|De Souza’s Prayer letter 12/04/2019
Merry Christmas and Happy 2020!!! As 2019 comes to a close, we think back on how we have experienced God’s awe-inspiring presence, protection, and love over the past year! One way He has shown His tremendous love to us is through each one of you that has encouraged us, prayed for us, or given so that we could be here! You are His body, pouring out His love on us and on those we serve. We couldn’t do this without you! Thank you! A highlight over the last few months was hosting a team of 10 from Minnesota. Some of our visitors were already dearest of friends, and the others became dear friends during our time together. Their visit was a breath of fresh air for us!
The team, our family, and several helpers poured out God’s love in a variety of ways, including feeding and clothing the poor, teaching crafts and running a spa day for the “Sisters of Hope” (the ladies in the fistula program), and sharing the hope of the Gospel through dramas and teaching.
The main project, though, was to paint a 120-foot-long mural depicting the Gospel from Genesis to Revelation in the patient village behind the hospital. The village houses hundreds of people from diverse tribes and languages throughout southern Angola. These residents include the Sisters of Hope, caregivers of patients, and patients themselves who are waiting for or recovering from surgeries or needing outpatient treatments.
Over the past year we have shared the hope we have in Christ with the precious people in the village, but have been overwhelmed by obstacles – lack of even basic understanding of the Gospel, tremendous language barriers, fear of evil spirits but dependence on witchcraft and shamanism, and a wrong understanding of what it means to follow Christ. Most know religion: a list of rules we must strive to follow, punishments we deserve, inevitable failures we must hide, and fear of the evil powers that are part of their daily lives. Most don’t know the true Gospel – the “Good News” – of our Loving and Holy Creator, who gave His own Son, our Savior, to pay the price of our sin so that we could be free – free from sin and free to love Him and to experience His love for us. They don’t realize that we can be full of His Spirit – Our Guide, Loving Comforter and Almighty Protector – we no longer need to fear evil, as the same power that raised Christ from the dead can live in us! Thus was born the dream of a mural which would powerfully show the Gospel in pictures.
Sisters of Hope cooking lunch on their coal stoves outside of their rooms, facing the freshly painted mural. Following are a few of the powerful Gospel scenes:
The Curse – Humankind chose to believe the Evil One, disobeying their Loving Creator, bringing death – separation from God. God’s plan didn’t end here, though!
But the Angel said to them, “Listen: Do not fear. For I bring you good news of great joy, which will be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find the Baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly there was with the angel a company of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men.”
This is love: God gave His Son for us!
For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17
But He emptied Himself, taking upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in the form of a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should
bow, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Phil. 2:7-11 (MEV)
Then I looked and there was a great multitude which no one could count, from all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out with a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10
Praise the Risen Lamb, Our Savior, the Victorious King who will crush the head of the Serpent!
Tiago painting with our dear friend Anna, the artist who spent countless hours planning the mural.
Ella and our team, dancing with the Sisters of Hope who are thanking God for all the love poured out!
In God’s Kingdom no one is too small! Everyone gets to participate! All of the kids were excited to share God’s love! Cute painters: Teo and Cienna!
Our precious friend, Bella (12-yr-old from Minnesota), and the rest of the team loved that the Sisters of Hope picked up brushes and joined in! It was “their project!”
More from the Last Few Months
CEML (Evangelical Medical Center of Lubango) Eduardo continues to work long hours at CEML and is gaining tremendous experience and skill! Jocelyn has been at CEML part-time. The plan over the next year is that we will continue to work at CEML, but we will also spend a lot more time travelling to the remote clinics to gain experience with rural medicine. We face tragedy on a daily basis. We see unimaginable evil up close and personally. We also are often blown away by God’s love and power! There truly is never a hopeless situation when we bring it to the Lord!
One of the evils we see up close and personally: “Tala.” Tala refers to a poison obtained from a shaman and applied in revenge, hatred or jealousy to another person or left in a location that the other person is likely to touch. In this case, it was applied to this woman’s hand while she slept. In her sleep, she touched both legs and her other forearm with the poisoned hand. She was near death by the time she arrived to the hospital. In the end, her life was spared, but her right arm was amputated and the necrotic wounds on her legs and other arm were treated and gradually healed. In the beginning of her hospitalization, this woman’s heart was hard and closed, but after experiencing the love of God through hospital staff, she is soft and open to prayer. Please pray for the healing and salvation of her soul!
While we have seen God perform inexplicable physical healing and we have been able to help with complicated medical healing, we have also been blessed to feel the joy that comes with pouring out God’s love and care in simple ways. This beautiful baby boy was starving to death. His mother had died and and his father was alone with the baby in the patient village and could not afford formula or find a nursing mother who could feed him. As the baby’s cries of hunger became weaker and more infrequent, the grieving father became more hopeless.
God brought this baby into our path just in time. Our team bought formula and tried to feed him gradually, but he desperately guzzled it down. He slowly perked up and he and his father were able to return to their village where they know other nursing moms who will feed him. Praise the Lord for a life saved and a family touched by God’s love!
Praise Report: We not only survived, but thrived during our first year in Angola, which many have told us is the hardest year on the mission field! We are feeling more and more at home in our new country! We are seeing God move powerfully as we step out in faith. He is doing great things in Angola!
That we would continue to wholeheartedly seek the Lord and be filled to overflowing with the Spirit so that we would be guided by Him and give from the abundance of His love and strength in our lives. That He would flow through us to heal, set captives free, and open blind eyes!
For the people that we encounter at the hospital, in the fistula program, on the rural trips, and in our daily lives here, that God would touch their hearts and use us to reveal His love to them.
For physical health for the family. For both of us as we continue to work and learn at the hospital and at the remote clinics. Facing such immense need is often overwhelming physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Please pray for guidance as we learn how to seek God in the midst of the busyness and exhaustion and find a healthy balance in family life and ministry.
For the children – that they would develop close relationships with the Lord and that they would remain healthy and continue to adjust well to life in Angola. Finally, we have a very special prayer request! Please pray for rain in southern Angola and northern Namibia. Also pray for God’s provision until the next harvest. These areas are experiencing extreme famine. People are dying of starvation and dehydration. Our MAF colleagues are flying in food gathered by our local churches to the needy, hard-to-reach communities, but our brothers and sisters are suffering. They need your prayers!
How Can We Pray for You? We would also like to keep you in our prayers.
Please let us know how we can be praying for you!
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De Little Delightful De Souza’s
The children have become a vital part of our team! Our hearts are flooded with joy when we see the changes in their lives. Over the past year, they have learned to reach out with God’s love. With financial help from friends in the USA, each week they feed a nutritious meal and teach about the love of Jesus to a group of nearly 50 impoverished shepherd children who live behind the patient village. The four kids spent long, exhausting days in the heat with our team of visitors painting the mural and feeding and loving on the village residents without a complaint! We wish that every American child could have the chance to experience the life our four are living! It is life-changing for sure!
Ella and Bella massaging feet and praying for one of the Sisters of Hope.
The four kids sharing God’s love with their new friends, the shepherd kids.
Merry Christmas and THANK YOU, again, to all who are on this amazing journey with us through prayers, encouragement and support! We could not do this without you!
May the Lord Bless you and Keep You!
Let’s Keep Serving Him Together!
The De Souza Family
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Jocelyn Thompson de Souza