|De Souza’s Prayer letter 03/09/2019
Thank you to each one that has prayed and given so that we can be here! You are an amazing blessing to us and to the people of Angola!
March 9th marked seven months since our arrival! Our city, Lubango, which struck us as so foreign, overwhelming and congested, now feels like home. We have learned to drive like Angolans – such a hospitable culture – they believe there is space for everyone on the road – the cars, trucks, taxis, hallelujahs (motorbikes with trailers full of passengers and heavy loads – they are called “hallelujahs” because an accident would mean the passengers suddenly meet the Lord!), motorcycles zipping between vehicles (only at capacity when carrying 2-5 passengers), ladies with babies strapped on their backs and heavy-laden buckets on their heads full of the day’s wares, men pushing wheelbarrows brimming over, tiny children carrying their chairs and backpacks to and from school, fruit and vegetable sellers, construction workers, street sweepers, goats, dogs, etc.! It is amazing to see all that can actually fit onto an Angolan road… even lovely corn-selling, baby carrying photo bombers (see photo)!
“…Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.” The servant said, “Master, what you commanded has been done, and yet there is room.” Then the master said to the servant, “Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.”
|Being in Angola LONG TERM comes with a huge blessing – we get to walk alongside the precious souls God has brought into our path, not only for a moment, but for the long haul. Sometimes we journey with them through heart-wrenching tragedy, other times through joyful triumph, but always we are overwhelmed by the privilege to be God’s jars of clay, pouring out His love and hope during some of the most overwhelming moments of life. Time and again, we are humbled to see the true heroes – the patients and their family members who face pain, tragedy and injustice with strength and gratitude. These precious souls are the reason we are here! Below are a couple of the full stories. Many of you had a part in these happy endings. Thank you!!!
Pedro: Within days of arriving in Angola, Eduardo called from the hospital saying there was a little boy urgently needing blood. I (Jocelyn) gave one of eight units of blood he required. He coded twice on the operating table. Many missionaries and hospital staff worked tirelessly and poured out prayers, sweat and tears for this little guy’s survival.
Many of you even interceded for Pedro. Eduardo got to know this precious soul and his family during his miraculous recovery. I was privileged to be present at his check-up a few weeks ago. You should have seen him strut into the consult room! Just look at the joy on his mother’s face! He is only alive today because of the Lord and the body of Christ – His hands and feet on the earth:
Some prayed and gave to send missionaries. Others answered the call to come. Angolans and foreigners worked together as members of one body. They didn’t give up, but skillfully and tirelessly operated and provided CPR, lifesaving and recovery care. Some gave of their time and energy, some gave blood, some gave financially, some gave of their skills, but we all gave in one way or another. In the end, Pedro did not just survive, but is thriving, and he and his family have experienced the immensity of God’s love. This is what makes it all worth it!
So many of you blessed the life and family of Francisco. Before their long journey to their hometown, Francisco, his mother, and his baby brother had dinner at our house. They were overjoyed to meet and thank my parents for their help and asked us to thank each one of you who prayed and gave.
Instead of facing bankruptcy, this family was able to return home with Francisco recovered, with two elevated shoes for his shorter leg, and a workable plan to get back on their feet. Most importantly, they heard and believed the Gospel and experienced God’s abundant love and provision! Ministry Updates:
Eduardo continues to work long hours at CEML (Evangelical Medical Center of Lubango) and Jocelyn has been able to be there part-time. A typical day at the hospital includes moments of incomparable joy and other moments of unimaginable heartache.
Eduardo has started to take call, which means that he is often called-in for emergencies during nights and weekends. So many times, these emergencies shake the soul and wrench the heart. We struggle with the injustices we see day after day. People often come to the hospital as a last resort, hoping for a miracle cure, while gasping for their last breath. Lack of resources, lack of education, lack of finances, lack of compassionate, skilled medical care, all contribute to the suffering we see daily.
The medical team provides the best care possible with the resources available, but more importantly, they show the love of God to the patients and their family members. The patients see the difference when they enter CEML and doctors and staff pray for them and treat them with compassion.
Rural Medical Trip: Besides our ongoing work and learning at CEML Hospital, we had the opportunity of a lifetime for the whole family to take a vision/ministry trip with MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) and a medical team to Kalukembe Hospital and Cavango Clinic, two rural medical missions in dire need of workers who are passionate to share God’s love! Eduardo worked long hours, while I and the children explored and discussed the future possibility of living in one of these places, where the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are so few… Eduardo describes Kalukembe Hospital (a 200-bed hospital, currently with no doctor) as one of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching places on the planet.
Fistula Ladies: The Fistula patients are ladies who have experienced severe complications from unassisted childbirths. They have usually experienced one or more stillbirths, have been severely damaged physically, are incontinent of urine and/or stool, and are seen as cursed, causing them to be rejected by their families and villages. These women travel long distances to receive needed surgeries at CEML. Between surgeries, for months at a time, many live in the very rudimentary patient village behind the hospital. I (Jocelyn) have had the privilege to meet regularly with these women, sharing the Gospel and the love of God. There is nothing more beautiful than to witness the transformation of these women, who once were clothed in shame, the outcasts of society. After months of experiencing God’s love and hearing that they are valuable in His sight, many leave with their heads held high, knowing that they are not alone, but that they are the apple of His eye!
Praise Report: My parents were able to visit. We have spent an amazing 6 weeks with them. They have been able to see and understand more about our daily lives in Angola. The children have thoroughly enjoyed time with their grandparents. The grandparents have been very busy, playing with and caring for the grandkids, helping at the children’s school, and giving English lessons. Cienna was thrilled to stay with Mema and Pepa and I was able to participate in a rural medical trip, spend quality time at the hospital and fistula program, and volunteer at another mission which seeks to bless the lives of some of the poorest children in our community. It was a wonderful gift, giving me the opportunity to explore ministry options.
We’ve received the funds needed to purchase a vehicle! Thank you to each one who contributed! What an answer to prayer!
We have found a church that we can call home! Thank you for the prayers!
Please Pray for Us:.
For the people that we encounter at the hospital, in the fistula program, and in our daily lives here, that God would touch their hearts and use us to reveal His love to them.
For the team of laborers here (international missionaries and Angolans) to be unified in Christ and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, that their impact may be great in this nation.
For physical health for the family. We all continue to struggle on and off with stomach issues. Matteus seems to struggle the most with this.
For Eduardo as he continues to work and learn at the hospital. Facing such immense need is often overwhelming physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Please pray for guidance as He learns how to find a healthy balance in family life and ministry.
For Jocelyn to be guided by God in the next steps regarding ministry focus.
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. Specifically, please pray for the children during the next couple of weeks as their grandparents return to the USA.
For the right vehicle. Finding a well-maintained, used vehicle for sale in Angola can be very challenging! Please pray that we will find the right one and that we will not be taken advantage of in any way!
For a teacher/helper for the children’s school next year. So far there is quite a shortage of teachers or helpers for the mission school for the next school year. Please pray for this, and if any of you would be interested in coming to help out, please let us know! The school is English-speaking, so no Portuguese required!
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
We are so thankful for the experiences our children are gaining here! Their perspectives are changing. When we eat out, they gratefully eat whatever is provided and often automatically give part of their meal to a hungry child watching us. They are learning to relate to people from all over the world and from all walks of life. They are learning that every human is valuable, not because of what he has or does, but because of who he is – a human created and loved by God.
In the photos below, the three oldest experienced co-piloting the MAF plane that took us to some of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching places on the planet. During our trip, all of the children walked the halls of the hospital and even prayed for some of the patients, including the gorgeous little girl below. Tiago was overjoyed to have the opportunity to watch a surgery. We pray that these experiences will bless the lives of our children, helping them trust and follow the loving heart of the Father.
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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