Hard to believe that exactly three years ago today I was flying into a place unknown. A place that was way out of my comfort zone, a place that after two years of living there I would call home. A place called Mozambique!
Yep, I can still remember that day three years ago, when I woke up, put on a long skirt, and said farewell to South Africa. We all boarded LAM (the airline of Mozambique) with bags in hand and sat down for our long and, thankfully, uneventful flight. I remember hearing Portuguese spoken again and thinking, "Wow! That is the language I will be hearing for the next three years of my life!" I remember the anxiety that I had in me on that flight to Mozambique. The fear of the unknown, yet the peace that only God can give, the peace of His promise, "I will never leave you nor forsake You." The peace that I had knowing God was in control and that He had me here for His purpose. As the plane lifted off the ground I was comforted by the fact that God knew what lay ahead of me, and all things would work together for good. I was also comforted seeing my family all around me and knowing that we were entering into this new life together :)
We flew for about an hour and landed in Maputo. We got off the plane and were, well, excited/extremely nervous about being in Mozambique for the very first time. We went through customs rather smoothly and then boarded the plane yet again.
We flew to another city in Mozambique, and had to get out of the plane while they refueled. It was when we got out of the plane that time that I knew, as Dorothy would say, "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." As I stepped out the door of that plane I was struck in the face by the blinding sun, it seemed to be so close. And the heat that was pouring out of the sun was staggering. I didn't know such heat existed. As we walked across the tarmac we were directed, or semi-directed, to a little room where everyone who was on the plane squeezed in. My first taste of African squeezing. :) It's amazing how many people Africans can pack into a tiny space. Sitting in that room, all close together, I could smell the scent of body odor rising in the air. :) Ah, one of the unfamiliar smells, and yet, so soon to become one so common. Then was the trip to the restroom... I'd never been in one quite like it, but after only a year in Mozambique, I was quite used to it. No, it wasn't a hole in the ground, but it wasn't the cleanliest bathroom in the world. :P And we immediately knew why missionaries bring toilet paper with them everywhere :)
After about an hour of waiting in that little room we boarded our plane yet again (i can't remember if we stopped another place... sorry), this time bound for Nampula! That was the shortest flight of my life! Never have I been on one so short. It seemed to take only 30 minutes, before Mom was telling us to look down, "That", she said, "Is Nampula!" Nampula, my mind couldn't keep the unsure thoughts from flying. As I looked down into the town that lay below, I couldn't believe my eyes. There was smoke everywhere. Everything looked as if a dirt storm had just blown through the city. This was Nampula?! This was to be my home.
We hit the runway with a bump, and slowed down to a stop. We unloaded our stuff and walked out onto the tarmac. Looking up we saw some co-workers and their families waving down at us :) We were home. We went into the luggage place, got our luggage, and walked out the door where we were welcomed by hugs and "We're SO glad you're here" by our co-workers, and the beggars asking to take our luggage for us.
The missionaries ushered us and our luggage into different cars and brought us to the VI guest house. Unbelievable. I think that's the word I would use to describe our drive from the airport to the VI guest house. I'd never seen anything like it in my life. When people told us to picture the worst when I imagined Mozambique, I pictured Portugal, nooo that wasn't the worse, but that was a foreign place, so I figured Mozambique would be something like it. Well, I was wrong. Sitting in the car with the windows rolled down, I could feel the heat blowing in my face. I saw poverty like I'd never even imagined. I saw houses made out of tin. I saw children running around half naked. I saw women carrying stuff on their heads. And it felt like everyone was staring at me. I was the minority now, and I had never felt that way before.
We pulled up to the guest house where the VI team welcome us in. We had dinner with some co-workers and then went to bed. I remember lying in bed that night and talking with Damarise. I just kept saying over and over again, "I can't believe I'm in Mozambique Africa!"
That was three years ago. Hard to believe, because it still feels like it was yesterday. Yes, living in Mozambique was hard, and yes, some of those things I struggled to get adjusted to. But yes, God was faithful through it all! Those three years of living in Mozambique were some of the richest years of my life yet. I got to see God work in SO many ways that I could not even imagine. I got to experience a life that I could not have dreamed of. I made friendships that only God could have ordained! And God in all His faithfulness had planned it all out for me, before I was even born! Wow! What a wonderful God!!
Looking back to that first day I remember thinking, "Well, if it's too overwhelming, I just need to remember that in four years I will be in college!" And here I am. And I am in college (again, all because of God's provision!) But after a few months in Mozambique, I realized that God had me there for a purpose and I shouldn't be so excited to get out of there, but enjoy every moment that God gave me there. And it was enjoyable, yes it had it's hard times, but they were all worth it. I miss Mozambique, but I'm thankful that God has me here at Covenant College. I'm thankful that when God called Mom and Dad to go to the mission field they followed Him all they way, including us in everything. I'm thankful that when God called them to Mozambique, Africa we went. I'm thankful that three years ago today I was blessed to live in Mozambique. Thank you God! To Him belongs all glory, praise and honour!