First Easter in MozambIque
(From an email written April 1, 1997)
We watched the sun come up over the Indian ocean this morning. It was breathtaking. We celebrated the resurrection with believers from around 14 different nations, all gathered on the beach for Easter Sunday morning.
After the glorious sunrise and Easter activities with our kids, the dishes were all piled up in the sink from much cooking and eating all weekend, candy was scattered around, and we were resting, recovering from getting up at 3:30 am.
Scheduled to teach the local children at 3pm, I was exhausted, and did not feel like speaking Portuguese for an hour. Battling a bad attitude, and asking God to help me, I went down to the church to teach.
About 40 children from the local orphanage filed into my classroom with their caretaker, and I felt panicked having her and all of those children awaiting my Portuguese. Hurling a desperate prayer toward heaven, I started off. God showed up for me. Those children listened intently as I taught a lesson from John 3. They even quieted the children who came in late so that they could listen. I did stumble over my words some, but it didn’t seem to bother these children. They seemed captivated by the illustrations and the lesson.
Afterward I gave out some simple questions, written by my little helper, Gerito. Honestly, I didn’t think the questions were such a great idea, but I wanted to encourage Gerito, who had worked so hard writing them. He had the idea that we should write questions, have the children answer them, and turn them back in. I thought I would never see those papers again.
But I was wrong. The children were excited to get those papers! After the class, one child at a time proudly came and presented his paper, all filled out correctly. Tears came to my eyes as I stood and read each paper—I had to, they each stood there waiting for my approval. I patted each one on the back, and told them what a good job they had done. This seemed to make them truly happy, and after that they looked with fascination at my Bible picture book. My heart was full as I watched their delight over a simple picture book.
Later that night something struck me. The first question on the paper was “Who is God?” Every one of those orphaned children had answered “O Nosso Pai,” our Father.
They had no earthly fathers, but they believed God is their father. How would you have answered that question? Who is God to you? I want to be like those children, who believed in God as their good father, and rejoiced over the simple gifts that came their way.