Friday, June 29, 2018

News, pictures, and video from Brian and Lorena

Dear Friends and Family,​​

It is so fun to be a part of God’s work, as He expands the Kingdom of God. Every week we get great reports and testimonies of how God is using our seminar teams to disciple His people of Mozambique.  

Below are a few photos of some of our seminars this month.

District of Ribaue
District of Sacaeque
Nampula Province

These young people (above) are holding my new Foundations 3 book that I recently just finished writing and printing.

Chief of the Region Hears God's Word for the first time

We rejoice in seeing the chief of this region come to a recent seminar and hear God’s Word for the first time! (click on above video)

Our good friend and one of our top seminar teachers, Pastor Zito, sent these photos last week (see below). So many people showed up for the seminar that they had to move outside to accommodate all the people. 

Pastor Zito’s Seminar in Namaroi, Zambezia Province

Pray for Northern Mozambique.

Pastor Mario, our Mozambican director of our discipleship seminar program, recently returned from Cabo Del Gado, the province in the North.  He was able to help distribute thousands of our discipleship books to our district pastors there and explain how to teach them to their local churches.  Unfortunately, the churches are now experiencing extreme persecution, but at by God’s grace, the books got into their hands before this began. 
God is so good.  He has blessed our family so much as we take care of Lorena’s Mom here in Redding, California and get our sons, Caleb and Nate assimilated into life in America.  They are doing well and will both be completing their senior year of high school this coming school year as well as taking classes at the local Jr. College. 

Family picture at Marge's 95 birthday party.  Caleb and Nate are on the far right.  
Nate (with baseball cap) turns 18 tomorrow!
Lorena’s Mom, Marjorie, just turned 95!  She is pictured here with our two wonderful grandchildren,
Brock and Fallon. 

Blessings from the Wood Family!

If you would like to support this ministry our support address is,
Transforming Lives Ministry
1908 S El Camino Real 
San Clemente, CA 92672

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Almost thirty years ago

Almost thirty years ago, we lived in the Philippines with no internet or cell phone.  Mail took twenty days - ten to America and ten more days for a response.  If we wanted to make a phone call, we had to take a two-hour bus ride to the city, wait 30 minutes, pay several dollars, and go into a booth.  So, talking to two of our pastors in Mozambique this morning, using an app, and paying nothing, still amazes us.

After spending nine years in Africa, we are getting settled in the States.  We now live in Redding, California.  If any of you are in the area, please come for a visit!  Grandma has moved in with us now.  As many of you know, Lorena’s mom needed more attention than she was receiving at her independent living center.  She is almost 95 and we felt it was important for us to temporarily leave the mission field to help her for a couple of years.  We are also helping our teenage boys, Caleb and Nate, transition into American life before heading back to the mission field.

Weekly leadership training seminars continue in Central Mozambique as we continue to organize and monitor them from here via regular internet phone calls and fellow team members… We are excited to report the printing of 2,000 more discipleship books just this week.  This time they were made in Blantyre, Malawi, where the quality is better and at a lower price.  Please pray that the documents we have will be sufficient to get the books across the border!  (Often this is where corruption takes place, making up “fees” with no receipts.)  Most mornings we spend speaking to our Mozambican leaders.  We are so thankful for smartphones!  For a few cents, Mozambicans can go online for one hour and communicate with us via WhatsApp, Messenger, and email.  After each seminar they send us videos, photos, and written reports, so we are always in touch and able to move forward! 

Lorena and I are both writing.  I hope to finish another discipleship book by the end of November.  Lorena is writing a unique curriculum for teaching and training the illiterate, using her experience in Africa and India.  We are also writing a joint book on missions. 

The family is doing well. Caleb and Nate are finishing high school at home and taking some classes at Shasta Community College. Nate has also enrolled in the Welding Certificate program at the Community College.  This will our first Christmas in America in ten years!  It’s wonderful to be in the same town as our daughter, Marissa, and her family and Matthew along with his wife Danica. Leaving family and friends behind is one of the greatest sacrifices missionaries make.  We’re blessed to be reunited with our family for this season and hope to see many more of you during this time as well. 

We so appreciate all your support and prayers over the years.  


Brian and Lorena

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Moving Forward

Moving Forward!

20,000 New Books    
We have plans to print 20,000 of our discipleship books in Malawi.   We usually print a thousand books at a time locally in Mozambique.  Unfortunately, printing prices have really climbed.  Our plan is to have a large quantity printed across the border in Malawi.   A ministry in Blantyre can print the books at less than half price.  We are currently working on getting permission from the Mozambican government to bring the books into the country without custom fees.  We would appreciate your prayers!

We are now working both in Mozambique and Redding, California.  Lorena’s mother is 94 years old and needs to move in with us.  We are in the process of organizing a house that will be suitable for her needs.  Our boys are also at the high school age now where they need more intense school courses, which are not available in Mozambique.  For this reason, we are settling in Redding, California, where our daughter and her family live, while continuing our ministry in Mozambique through regular visitsongoing writing projects, and continual oversight of our seminars and ongoing recording projects through video chats, regular phone calls, and online banking.  We still maintain our house in Mozambique at our center in Dondo, and continue working with two other missionary families living there.  We also remain the directors of the pastoral discipleship program in Central Mozambique with over 1,000 Comunhao na Colheita churches in the 6 provinces.  After we settle things a bit, Brian plans on taking a month-long trip to Mozambique to conduct two pastoral training conferences in the provinces of Nampula and Zambezia, as well as touch base with our missionary team in Dondo, and our Mozambican discipleship teams.

More Fruit      
Last October, we received several prophetic words saying we would be seeing more fruit than ever before in our ministry.  Interestingly, this is a time of transition for us, where we will be spending less time living in Mozambique.  So how will we see even more fruit?  Yesterday I (Lorena) saw a glimpse of what God is stirring up.  I was talking to Pastor Mario, who heads our seminar program.  He was telling me how he and his wife’s children’s ministry program is flourishing, how they learned from me and use my curriculum, and how much they wanted me to come see it. (They live 10 hours from our home in Dondo.)  These children, by the way, have begun inviting their parents.  Now they are excited, adding in number, and it's turning into a new church for all ages!  As Pastor Mario and I talked, we agreed how great it would be to teach the pastors at the next conference how to begin and run a children’s ministry at their own churches.  I told him I couldn’t go now, but he could teach them.  He hesitated, but after some encouragement, he agreed excitedly that this was still a good idea and he and his wife could teach them well!  Sometimes people flourish when their leaders leave and they are left to fly on their own.  We’re blessed to have good leaders in place that will continue the ministry and apparently bare even MORE fruit!

Friday, December 16, 2016

New Church in Mile Oito

With the help of the YWAM Sunshine Coast Team from Australia, we were able to construct another "Church in a Day."  Mile Oito is a spread out community in the "bush, bush."  We have been conducting seminars and evangelistic meeting in the area for the last year.

See a one and a half minute video of the project and building dedication.

Heading out to Mile Oito with our construction team, 12/7/16!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Reaching the Unreached

“The rains are coming!  We must go to Molevala quick before the river rises!”  Mounting the chappa (public transportation) with his wife, Pastor Zito and Josefina head out at daybreak on their long journey to this remote district in Zambezia.  They go as far as the chappa will take them, but the village is still miles ahead.  No cars, bridges, or roads exist in these parts.  Finishing on foot, Zito and Josefina are eager to reach this village, crossing the river before it rises too high.  Surprised, the couple finds the church full to the brim with the few believers from the previous visit, along with a crowd of unbelievers, mostly Muslim.  Zito decides to explain the gospel first, seeing so many unbelievers.  He and Josefina pray for their sick, feed them lunch, and share about God’s wonderful love and forgiveness.  Amazingly, the entire group accepts Jesus as their Savior and many are healed.  “Of course we want Jesus!  Why wouldn’t we?  We just never believed in Him before because no one ever told us about Him before!”  The seminar continued for three days, with more repentance and joy.  Monday morning a groggy voice answers my phone call. “How was the seminar?” I asked.   Receiving a slow, sleepy response, I quickly ask, “Oh, did I wake you?”  “No, we just got home after traveling ALL night!”  Yet Pastor Zito quickly set aside his fatigue and recounted with pure joy what happened over the weekend. 

Zito and his wife Josephina

I couldn’t help swell with pride for him, seeing such incredible spiritual growth and heart for the lost over these last six years of friendship.  He first came to us seeking employment.  But as he worked alongside us, his hunger and understanding for the Word increased. Evangelism and preaching became second nature as he became one of our most valuable ministry partners. This last year we all could see God had anointed him to return to his village and take on the leadership of his province, Zambezia, in church planting and teaching our seminars.  Sometimes spending time discipling one person can produce more fruit than you can ever imagine!  We miss Zito, but sometimes letting go can also produce more fruit than you think!  So we continue working with him from a distance, along with other team members we’ve raised up and sent out.  Together we are building up the Church and reaching the unreached with the Gospel – this is the abundant life! 



Saturday, October 15, 2016

My Week in Mozambique

Eating a simple meal of cabbage and rice at a women’s conference I was invited to speak at a few days ago in Buzi, the district pastor’s wife quietly explains, “The people here are suffering.  Even to get this meal, everyone sacrificed greatly.  The rice and corn fields haven’t produced any harvests this year because of the drought, and many are hungry.”  The next day, a church member brought to our attention the condition of our former guard.  Weak from a stroke, he stopped working his full time job.  But now we heard something most Westerners never hear.  This man could not walk because he was too weak from not eating!  The little bit of food he had, he gave to his wife and children.  Brian came home almost speechless after taking food to this man’s family and probably saving his life.  Today I received news that one of our grown orphan boys went to our worker’s house asking for a meal.  “Why did he go to your house to ask for food?  Why isn’t his uncle feeding him?”  Clemente replied, “His uncle hasn’t been able to find work, so the whole family hasn’t eaten these last 3 days.”   Telling one of our church leaders the condition of the hunger problem in Buzi, Mama Aida informs me how the ladies when doing home visitations, discovered countless families in our own neighborhood that are also suffering from hunger.  She said these mothers go house to house asking their neighbors if there’s anything they can do to earn just a little money to buy food.  Of course most of their neighbors are also lacking.  I quickly asked her to make a list of these ones suffering.  Yesterday and today we had the joy of giving out rice to 50 needy families in our own backyard.  

We plan to return to Buzi soon with food as well.  Today I spoke with our dear pastor from another local church who reported how so many widows in her town are also suffering from hunger.  I told her to make a list too, and I’d go there next week.  None of these people came to me with these reports because they thought we had food to give.  They were just sadly telling me what was going on in their areas. We are so dependent on Jesus to be our source of joy and hope in such a difficult place.  That’s our constant message to the Mozambicans as well – look to Jesus.  He is our only hope.  We must all depend on Him alone.  I praise God we are here and able to help a bit.  It’s such a different world here!  What did your week look like?


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Set Your Minds on Things Above

Dear Family and Friends,

“Set your minds on things above…” Col. 3:1.  “In everything give thanks…” I Thes. 5:18.  Think on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8).  When we wake up in a world of poverty, corruption, and war, these verses keep us on the right track.  God is good, no matter what is happening in our lives or around us.  His character doesn’t change.  He never leaves us, and we can never be separated from His love.  As we worship, come into His presence, and feed on His Word, we are filled and ready to give out – once again.  Our lives are different from those of you living in First World countries, but no matter where we are or what we’re doing in life, we all have negative influences and have the choice each day on what we will think about and dwell on.  I’m so thankful for the wisdom and encouragement we receive from the Scriptures!

The Lord has put on my heart for some time to put scriptures to music here in Mozambique.  I don’t know how all the details will come together, but I’m just taking one step at a time.  This is an oral culture with a high percentage of illiteracy.  Singing the scripture is a natural way for the Gospel to spread and for believers to learn and remember what the Bible says.   Right now I have 10 Mozambican worship leaders working on songs.  The dream is to record them in time, and put them on the mini SD chips with our oral Bible school and audio Bible.  Many of our pastors have cell phones and whatsapp (even though they live in mud huts in the bush), so I will be able to pass these on to our distant provinces as well.  Please pray for these song- writers, that they receive inspired melodies that any Mozambican will enjoy singing.
Already 3 great songs have come back, and we just started this two weeks ago!

Over half of Mozambican households own a cell phone - most take micro SD cards
Brian has been busy with our leaders in Zambezia, flying there last week to meet with them in Quilimane.  (We’re fortunate some of our provinces have airports, since the roads are too dangerous to travel.)  He prepared the leadership team for gathering students from their 22 districts for the next Bible school session in Pemba.  It was also great to hear reports from their seminars these past few months.  Three new churches have birthed in this region recently as well as a couple new children’s ministries.  2 kings 6:1-23

I’ve been enjoying visiting and preaching at our local surrounding churches – mostly giving this message of valuing scripture and putting it to music!  Brian is continuing preaching at our main regional church, when not visiting other provinces. 

The famine continues in some parts, but praise God, a huge donated container of freeze dried food has arrived from the States!  It is now in Nicuadala, Zambezia.  Our leadership team is now busy giving out this food to our most desperate areas. 

We’ve also been blessed with funds to buy food for the areas too far away from this container.  Next week one of our missionaries, Peter, will be going on a train to the province of Tete, with one of our lead Mozambican teachers.  Their farms are still dry and no harvest has come for a very long time.  Of course they will also take the opportunity to share the Word of God with our churches there. 

Our boys, Caleb and Nate, are doing very well with their home schooling.

A bit of sad news, our beloved dog, Midnight, passed away last week.  He had been with us since the first week we came to Mozambique, 8 ½ years ago. 

Politically, the conflicts continue here and are worsening in some parts.  But the immediate area we are in is fine.  Please remember in prayer our Mozambican teaching teams that travel in war zone areas though.  One has been shot at while in public transportation traveling through a conflict area, but he was not injured.  He is our head seminar trainer, named Pastor Mario.  He continues strong and full of faith.  The others are also not deterred, but request prayer for safety and protection.  (We have 5 main teaching teams doing about 100 seminars this year.  Our missionary team does other seminars and evangelism in addition to these.)

Thank you again for your continued financial and prayer support.  We are happy to be serving the Lord here and value your participation!

Financial contributions can be sent to:
Transforming Lives Ministry
1908 S. El Camino Real
San Clemente, CA   92672

Much love,

Lorena, Brian, Caleb, and Nate