weakness mind you, but humility, offered thanks for my small gesture.

Sometimes loving comes easy. But then there are other times that loving is a choice. Sometimes it is a matter of taking a deep breath, moving forward and serving, even when everything in your body tells you to back up.

I wonder if the Lord felt the same way. Our sins like gaping cancerous wounds attached to our bodies destined to die. Perhaps His lip curled as He took a deep breath through His mouth and stepped towards us, being birthed onto this earth, choosing to move forward in deep love, honoring the persons and not the wounds. And then as the blood of Christ fell like a flood spilt upon the ground, our stench was washed away.

Will we, too, respond in humble gratefulness, aware of the stench our sins put off? Have we been washed in the blood? Maybe, though our bodies were born with stench of our sin, we can offer incense and be called His?

He stepped toward us. He chose love.

The First to Cry

A Jon Post

We’d just gone to the beach… just spent a day together as a family laughing and dipping our toes into the cool waters of the Indian Ocean as it lapped gently against Maputo’s shoreline… just driven through Maputo’s “downtown” area, smiling and marveling at the engineering and architecture that went into creating the bustling city.

Monday was a good day.

That night Maria walked into our kitchen.

“Can I come in?” She called.

“Don’t ask me that!” I joked over my shoulder from the stove, “Just come in! It’s your house! You can’t ask if you’re allowed into your own kitchen!”

“I just received a phone call.” She told me.

I could hear the concern in her voice…. hear the pain behind the unspoken words left off the end of that sentence. I stopped what I was doing and looked at her. I could see the tears brimming in her eyes, the sorrow disfiguring her face like a hurricane ripping through a city.

“My husband was walking home from work and was hit by a car.”

I held my tongue. My American tendency to draw out all relevant information with a flurry of questions stilled and I held her hand and waited for her to continue at her own pace.

“He didn’t come home last night and my brother found him in the hospital this afternoon.”

A small relief. He is still alive.

“He wants to talk to you.”

I looked at her outstretched arm and the phone nestled in her quivering hand. The Southern African reliance on community in tragedy is a weighty thing. When there is bad news to be shared, often times it is shared around those most profoundly affected, especially when the news is shared over the phone. This is a good practice when emotional and spiritual support is vital. It was humbling and honoring to be asked to be a part of this for Maria, so recently a member of Casa Ahavá.
I accepted the phone and held a brief conversation with Maria’s older brother. Her husband is alive and conscious, but is in critical condition after being hit by a car from behind and sustaining deep road burns on his face and arms. His back and is in a lot of pain and the doctor suspects a cracked pelvis.

I looked at Maria. She sat on our kitchen bench looking at me, waiting to hear what I had to say. I assured her brother on the phone that I would get Maria to her children and husband as quickly as possible and we ended the call.

Layne had heard the commotion and we all sat together in our little kitchen. I explained to Maria what her brother had shared with me about her husband and assured her that, from the sounds of it, her husband should recover.

And we prayed. All of us held hands and I sat on my tile floor and we prayed. Maria on my couch, battling leukemia 1200 kilometers from her children whose daddy lay in a hospital bed in pain.

We pray still.

This Friday, Maria will have another consult with her doctor and, as long as her body is responding well to her latest medication, we will put her on a bus that night and send her to her suffering family.

I saw a movie last night that detailed part of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. At one point in the movie Dr. King looks at a grieving parent, lost in the throes of agony. “There are no words” Dr. King says through tears to this weeping parent. “But one thing I do know for certain,” he said,

“God was the first to cry”

God was the first to cry for Maria when her body betrayed her to leukemia.

God was the first to cry when her husband lay on a dark road, covered in blood and dirt.

And God was the first to cry when Maria’s children spent the night alone, both father and mother in need of Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who Heals.

So we cry with our Lord.



Our Lord who comforts His beloved. Our Lord who speaks tenderly to His dove who hides in desert and mountainside.