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".