Monday, December 31, 2012

252 steps in 3 m 28 s

3 days ago we have received a unexpected Christmas gift. Our lift would be not working until the second week of january (they said). An important part is damaged and needs to be shipped from Europe...

There is nothing we can do! Just training the stairs as this is becoming an Olympic event. So, the best personal time is so far... 3 minutes and 28 seconds for 252 steps... Need to do better I know...

Well, in fact, there are 270 steps to the basement where the car is parked, meaning 540 for a return trip. Considering two trips per day (AM/PM) its just 1080 steps per day!

The good news, they said... it is good medicine for the heart. If that is true soon we will have the best hearts in town.

So far, we are able to reach the 14th floor with a smile:

Today, last day of 2012, after the 1080 bill was paid, we received a phone call, inviting us for a dinner with friends...
Wow... this is where we know the value of friendship! Let's do it... 14 floors down... 14 floors up.! We will join you for sure!
Meanwhile, while we wait, here is a glimpse of Maputo on the last day of 2012:
3:41 PM - A storm is coming to the city
3:44 PM - It's raining...

3:52 PM - Great view of the rain and thunder

3:55 PM - The city gets darker and it still rains
6:46 PM - Rain stops and the sun is back
6:50 PM - The last sundown of 2012
7:00 PM - Do we really need to go?!!! Sure, a delicious pizza is waiting with a wonderful group of friends... real friends:



Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

To all our family, to all our brothers and sisters, to all our friends and to all of those who landed here without knowing us (there is a reason for that...) please accept our wishes of a Merry Christmas!

The smiles are not for the picture only but is a small reflexion of what are the Good News of Christmas.

It is not about the gifts we will may receive tonight, but about the gift we have received when we realized that Jesus was born because of us, and we accepted him as Our Saviour and Lord.

"10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord."

from the Bible, in Luke 2:10-11

If you want to experiment the same joy, and have Peace with God click here!

Pratas Family in Mozambique
 (official Christmas Photo)

(non-official photo)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The sentimental value

This week I have been thinking about the "sentimental value" of the things we accumulate for years.

Maybe because I had to unpack so many boxes since we moved a few months ago to a new place...

There are things that I keep for almost 40 years, basically because of their sentimental value:

1.       A Handmade wooden Fishboat – I still remember the day staring at the shop looking at the boat, and forcing my parents to pay $5, a fortune at the time, for this small boat. I still have it in my office, and can't give it away…

2.       A motorcycle Kawasaki 1000  – never played with it, afraid to break it or damage it. I kept this toy inside a glass box only for contemplation, maybe waiting for a baby boy to play with it. God gave me two wonderful daugthers who don't have riding license for this! And I never gave  it to any children because of the sentimental value...

3.       A Handmade Wood Lamp - made by me at the School (1975) – used it as my lamp during my teenager years. Moved home 3 times without being used. It's just a lamp, I never gave up, hoping to see it working one day…

4.       A New Testament – my first one (1975). Maybe because I found on it many of the words I know today... maybe because it says "This New Testament belongs to the boy Alberto Jorge…”

Things that I keep because of their sentimental value! What is the sentimental value? How much is that? How do we calculate it? If I try to sell them on eBay I would probably get no bids, meaning it has value just for me.

Then I think abou the practical value of these items. How useful would be them in other hands? Two toys would make two kids happy just for a short time, while the boat and the motorcycle keep together in one peace... much less time than the one I have dedicated to look at them for my own joy. A Lamp would give light to someone who don't have a lamp... but is there anyone who have electricity and don't have a lamp?...

My big dilema comes when I think about the 4th item – my first New Testament! No doubt about the sentimental value, given the fact part of who I'm is the result of my reading from that book. I'm pretty sure that I learned about God and Jesus on this small book. It was reading this New Testament that I found what would be the values for my life. No doubt that I keep this booked since March 24th 1975, and this has a unmeasurable sentimental value. I want to keep it forever…

But… what about its spiritual value? This book is the Word of God! And the Bible says the Word of God is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12) and that the gospel is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

Here is the dilema… what do I value on this object – the sentimental value or the spiritual value? How useful would it be in other hands? With me, it will only be a remembering item, full of significance, that will remind me about myself and my walking with God. But on the hands of other person... I cannot guarantee... I only know about its power, and capability to change lives.

If there is a small chance for this book to be read by someone which life can be changed through its reading, I don't want to stop it because my personal feelings and experience.
To be true, its spiritual values is much higher than its sentimental value.
So, out of 4 items I keep for almost 4 decades, this will be the first to go so it can be "lamp for the feet, and light on the path (Psalm 119:105) of someone.
What about you, have you though about this?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Soccer at any cost...

A few miles from the city center in Maputo, we find an area called White House.

Not because there is an imponent and important white building, just ruins of an old restaurant.

White House Team... that's how we call the kids soccer team that Church of Filadélfia have been helping out in this area, also as a church planting initiative.

The soccer field is a large area, surronding by poor houses, and lots of garbage.

Anyway, this is good enough for the "coach" to gather twice a day 2 groups of children who want to learn how to play good soccer and learn about the great stories the coach always have to tell.

Today, we had Saidate our coach to visit this team and to share with the group about dreams.

What are your dreams? - he ask. Become a soccer player... one says.  Being a coach... says another.

Then we ask about what is needed to achieve all of those dreams? And the answer is rigth there - Work... lots of work!

Week after week these kids learn how to play soccer, but they also learn about the values that will change their lives forever, that will help them to build better families, and a better comunity. Ultimately, they will learn how to know the God who loves them unconditionaly. That's why we invest our time doing this.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Mayra is back...

We met Mayra 3 years ago, when she was admitted at the Cancer Ward, she was 1 year old. After spending almost a year at the hospital under Chemoteraphy treatments, she went back to her village near Nampula, almost 2000 miles far from Maputo. we though we would never see her again.

That's what happens all the time... After a few months at home, cancer is back and the family doesnt want to experience the process again. it's very commom to receive a phone call with such bad news a few months later.

But we were completely surprised with Mayra, when she returned to the Hospital last week, for a routine appointment, and to hear from the doctors she was completely fine!

Mayra's story makes us smile and believe there is still hope for so many children arriving here almost defeated by cancer!

Thank you, Mayra for making us smile today...