Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Red Shoes for Mutale Part 1

This is part one of a short story Luis and I have been working on about the life of a street kid named Joseph.


Roosters crow all night, into the morning. 
It’s wet.....I’m wet. 
The market is suffering from it’s typical early morning rainy season ritual. Friday Mumba kicks me out of his stall, again, here at the Savages, just a little piece of the pie in Lusaka's Soweto Market. You want cheap chicken and relish, come to the savages. You want to buy seven tons of bananas, come to the Savages.
No one really is savage here.
Rows of shanties covered by grain sacks.  There is no electricity, no paved pathways. Only mud mud mud and more mud.   The place is a breeding ground for cholera this time of year.  Last year’s outbreak took three lives, one of them being Friday Mumbas little girl Lydia.   What can you expect in a place that has no sanitation or drainage? There is only mud, trash, and sewage as far as the eye can see.  
Ever since I came to be a bonafide member of the Soweto Market population, my eyes have been yellow, and I’ve had this pain in my lower back. Still struggling, but feeling better. As we say on the street, pangono, pangono, bit by bit.
When I wake in the morning the first thing that slams me in the face is the diesel fumes coming from old Bedford trucks on bent out of shape chassis’ giving Lusaka it’s daily does of smoke. Then it’s the kapenta, our little fried sardines.  Mzungus, or foreigners, say they don’t like the smell, or the little eyes that look back at you just before you swallow them whole. But what do they know?  This is Zambian food and THIS is who we are. 
The smell brings me back to the village, when I wasn’t sleeping in a plastic grain sack, when we were able to find refuge from the rainy season deluge. When we could walk through fields and fields and pick and roast as much maize as we wanted. Now I get a high off of the smell of fried food I can’t eat or buy.  
Toyota pick-ups get a kick out of splashing puddles of water on us. The common click clack of old four wheel drive shocks could be background music for our village drummers. But it’s the wet, the rain, that really brings it all together. Nowhere to wash, nowhere to dry off, nowhere to have dry feet. One day these tired old 14-year-old feet of mine will tread the golden streets of Joburg, or London, or best of all, America.

I gotta figure out what I’m gonna do today. I have those two-liter milk bottles I found yesterday at the back alley of the Lusaka Hotel on Cairo Road. three more bottles and I can get either 2500 Kwacha, or a broom. The Kwacha can get me 100mls of sticka, which will be enough to keep me in the clouds today, and maybe a fritter. But the broom I could use for the rest of the week, sweeping out stalls in the morning to earn my keep. My stomach hurts, and I have this painful head. Maybe the sticka is just easier for today. I’m still in no mood for work ever since the big boys from Chibolya came down and stole our hard earned money on Friday night, and made my little sister Mutale cry... 
“Iwe, you, street boy, bwela, come. I have something for you to do.” It’s Candice, the chicken lady. Maybe I just found my answer. “My daughter is being lazy today. Come and cut these up and clean them, and I’ll give you 5 pin for the day.” She holds out a filthy basin full of dead chickens, and I know this is my answer. One dollar is all I’ll need. It’s double what I would have made off the containers. Thank you God. I might be able to buy a litre of Chibuku as well with this, and that’ll keep the shivers off at night. I toy with the idea of taking some chicken while she’s not looking, or putting the knife to her neck and getting the money she stashes in her bra. Than I remember the incident with Charles. He tried to roll her the same way and she had him rolled, all the way to the ER at University Teaching Hospital. In the end he got one hundred and twenty reasons not to mess with this woman, crisscrossing his back. I wonder if this was the same knife she used. I’ll do the Lord’s work today, keep it honest, keep it real. 

I hope you enjoyed it....more to follow....

If you are interested in giving to the work we are doing here and contributing to our living expenses so that we can keep working with these precious children you can go to tscnyc.org ---donate---make a one time donation----missions----Luis and Myranda Morales/zambia

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

interviews with a street kid


Yesterday was outreach day.  It dawned cloudy and cold.  I feed my kids oatmeal and Luis warmed their clothes with a hot iron before they got dressed.  I braided Brooklyn’s hair and made sure everyone had on warm sweaters and had brushed their teeth.  My babies were sent off with kisses and an apple in their bags with prayers of safety and good studies.  A normal morning, happy family and robust healthy kids being sent off to study at a good school with teachers that we respect and admire.  
Then Luis and I were off to the streets for Soweto Street Church.  I have spoken at length in previous posts on the conditions that the kids live in, you have seen the pictures.  Yesterday the thought of their warmth weighed heavily on my mind.  Where do they get warm?  HOW do they get warm?  
We have been asked by a friend who works in urban missions to write a short fiction story on the life of the street kids and I wanted to do a sort of interview with them yesterday to get give them a chance to let their voices be heard.  The following is a rough outline of the answers we were given. 
What does your day look like?        
picking plastic bottles and empty beer bottles to exchange for money
helping shoppers carry their bags
sell plastic bags to shoppers
beg for money
piece work for money
light the cooking fires for local restaurants
What does your night time look like?
drinks beer to stay warm
afraid of being beaten in his sleep
not enough clothes to stay warm
afraid of dying in sleep
afraid being robbed in his sleep
afraid of being hit by a car
what do you do for fun?
checkers
football
karate
weight lifting
dreams for family and future:
going home to parents
going to school
having a house and a wife and children
becoming a missionary
becoming a mechanic
life b4 the streets
school
helping out at home, looking after younger brother, washing clothes, dishes
playing football with friends
learning how to do wood working and making chairs
Mom told me to leave the home because there was not enough food for me and my little brother
How does it feel to be on stika?
good for a little while
makes my heart pain
makes me forget about life and my hunger and cold
i have to sniff all the time because the high doesn’t last 
has symptoms of marijuana
When we explained to them what the project is for they got so excited.  They can’t believe that people on the other side of the globe would even  know about them or care they exist.  
We really really really need a place where we can meet the kids.  A room or store front somewhere would ROCK!  While I was praying for them at the end of our time, someone put a movie on a huge scene and all you could hear in the back ground was screaming and guns going off.  
If you are interested in giving to the work we are doing here and contributing to our living expenses so that we can keep working with these precious children you can go to tscnyc.org ---donate---make a one time donation----missions----Luis and Myranda Morales

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Reminders

After a restless night of sleep I came across a blog I wrote while back and it was very timely for me.....maybe for you as well? I struggle so much with my own self worth.  Feeling inadequate and that I don't measure up to even my own expectations of myself.  This isn't a "please feel sorry for Myranda plug".  This is me being real in hopes that it touches someone and gives you some encouragement to go through your day with the Joy of the Lord.   "What requires more faith?  To forgive someone for hurting you or raise someone from the dead?  To get out of bed and of about your day when the weight of life is pressing down on your chest or to believe for someone's salvation?   What about when the devil is whispering convincing lies in your ear?  Isn't it a fact that there is always an element of truth in a lie.  Yes, I am extremely selfish and have nothing to offer anyone around me.  Yes, I a prone to depression.  HOWEVER...gods word tells me very clearly that I more than a conqueror and that the same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in me!  That he has made me in the likeness of Jesus Christ!  That NO weapon formed against me will prosper!  That the JOY of the Lord is my strength!  I could go on and on but i think you are catching my drift.   There is what I know and what I  KNOW...you know?  I have been struck with the truth that I can actually rely on what Gods word says.  DUH!!!   Why do we overcomplicate Gods simple truths?  Why do we feel the need to overcompensate with our intellect what the Lord has made plain enough?  Sometimes I truly believe that my children understand the mysteries of god better than I ever will."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A WORD FROM LOU...

A QUICK UPDATE ON THE SOWETO STREET CHURCH...

This morning I headed out by myself to City Market Bus Terminal. Typical morning. Myranda’s a bit under the weather. I got there and found that Joe, our resident translator, street lawgiver and drug procurer, was passed out in a corner, and not wanting to wake up. Most of the kids there were most of the younger guys, the ones who can’t articulate well enough in English.
I did meet Dixon, 17 years old, who came to the streets three months ago because there wasn’t enough money to send him to school. He lives in a nearby compound, a ghetto area which doesn’t have proper water or sanitation, and frequent and prolonged power outages. I connected with him for a bit, partly because he was able to communicate well in English, and partly because his circumstance was heartbreaking, especially from a parents perspective. I just shared with him how his mom is probably so worried for him, and that its not too late to go home. Sometimes it’s just putting an arm around these kids, and letting them know that we care, because God cares. Having children of your own sometimes allows you a glimpse into God’s heart for us. 
Two other boys that I spoke to were Abraham, long time street kid and friend, and joshua, who had spent time off the streets and has just come back. Abraham is mister Jiggy, who sports a fashionable Afro and two large faux diamond earrings, and Joshua, well, a smile that would light up a Colgate ad. 
Joe finally got up, and I was able to put my arm around him and talk with him some more. Joe has heart, what you see is what you get, kind of like some of the guys I ran with in the Lower East Side back in the late 80s. But he is struggling. His life seems to be falling apart. He kept apologizing to me because of the state that I found him in, and I kept reassuring him that it’s quite alright. Remember this guy in your prayers. He’s street tough, but God tendered.
I’m grateful that Jesus is the one that found me, in the midst of my life, and pain and loneliness. Im glad he continued, because if it were up to me, I’d still be in a rut, or worse.   And that’s what keeps me going out to these kids.  First, the understanding that I am loved by God.  And second, I love Him back and go where He wants me to go because I love Him.  


Please remember Joe in your prayer time. He was very sorry for the state I found him in. He kept apologizing and I had to reassure him that he’s done nothing wrong, or at least our friendship hasn’t been affected. I meet with him for coffee on my turf every couple of weeks, and I feel like God is getting through to his heart. There is something phenomenal that God wants to do in and through his life that will affect that community of street children. 


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

giving


“How does a missionary let their needs be known with out making people feel guilty or obligated to give?”   That has always been a struggle for Luis and I as we have gone on this journey in Zambia, how do you put your needs out there to people and live in faith at the same time.  
A friend just pointed out to me that we need to be less subtle in our approach to letting you all know what our needs are and how you can help us.  She said “People want to help and maybe the issue sometimes is that they don’t know how”.  How does God want you to be involved in the work He is doing with the street children in Zambia?  Would you pray about it? 
Lusaka is a very expensive city.  In order to live comfortably here in a decent house in a safe neighborhood you need AT LEAST 4,000 USD a month.  That is all I am going to say on that matter.  Will you simply pray and ask God what He would have you do?  
What are we specifically trusting God for right now?
A second car for ministry
A store front to do street ministry out of
A budget for us to be able to take “stress breaks” with our family a couple times a month
We firmly do believe that a missionary is only as effective as those who are behind them.  In order to walk in the mandate God has given us we need those of you who are willing to support us financially and prayerfully.  
How can you pray for us as a family? 
Pray for the finances to do the work God has called us to do. 
Pray for the wisdom to handle the things God has put on our plates
Pray for the unity and safety of our family
We are really looking forward to see many of you this summer!!!!!!!

BLESSINGS!!!!!  Myranda, Luis, Amira, Hannah and Brooklyn Rose 


ps.  If you are interested in donating you can go to tscnyc.org...go to the drop down menu under GIVE.  Follow the menu to MAKE A ONE TIME GIFT.  There is a drop down menu DONATE TO...you can find our names listed under MISSIONARY SUPPORT.  Or you can mail a check to   TIMES SQUARE CHURCH
                                                                         1657 Broadway 
                                                                         NYC, NY 10019  
                                                                         DONATION MORALES FAMILY 


Thursday, May 10, 2012

scraped knees


How does a day start off well and end in such defeat? 
I went on the streets yesterday, and it was awesome!  It was victorious and fun. I went to pick up my kids from school, tired, but full hearted.  
We went to a meet some friends for an afternoon of fun. Thought it would have been a nice relaxing time for the kids and a welcome surprise.  Right?  WRONG!!
With out going into gory detail, my 3 daughters and myself arrived at home with ruffled feathers and teary eyes.  It wasn’t pretty. 
Needless to say I no longer felt victorious and full hearted.  I was feeling like a complete hypocrite.  
A friend of mine told me that a true hypocrite doesn’t recognize that they are being a hypocrite.  That made me feel better a little bit.  
But I did take comfort in this fact.....
God isn’t using my life because I have it all together, in fact the exact opposite!  He is using my life because he does his best work in a flawed people.  
I didn’t handle my children’s behavior very well yesterday....I win no mother of the year awards for handling my daughters temper tantrum by having one of my own.  But having a bad afternoon doesn’t disqualify me from the race.  It doesn’t mean that I have to hang up my running shoes and sit the rest out waiting for the trumpet call.    
It means that I get up from my stumble, brush off my knees...put a band-aide on the scrapes and get back at it.  
No matter what the previous days journey looked like....good, bad or indifferent....if our hearts are with Jesus and wanting to walk with Him in honesty and transparency....we wake up in victory!  Lets  not minimize the power of the cross by making it about ourselves.  Lets take our lumps when they come, put them down at the feet of Jesus and walk with our heads held high!  

Friday, May 4, 2012

How do we keep ourselves out?


How do we keep the work we are doing for the Lord from becoming about us?  How do we keep ourselves out of the equation and Jesus as the center of it all?  How do we keep our ideas at bay and make sure we are being Spirit lead and not needs driven?



When we were on the streets the other day these questions were running through my mind is various shapes and forms.  
In the course of 20 minutes I spoke to a nine year old who had been kicked out his home for stealing from his mom, a pregnant drug abuser, and a woman who was trying to get her 12 year nephew out of jail for stealing 4 potatoes.  AAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!
In my heart I was screaming
LORD WHAT ON EARTH AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH ALL THIS!?  JESUS THIS IS TO MUCH AND WAY ABOVE MY PAY GRADE!!!! 
My mind was racing with solutions for all three situations and I was growing more and more anxious by the second.  
As I was about to run screaming from the entire scene Luis called the kids over because he wanted to share with them.  Instantly they were all quiet as they gathered around and listened to him sharing about the story of Jeptha, the son of a prostitute, and what his experiences were.  Luis also shared about his own background.  How his mother was never married and the things that Jesus has had to heal his heart from.  As I sat at watched 30 mesmerized faces, Jesus spoke so tenderly to my soul.  
“All you have to do is what I given you.  Simply obey and don’t go outside of that, the rest is up to Me!”  Peace settled over my soul and I was able again to entrust these precious souls to Jesus!  I don’t have to have the answers!  All I have to do is put my feet where I am told and know that God sees the bigger picture!  
Simple obedience!  That is how we make sure we stay out of it.  Our foxhole is to go to City Market and have Street Church faithfully every Wednesday morning.  I believe as we are faithful with that and obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit Jesus will move on behalf of the precious children he has given his life for!  All we are is a conduit.  
By the way, the boys brought over the woman who had the boy thrown in jail to speak with me.  I didn’t know what on earth was going on until a kind man came over and became my interpreter.  I spoke to the woman and pleaded with her to have mercy and let the boy go.  (She wanted him to stay in the jail until his Auntie could pay back what was stolen.)  That was all the Holy Spirit told me to say and then He told me to walk away.  I have no idea what happened after that, but I am believing that Jesus fought on behalf of the boy.  I will let you know next week. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Street Church


Sunday is church.  Wednesday is “street church”.  

It consists of sitting with the kids, lots of hugs, and some days heart breaking stories.  Today Chileshe came.  If you recall a few weeks back I told you about her.  She is around 21 years old and is pregnant with her 2nd baby.  She was unable to tell me when she is due, my guess is sometime this month.   PLEASE PRAY FOR HER!!!!  She has been on the street since she was nine.  Her mother died when she was 9, her father moved away and since then she has lived with her Grandmother.  


Today we also saw Mumbwa.  His eyes looks so old, and so tired, but he has the body of a 9 year old boy.  Last week he was 12, and the week before he was 15, so it is my guess that he is 9.  


Some of you who have been here might remember Aaron.   Bless his heart, we don't give up until the air has left the lungs, you know what I mean!  God has a plan for this boy!!!!!

Humphrey, David, Weppy, and I don't know the boy in the back

This is Little Joe.  He is a five year old trapped in a 22 year olds body.  He is SO SWEET!  


Luis sharing with the boys 


Luis and Joe.  He is the one I have been asking for LOADS of prayer!  When he gets saved WATCH OUT!!!!  



These two photos capture the insanity of the market.  The one on the left is what we walk through on the street to get to the bus terminal.  The one on left is in the back of the bus terminal where we do the outreach.  I don't think it gives justice to how loud and crazy it is back there.