Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hard pressed, yet not crushed...

Some things just refuse to quit...

Rick can't believe that this 3-cylinder diesel still runs! (photos and video by Todd Green)
 We came across this tired and noisy diesel engine laboring hard behind a mud building while its owner worked just as hard inside grinding maize for the local villagers.

From a mechanic's point of view, there was no reason for this ancient machine to keep running, but it was. Here is a short video to give you an idea of its sad condition:
Sometimes life throws a few game-stoppers our way. A debilitating illness, a financial setback, a relationship challenge - we don't have to go far to find examples.

To get beyond, it's sometimes good to go back - back to the words of Paul, who reminds us, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed...Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9,16)

May you be renewed today, and every day. Remember the promise given to us in Galatians 6:9: "So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up."

Thanks to all who helped Mercy Tech Mission to keep "doing what is good" this past year. Your prayers and financial support are already producing a harvest of blessing, and we will press on in 2012 to see more of the same.
A happy and a blessed Christmas to you all.
Ed Hyslip & Todd Green

Bob Denesiuk & Rick Cogbill (Photo by Lynn Lagore)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Getting Here from There

Todd Green on a Mozambican Walk-about

"How did I get here?" I asked myself as I wrote in my tent, by the bluishwhite light of an LED headlamp. It was after "Missionary Midnight" - 9 p.m., the time when the generator gets turned off. Somehow, I found myself working as an automotive instructor on a short-term mission project in the middle of rural Mozambique...
Read more:

So begins Todd Green's recent article in the Calgary Herald newspaper (November 20th) as he describes his recent trip to Mozambique with Mercy Tech Mission.

It's a question I ask myself: How did we get here? Since January 2010, I have been to Mozambique three times, and each trip has been unique. Different challenges, different members on the team, yet what I remember the most are the people we go to serve, people like Jacobo.
Jacobo & Tome

Jacobo is ASAM's driver. He is in charge of the large Hino truck that hauls all of the building supplies from town, brings loads of sand and gravel from the river banks, and ferries orphan food and school supplies to wherever they are needed.
Hino Truck loaded with a new water tank

When I first met Jacobo in January of 2010, he was in danger of losing his job. Recently hired, it soon became obvious that his driving skills were very weak, to the point where the farm truck was sustaining heavy damage. I started by giving him some simple driving lessons on a Saturday morning. After I left, the other missionaries spent time working with him on those skills. During our last visit, Jacobo was also one of the automotive students in Todd Green's class. Today he is one of the mission's most valuable employees, a young man with character, a deep sense of commitment, and just as importantly, a Mozambican who does his job well and is able to provide for his family. Listen to his own words:

"The vocational training was awesome. It's helped me a lot to better understand how an engine, the electrics, and brakes work on vehicles. I also learned the importance of regular maintenance. A few weeks ago, two of us who attended the course managed to fix some electrical problems on our truck. This saved the mission a lengthy and costly repair job in town."

So thanks again to all who have contributed over the past year to help guys like Todd, Ed, Bob, and myself go to places like Mozambique, where a simple thing like teaching a trade in Jesus' name is changing lives.
Ed Hyslip & Todd Green
Bob Denesiuk & Rick Cogbill (photo by Lynn Lagore)

For those who are able to make it, the Mercy Tech Mission Information and Dessert night is now rescheduled for the evening of Sunday, January 8th, 2012 at Summerland Baptist Church. Our hope is that Dwight and Lynn Lagore, Field Directors for ASAM will be able to join us for that night of information and photos of the work in Mozambique. Hope you can join us!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Upcoming Events - Mercy Tech Info and Dessert Night!


(UPDATE: Due to illness, the October 30th meeting had to be canceled; our new presentation night date is January 8th, 2012. Thanks for your patience!)

Many people here at home have been waiting to hear a live report from my last trip to Mozambique, and I can now say that we've finally got a date!

On October 30th, I'll be making a very short presentation in both morning services at Summerland Baptist Church, but the main event will be that evening at 7pm, 2nd floor of the church in the Fireside Room. So mark it down on your calender!

I'll be showing photos and video from the trip, giving a recap of what we accomplished during our time there in August, and sharing some thoughts about what's in the works for the future.

Best of all, it's Dessert and Coffee Night! So don't miss it; in fact, invite some friends. Let them see what God is doing when we share our skills with people in need.

PS If anyone would like to have me come and present the work of Mercy Tech Mission to their group or organization, then just send me an e-mail at .

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Trip Summary

Here is a visual summary of our trip, set to the wonderful song by David Crowder, Surely We Can Change. It covers four main objectives that we had:
1-teaching a basic automotive repair course and fixing mission vehicles as required
2-making progress on the maintenance facility by building the repair pit
3-leading a one-day worship seminar at a local church
4-teaching guitar to a young man named Fani and then presenting him with his own guitar in the end so that he could go on to create new worship music for the church.

As they say, 'a good time was had by all.' We can't wait to return and keep the momentum going. Remember, if God puts it on your heart to become involved in this work, don't hesitate to contact us. We'd be glad to talk with you and tell you about the different ways to take part.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Video Posts

It's just over 3 weeks since we returned from Africa - time really does fly! I am in the process of editing some video clips - the ones I had managed to save before I was relieved of my video camera (let's hear it for the Johannesburg baggage handlers).

But while we're waiting for that, I want to post some video that we uploaded to YouTube or Facebook during our trip, which some folks may not have seen yet.

So grab some popcorn and settle in. And don't forget to check back soon - I will finish the trip summary video, I promise!

Todd Green inspecting the rear differential of an Isuzu pickup with a lot of miles on it.

Todd Green, Ed Hyslip, and Dwight Lagore helping to push-start a stalled car in Beira, Mozambique.

Hi-def video clip of a giraffe drinking in Kruger Game Park.

A personal appeal: Now that we are back home, the planning begins for the next trip, sometime in the new year. We have much work to continue with over in Mozambique, including the continuation of our automotive training program and the construction of the maintenance shop.

If you are able to help us raise funds for these worthwhile projects, then please send me a note at These projects have the potential of becoming life-changers for many people in rural Mozambique, but we cannot do it alone - we need your help.

Together - through neighborhood garage sales, church fundraisers, school band concerts, or even corporate sponsorships - we can make a difference. We can help those who don't have the opportunities in life that we do to create a future of hope and promise for themselves and for their families.

Blessings on you!
Rick talking with Prosper, one of our most promising students

Friday, August 26, 2011

Another Mercy Tech Mission accomplished

It's hard to believe that it's been almost 5 weeks since we left Canada for Mozambique, and here we are on our way home.

Due to unforseen internet problems, I haven't been able to post for the past week, so now that Todd and I are in a modern hotel in Maputo, I thought I'd better post a few wrap-up photos for the home crowd!

It has been another amazing time here in Mozambique and the mechanical training program went extremely well (thanks to the great teaching efforts of Todd Green and Ed Hyslip). Here is a class photo of all our students:
First, the serious Mozambican photo...
...followed by the crazy Canuck version! (Ed, wish you could have been here for this)
With the teaching duties being handled by the other guys, I was able to concentrate on getting the repair pit started for the new maintenance building.
Checking out the newly-poured floor
Peter and his crew making good progress on the repair pit walls
Texas Todd making sure things are done correctly
To keep things moving, one has to make the obligitory trip to town for supplies...
Carrying bagfuls of money to buy construction materials...
A typical auto parts store in Chimoio
Discussing carburetor issues with Domingo, whose water pump keeps quitting.
There were other great moments as well. Chris, a man in my church, had donated money for a new guitar for Fani, a young man with a passon for music. I have been teaching Fani to play the guitar, and have encouraged him to write new songs for the Mozambican church. This past Wednesday we had the joy of presenting Fani with his guitar. Thanks, Chris!
Presenting Fani with his new guitar
A round of applause was in order
One item I neglected to mention earlier was a one-day seminar that we conducted on worship music for the local bush churches.
Worship seminar

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Braking" in the new recruits

Todd has had his hands full with the mechanics training classes held each day, Monday to Friday, in the campground lapa. But it's not all book learning; every afternoon the students tackle a project on one of the many vehicles that need service at the ASAM farm.

This is Brake Week, so Todd and the guys took a look at the rear brakes of the Isuzu pickup - and almost wished they hadn't! Some serious oil and brake fluid leaks were discovered, posing the usual problem of "But where will we find parts?"

Trying to figure out how many mechanics can fit under one truck!
Lynn Lagore helping with the translation...and learning a few new things herself.
Aleque & Tomas checking the wheel bearings on the trailer
Using one of the donated Motor manuals to work on the Isuzu brakes
For my part, I've been concentrating on moving the Maintenance Shop Project forward as best I can. One of the main components will be the vehicle repair pit that will hold centre stage in the new building. Below are a few photos of the progress to date.
Shaping out the footings for the wall foundations
Our head mason Peter (on left) and his helper putting together the steel for the footings and walls
On a final note, Todd and I have been eating very well at the campsite, but you can't just live on red meat and pasta was time for a trip to the garden down by the river.
A sudden craving for vegetables...
Houston, our problem is solved!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Photo Update

We've been fairly busy here over the past few days, and if you throw in an iffy Internet connection, the result is that I'm behind in my posting!

So without further delay, here are a few photos to show you what Mercy Tech Mission has been up to here on the ASAM farm in Mozambique. I'll try to throw in a few captions to guide you along...
Rick Cogbill digging out the repair pit for the future maintenance shop. Not bad for only my second day ever on a backhoe! (Todd Green photo)
Fani and his crew fine-tuning the shape of the pit.
Fani (who I am also giving guitar lessons to during lunch break...)
Ed Hyslip helping to guide the generator out of its building for an overhaul (Nice job by Rick Neufeld who's at the controls of the backhoe) Photo by Todd Green
Todd Green (L) and Ed Hyslip (R) showing the students how to tear down a diesel engine.
There's an awful lot of pieces that go into one engine...
Todd Green giving drumming lessons to Prosper Fernando, one of our mechanics students.
A small Chinese diesel that is used to run a maize mill. This one is in sad shape, having dropped a valve...
It's been a productive week for sure! (Photo by Todd Green)
Got to upload this quickly before they shut off the Internet so that Tome can do some welding...welcome to life in the African bush!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Students and Snakes

Ed Hyslip explaining air/fuel mixtures as Lynn Lagore translates.

It's been a busy week for the Mercy Tech crew, and for their students as well. After a couple of classroom sessions on the operation of diesel engines - and especially the importance of a proper fuel to air ratio - we stepped outside to take a look at the farm backhoe.

A warning light for the air filter had been coming on, and when we opened up the air cleaner assembly, we found enough dirt and soot inside to create a small mountain. A great object lesson for the students, but not such a great thing for the backhoe!
Ed Hyslip explaining how to inspect an air filter, with translating courtesy of Leila Frank.
Judging from Ed's expression, this was perhaps the dirtiest air filter he'd ever seen.
A number of other vehicle problems, like dead batteries and blown tail light fuses, have provided excellent opportunities for hands-on teaching. It makes the classroom sessions come alive for the students.
Prosper applying the skills he has learned as he inspects an air filter from the Isuzu pickup.
Another item of interest was a small (but poisonous) snake that was lurking in a mango tree one cold morning where we were having staff devotions.
Some pretty amazing camouflage!

After a great 51st birthday dinner for ASAM Field Director Dwight Lagore at the Motel Garuso, we are now ready to begin Week 2 of our training program.  We have lots to teach (with many broken vehicles to teach from!) and the time is short. But God is doing amazing things and the work is going well.
Ed Hyslip and Tendai Neufeld

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The first day of school

After months of planning and a whole lot of travel, today was the day that our training course offically began.
Todd Green teaches Mechanics 101 to our initial 6 students and 1 translator (Thanks, Joao!)
The training videos donated by CDX Automotive are making the teaching so much easier.

But first Ed had to fix the broken multimeter...

In the afternoon I made a trip with Dwight Lagore out into the bush to buy beans for the school children.

And of course, everyone wants to be in the picture!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

When Life's a Stretch

Sometimes even the simple things can stretch you.
That's a tall drink of water...
For a giraffe, getting a drink takes some work. You have to make sure nothing (like a hungry lion, for example) is going to pounce on you while you're bent in half just trying to make ground level. Or is that water level?

For the Mercy Tech Team, the stretching came in the Paris airport when Customs decided that they didn't like the mechanics wrenches in Todd's carry-on bag (those are "spanners" to you Brits). Our flight was already boarding, yet Todd had to retrace his steps and put the tools through as checked baggage. With Rick and Ed waiting anxiously at the gate, he made it back just in time to be one of the last passengers on the plane.

But of course, that's not the end of it. The bag never got on the flight, and we chewed a few more fingernails while it slowly made its way to White River, South Africa a few days later.

But all is well, and after a bit of tool and grocery shopping (and a trip to Kruger Game Park) we are now ready to fly out to Mozambique. Our flight will leave around 8am tomorrow morning (Monday August 1st) via a Cessna 310 piloted by Paul Middleton of Mercy Air. We should be arriving in Chimoio just after lunch, and then it's on to the ASAM farm and camp life for a month.

We are well and anxious to begin our work. Please keep us in your prayers as we move on to the next phase of our journey.

I'll leave you with a few photos of our time in both Paris and in the game park. Lord willing, our next post will be from Mozambique itself.
Is this my good side?
Let's go, Baboo. It's only a bunch of cheap Canadian tourists...
Ed and Todd having second thoughts about sleeping in tents for the next few weeks.
"It's just the Eiffel tower, Ed..."
600 steps and still breathing...
A couple of art critics
Does not play nicely with other children...