As I write, I am staying at the home of Dr. Charles and Julie Woodrow, who have five children and a large home with an incredible maze of all kinds of little bedrooms. Close to two dozen people are staying in this home, which is quite ordinary I’m told. Wherever one turns, there is another bedroom or two, and another occupant or two—or three! Each bedroom has the name(s) of those who are sleeping in it that night posted on the door.
In fact, while just typing this last sentence, two young men just walked through my bedroom on the way to two other bedrooms beyond mine, one of which I didn’t know existed until just now. And now, while I was typing that sentence, a young man just walked in and said, “Hi, I’m Chris; by the way, you’re sleeping in my bed tonight, and I have my money stashed beneath the mattress—do you mind if I fetch it?”
When one arrives at the Woodrow home, there are eight German shepherd dogs—all friendly ones—waiting to greet you (and a cat or two) the moment you step out of the land rover, which somehow survives the incredibly bumpy roads. The conference site is only a few miles away but it takes half an hour to drive there due to the road conditions.
Julie Woodrow is remarkable; cheerful, easygoing, somehow she rolls with all the punches and enjoys ministering to her five home-schooled children and her large extended “family.” Dr. Woodrow, an able, well-known physician in the area, is of a perfectionist bent and holds the bar of expectation high.
The Woodrows’ local church in Nampula is quite Reformed. Attendance is from 25-30 each Sunday. Dr. Woodrow supervises the church and exhorts on Sundays quite frequently. He also is building a hospital for the needy local people. The hospital has been mostly built, but then funds ran out until a couple from Brazil recently donated $250,000 to complete it. So now, a South African couple, Mark and Hilda, who have great credentials for this kind of work, have volunteered to oversee the project to its completion by 2013, the Lord willing. This hospital still needs to be staffed, but hopefully will be a huge help to the local people in due course.
Ministering in a place like Nampula, Mozambique, can be overwhelming. The needs are so great, the perils so many, the challenges so daunting, and the opportunities so many, that one scarcely knows where to begin. Certainly for us we need to begin by praying the Lord of the harvest to send more reapers, workers, and volunteers into the harvest—especially into very needy places like this.
(I did have a few happy moments talking about PRTS with one of the Woodrow sons who is seriously contemplating if God is internally calling him to the pastoral ministry. Pray that God will call him, send him to PRTS, and that he may return to this needy area.)
Finally, let us not forget to bow humbly before God, thanking him for all the amazing freedoms and spiritual opportunities we have. We truly are blessed nearly beyond measure compared with most other areas in the world.