I have been in Moz for 5 months today. It’s hard to believe most days. It feels like so much less time. I’m going to answer a few questions for you that you’ve probably been wondering about (or not but here it goes):
Are you fluent in Portuguese yet?
Far from it. I know they say if you are surrounded by a language you pick it up quickly, but the only issue with that here is I am not surrounded by Portuguese all the time. Most of our missionary staff speaks English (minus about 5 Brazilians) so we don’t attempt to communicate in Portuguese. It was about the end of 4 months when I was able to form sentences and usually get my point across (ok, sometimes get my point across). I still have lots of trouble understanding many people and have gotten really good at picking up main ideas in conversations. I will say that the Lord has blessed me with the understanding and words I do have because I certainly have found basically no time to study. I have done Rosetta Stone only a handful of times since I arrived and had about 4 lessons before I decided that was not going to work out. So praise God for what I have learned.
Are you excited to be home for a bit?
I am getting more excited each day that I am going to get to see my family and friends. It’s funny that when I booked the trip I thought I’m not sure I really need a break but after all the events in the last week I have realized how much of a blessing it will be to go home, get to process, see everyone, and rest a bit. I am aware that being in the US might be a bit tough and hard to understand/take in with such a short amount of time, but I can’t wait to see all of you. So I’m a bit nervous and excited all in one. The one part that seriously pumps me up is knowing I'm coming to share all God has done here in the past 5 months. I have seen miracles; I have seen transformation; I have seen our Lord at work!
What has become normal for you that you never thought possible?
So many things have become normal. Just last night I stopped in my tracks, stomped on a roach in my living room, and then kept on going with my night and thought a few seconds later…wow that just happened. Critters around has become normal. Having a fan consistently blowing on me and still sweating most of the time has become normal. I’m not sure my body will ever adjust to no air conditioner. Knowing that if I plan anything it won’t end up happening is basically a given at this point. A to do list is a joke these days as well. It’s just not the way things work around here. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would learn to not show up on time and never follow a schedule. It also is normal to wake up to a child banging at my door (and they usually don’t want me). Getting calls every few days in Portuguese about a sick kid, solving medical problems consistently, diagnosing, and playing doctor have become normal. Saying good morning, good afternoon, or good night to absolutely everyone I pass as I get my days work done is a norm. Knowing that as soon as I grow comfortable with one schedule it will change is expected. Leaving my house to kids running up with smiles yelling Mana Meghann brightens my day and reminds me of the love these kids have to give. Walking into the Baby House and never knowing what funny thing the kids will do is just a norm! It's my life; I love it most days; I get tired of it sometimes; but it's where God has placed me for now!
What has changed about you since you moved to Moz?
Ever relying on God is a must here. God has placed me here and asked me to work outside of my comfort zone. Many days I question why I'm here, what I'm doing, and why I have to put up with all the stresses and questions that come up daily when you live in a developing nation. I still revert to trying to plan things and get things done on my own sometimes...but I know in my heart there is a better way to live. I know that writing a to do list and having to add extra things on I've already done just to cross them off is ridiculous (that's how I lived in college). But being here could teach anyone that in our own power we can do nothing. Only God's awesome power and love working through us makes a difference. I get to see that daily. I get to see the miraculous medical healing that occurs; I get to see God transform hearts of youth all over our center; I get to see missionaries dedicating their lives to the children God has placed in front of them. That changes a person. That makes you want to challenge yourself to go deeper in our Father and continue daily to serve Him! Here I have seen overwhelming poverty. Something most people won't see in their lifetime. It's something I cherish. It's something I want to change. It's something that challenges me to live generously and continue to trust in our Father's faithfulness to provide for His people. It's something that points me back to my vision for being here..."you will weep no more...though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, 'This is the way you should go,' whether to the right or to the left."
That's what I want to see in Mozambique...God directing these people in their daily lives! How you've changed in 5 months is tough to put into words. I've learned to trust; I've learned to serve; I've learned more about medicine than most jobs would teach you in a year; I've learned about love....
What's your favorite part?
I think my favorite part is when I think back on how it all started. I remember thinking...I'm not so sure I can fall in love with African children. I'm just not sure I will attach to them the way I do US kids. I now think that is hilarious. These kids are my kids now. Many of them have no family at all and the ones who do cannot live with them for one reason or another. That is reason enough to love on them every single day. Do I get tired or children always pulling on me, asking me questions, and fighting for my attention? Yes, wouldn't we all! But then I step back and remember we are all they have. It's the moments that before I even reach the Baby House I can already here my name being yelled...Mana Meghann! Those are the times I know exactly why I'm here loving on the kids God has placed in front of me. Those are my favorite moments.