Monday, December 14, 2015

Paula's Ponderings -- Christmas Present = Christmas Absent

When we were kids, a missionary uncle had one of the big reel-to-reel film projectors and every year around Christmas would show “A Christmas Carol”. That was my first introduction to Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future. That film came to mind as I was thinking about Christmas being just two weeks away…

Christmases past are easy: Anxiously waiting to open the presents under the tree – especially the year I got my first Barbie doll! Gatherings at grandparents’ homes with uncles, aunts and cousins and more food than we could possibly eat! There was the wonder of having our first baby just before Christmas and identifying with the Lord’s young parents and being overwhelmed with all the love and joy. I loved celebrating Christmas when our sons were young – their first Christmas programs, the excitement at seeing them open their gifts, and as they grew older watching favorite shows and being together. As an adult I love the music and the decorations; the tradition of jigsaw puzzles with my Mom; hearing my Dad read the Christmas story; and time to sit, relax, visit and especially laugh with family.

I don’t think much about Christmas future. I do vaguely wonder what Christmas will be like in heaven…

It is Christmas present that bothers me. I have decided that this year Christmas present = Christmas absent. Lights are up and Christmas programs are being presented. We are absent. Parents and siblings will gather for time together. We will be absent. For the first time in several years our kids will be together for Christmas. We will be absent. Every time I open my computer these days, I see the adorable smiling face and big blue eyes of our grandson, Eli. This will be his first Christmas. We will be absent.

Phil insisted we decorate, so we have a small tree. But the presents are absent. Thanks to a thoughtful LINKS church, we got some new Christmas albums and have been dutifully playing them… But the caroling is absent. Because we are south of the equator, it is summer here. Cold, wintery weather is absent. Even the ingredients to some of my favorite Christmas treats are absent…

Christmas seems absent. And I’m not sure what to do with that… So I once again turned to His Word. I re-read the prophecies and the accounts of His birth and take solace in re-affirming and knowing that just when He was needed, He appeared. And I wait  – admittedly with tears running down my cheeks – for the sense of His Presence, knowing that just when I am at my lowest and He is needed the most, He will not be absent.

…and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God is with us”. 
– Matthew 1:23

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Craft project!

     At the recent pastors and wives retreats here in Angola while the men had a Saturday afternoon session on filling out their yearly reports, I had the privilege of meeting with the wives. As the ladies gathered I told them that we were just going to enjoy being together. I started by sharing a picture of my adorable grandson – Eli, 7 months old – and receiving all the appropriate “oohs” and “awes”! Then I showed them my sample of the wreath they were going to make out of electrical wire and strips of cloth and how it could be hung on the wall or a door. I distributed the rings of wire, displayed the different colors and patterns of the pieces of cloth I had prepared, as well as the Bible verses printed on cardstock that they could choose for their wreath. As I demonstrated how to attach the cloth to the ring, I told them the design was up to them if they wanted to just use one color or many colors of cloth. The ladies caught on quickly and soon fingers were flying as the wreaths began to take shape. There was a wide variety of designs from one color to two or three colors to all the colors of cloth available! As they worked there was conversation and singing in local dialects I do not understand. However since laughter seems to be a universal language and there was a lot of it, one thing was clear to me – they were enjoying themselves! Soon there were new ways of using the wreaths from crowns to necklaces and one group even waved theirs as they sang and entered the closing worship service on Sunday morning! I hope you enjoy the pictures below. As for me, after repeated requests for more projects, I must begin brainstorming other craft ideas using the limited supplies and resources available locally…

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Phil is headed out this morning (Tuesday, October 13) to teach an intensive course on the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene.

Please pray for:

     -  safety as he travels
     -  health and inspiration as he teaches
     -  a good group of students to show up
     -  understanding on the part of the students

Thank you for your prayers!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

ATS Graduation and Home Assignment

On Saturday, May 23, Phil officially graduated 
from Asbury Theological Seminary with his Ph.D. 
in Intercultural Studies. After several years of
classwork, research, and writing
it was a joy to be part of the ceremony 
and see this dream come true! 

Our son, Christopher, was able to join us in Wilmore, KY for the weekend. It was good to visit Wilmore/Lexington and re-connect with friends, too.

The next weekend we travelled to Dodge City, Kansas for our first deputation service of this Home Assignment. For the next three months we will travelling from church to church making new friends and re-connecting with ones we visited on previous Home Assignments and telling about our part in the Lord's work in Angola. (Our speaking schedule is under the tab "2015 Speaking Schedule" to the right).

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Angola National Nazarene Women's Conference

The last weekend of March, we traveled to Huambo for the first ever Angola National Nazarene Women’s Conference. Paula presented a workshop on Holiness and also preached to an audience of about 400 for the first evening service! What a great time of worshipping and fellowshipping together thanks to the leadership of our colleagues, Rev. Danilo and Mrs. Maria Antonia Carvalho and the Nova Jerusalem church of Huambo that hosted the event. The women are already looking forward to another conference!
Part of the congregation in the opening session

Women waiting to board the bus for the conference
Boarding the bus in Lubango

Missionary Maria Antonia Carvalho teaching a new chorus

Missionary Paula Troutman giving a workshop on holiness
One of the groups singing

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Change in Home Assignment dates

OUR NEW HOME ASSIGNMENT DATES ARE JUNE, JULY, AND AUGUST 2015. Yes, that is less than 2 months away! 

So we are needing to schedule services quickly. We are willing to do Faith Promise conventions/services, NMI Conventions/district assemblies, summer camps, men's and womens groups, Sunday School/small group meetings, and speak to children and teens, in addition to regular deputation services and tours. We are available from Sunday, May 31 through Sunday, September 6.

Please contact us to schedule a service:( 

We would love to share with you how the Lord's Kingdom is being built through the Church of the Nazarene in Angola!  Also, please help us spread the word to other churches/groups that might be interested.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sunday morning service

Sunday Morning we worshipped with the congregation of the Lubango Central Church. 
Phil dedicated two precious little babies:

I preached my first sermon as "Missionary Grandma"! 
(And, yes, I did show off a picture of my new grandson!)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Paula's ponderings -- The Sounds of Lubango

The bar next door is in full swing tonight. The booming bass beat of the “music” is so loud and intense that our roof is vibrating. I have frequent migraines, and I really don’t need the pounding outside my head in addition to the pounding inside my head. But since it's two am and I can't sleep, I started thinking about some of the other sounds of Lubango…

We are not too far from the train station. (The name of our neighborhood is “Ferrovia”, that means railway.) So we enjoy the nice long whistles from the trains as they come into the station. Also there is a factory or business somewhere in the area and we hear its morning whistle at 7:30 and again at 3:00 in the afternoon – except on Fridays when it goes off at 2:30. Not sure why….

Since we are just off the main road that runs from this bairro (neighborhood) to downtown, we obviously hear the cacophony of cars, trucks, motorcycles and of course people… We are also in the flight path of the airport so when the planes are landing from the west, it sounds like they are going to land in the next block.  (The airport is about a 15 minute drive from our house.)

Early in the morning, the fish sellers go down the street and in a nasally singsong sort of way call out the kinds of fish they have to sell. I can’t quite do it or describe it. It is unique!

There was one noise it took me awhile to figure out. Behind our house is a large area where they are keeping supplies for road construction and repairs. What I was hearing was the sound of the dump truck dumping loads of gravel and rocks onto the ground.

When it rains, the sound of the rain hitting the metal roof on the house is deafening. However, that is a sound I would like to hear!

And I can’t forget the woman that comes to our door selling vegetables. She insistently pounds on the gate and calls out “Bom Deeeeeeaa, Ameeeeeeega!” (Good morning, friend!)

Back to the bar, it is next door to us and faces the main road into town and so its back is against our wall.  They are very generous and share not only their loud music, but futbol games on tv, and occasionally even a soap opera with us. Even with the windows closed, we still hear the boom, boom, boom of the bass notes in the music. They also have cookouts, so frequently there is a goat in waiting behind the building. Apparently the goats know what their future holds because they bleat “hheeeelllllppppp” over and over again!

To train station
and airport

Road into town

Gravel/rock/sand lot
Gas Station
Apartment behind us
Neighbor’s house and yard


Our house

Front gate
 Next door to the bar is a container gas station. The pump, tank, etc. is in a metal storage container. They do not have electricity, so the pump runs off a generator that goes on and off all day. When the electricity is off, our generator joins it for a duet. Oh what a lovely sound!

Somewhere close by is a puppy that obviously does not like being left home alone (and probably tied up?) His yip-yip song goes on for hours.

Also next door to us – the opposite side from the bar – is a house where apparently the empregado (employee) named Abel frequently goes MIA. We hear “Abel, o Abel” for 5 minutes or so at various intervals throughout the day.

Oh, yes – that strange kind of squeaky sound? Guinea hens!

Are your ears on overload yet? Next time I will write about the smells… Then again, maybe not…  You will probably just have to come see us to get the full impact ummm… er… to appreciate those more fully… :-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Introduction to the Bible course in Huambo

Students in Huambo
Phil teaching in Huambo

Last week we travelled to the town of Huambo for an "Introduction to the Bible" course. Phil taught the course to pastors and laymen representing 10 local churches. The students were attentive and interested . Times of praise and worship were also meaningful as Phil shared from the Word each morning and taught several new hymns and choruses including "Holiness Unto the Lord". On Friday, the last day of class, Paula presented a seminar on Sunday School and was very pleased with the reception of her ideas. The Jesus film was shown on Friday evening to close out the week.

We really enjoyed our time with those that attended our class and thank the Lord for each one that made the effort to attend. We also enjoyed the beautifully cool weather and rain! We appreciate so much your prayers as we travelled and taught.

Road to Huambo

Road to Huambo

Road to Huambo