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Trip to Beira Part 1 – Family as Mission

A Layne Post

Because the story of our Beira trip is long and we feel it is important to tell it in completion, we’ve decided to do a 3-part blog. Stayed tuned every couple days for the next two segments!

Since our first trip to Beira (the capitol of Sofala province about 16 hours north of us when traveled by road, and where most of our patients are from) in December-January of 2012-13, we have longed to go back. It was our desire to make it an annual Heller family trip, as it was a highlight of our ministry and time in Mozambique, following up with patients we had grown to love. 2014, however, did not happen due to the instability of the country during elections and fighting along the only road up north.

But we did not forget.

We settled in our hearts that a trip would be priority for 2015. With a new baby to consider, planning was going to be tricky, but we felt confident it could happen. I wanted Selah to be at least 6 weeks old, so that I would feel comfortable with people holding her and getting to know her, and I wanted her to be young enough to still sleep often during the long car ride. So it was settled – mid-May.

We also knew with 4 kiddos 4 and under the 16 hour drive would need to be broken up. We decided to go more or less half way and spend two nights on the beach, letting the girls frolic and stretch for one whole day, and then continue the rest of the way to Beira. We would do the same on the way home.

In a country where planning ahead is somewhat foreign, we began calling our patients and friends about a week in advance letting them know we were coming and that we would like to see them. We were pretty bummed that Inês had lost her phone a long time ago and we had no contact with her. Sara’s phone also hadn’t worked in months. Even Campande was not answering his phone. This meant there were 3 former Casa Ahavá patients we didn’t know if we would be able to visit. Still, we had people we wanted to see. Regina’s health had taken a turn for the worse and she had been admitted to the hospital, but had a desire to meet Selah. That, in our hearts, was enough to make the trip. Also, Jon needed to do some leg work in person for Benjamin’s house, which had frustratingly come to a standstill.

So we made check lists, piles of supplies and loaded up the van as a family of 6.

Off to Beira.

The drive to a little beach town called Vilanculos, our half-way point, went fabulous. Anaya threw up once, but showed no other signs of ill effect, so we figured it was car sickness. Overall the girls all did better than I could have imagined. The next day they so enjoyed the beach. Anaya kept telling me, “Mama! Jovie and I are having so much fun!”

We felt nice and refreshed ready to make the second push and get to Beira. Again, the girls astounded me. They traveled so well!

The last 120km of the drive is full of pot holes, which had Jon and I wincing and the girls giggling. As we pulled into the guesthouse parking lot, Jon noticed the telltale signs of tire trouble and stuck is head out the window. Flat tire. What grace of God that it had only gone flat then! No changing tires on the side of the road. Hallelujah.

So the girls and I settled in, while Jon put on the spare. As he did, he noticed the other rear tire had considerable damage and it was a miracle that it hadn’t gone flat yet. He called a friend, who recommended some to-go pizzas just up the road from us, and we agreed it sounded good. Jon, Anaya, and Jovie went to get dinner, while Karasi, Selah and I enjoyed some rest and Dora the Expolorer. The girls ate tons and then giggled themselves to sleep in our new “camp house”.

The next morning we were awoken to Jovie thowing up. She was slightly warm, but not hot. We figured it was probably the pizza. We needed to get to a grocery store and have a friend peek at our tires to point us in the right direction for replacements. In the store, Jovie said her tummy hurt. We quickly let our friend look at the tires and headed back to the room to let the girls rest up. Jon got on the phone and started scheduling our days.

Regina was in ICU and asking to see us. Visiting hours were at 1pm. We agreed Jovie wasn’t quite herself, but seemed up for a short visit, and we’d keep her at a distance. We did know it was going to be a challenge to get the girls inside, but Jon has persuasive lips and usually is surrounded with much favor, thanks be to God.

Sure enough he convinced the head nurse to let us bring the girls in one by one and hold them up to the window right next to Regina. So while we would not be able to do a proper visit, Regina would get to see all the girls and most importantly in our hearts, Selah.

I quickly headed in. Selah was awake and happy, which was such a blessing. I held her to the window as Regina waved and I blew kisses. It was a moment I won’t forget, knowing it would be her last time to see my children. Some staff started hollering about a baby being in the ward and a nurse tried to explain our permissions, and I sneaked out. Jon took Karasi in quick and then came a grabbed Jovie. He took a long time, and I knew something was wrong. When he eventually emerged, with tears in his eyes, he said we had to leave and Anaya would not be able to go in. The nurse who had given permission had left and the new staff would not have it.

As gently as possible, we tried to explain to Anaya that we weren’t going to be able to take her in to wave at Tia Regina, even though all her sisters got to go in. I could tell by her face she was bothered, but in her soft 4-year old voice, she whispered, “I’m glad the other girls got to go in.” I choked back tears as I hugged her tight and told her how proud I was of her.

Jovie didn’t throw up for the rest of the day and played nicely on the playground outside our room. That night Anaya and Jovie started with some mucus-y coughs, but nothing alarming, just unfortunate colds. We decided to make it a down day for the girls to hopefully recover as we tried to balance mandated down time with letting them play.

IMAG1026Jon went to get the tires replaced and took a picture of the tire that HADN’T gone flat. It was a miracle we did not have 2 flats on the road! The Lord had been carefully watching over us.

I went at 1 pm to visit and sit with Regina on my own. I got to show her a video of Selah playing. It was a sweet time, though I heard the discouragement in her voice as she told me God had forgotten her. I assured her this was not the case. We prayed and before I left she was again telling me Jesus was there beside her.

That evening Jon was able to meet with a new contractor for Benjamin’s house and felt good about proceeding throughout the week to make things final. What a relief. Benjamin and his family are in desperate need of a place to call their own.

Selah started with some congestion that evening, but no fever. We kept her propped up or held upright through the night to ease her discomfort. Anaya and Jovie continued with a mild cold, feeling tired sometimes and playing other times.

If you made it this far, congratulations on finishing Part 1 of this epic. I know it’s hard to give this much time to something on the Internet so I’m really glad you made it through. Rather than force you to keep reading we will let you rest for the next two days and put Part 2 up on Friday. I hope you have the time to come back and read about how God continued to use our family to His purposes and how He kept teaching us about trusting Him and His hands around us.


Selah Janelle

A Jon Post



Don’t tarry my daughter, don’t tarry.

You are the one we’ve wanted! You are the one we’ve waited for! You are our family’s completion and the reflection of the grace of God!

I’ve waited in this room before. I’ve held her sweating hand, eel-writhing in pain, before. I’ve wondered at the sin-curse, the soul-creation, the bloodwaterfire, lifegift of this miracle.

I’ve seen her closed eyes, her whispered prayers, her steelrope tight muscles.

Don’t tarry my daughter, don’t tarry.

Bursting forth like drum beats in the mountains

Called to the now in thunderous echoes of pain and passion

Waterfalls of agony and wonder, chaotic emotions like spider webs, silken, gorgeous and terrifying.

Don’t tarry my daughter, don’t tarry!

Yelling out her solo hymn of laborpain, my beloved heaves the weight and the urge to stop back at the liar who tells her she hasn’t the strength.

Aweful, awesome, my eyes deadlocked on the miracle of selfgiving displayed in blood and trust before me in a hospital labor and delivery room.



Now, screaming down this mountain with no brakes, ripping through the waves of anguish, my beloved holds her head high and gives her body to her daughter.




Stop… stop… reflect on this.


God, has been gracious.

March 27, 2015



Heller Family Update

A Layne Post

It has been awhile. I am sorry! We are doing well and mainly in prep mode for our sweet baby #4, Selah, who is scheduled to make her appearance on Friday, if she does not come on her own before. This pregnancy in general has been more difficult on my body; however, the Lord, as always, has been faithful. I currently feel in good health – back, hip, neck, etc. Praise the Lord! I also have an amazing husband, who has supported and served me so well; I could not do this without him. I am forever thankful.

Please pray with us on Friday for a healthy labor and delivery. I am feeling less confident going into this labor… maybe it is because I know too well what is coming, and I dread the pain. Pray for peace and strength of mind. Yesterday afternoon Jon and I were talking and I told him, “I have to just go into a certain mode, a ‘let’s get this done’ mode, and I am just not there yet.” I have a few more days!

I would also appreciate prayers for a smooth transition for Anaya, Jovie, and Karasi. Karasi is definitely used to her role as the baby, and I worry it will be hard on her. As for the big girls, it is just hard for Mama to be distracted so often.

My parents will arrive on April 5th for 10 days to support us and love on our littles. How awesome is that? We are so excited!

We decided, with the support of the Voices of the World board, to temporarily close down the Casa Ahavá portion of our ministry while our family eases into being a family of 6. It is a sort of maternity leave for me, as having people live in my backyard just comes with a certain responsibility. The patients we had living with us finished their treatments and went home to their families. With glad hearts, we sent Gilda home with a clean bill of health. Regina, on the other hand, was not responding to her treatment as we hoped. All involved in her treatment came to the conclusion that she should return home to spend her last days with her family. Pray for her in the coming days. Because her cancer moved to her lungs, she struggles with coughing, and as a result sleeping.

Jon will continue visiting at the hospital and getting to know prospects to move in shortly. Anaya asked me the other day, “Who is moving in now?” I explained to her that we are going to wait for baby Selah to come first, we’ll get used to living with a little baby, then we’ll have more people come. She nodded and said, “We’ll go get them at the hospital.” I love that my kids are part of ministry with us. It is an empty feeling out back and there is a bit of a sinking feeling peering out the window first thing in the morning and not seeing patients, but we do feel confident that this is the right decision for the next month or so.

And one more thing to pray for – Benjamin’s house! We have run into a little hiccup that Jon and the construction company are trying to work out. A couple miles from where Benjamin’s property is, there is a newly built railway that passes and cuts off the access road. They have yet to build up bridge for cars to drive over, so getting materials to the site is a challenge. Pray for quick and affordable options!

We love you guys and are so grateful for you support.


A Jon Post

Last week the generosity of the Kingdom of God and its King was on full display.

Sunday, the 1st, I flew to the town Benjamin and his family live in. It’s only a 1 hour flight but it’s about a 14 hour drive and it would cost more in fuel to drive than the ticket on the airplane so I flew.

It started with the kindness of our friends Wayne and Tracey Greenwood organizing a place to stay and a vehicle I could use while I was there, all at no cost. I had planned to stay in as cheap a place as possible and use public transport but was able to stay in a house with a wonderful family and use a vehicle for the entire 5 days I was there.

Mozambique is notoriously difficult to get things like buildings/houses built so I had a tough task before me. I had 5 days to scout the building site, coordinate with SOMEONE/ANYONE about building a house and work out all the details (materials, payment, land permissions, etc.) that needed to be settled before a brick can be laid. Not a small assignment.

On a whim, the day before I left, Layne reached out on a local Facebook page, asking for contacts or references for a good construction company in the area. A local businessman’s wife saw the plea and forwarded us her husband’s phone number the next day. I called him up. He agreed to a meeting the morning I called and, over a cup of coffee, I explained what we wanted to do. His company does not do cheap work. As I showed him what I had hoped to build for Benjamin’s family, and told him our budget he grimaced and explained that it wasn’t even a third of what he would usually charge to build something like that.
Once again, the generosity of our King is immense.
He probed more into what we do and why, we agreed that we could reduce the size a bit but even with these changes, we didn’t have the money to do it. A couple minutes later… he looked at me, confirmed our budget one more time and said, “Jon, we’ll build it for you.” And that was that. For less than half of what he would usually ask, he promised to build a home for Benjamin and his family.

I spent the rest of the week going to Benjamin’s little rented house (a single room about two meters by two meters) and visiting with his family, going over details of the build, walking to the building site, (it’s about 2 kilometers from the end of a drivable road), and visiting with other former Casa Ahavá patients or their families.

Our King’s generosity is a stunning thing.

Thank you, to everyone who contributed to this. We will hope to be posting pictures as things develop; we hope that’s very soon.





Zacarias' Widow Teresa and Two of Her Children

Zacarias’ Widow Teresa and Two of Her Children

UPDATED: ***All Funds Raised*** There Are Things We Don’t Know How to Say

A Jon Post

There are some things that I love to share, some things I love to show, some things I love to enjoy with others;
My wife’s spirit
My daughters’ laughter
My Christ and His power
A cold crisp morning and the sun rising above the mountains
Casa Ahavá’s patients voices and stories and laughter
The deep truths that come from sharing in those voices, stories and laughter

And there are some things I don’t know how to say. There are some things I dread sharing, things I put off or delay the telling of, things I know no creative way to chronicle;
Zakarias died two weeks ago
Benjamin went home today to die





I don’t have an inspired way to narrate my feelings or how those events affect me. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks trying to put words on this page and kept failing and failing.
We knew that we would outlive our patients when we started Casa Ahavá. We knew that the well of mourning would only grow deeper.
Every patient Casa Ahava had in 2013 has died and many from 2014 have followed them to eternity.
So we wait.
Come quickly, oh Great King.
We want to see them again.

These have been expensive months for Casa Ahavá. A large part of the finances for our ministry go to helping patients who are too poor to afford it, to travel across the country to see the families they have left far away and return to finish chemotherapy treatments. Since November we’ve sent 4 patients on this round trip journey and 3 more on one way journeys. We also make great efforts to support the families of those patients who have passed away, especially with funeral costs.

Last week, as I was talking to Benjamin about going home to spend the time he had left with his wife and four children, he asked me for help. “Brother Jon,” he began, “I need help. I do not own a house and the house my family stays in we have been renting. I own a small plot of land in my town and would like to build a grass house for my wife so that when I die they will not be thrown out with nowhere to go.”
I nodded my understanding.
“This little house would cost about $150 to build but if you can’t cover all of that I could ask my old boss (the owner of the fishing boat he worked on for 15 years) to help too.” Benjamin finished.
I told him I could not give him a final answer right away but committed to help in some way.
A grass house for his wife and children?
Last night Layne and I sat with Benjamin and told him we’d like to help him build a house out of concrete blocks and cement. His eyes widened and he insisted that it did not have to be some huge house and that his wife and kids would be fine in a small home.
I made this commitment knowing;
1. God has always provided for the things Casa Ahavá needs.
2. Those who read this blog have been so faithful to help with things like this.
We want to raise about $3000 dollars and build Benjamin’s family a home. He will not have long to oversee the building of it and we want to ensure his wife and kids can remember their husband and father in a home built in his memory.

Can you help?

If so, please click on the “Help Build Benjamin’s House” button below and you will be taken to our secure Paypal portal where you can donate specifically to this need. We will update this post when this need is met.

***Update! In 3 days the Kingdom of God has responded and more than covered all needed funds for Benjamin’s house. As of now, I (Jon) plan on going to visit him at the end of February or the beginning of March to help him and his family make this happen. Thank you!***

Through all of this, please pray that his pain stays manageable, his wound stays clean and his hands grasp firmly the rope that pulls him to his Savior.