Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

Dear Family and Friends,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Central Mozambique!

This Christmas season our center held a week long Children’s Ministry Training Camp, inviting youth from our local churches.  After learning how to teach children through the use of drama, music, games, puppets, etc., the group of 45 students from 10 local churches divided into 4 groups at the end of the week to hit the hundreds of neighborhood kids in our town with the Christmas story!

I (Lorena) had invited eight of my best children’s ministry leaders, whom I had trained in the past, to come help teach (Pictured Below).

Each leader took a group at the end, spending the whole day prior preparing their program together and putting to practice everything they had learned during the week.  It was a great success – everyone had so much fun!

The leaders, being youth themselves, ended the week with new vision and motivation.  They tell me they now want to go back to their areas in the north and conduct their own training seminars just like the one we did!  Also many of the newly trained youth now want to start their own children’s ministries in their churches and neighborhoods.  This is huge, in a country where children’s ministry basically doesn’t exist.  Unlike the West where Christianity has been part of the culture for centuries and almost every child already knows the Christmas story, for instance, most Mozambican children don’t know that Jesus came to this earth 2,000 years ago and that He lives today to be our Savior and Lord.  All the Bibles stories are new to them.  They are thrilled, (along with their parents), to hear that God loves them and they don’t have to live in fear of evil spirits and curses.  We are thrilled too, to have the continued privilege of sharing the Good News in this country.  Seeing wide eyes and open hearts as they hear for the first time of Jesus’ promise to forgive their sins and be by their side forever, makes everything worth it.

It’s definitely an honor, not a sacrifice, to be here as a minister of the Gospel.

Learning to make puppets out of paper bags

The Discipleship Centers continue to thrive.  Two new Districts began centers in Zambezia – Gile and Gurue.  Others continue on in various stages.  Brian just finished writing a new discipleship book  - on marriage and family.  Last week he and our head trainer, Pastor Mario, worked through this book with leaders from our 60 Discipleship Centers in the district of Morrumbala for the first time. Addressing this topic is extremely needed in a culture of multiple wives, and promiscuity to the point of AIDS infecting 1/3 of the population.  The idea of marriage and commitment is foreign for the most part.  As a consequence, the children suffer the most – growing up with multiple “dads” if not kicked out onto the streets by their new “dad”.   The children are also abused, because the culture teaches that relations with a virgin will cure a man’s AIDS.  A few months ago I spoke at a women’s seminar.  Holding up my wedding ring, I shouted out how our marriage of 30 years is blessed and free of disease because we choose to follow God’s way….  The Holy Spirit fell mightily on that group at that moment.  The people are hungry and open for the Truth here.

One of the most thrilling recent stories takes place in a district called Lugela.  They are all new believers, hungry for the Word and filled with questions!  Normally in this culture when someone gets sick, they go to the witch doctor.  But last week, a new believer in Lugela told his neighbors to pray to Jesus for their sick baby instead.  The baby was about to die, but the parents, also new believers, decided to pray to Jesus and not go to the witch doctor.  They prayed together and the baby is now completely healed!  Their testimony of hope and salvation is spreading in that village where death, disease, fear, and witchcraft is usually the norm.
Thank you for your support and prayers, making this possible for us to remain here.  We miss you all and wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

In His Grace,
Brian, Lorena, Caleb, and Nate

Support Address: Calvary Chapel Foothill Ranch, 26882 Vista Terrace, Lake Forest, CA 92630, (949) 768-4190.  Please make checks out to the church with a note in the memo of the check, 
"The Wood family".

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pictured above: Lorena leads children's ministry outreach to the Muslim village of Namao.  

To see more what is going on here in Mozambique click on the following video links.




Brian and Lorena

Support Address: Calvary Chapel Foothill Ranch, 26882 Vista Terrace, Lake Forest, CA 92630, (949) 768-4190.  Please make checks out to the church with a note in the memo of the check, 
"The Wood family".

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

News from Mozambique

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope this letter finds you all well.  We have been extremely blessed this last month as we’ve traveled 40 hours up to Pemba and back to teach at the Harvest School, starting 4 leadership training seminars along the way!  Pictured above right are some of the graduates from a seminar we did in the province of Zambezia. Each of these believers wants to start their own discipleship centers with the resources they’ve now received – booklets and Bibles.  

All the people we gather for our seminars are leaders and teachers.  Most of them go out from us to start their own discipleship centers, which is why we now have about 120 centers going!  On this last trip we are especially excited about a whole new province called Nampula opening up, as the top leaders gathered for our seminar.  Some of them were so excited, they started up their groups the week after they graduated!

Women’s ministry continues going strong as well.  Lorena and a couple of other missionaries just did a women’s conference last weekend in a town called Buzi – two days after we got back (picture top center and top left).

Brian is busy writing another discipleship book, and visiting various districts on the weekends as they gather the many discipleship centers for graduations.  These graduates are believers in the discipleship centers taught by teachers that have attended our training seminars.  The Harvest is so ripe!!!
Have you ever been curious how to make a mud hut?  Check out this one- minute video of me helping with a mud hut we’re making for one of our 160 ladies in widows ministry: 

Thank you again for your support in prayer and financially.  We are in this together and appreciate you so much!


Brian and Lorena

Saturday, September 1, 2012

News Continued...

Pictures - top left: Children’s ministry continues with evangelism in the “Bush” top right: 
Learning and playing at an outreach children’s program bottom left
Discipleship Center Graduation in Mafambisi bottom right: praying for graduates

During the week we’ve been busy conducting more training seminars for our third booklet, Obedient Disciples.  The response has been incredible.  As we met with the district pastors from Sofala last week, one reported, “Our minds are opening up!   We’ve been doing many things wrong because we just didn’t know the truth.  But now we are learning and the churches are starting to grow and change spiritually.” Many pastors are discovering for the first time the power and beauty of Scripture.  Why is this?  To most people here, the Bible is a mystery.  Most have not read much of it.  Manny cannot read anything at all.  So these Discipleship Centers offer a teacher who can read and explain the scriptures, and give out simple discipleship books to those who can read.  For the illiterate, they can still attend and listen.  We now have over 80 Centers running.  Please keep these leaders in your prayers.  

What Happened to George and his village?  (last newsletter)
If you can remember back to our last newsletter, we told you an amazing story of when we took our language learning class in Pemba from the Harvest School out into the village on their “practical” day. Our goal was to have the students put into practice what they had been learning for the week in language application.  The story ended by reporting all the healings God did in our language helper’s (George) village.  (More than an ordinary language learning day!) Well I am happy to tell you that a few days later, George’s two Muslim cousins and mother all got saved!  His neighbors have since begged George to come back and tell them more about Jesus and pray for them.  I know he did go back, but don’t know any more details yet.  I’ll find out when we go back to Pemba in October.  (George has no phone.)  Stay posted! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Latest News

Dear Friends,

We have some exciting news! We will be flying into LAX on April 7th. We plan to be in Southern California from April 6th – May 6th. After that we will be going up the West Coast. We would love to see as many of you as possible, but need to plan carefully so we don’t miss you. As usual, we are happy to speak at any home groups or churches during this time. We hope to encourage you by bringing good news of what God is doing on this side of the world, and we look forward to hearing your news as well! We are all one big family – it will be great to reconnect and see you again. If any of you have dates that would work to get together, please let us know so we can start making a calendar. We will be speaking at Calvary Chapel Foothill Ranch on Sunday, April 15th and at Calvary Chapel of Mission Viejo on Sunday April 28th.

These next two months before we leave will be busy with seminars – training pastors, district pastors, and Discipleship group leaders from the provinces of Sofala (where we are now), Manica (west of us), and Zambezia (where we were). We've already begun and will continue till we leave. Three new discipleship books have just be completed and are being passed out.

Another three books are almost done. Two of these include instructions and examples of how to understand and teach the Bible. Lorena has begun a 6 week series about Children’s Ministry - how to start and run a simple outdoor program anywhere. The response was more than she expected. After being trained, this large group should be able to split up and start about four children's programs throughout the area. She's using the book she recently wrote, with instructions and lessons from the New Testament. Things are starting to spread and multiply quickly. We've found a Christian missionary couple who print books at cost! So now we are able to reproduce our books by the hundreds. We are excited to be here and thankful for God’s provision in workers and needed resources. We also thank you for your prayers and praise God for His answer to our request for a dependable vehicle - a Toyoya Hilux! Now we can safely travel and train the pastors in the three provinces now put in our care.

At our new center, we have ample space for visitors. If anyone wants to participate in teaching the pastors, women’s groups, children’s groups, visiting the hospital, the prison, or going to the bush for outreaches, you’re more than welcome! Many still have never heard the gospel. Many others have heard, but don't understand it well. They mix Christianity with their traditional beliefs (witchcraft and ancestral worship), and thus don't experience true freedom and victory in Christ. We go out on weekends to show the Jesus film, visit house to house, and pray for the sick. Last Saturday we took a visitor with us on outreach. He was excited to see Jesus heal people for the first time. We love it too. Many chose to follow Jesus that night as well. We hope some of you will visit us some day and a few of you maybe choose to stay a while!

Kid's Outreach

Lorena with a small team teaching the children on outreach last week.

The return of our new friend

New Friend

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Inroads

Two of our pastors who will be starting new Discipleship Training Centers :). The first one will be in the province of Sofala and the second will be our first ever Training Center in the province of Inhambane!