|De Souza’s Prayer letter 07/16/2019 |
As we rapidly approach the one-year anniversary of our arrival in Angola, we want to say, “THANK YOU!!!”
August 9th will mark one year in Angola! I don’t think a year has ever flown by so quickly! Many have told us that the first year on the mission field is one of the hardest. We are so thankful to the Lord, who never leaves us and never forsakes us! We also thank Him for each of you who has walked with us, encouraged us, prayed for us, and supported us on this journey, through all of the moments, the good and bad, up and down, healthy and sick, sunshine and rain… THANK YOU!!! You are an amazing blessing to us and to the people of Angola!
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:6-10
The last couple of weeks were our toughest yet! To those who heard of our situation and stood in the gap for us, THANK YOU! Your prayers were answered! Not only answered, but, as always, God used the tough times to speak deeply into our lives.
I received a little plaque that says, “God doesn’t give us what we can handle. He helps us handle what we are given.” These words have rung so true over the last couple of weeks! Often just regular life here seems too much to handle. We were already dealing with our usual stresses: long work hours, dealing with death and disease day after day, raising four wonderfully active children, trying to legalize our medical and nursing licenses in Angola, dealing with a fuel shortage, lack of electricity and internet, being far away from family during surgeries, weddings, birthdays, holidays, Minnesota summer, etc. A couple of weeks ago, on top of our usual stresses, we began the process of renewing our visas. Feeling as if I was drowning under the seemingly unending piles of paperwork and deadlines quickly approaching, I told a friend, “If I was struggling with staying on the mission field, this could push me right over the edge and send me packing.”
Soon after that, to make matters worse, each of us, one after the other, came down with a terrible flu-like illness: high fevers, chills, extreme fatigue, cough, etc. Ella (6 years old) was the first to get a fever. Just to be on the safe-side, we ran her to the hospital and were very surprised when she tested positive for malaria. We prayed and asked others to pray for her and immediately started her on treatment. That evening, her symptoms suddenly progressed to hallucinations, restless, jerky movements, and fevers of 104+ degrees despite Tylenol and Motrin. This was a scary night! Her suffering broke our hearts and we cried out to God throughout the entire night. As the darkness gave way to the light of dawn that morning, fear gave way to peace as we gradually saw health return to Ella’s little body.
Later that day, Cienna (3 years old), who sleeps under the same mosquito net and uses the same malaria prophylaxis, started to have similar frightening symptoms. We started her on treatment and spent another night in fervent prayer as we cared for her. Thank the LORD, by morning her health had also improved. Both girls were left with just the nasty flu that then swept through the whole family. Now, after an awful week, we are all physically back to normal, out of self-quarantine, and appreciating our health more than ever!
For two nights, all of our usual stresses seemed microscopic as we faced our deepest fear. As we wrestled in prayer, we had to reach the point of full surrender to God, the point at which we truly realized in our hearts, not only in our minds, that God is good, that His love for us and our children is beyond understanding, that His power is greater than any other power, and that He is sovereign. We have reached a “point of no return” in our relationship with the Lord. This is the point at which a military pilot knows that he does not have enough fuel to return to base, so must carry out his mission. It is the point in which he is most dangerous to the enemy and least focused on himself. This is where we are: no matter where God leads, we will follow. His ways are higher than our ways. No matter the circumstances, we place our trust in Him. He is our hope and our future. In the powerful words of Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose!”
Both of us sensed a deep conviction regarding our family on the mission field: If we are here with our precious children, far away from beloved family members and friends, giving up opportunities and comforts, and facing risks and hardships, it needs to be WORTH IT. What makes it “worth it?” Working even harder to try to help more people won’t make it worth it. That will just make us exhausted and burnt out. We, mere jars of clay, need to be full to overflowing with the Spirit! We need Him to guide us, fill us, and flow through us. Our love and strength are so finite, but when God’s all-surpassing power flows through us, Heaven invades earth! Lives are transformed, the hopeless are filled with hope, sick are healed, captives are set free, rejected souls are loved, and the perishing are saved! We are wholeheartedly seeking the Lord and are excited to see how He will move in and through us!
Highlights from the Last Few Months
Team from Calvary E-Free in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota!
It was such a joy to host these four amazing women! They crammed so many experiences into their two weeks: consults and scrubbing-in for surgeries at the hospital, a rural medical trip, blessing hundreds of the poorest children in our city, and loving on us and our kids! We even got to enjoy a wonderful date night!
One of the most precious parts of their time here was an afternoon spent pouring out God’s love on the fistula women:
We taught about the love of Jesus, who humbly took the place of a servant and washed the feet of the disciples. Then we washed the feet of each women present and gave a pedicure. The ladies were overwhelmed by God’s love, a love many had never felt before. Afterward, the group presented each woman with a special gift. They were so touched, that each woman placed her gift on top of her head and sang and danced for over an hour, thanking God and thanking the visitors for sharing His love with them.
Sandra Our prayer group from Lakes Area Vineyard Church in Detroit Lakes, MN, held a garage sale and raised the finances for this precious girl’s surgeries. Sandra recovered from surgery for her open, infected leg fracture and was able to return to her home. She and her family experienced the love of Jesus in a tangible way that will greatly affect their future!
Rural Medical Trips I had the privilege of joining another nurse practitioner, a pastoral team, and an MAF pilot on two medical trips to rural southern Angola, where we served some of the most under-served and difficult to reach people on the planet! The joy and gratitude expressed by these beautiful people is humbling. As we attempt to minister to physical and spiritual needs, we are confronted with the stench of our own hideous selfishness and sense of entitlement. This part of Angola has faced serious drought and devastating famine this year.
Many do not know where their next meal will come from or when it will be. They have lost loved-ones to hunger and sickness. “Tomorrow” for them is not a given, so any blessing they receive, no matter how small, is a priceless gift. How can we, as Western Christians, be so distracted and dissatisfied in our overabundance and so blind to the poor and needy? Isn’t all that we have and all that we are from Him and for Him? We are the ones who have received the 10 talents, but are we using them to share His love and spread the Good News of the Gospel, or are we selfishly burying them in the sand?
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. We still struggle with the tragedies 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. No matter the outcome, it is an incredible privilege to walk with, support, and pray with patients and their families during some of their most emotional moments – whether they be filled with joy, hope, fear, pain, or heartache. God uses these moments to pour out His love and draw hearts to Him.
Three Amigos: Eduardo, his very grateful patient, and the cockroach he pulled from his patient’s ear!
Assisting in a surgery at CEML: Eduardo and our great friend, Lydia, visiting nurse from Pelican Rapids, MN!
Praise Report: We found and purchased a great vehicle! We were blown-away by the way that God provided the funds needed for a vehicle, and then helped us find a vehicle that is exactly what we needed and even less expensive than expected! Thank you for your prayers and financial gifts toward this purchase!
We all survived our first experience with malaria! Thank you, Jesus!!!
Please Pray for Us:.
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 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 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.
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!
Click Here to Join Our Ministry Team!
To Give Online without Using the Above Link:
1. Visit: simusa.org/give
2. Enter Eduardo or Jocelyn De Souza
3. Enter Missionary #044522
Can’t give online? Send checks to: SIM USA, PO Box 7900, Charlotte, NC 28241
Please write “De Souza #044522” in the memo line.
De Little Delightful De Souza’s
The children continue to thrive here in Angola. We are amazed to see how they have faced so many changes and challenges with courage and perseverance. The three oldest just finished their first school-year here, and all three made the honor-roll! It is such a joy to watch them grow physically, intellectually and spiritually! What they are learning in this context is priceless!
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
Stay in Touch Our Mailing Address:
14512 Shoreline Ln.
Lake Park, MN 56554
Facebook/Messenger: Eduardo De Souza
Jocelyn Thompson de Souza