Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Pratas Family, in Mozambique!

Friday, December 23, 2011

There was no room for them...

A few days ago, while driving in one of the most important avenues of Maputo, I saw this image! 8:23 AM and the sun was already high.

Another day of work, and traffic everywhere. Some were late for work, others in search of stores where to buy the desired goods to the "family day" to come.

Nearby, between horns, braking and acceleration of thousands of cars that run along the Avenue every morning, three children are asleep, oblivious to everything and ignored by everyone.

Well, the light turned green, and I continued my way towards my destiny. That image was retained in my memory but also in my phone. A city with more than 1 million people has no place for these children.

This story reminds me of another story two thousand years ago when there was no place to host a newborn child and his parents.
"and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." (from the Bible, in Luke 2:7)

One boy who had been announced as the Savior, and the light that was shining over the world, had no place to be born. It was the same boy as he grew older and began to tell the world what was his mission, was rejected and handed over to be killed. He had no place in the world. The same man who died on a cross, was buried and rose again the third day, but I had no place in the hearts of men.

Jesus no longer takes place in the Christmas story, which was replaced by the lighted tree, the wrapped gifts and the table full of what many will never see.

"But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today, in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."
(from the Bíble, in Luke 2:10-11)

Instead of a boy who brings a joyful news for all, we learned to know that Santa only brings gifts to some.

Jesus had no place in the inn, in the world, nor in his own celebration.

And in your heart, there's room for him?
Click here to know more about Jesus.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Community Transformation

Picoco is a small community, 25 miles far from Maputo, but still with big needs, although we can see the capital city sky-line.

Here the majority of the houses does not have electricity or water and not event blocks. Made with old tree branches, rocks and mud, or in some cases a bit of concrete.

The family we visited today, their house was built with mud and covered with old advertizing banners to protect from rain. On the side, we see a structure of their future house, that will take them months to afford to complete it. So we decided to help.

Out team of 15 students from the 1-2-3 training decided to help built some of these future walls. Our first task was to colect rocks and put them in the "wood" structure to cover the wall.

After that, they usually put mud but we decided to offer a bag of concrete and start filling the empty spots.

Finaly our team poses for the picture and shows the result...

Then we pray for the family and celebrate with joy as we return to our camp!

Monday, December 12, 2011

KidsGames in Picoco, Boane

The final stage of a sports ministries training is to organize a Children Activity where students aplly all the tools and concepts learned during the week of training, using sports and games as a teaching tool, through experiential learning and creativity to teach life and bible values.

It was a rainy and cold day and gradually the children arrived at the camp.

Some of them bring their little brothers/sisters carrying them on their backs. This is a social reality, everywhere, with children being exposed to adult life style and roles.

But this is a special day and the key word is PLAY. We need to provide a great day to these kids and teach them values through the games:

Jumping with the rope

Pulling the rope

Wheelbarrow race

Long Jump

Blindman's bluff
 After all the fun, it is time to talk and to reflect on what can we learn with all those activities. Important to know what can we do to make our lives different and better, in the middle of all the problems and needs.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

1-2-3 Training in Boane

During 6 days, 21 youth leaders from different communities of Maputo province, gathered in Picoco, a small village, 25 miles away from the capital city.
The first 20 miles we drive in a paved road but the final 5, you need a 4x4.

Some will walk to the training camp, other will take a ride from someone.

The best part of the dust road!
As we arrive at the Youth for Christ center, the group prepares for 6 intense days. We only have 4 rooms, 2 for the dorms, 1 for the classroom and the last one for dinning. The kitchen is open air.

Experiential Learning, Creative Games and Sports, Teaching Methods is just a part of the subjects to study. During the week all are challenged to make a difference in their generation and to make a commitement to reach the children at the community.

Some sessions are very practical and students are challenged to build their own ministry projects and to test the learned principles and tools.

Planning the KidsGames program

Small groups discussion
Experiential Learning

Last day, all that have completed the program receive their Certificate and are challenge to go back to their communities and make a difference!