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Operation Sábič 2011

Posted 07-02-2011 at 04:18 PM by tchuma tchato

For eleven years we have dedicated our lives to this missionary and humanitarian Project. This time it all started in January, when I - Joăo Rodrigues - took the plane to come here. Clara arrived 3 months later.

It had been a rather difficult year in terms of raising the financial support we thought we needed for what we thought the Lord wanted us to deliver. Nevertheless, enough had come in to at least make the trip and stay possible. It says in the Good Book; “as they went they were healed.” We took that to mean we should do the wenting!

The challenges began with the missionary house in Barberton, which had been partially deactivated for 6 years. Some renovation was in order. Thanks be to the Lord, and our supporters, we have been able to attend to that need and now the place looks much better. The plan is to have it prepared to receive people who want to work alongside in our voluntary work for the Lord, as well as minister Christian Coaching to visitors. This way we hopefully can serve the Spiritual, and receive the material support to continue the Project.

At the same time there was the work on the field to prepare. Last year, after the World Championship, Medi-Clinic had promised to donate some hospital equipment. When the promise materialized we were back in Portugal and so dear Brian collected and stored the goods at his place. There were 4 hospital beds, 3 mattresses, 3 drip stands and a scale to weight newborns.

Our idea was to send all to Mozambique. But the Lord had other plans and so, after trying different approaches and raising the funds to pay for the transport of all the goods over the border into Mozambique Sábič, it became clear to us that at least the beds and mattresses were not meant to go.

Different circumstances pointed towards donating what was of greater volume to the Barberton Public Hospital. Again we asked dear Driky who let us use a small truck to go fetch the goods at the storage place and bring them to Barberton. The hospital CEO, Mme Mokoena was elated to receive such timely donation, with R30,000.00 estimated worth.

Similarly to last year we again called on our dear friends Tinus, Nico, Nic and Simoné for help with medicines. They readily answered the call and arranged a few boxes each for us to take.

To make things even more interesting and challenging the Nissan 4x4, vehicle designated for the Project, was in need of repairs. What was at first just an oil leak revealed itself to be a small overhaul including a new clutch kit. All in all the repair cost over R5,000.00. Again we saw the Lord work in the hearts of our friends and supporters. Thank you again Tinus, Rassie, Meisie, and thank you Marius, Robin and Michael.

And the time came to go Moz. After loading the Nissan 4x4 with the medicines, for the body as well as the soul, and the other necessary preparations for trips into the heart of the bush, we travelled early direction the border. It marked 4 in the morning, still dark, when I woke Clara up. Me?! I had been awake since 12. Before such trips I just can’t sleep with the excitement. Too much activity going on in my mind.

It is always an adventure the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia border crossing and, this time, the adventure started with the amount of money we had to pay for the visa, R487.00 each, R974.00 for the couple, plus the insurance for the vehicle, R150.00. R1,124.00 in total. Cargo inspection was next. The guard got curious when he saw the drip stands and the boxes of medicines. When I attempted to explain those things were a donation for the Sábič clinics, the situation worsened instead of getting better. He was already talking about custom duties to pay and wanting me to unload everything for detailed inspection. Suddenly he changed his mind and told us to move on. It was then I looked through the front window and saw Clara, eyes closed and praying like everything depended on prayer.

Border ordeal behind now we could step on the gas, but not so much for the police here is fast and furious at work. Neglect a traffic ordinance and they’ll stick to you like super glue. Moamba, Sábič, Corumane dam, until we reached our destination, SGP (Sábič Game Park). It was good to meet Sandy again. Brian and wife were there also. Good to see Dario again, to meet Xavier and François. Next day we met Fernando again as well. All people with hearts of gold, dedicated not only to their business but also embracing the task of bettering the living conditions of the neighbouring communities.

And it is with that intention we join in. Surely some of our plans have not yet materialized due to lack of support, for the will to do it is always there. But, since this is a not for profit voluntary work, under God’s auspices, we have only to persevere in our belief that His reasons for something to happen, or not, will always be the best. We didn’t get the money for the bore hole?! Someone else did and we see the people happily pumping the water. That’s what matters!!

This time we distributed the goods to the Sábič Administration who will then channel them to the different clinics of the area. We also visited Dindiza Primary School where we interacted with the children and were informed of some of the needs. One of them is the need to divide the one room they have in half, so the two classes which happen simultaneously won’t distract each other. Right now they have the desks turned back to back but this is not enough. A problem 100 bricks would solve.

Talking to Sandy, we know we can count with the logistic support from the SGP, and more commitment in the future, when the volunteers start showing up, with the desire to dedicate their time and expertise; teachers, doctors, nurses and so on, with the intent to setup a well defined structure which can yield visible and evermore lasting results.

We also visited mamă Rosa, elder of Mukakasa. Her concern this time is that the priest, a Spanish missionary who has been here for the last 40 some years, ministering to the spiritual needs of the communities, is going back to Spain and she doesn’t know if and when there will be a substitute. After explaining that, not being Catholics, we read the Bible as well, we made ourselves available to fill in the gap if need be. Just call out our name and, by the grace of God, we’ll be there.

Bottom line, the African Commission for 2011 yielded fruit in 30 souls saved to Christ, 175 people who received a personal witness, 26.050 who received an indirect witness through an article printed in the Barberton Times, and thousands of printed pages of Gospel based literature distributed in the form of books, newsletters and pamphlets.

We couldn’t have done this if the Lord hadn’t been in it, with miracles only He can perform, and envisioning all who saw in us an opportunity to do good. God be praised!

Don’t stop now. Please pray and consider asking Him if there is anything else He wants you to do, to help us continue in this mission and Project of helping others. God bless.

Many thanks also to our faithful friends back in Portugal, who have made possible to do this for so many years now. God bless!!!

Joăo Rodrigues and Clara Collazo
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