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A Jon Post

So I live in Angola for now. I’ve started noticing differences in how I live as I move from place to place. You just start seeing things differently. I’m not talking about the big “Oh… I just appreciate things so much more now!!!” kind of ways of seeing things. Everyone likes to talk about those things and I think people aren’t as honest with themselves as they like to pretend when they say them. I really do like to eat good tasting things, I like comfortable couches, I like fast internet, I like nice clothes. Now, I’m willing to live without all of that but to try to convince everyone (including myself) that I really don’t want those things anymore is just a bit disingenuous I think.
No… I’m talking about the funny little ways you start seeing things differently.

  • Spider webs on my ceiling are very good things. They function as a natural mosquito net that catches the bugs that want to enter my house when the lights are on. “Plague” is a good word to describe what it starts to look like if you clean those spider webs out.
  • Snakes are friends around (though not in) the house. They keep the mice and rats away.
  • Soap is really an amazing thing. I can work hard hard hard all day and then run water over myself and rub myself with soap and the emotional, psychological, and physical difference is simply astonishing.
  • Cold drinks are to be savored.
  • People all over the world are really just after the same things. Culture changes how they pursue them but, in the end, we really are desperate, lonely, frightened creatures that long for love, belonging, and to be part of something greater than ourselves.

I wrote the following down earlier this week. I hope, I hope that I can learn from what happened and see Christ in a person sooner than I did in this story.

A man came early this morning. I wasn’t here and I was told he was belligerent, demanding, and even threatening. Being the only male on the property I gathered myself up for a fight and was ready in case he returned. Suddenly a shout came that he was returning. I puffed out my chest, spoke to myself of my strength and walked out to meet him before he could get all the way to the house.
“Good afternoon sir. How are you today?” I ask, trying to slow him down if, indeed, he is on some kind of warpath. I had been told he disagreed with this ministry’s ownership of the land and was ready to fight for a piece of it.

“Good afternoon,” came the reply, “My name is Isaac and I am the son of…” and he began listing his genealogy and where his father, grandfather, uncles, great-uncles are/were/have lived and why they have a right to be where they are. Placing himself in a long, great list of men who are proud to be a part of the land and the country of Angola.
I prepared myself to answer his dispute of the land, but as I listened… I realized my pre-conceived ideas of what he wanted were wrong. He began to tell me of how he is in the military and stationed far from here and before he left he built a small house just OFF of this ministry’s land. Leaving for a few years he has returned just for a week to see family and has found his house destroyed.
“Why” he pleads “have you destroyed my house when I saw your fence, I had permission from the state and I built on my OWN property?”
I am overwhelmed. Seeing from his point of view I nearly begin to weep for him.
”My friend Isaac,” I respond, “I hear you. I am so sorry. If I knew who had destroyed your house I would help you. I too am angry at what has happened. You are right, you are not on our property. If this had happened to me, I too would be angry and seeking to find out why it had happened. I am angry with you my friend. I see you well.”
“Jonathan my friend,” Isaac looked at me with sorrow, “I too am sorry. When I came earlier I thought people were telling me that I had no right to this land. I am sorry that I blamed you for this. I see that we have no problem with each other. My name is Isaac. I live just there,” he says pointing, “and you may ask me for anything you need in that neighborhood.”
“My name is Jonathan. Thank you for speaking with me today.”
A man came today. He looked ready to fight, but he simply wanted to be heard. He simply wanted to be loved.

Here was Christ. Here was a stranger that I am glad I was able to invite in and welcome and love (Matthew 25:35).

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Layne took this short video and gives a brief tour of our house. I heard that there was some interest in seeing the inside of it so here you all go.

We love you all. Thanks for reading this long post.

It’s about time!

A Layne Post

Me here in Menongue

Me here in Menongue

It is hard for me to believe we have only been here two weeks. I feel like I have much to tell you!

We have had to adjust to “life” here, but I feel like we have gotten a good routine down, which makes things easier. Funny how things become “normal” in such a short amount of time.

Our House

Our House

We are living in a small 3 ½ room mud house with a tin roof. Upon arrival we had to clean out the rat poo, cobwebs, and dust. Honestly, I have not felt motivated enough to clean like I will if we come back, but it is much better and I would definitely say “livable”. We have had to chase a few mice and frogs out, and we regularly kill spiders, crickets, caterpillars, and the like. Just last night I had a run in with a snake that had decided to make its way into our doorway; that was probably the most shocking.

We do not have a flushing toilet, and the one we do have is outside, which is not too bad, except when I have to use it in the middle of the night, which happens to be every night. Thankfully, the property we are on does have a lot of water, so showers are sinks are available, but in the large communal missionary house, not ours. We also don’t have an oven, only a few gas burners, so the variety of meals available is small. We run a generator for power for two or three hours at night, but other than that, we don’t have electricity. (I’ll take a moment to praise the Lord for the generator though. Lights a wonderful when it gets so dark, and I even have to ability to blow dry my hair! Amazing!)

It is rainy season, which we expected, but it has also been unusually cool here; sometimes I would even say cold. I have worn my fleeces multiple times and Jon his jacket. We aren’t complaining though, as any relief from the heat and humidity in Mozambique is welcome.

I have been washing the clothes by hand, which I had some fear of, but I am getting used to it. Jon has been working so hard outside that I end up having to scrub his pants inch by inch with a brush. The hardest part is wringing out after washing and then after rinsing; I think my arms are going to be buff! Sometimes I get Jon to help me on the final wringing out. I have figured out that I need to wash every two days; otherwise it is way too much for this back of mine.

Jon welding

Jon welding

Jon has learned to weld and is making us a little bit of furniture for our house. (a shelf, a bed, and a table) What a blessing! It has undoubtedly added to the “homey” feeling. He also has started making a chicken run, cutting and welding poles and planting them in the ground with cement. He works very hard.

We had the opportunity to share at a youth group a couple of weeks ago, and we plan to share our testimonies with them this upcoming week. We’ll split the girls and guys up, which will be fun; I love girls! It is a neat group of older youth (15-18) that we feel we would easily get more involved with. Jon also preached at a church a couple of Sundays ago. He did a great job speaking of the family of Christ, as the believers here, as in all countries we have been to, have welcomed us with open arms.

All of our speaking has been in Portuguese! I am a little amazed. I think our language is improving, and public speaking is forcing us to be comfortable much quicker. There is another tribal language commonly spoken here in Menongue, and we are trying to pick up what we can. So far we have the greetings and ‘thank you’ down.

We also have begun to pursue some ministry in the hospital. We hope to have a meeting in the next week or two in order to get permission to start visiting… we miss our friends in the Maputo hospital and pray for them regularly.

Yesterday we visited the home of an elderly woman that has been sick for five years, having pain in her bones and now a skin problem. She didn’t speak Portuguese, so communication was through her daughters; however, I am quite sure our love, through the love of Christ, was adequately shown. Jon and I encouraged one of the daughters as best we could; it can be difficult to see your mother like that for such along time. We sang and prayed together. At one point the elderly lady invited me to sit on the bed with her. My heart was full. I love being close and physically loving on people, but I also like to be respectful. With the invitation, I hopped up there and placed my hand on her thigh to show my affection. I felt so honored.

As for the future, we continue to wait for a clear answer from the Lord. In many ways we hope this will be it, but we agree that we must have a firm “Yes” or “No” from the Lord. Just last week we were reminded about and felt the need to start fasting. We started on Saturday, and I think we will fast once a week as we seek the plans of the Lord for our lives. We appreciate your prayers as well.

We have felt a bit disconnected without internet, as I am sure you have too; however, I think we should have consistency from now on. Slow, but consistent. Hallelujah! We love you and miss you guys.

Us just after crossing the border

Us just after crossing the border

One More Before the Blackout

A Jon Post

Well, we found a small internet cafe here in Rundu, a border town on the Namibia/Angola border and decided it was a good idea to go ahead and say we are still alive and doing well.

Tomorrow we cross the border into Angola. We first expected to get into Angola about 5 days ago but the people we are traveling with had some unexpected delays. The truck they are driving is having some problems and it’s been in and out of garages trying to get it ready for the punishing Angolan roads.

We’ve had peace and felt good about how we’ve traveled. The travel itself has actually been easier at the slower pace we’ve been going. Instead of 10-15 hour driving days we’ve been going in 3-5 hour days, though tomorrow we expect more like 15-17 hours on the road.

Please pray that I (Jon) am alert and safe for the long drive tomorrow and please pray that Layne stays comfortable and that she has peace for the drive. She’s had some stomach problems and the incredibly bumpy roads would be very hard on her if she still feels bad tomorrow.

Thank you so much Jessica Coffelt, Sarah Romano, Stephanie Prescott, Lassiter Family, Pete and Judy Prescott, and Obidiah Pinner for your help with the equipment we purchased for this trip. I want you all to know that we’ve actually been using it. I am always happy when I get to use stuff like that and we’ve already needed nearly all of it and will unquestionably use the rest as we continue on to Angola.

We are so indebted to you all for your prayer and love.

We continue to live enraptured by the Love of Christ and, as we go where it is less comfortable than before, we are glad to know Christ and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering.

We have made it to Windhoek, Namibia

A Layne Post

We have made it to Windhoek, Namibia. Again, the Lord has blessed us immensely with members of the body of Christ who have been willing to host us along the way, and going above and beyond what we could have imagined. We remain humbled and full of thanks, encouraged to take these next steps into Angola and confident in the provision of our faithful God.

Yesterday we had an 12 hour drive, in which my husband drove like a stud. He amazes me how he can stay so alert; all the while my head is bobbing around trying to be good company for him. A little pathetic, I know but honestly I feel I have no control. =)

Here is a glimpse into our car:

We started the day in Botswana with lots of clouds and even a little rain. You would have thought me ridiculous if you could have seen me… our air conditioner in the car is quite cool and with the cool weather outside, I was freezing. I had to put on socks, drape my pea-coat over my legs, and put on a fleece. I think this warm African weather has ruined me!

Early afternoon the sun emerged, bringing with it the normal heat, as I shed my layers. I wish you could have been in the car with me. For hours our drive in Botswana was lined with beautiful yellow wild flowers on either side of the road. Swarming above were thousands upon thousands of white and light blue butterflies. Beautiful! ( *clear my throat* We won’t talk of the ones that were plastered to the front of our vehicle.)

Ah! And the birds! I love the birds of Botswana. Especially the lilac breasted roller, which I have yet to spot since being back… until yesterday. I have become an expert at scanning the trees, knowing where to look, and finding the little bright colored beauties. For I while I would tell Jon every time I spotted one, but eventually, for his sake, I stopped.

Also, along the way, we watched patches of rain move across the African sky. I kept hoping we would pass through, but they kept missing us! Finally, just a few minutes after crossing the Namibian border, we went through head on. The rain drops were so large and falling so hard. It was glorious! Huge streaks of lightening danced in the distance, and stray beams of sunlight would force their way through the dominating darkness.

Again, I was humbled, this time at the grandness of our God and the privilege for us to be here on the mysterious continent.

Tomorrow we leave for Angola. We will not actually cross into Angola for a couple of days, as we have a few stops along the way. We anticipate being without internet for a time. Worst case would be about one month, though we will desperately look for options. It is a priority for us to remain connected to you, and we will connect as soon as possible. We are excited to report on Menongue and show you pictures of “the promised land”. ;)

Thank you for your ongoing love and support. Thanks for rising to help us with our needs getting into Angola. We love you, we love you!

Ways you can help

Well we’re getting ready to start our journey to Angola and with that journey comes quite a few supplies.  Because we are preparing to live out of a tent for at least 1 month and live without most basic cooking/living things for the other two months, we went out and made some purchases to try to give ourselves the best shot at success we could get. We realize that we are stewards of the support so many of you give us, so we did our best to go bargain hunting and keep these supplies as affordable as possible (for example, we bought sheets that are 50% polyester, 50% cotton… really? Polyester sheets? OOOk… they’re the cheapest we can find)

We decided we would ask for help with this, since these purchases put us over our normal monthly budget. I know many of you who read this blog already support us financially and, honestly, this request is not aimed at you. I also know that many who read this blog have considered supporting us financially, yet have not made the decision on how much/how often you would like to give. If that is you, we are asking you to consider helping us with these supplies. We’ve added pictures of the things we’ve purchased, and we would ask you to consider “sponsoring” or buying something with us. Can you do that? Would you help us in this way? Below we’ve listed different items and their prices.

Tarp and Ropes
Tarp and Ropes – $32 – SPONSORED! THANK YOU JESSICA!

Water Can and Water Bottles
Water Can and Water Bottles – $42 – SPONSORED! THANK YOU OBIDIAH PINNER! 

Mosquito Net and Repellent
Mosquito Net and Repellent – $59- SPONSORED! THANK YOU STEPHANIE!

Mattress and Pump
Mattress and Pump – $42- SPONSORED! THANK YOU SARAH!

Recovery Spade, Hatchet, Mallet
Recovery Spade, Hatchet, Mallet – $57- SPONSORED! THANK YOU STEPHANIE!

Chairs
Chairs – $80

Bedding
Bedding – $63

Cooler
Cooler – $120 – SPONSORED! THANK YOU STEPHANIE!

Tent/Home
Tent/Home – $740- SPONSORED! THANK YOU LASSITER FAMILY! THANK YOU PRESCOTT FAMILY!

Yes we realize that some of these things are very expensive. The cooler, for example, can be bought at Wal-mart in the USA for just $36. Unfortunately, here in Africa things like that are pretty expensive. (probably because they’re shipped from America!) The tent is quite expensive as well, however it is made of highly durable canvas, incredibly strong zippers and is one of those things that you buy knowing that this will last as long as you will.

Here is the process to help us with all of this.
Check the comments on this post to see what has already been sponsored. If what you’d like to sponsor is not mentioned, leave a comment telling us what you would like to give. This will prevent overlapping and extra money coming in. You can even sponsor part of an item (such as “$30 towards the cooler” or “$50 towards the tent”).

You have two ways you can get us the money:
1)  Make a check to “Voices Of The World” and send it to

Voices Of The World
20595 S. 187th Way
Queen Creek, AZ  85142

2) Click on the “Support Us” tab at the top of this page and make a one time donation via Paypal for the amount you would like to give.

All checks or paypal donations to Voices Of The World are tax-deductible.

Thank you to all of our regular supporters. With your faithful support we were able to purchase all of these items in advance. We could not be here without all of you, and we know that well. Your love, your prayers, your encouragement, your support keep us here. We do love you all.