Teach a Man to Fish

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Mozambique is country filled with mostly untapped oil and mineral wealth. It is also a place where nearly everyone goes hungry some of the time and many are hungry all of the time. In fact it is nearly impossible to find anyone who doesn’t know at least one person who has starved to death.


The villages outside of the IRIS base in Pemba are perfect examples of this desperation. It is no wonder that the gate outside of the Harvest School is a place where young 20 something year old men congregate to sell cheap hand made jewelry to missionaries and students from the west in hopes of simply eating that day. Not dating or playing or partying like their western peers. Just eating a bowl of rice or Shima and maybe just maybe a piece of a chicken leg. Others invent tragic stories they hope will be believed and result in some one giving them money. The stories may be fabricated but the tragedy is real. Unfortunately begging undermines the dignity of both the beggar and the giver and frequently results in resentment on the part of one or both parties particularly when the giver’s money runs out. It’s not that there is zero opportunity for economic growth in Pemba. It is simply untapped. Sometimes it is  just a matter of these young men not knowing how to access opportunity do to a lack of education, ignorance of work ethics and or how the world of business and employment works. Some simply need a leg up to get started and a few hundred American dollars can mean the difference between a life of abject poverty and the dignity that comes with being self supporting. 

It’s a bit ridiculous in my opinion if not completely insane to preach the current and popular Ephesians based “Christian identity motif” to a culture already demeaned by centuries of white colonization when a Mozambiquen man still feels the need to beg for a proverbial fish from a white man just to feed his own children. Feeding the poverty mentality within a given culture is the epitome of disrespect and not what Jesus meant when He told Peter “if you love me then feed my sheep.”  People need discipleship not just evangelism. 

When we first met Daniel he was selling Bibles to missionaries on base. I personally grabbed 25 before I realized that they were actually Gideon Bibles. I rebuked Daniel ever so gently explaining how selling Bibles that were intended to be free was not only wrong but also not good for him. “But papa” he began, “you don’t understand. I have no money to start my business and I have no money to eat. I need to do something.” “Hold on” I said “Tell me about this business.” “Papa I’m very good at cutting hair…” and he proceeded to tell me about his dream of opening a salon for both men and women in his village. (Hair salon?! I thought people were starving.  Well as it turns out  starving people are seeking dignity just like everyone else.) “I could make maybe 1500 Metacals ($20.50) per week” he said. So we proceeded to work out how much it would cost to get him started. 

As it turned out Daniel could get the required business license and build his salon for just under 600 US dollars. So he gave his remaining Bibles away and resolved to never sell one again and we started giving him money in increments. 


What began as a gamble quickly became a solid investment in Daniel’s future as he proved to be a man of his word in every way. Obviously we do not expect a financial return. That would not only be absurd but also illegal under Mozambiquen law. Our ROI comes in the form of the joy goes with helping another human being succeed and find dignity through empowerment. It is also a way to preach a Gospel that has teeth as we made it abundant clear that this was not about us.  Rather it was about the love God put in our hearts for Daniel. 


We are praying that God opens the door to similar opportunities in the future. Perhaps you’ll want to partner with us if He does. 


​​​​Be sure to check out Daniels short video https://vimeo.com/194167440

STUDENT ANOINTING


It’s been nearly a month since we left for Africa, the incredulous words of friends and family echoing in our ears.
“You’re doing what?!” “What will you be doing?” “That’s wonderful! What are you going there to do?”
What indeed.

The concept of anointing is derived from an ancient practice whereby Shepards would pour oil on the heads of their sheep to make the wool slippery. This prevented dangerous insects from getting into their ears and burrowing into their skulls which would eventually kill them.
Later anointing became a symbol of blessing, protection, and empowerment.

The body of Christ is filled with anointing. There is healing anointing and prophetic anointing. Anointing to teach and counsel and lead, to preach and intercede, to build and to feed. In fact there is an anointing to match near any need.
At the moment we are anointed for none of these. Instead we have been given a student anointing.

“What is a student anointing?” you ask. Basically it means we are back to knowing nothing. We are humbled. We are beginners again. Every morning we rise to sing and praise and worship God for hours on end with 250 students hand picked from 30 different nations all of whom have the most incredible, mind boggling testimonies of God’s miraculous power in their lives. We are then taught by some of the most powerful, layed down lovers and yes anointed men and women of God walking the earth today some of whom are young enough to be our children. The topics: relationship both with God and His children, honor, identity, and intimacy.  As it turns out being a missionary is more about who He is and less about what we do. As the amazing Pastor Suprise Sithole says “Relationship is more important than hard working.”

While the secular world continues to focus on endless climbing, competition and self promotion in order to achieve a sense of significance, we are learning to focus on relationship, giving preference to the other and dying to self.  Instead of learning yet another way to climb yet another ladder named success, we are learning how to go low. As Roland Baker wrote in Keeping the Fire;

“We not only go low before God, we go low before others. We do this by choosing not to seek favor with those who are influential or wealthy when we begin to cry out to God for revival in a city or a nation. We go first to those who have nothing and no food. We go to the poor, the destitute, the bruised, the sick, the widowed, the orphaned, the forgotten, the ostracized, the outcasts and the dying. We who behave as nobodies before God go to those who are regarded as nobodies by man.”

Water always flows to the lowest point. Going low means learning to swim or rather be carried in the direction of the living water flow until the day comes when 

“we, being rooted and grounded in love are able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that we might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Eph 3:17-19

It is the fullness of God that has powered IRIS from the start. We want this same fullness of God for ourselves. Not only are we willing but we earnestly desire to learn to go low. And so for a season we are anointed as students again, blessed, protected and empowered by a really great Father in Heaven.

Now on to Pemba for more revelation adventure and fuel for the low roads we will travel in the future.