Things out here in Massangulo are going really well. Our new house looks amazing, it’s super comfortable, we’ve fully unpacked and decorated and it feels like a home. We’ve spent a fair bit of time out and about in the community – meeting official people, going to a funeral, taking part in meetings. The kids have settled back into doing school here and they’re really happy to be back. We’ve made a start on getting back into language learning and while we have a long way to go – it’s going well. We’re really happy here and it’s nice for things to be going right for a change. It has been an incredible combination of God’s miraculous intervention, a little bit of effort on our part and an incredible amount of sacrifice and hard work to make preparations for us. We have some incredible people working with us and so we want to give a shout out to just a few who have made our first month here a joy.
To Jonathon Lawrence – our ridiculously talented, dedicated, generous, hard working volunteer builder. I think you get the picture – Jon’s pretty amazing. I don’t think there are many other people… if any… that I would have been comfortable leaving the building of our house to while we went to Australia for home assignment. To even have anyone to help in the first place is an incredible blessing and not something we take for granted. So many of our friends here spend months even years building their own places so to have someone to do it for us is just amazing.
But Jonny’s not just someone – he’s super special. His eye for detail and ability to think things through is just perfect – which makes the perfectionist in me doing a little happy dance on the inside. Things in this house are straight! It’s so great. I expected that we’d come back and still have to bring most of our furniture out from Lichinga – Jonny had already done it. I expected that there would be heaps of “finishing touches” to do like mirrors and a washing line – Jonny had already done them. There are a couple of things we’ll get to in time but really… we walked back into a house that is just incredible and we’ve already made it into a home.
He’s not just a good builder though… Jon’s a pretty special friend. He gives a killer bear hug… and we all need a good hug sometimes. He makes me coffee on a fairly regular basis. He is patient and encouraging – he takes my kids abseiling and doesn’t get frustrated with me when he has to stop his kayak time and time again because I’ve fallen out on yet another rapid. He loves fun and adventure and he’s always willing to share his time, gifts and his toys with others. We’re feeling super sad to have to say goodbye to him in a few weeks time. We’re never going to be able to repay him for everything’s he done for us. For those of you who had a part in sending him or encouraging him – thank you too!
To Stephanie Coulson – our incredible volunteer teacher! Although I didn’t know Stephanie that well before now, we’d spent a bit of time together when she came out with a team in 2014 for a Global Exposure trip and she struck me as the kind of person who was willing to give just about anything a go. That and the fact that every single person I spoke to about her thought she’d do a great job had me feeling pretty confident that she’d do ok.
But she hasn’t really done ok… she’s been flippin amazing! Steph is patient, humble, cheerful, helpful, extremely intelligent, capable, enthusiastic and takes initiative. She’s helped in so many more ways than just taking care of school. We would have been lost with out her. I wouldn’t have made it past the check in counter in Perth – I don’t know why I thought I could do that trip on my own!
Steph has enabled us to focus on language learning, getting out and meeting people and spending time in the village. All the while she just smashes out school with the kids, does the dishes, brings in the washing and just makes life here that little bit better and easier. The girls and I are trying to work out a way to keep her here…
And last but by no means least – to the Falconers – our much loved & missed team mates. Our whole team has been amazing in helping with things out here but Bek and Scott deserve a special mention. They are the ones who slogged out the first 18 months breaking ground.
They’re the reason that we can drink water straight from our tap. When Bek and Scott moved out here, their water source was a manky little pond on the side of the mountain. I remember a picture Bek sent me of the kids in a bath full of already dirty brown water. Ewwww! They used to have to buy bottled water in town to bring out just so they had something to drink! But they’ve since organised a bore and set it up all… we didn’t have to do a thing.
They’re the reason that we have power. When they first came out here they had candles all throughout the house, they had to have a carefully managed generator use plan to keep the freezer contents frozen and all of the power tools running. But they worked hard and eventually got the poles installed and power connected and then did the same for our block… we didn’t have to do a thing.
They’re the reason that we can jump straight back into Chiyawo lessons with someone who knows our program well. When they first came, there wasn’t anybody here who was trained to teach us. But they spent time searching out good people and training them up… we didn’t have to do a thing.
They’re the reason that we got to take part in the opening ceremony of a local school just recently. They worked so hard to build an additional classroom, all while preparing to leave for home assignment. We just strolled in, made a date to hand over the keys and enjoyed the fun part… we didn’t have to do a thing.
And probably most importantly, they’re the reason that we can jump straight into making relationships here. When they first came, they knew no one! Little by little they made friendships with people, developed relationships, cared for people, graciously showed love to those around them and started showing and telling people why it is we’re here so that when we arrived, a lot of people already knew… we didn’t have to do a thing.
So when it looks like things are going well here and it’s tempting to think that “WE” are doing a good job… please know that we would be absolutely lost without our team.
If you would like to help get the Falconers back to Massangulo, we would be so very grateful. They’re in need of some financial support before they can book their tickets. Any donation big or small would be greatly appreciated. You can donate online by clicking on the link below.