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Turning 30

A Layne Post

For some people the age 30 is a hard pill to swallow. Saying goodbye to the teens and 20’s can feel like you are waving youth ‘goodbye’ and settling into ‘middle-age’. For some it was or is a goal line, a “make a million by the time you are 30” type of line. For others it is a “I’ll do better in my next thirty years” type of turning mark.

Some people may be beyond 30 and looking back thinking how young and naïve they were. Some maybe remember it as the glory days. Maybe for others it is a foggy blur of a fast moving life.

Some are smack in the middle of their 30’s thinking, “it is only downhill from here”. Or perhaps thinking, “30 really isn’t that old because I still feel young!”

Well, this week I turned 30.

For me I feel like it is a graduation of sorts. I feel like I am moving forward equipped with knowledge, wisdom, and growth that my previous life has taught me. I honestly feel like I am graduating with Summa Cum Laude honors – not that I aced every test, not that I didn’t make silly mistakes or skip class at all, but somehow my gracious Lord gave me a few extra credit projects and I came out of top. I am 30 and I am owning it.

I am so happy to be here.

I have a God, who has given me every good and perfect gift.

I have a wonderful husband, who outshines all in comparison, who loves me and cares for me with reckless abandon.

I have three healthy beautiful daughters and one precious little babe on the way.

I have family that unceasing loves and supports me, both on my side and on Jon’s.

I have a body of Christian believers, who care for me and my family as if they were my own flesh and blood.

I have a community of friends and missionaries right here in Mozambique who have stepped up and filled in for the physical absence of my family.

I have a 4 absolutely delightful Mozambicans who are living with us, who have added such joy, culture, and humility to my life.
And despite my African-dusty countertops, dinted car, stained couches, cracked dishes, taped floor tiles… guys, you can’t convince me otherwise, I’ve got the life.

I am rich.

My Hat in My Hand

A Jon Post

There are a few things running around my mind. I’ve decided to make a blog out of it.

Layne is traveling this week, I’m at home with my three girls, Casa Ahavá is empty, two of the most recent four have transitioned out.
Inês finished her treatment and is with her family, hopefully, with cancer in remission.
Pedro… well… if you’ve read the last few posts you know a bit about his story. He’s home, still alive, still paralyzed on his right side, still smiling. His newborn son has a name; Marcos Pedro Mavango. Pedro is in a good place.
Campande and Sara are both visiting their families between treatments and will be back tomorrow.

There was some work that needed to be done on the Casa Ahavá rooms that was easier done with no one in there (re-laying broken concrete and tile, re-painting the kitchen floor, etc). We spent some money on some nicer counters and cabinets for Casa Ahavá’s kitchen and are very pleased with how it came out.

And so here I sit, home with my kids, mind spinning, thinking about washing diapers, washing kids, washing dishes, washing my sins, washing my wife in the water through the word (whatever that means), washing Casa Ahavá’s floors, washing my kitchen floors (I knocked the toaster over a couple days ago, you know how all those toast crumbs get in the bottom of those things? Yeah… ALL over my kitchen).

I’ve also found myself thinking a lot about money this week. Money I spent on Casa Ahavá (paint, tile, grout, cabinets, toilet cleaner), money I spent on my family’s groceries, money I spent on a plane ticket to send Layne to America. We’ve written on here about how we’re in need of support, how our expenses are higher than our income. How does it then follow that I flew to America last month for a wedding, and that Layne flew to America this week for a birthday trip?  How do I look supporters or potential supporters in the eye and say we need more help? I know that you all have entrusted me with these resources and I feel that it’s important to be honest and open about how I use them.

I went to the USA last month to be Javan and Holly Mesnard’s best man at their wedding. The plane tickets from here to Phoenix were paid for by a generous person who wanted to make sure Javan was blessed. No donated money was spent on that travel.

Layne is in the USA right now. Last year in January I decided I wanted her to go on a “girls trip” with her sisters, mom and niece for her 30th birthday which is this year the same year has her mom’s 60th. We’ve been saving a little bit of money every month since then to pay for this trip.

We do take vacations from time to time. We do try to rest from time to time. We feel like it’s important to find time and memories outside of our full time ministry at the hospital and Casa Ahavá.

This week, while the other two girls were sleeping, Anaya was playing with her stuffed animals. She held her stuffed bird in her arms and said in a pleading and mournful voice, “Don’t die birdie. Don’t die in my arms. Just don’t die yet. I love you birdie.”
Anaya is 3.
This not an uncommon way for her to play. She often plays at dressing bandages, helping her sisters and toys while (pretend) sick and vomiting.
Jovie often pretends that Chauncey, her stuffed elephant, is sick and needs to be rushed to the hospital.
Jovie is 2.
These are the things that keep my mind spinning and my heart questioning about how we’re doing as a family. I don’t think it’s bad that my 3 and 2-year-old are so familiar with death and sickness. But I don’t know if it’s healthy for my 3-year-old to be pretending to have a seizure (like Uncle Pedro) while she’s lying in her bed.
And so I pray.
I was in church recently and there was a guest speaker talking about the dreams God gives us and what He purposes for us to do. He started walking around the room, asking people what they wanted to be. He didn’t come to me but when I started thinking about how I would respond to that question the answer was immediately obvious. I want to be a loving husband and a righteous father. That’s all I really want. Those two things are much more important to me than Casa Ahavá.
So, we take Sabbaths. We take times to rest away from sickness, pain, and death. We try to give our daughters a world full of life and joy mixed with the pain and sorrow they see every day.
That may be hard for some people to support. Some people may prefer that I spend more time and effort on Casa Ahavá than I do on my wife and kids. That’s really, really, really fine. There are lots of missionaries and ministries around the world who are doing INCREDIBLE things for Jesus. They need your help too and I’m sure there are plenty that share your values.
For those of you who are on board with me, please don’t be offended if I splurge now and then for my family. I can’t work a few overtime hours to make some extra spending money so I can take my family somewhere nice for the weekend. I can’t work towards a promotion and the extra money that comes with middle management.

I live with my hat in my hand, hoping that my priorities are straight, that my wife feels loved, that my kids are fathered well, and my patients are served with all that’s left over.

My Kids

My Kids

Last Weeks

A Layne Post

There we sat at a lovely café, girls giggling in the sand pit, me catching up with an old friend, sweets and sodas in array on the table, Jon and Pedro in chairs quietly talking. I knew the topic of the conversation – scans were bad, can’t operate, can’t shut the wound, no use doing more Chemo, you are dying.

That evening with hands in tight gloves, wiping a large wound, I tried to speak hope, hope of another life. I tried to pray peace, you know that kind of peace the Bible talks about that surpasses all understanding? Yeah, that kind. He shuffled out of the house to his room, me taking note of the weakness in his right side.

I peeked out my kitchen window and saw him lounging in the sun, eyes closed, head in hand. Depression was near. Understandable.

He woke up and we saw his wound had bled through the bandage. We quickly reassured it was no problem, so I snuck in the room to get the pillows and sheets to clean. When I saw the mess, my tummy turned. I gathered everything up and went to the kitchen. Everything needed rinsing before a bleachy wash. I willed myself one item at a time to continue, telling myself I could cry later. I got it all in the washer, went to my bathroom and let out a few good sobs. He was dying. It was messy. I hated this.

Pedro thanked me for my service, so full of humility and gratefulness. “It was nothing,” I assured, remembering and hiding my struggle to make it through. Oh God, help me do this.

The girls burst from the door for their afternoon play. We sat in the warmth of the sun. Anaya played in her car, Jovie jumped on hers, and Karasi toddled behind. Pedro laughed out loud. So good to hear.

Jon told me later about a conversation between him and Pedro about eternity. Pedro compared it to taking a test and not knowing the results until the professor grades it, one couldn’t know if they passed until they got there. This made for the perfect example – Jon shared the good news. Guess what, Pedro? Jesus took the test for you, and He got the perfect score! Isn’t that awesome? It became their thing for the week. “Who took the test?” “Jesus.”

Dressed for church, getting diaper bags ready, we got the call  – Pedro fell in the bathroom. He had been dizzy, the floor had been wet, he slipped. He lost feeling in his right leg. We told him he could rest and I would stay home with Karasi to make sure he’d be alright, but he insisted, he wanted to be at church.

It was the night they were to drive to Pedro’s home. Sara came to the door, “Pedro. It’s starting again.” We knew the drill. Seizure had started, Jon rushed out, sat next to Pedro and began praying. Seizure slowed and stopped. Pedro said, “Brother Jon, this body is broken.” Jon communicated that he understood, he spoke of our hope for a new body soon. Pedro responded, “I know, but separating my spirit from THIS body… it hurts.”

Yes. Yes it does.

Sara popped her head in again, this time saying Pedro was calling for me to say goodbye. Pedro wanted to thank me for all Jon and I had done for him, how much we had helped him. I wanted to lose it. Instead I bounced Jovie on my lap, told him he is our family, that we love him and have been nothing but happy to have him at our home. Tears would be for later. I kissed his cheek and assured him I’d see him off in the car.

I waved them through the gate and off they went on their long journey home. Jon tells me as they neared his village, Pedro’s demeanor began to change. He was close; he was almost home. They got to the local market and his brother jumped in the car. Pedro’s joy was evident. A few minutes later they were there at Pedro’s home. Wife, children, brother, Father… everyone there. Jon got to spend about twenty minutes with them before he needed to be back to the military convoy to get out of the area. It was shorter than he imagined or hoped, but time he was grateful for. He left Pedro in good hands. He has a loving family, a good family.

Pedro and His Son, Armando

Pedro and His Son, Armando

We don’t know how long Pedro has, but we pray he has memorable times with those he loves. We pray He takes full confidence in the fact the Jesus took his test for him. We pray for deep soul peace. We pray for ease of transition between this life and the next.

Pray with us?

Hope Changes

A Jon Post

I sat on the couch this week with my wife. I sat and wept for the frustration of the shattered reality that there is no forthcoming solution to the place we find ourselves.

Last Month

Last Month

Last month Layne posted that Pedro had an MRI and we were waiting for the next step to be determined based on the results of that MRI.
The results came.
Placed up against a florescent light to show the contrast between bone, tissue, cerebrum, artery, and tumor, this thin film of plastic brought with it ugly words.
Tumor, extensive re-growth, malignant, invasive, terminal.
An apologetic neurosurgeon sat in front of me and explained her inability to even close the surgical wound left behind by his first surgery.
“…only thing left to do is help him manage pain and dress the wound.”
And she left me with the honor/dread of telling Pedro his prognosis… of cutting the spidersilk thread we all had held on to that maybe surgery could help… of telling him that his seizures and loss of muscle control were only the beginning… of telling him that there is a God who loves. A God who loves. A God who loves.
Now… 1 week later, he sits in a wheelchair in my back yard.
Unable to move his right arm or leg.



And I sat on my couch and wept. In this situation, because of his rapidly deteriorating health, we would have hoped to bring Pedro’s wife and children to him here at Casa Ahavá. But just three weeks ago Pedro’s son was born. His forth child, not even a month old, waits for his daddy to come home. A daddy who cannot hold him, cannot stand tall with him, cannot wrap him against his chest and tell him how proud he is. This 3 week old cannot make the journey to Pedro.
Pedro’s health means he cannot get on a bus or an airplane to get home. His family cannot get on one to come here.
Let’s get Pedro home.
Thursday morning at around 4 we will help Pedro into the car and I’ll drive him the (depending on road conditions) 12 hour trip to his home village. His home is in a bit of a remote area but we’ll make it.
So our hope has changed.
It’s changed from hoping for long months, even years, to hoping for enough days to get home. Just two more days. And it’s changed to hoping for more than just what this broken body can offer. Our hope has changed. Pedro’s hope has changed.
A God who loves. A God who loves. A God who loves.
Please pray for us as we drive to Muxúnguè on Thursday to get Pedro home.

The Route

The Route

Pray that our hope is not deferred but that Pedro’s longing to see his son is fulfilled.
Please pray with us for Pedro’s heart.

Surrounded by Strength and Courage

A Layne Post


“I was told this medicine kills. No one wanted me to come. I heard only 2 people have come back alive. My husband was scared, but I would have died had I stayed; I figured I would come and die here,” Sara said without flinching. Courage radiated. “Look at you now. Look how strong you are!” I encouraged. A little later I asked, “Back home, did you work?” “I worked in the machamba (farm). We plant rice and sweet potatoes,” she replied. She laughed about how spoiled her son is and how he won’t eat rice from the stores. She told me about when it is time to harvest the sweet potatoes they have piles and piles – they have so many the kids just start throwing them around like toys. The rice harvest was a bit small this year because she was here, but her 15 year old daughter harvested 9 bags. I told her someday I’d like to go to her machamba and help her out a day. She laughed and laughed saying no one would believe a white lady getting dirty in the rice field. I do hope that can happen someday.


I sat next to Inês in the day-chemo room meant for those who live nearby and can come and go. She leaned her head against the hard wall as we waited for her last bottle of Chemo to finish. The television showed women dressed in traditional fabrics dancing. I peered at Inês and asked if she could dance like that. She tilted her head down and laughed. She insisted she never could dance, but she could sing. And then we sat some more. By the time we exited Oncology it was dark outside, and we both knew there would be a lot of traffic on the way home. She hopped in the back and assured me she was fine. We waited in a long line up a hill, tail lights screaming the presence of so many cars, and she quietly told me she needed to vomit. I turned on my hazards, pulled out of line, and opened the door. She went to a ditch, threw up a few times, rinsed her mouth with water, and I asked the Lord to help calm her tummy, to help her make it home, and to miraculously transport us past the slow traffic. We were not transported, but her tummy did remain calm. When we got home she headed to her room, again assuring me she would be just fine – and she would be. She is one of the strongest women I’ve known.


“I was married for a long time before we had kids. I prayed and prayed, asking the Lord for a baby. I finally had a baby. That child died when it was 10 months old. I had five other children. One died when it was two weeks old. I now have four.” “Sara, that is so hard. I am so sorry.” I whispered. And few minutes later, “You were pregnant and delivered six times? You are so strong!” She laughed and heartily agreed it is not easy to be pregnant or have kids.


“Sara! A Bible name,” I smiled. “Do you know Sara was Abraham’s wife and that God called Abraham to a foreign land and Sara went with him? Ah! And Sara you are now being called to a foreign land; you are coming to live with Americans!” She giggled. “We are strange, I assure you, but we do care and we want to take care of you.”


These women. They are strong and courageous. So full of story, so full of life – the beauty with the pain. What a privilege for me and my family to share in their stories, if only for a few months.


Please pray for Inês as she will be having an X-ray, sonogram, and blood test to determine if she is finished with Chemo and can return home. She is so ready to be home.

Please pray for Pedro as he had an MRI this week to determine the next step with his large head wound. The results should be ready in about two weeks. We hope they will be able to do a skin graft and surgery to close the wound. His wife is also due with their 4th child any day.

Please pray for Sara as she is supposed to start treatment next week. Last month her blood levels were not adequate and her treatment was delayed. Pray with us for good blood tests this week. Any delay is more time away from family, which is just difficult.

Please pray for Campande as he, too, has blood tests this week with hopes of starting treatment next week and last month he was a bit anemic and his treatment was also delayed.


We love and cherish your support.