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Monday, July 16, 2012

Blind Association Video

This blind Association consists of 80 people that receive food every week. Two to three kilos of corn flour and three pieces of bread. As we continue to find donations we hope to add the 83 people that are waiting to get on the list, and Lord willing, I would love to give them something with nutrients.
I've heard that each city within our provence has their own blind association (totaling 450 blind), so in the near future, I plan on getting out and meeting each of the leaders of the other associations and find out their conditions. 
I plan on searching for help buying more canes and raising money to take care of the least of these. 

On another note, I'd like to pass on a testamony from Rita, the widow who's house we are trying to help build.
So the other day she was looking for a ride home, taxi busses or motorcycles are her usual way home. On this particular day, the motorcyclist wanted a dollar and she was trying to talk him down to eighty cents. She said a foreigner was near-by and told Rita she would give her a ride to where she needed to go. So Rita went with her. Later that day she saw a child sleeping in the dirt, where others were trying to walk, and Rita asked what he was doing, all he said was that he was hungry. So she took him and found him a humble meal for a dollar.
Rita said, that God gave her a free ride home so that she would have the dollar to buy this child a meal.

What a beautiful moment! I'm reminded of the passage in Luke 21: 1-4
 "While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. I tell you the truth, Jesus said, "this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of thier surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given eveything she has."

From Angola With Love,

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stories of Survival

Lori and I have been in Angola nearly 10 months now. People have started opening up to us and sharing some of the painful stories about the brutal civil war. How humbling it is to hear their experiences. I'll share just a few of them.

Justinho lives in a city within the Benguela province called Ganda. During the war opposition forces accused him of being a spy. To ensure that he could not hurt there cause in any way and to send a message to others, the soldiers cut off his hands. Now, 20 years later, he was blind in both eyes from cataracts until we restored his vision. I was so happy for him that we were able to help in this small way.

One of my surgical nurses was living in his home in Caluquembe when opposition forces began advancing on the city. Word spread that this man was a ranking official in the ruling party. The opposition forces began looking to kill him. So he fled for the woods, where he lived for two years. Two years away from his family, moving about as a fugitive, never spending more than a few days in any location. During this time he had  help from his brother-in-law. Somehow they successfully reported his death, so that he could be free under a new identity. With a new name and a new beard, he was able to live in the house with this brother in law safely.

Another nurse at Boa Vista was working at the Caluquembe Mission hospital during the height of the war. This church based mission hospital had an unfortunate location and was held by opposition forces. When the government forces moved in to seize the province the hospital was viewed as sympathizers to the opposition and was bombed on a regular basis. During the bombings this nurse would always go to this one particular hole in the ground for shelter. He did this for several weeks as the bombings continued. One day as a raid started, he decided to help a patient who was struggleing to get to the shelter. By the time they both finally got to the shelter they found that it had been hit directly and everybody in the shelter had died. 

These kinds of personal stories of heroism and tradgedy are common. I feel humbled that as we get to know people, they open up and share their painful memories. War is terrible, the more direct contact I have with survivors the more I know of it's cost. 

Thanks for reading,