Saturday, December 29, 2012

Merry Christmas (Belated!) and Happy New Year!

Don't you just love photo blogs?!  I do, because you can say so much with a picture without having to type so many words!  Here's a very random photo blog just to show you what we've been up to these days...

We made Christmas cookies when the World Race team was here.  It was so much fun! Some of the ladies put a lot of effort into perfecting their cookie designs!

 Berasia loves to sit on anything that resembles a she's sitting on a case of sodas we shared at church for Christmas.

 The cilantro in my herb garden is overtaking the area!

Isaiah loves playing with his 2 little sisters!

 These onions were freshly harvested from our garden.  We haven't had to buy onions these past few weeks!
Amerel playing with her food!  :)
Hope you enjoyed the photos!  Have a blessed New Year!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Update on the Haynes Kids

(This blog was supposed to have been posted last week, Wednesday October 10, but I just noticed that it never posted.  It's now a week late!)

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials..." James 1:2

Many people have been wondering how my kids are doing since the armed robbery attack we experienced on the night of September 25.  Read the following paragraphs to find out:

The night of the robbery, Isaiah woke up rubbing his eyes and walked out of his room not knowing what was going on.  I called to him from the corner of the kitchen (where the men had told us to stay) and
told him to come sit with me.  He had no clue what was going on.  I quietly pulled him to myself and told him that some thieves had broken in and we just needed to stay out of their way.  He told me later that
his initial thoughts were of anger at the men.  He was angry that they were taking all of our things and that they had broken into our home.  In the days and weeks following, we've had some good family talks
about how we've been feeling and I'm very proud of the way my kids have been handling themselves.  They've been very honest about their feelings and have been depending on God to help them deal with
them.  Isaiah has recovered much more quickly than we expected he would.  God is good and He is faithful! 
We had been planning for some months now to be in Pemba, Mozambique, this week to attend a friend's wedding coming up this Saturday (October 13).  But in light of what's happened here, we felt that it
would be wrong to leave everyone else here at this time while some are still trying to find peace and get rid of fear.  So we've cancelled our plans and are no longer taking off a week to spend in Pemba, where
the kids were looking forward to spending time at the beach and taking a short break off of school.  After quickly getting over his original disappointment, Isaiah pipes up and says, "Then, can we go to the lake
instead?"  The lake is about 1 1/2 hours away from Lichinga and the kids have been begging us to go there for months now.  When I asked him one day how he's been feeling since the break-in, Isaiah
responded with a smile, "Back to how I normally feel...thinking about my birthday Legos!"  Grandma promised she'd send him some new Lego kits in the mail for his birthday.  Last week, the Lord put a new
song in his heart to play on his guitar.  It speaks about how much he loves Jesus and declares that because Jesus is here, we can live happy, holy and eternal lives.  It looks like things are getting back to normal
for my son!

That night, one armed man was in Amerel and Chayah's bedroom rummaging around looking for money and whatever else he could steal.  I wasn't aware that Amerel was awake, but I soon heard her call,
"Mommy!"  I ran to her room and pulled her over the side of her top bunk bed, ripping her mosquito net open before the man could get to her.  He was shaking her bed waving his machete over the bed.  One
of the female missionaries, who had followed me into the room, yanked his collar pulling him back and yelling, "She's just a child!  She doesn't have any money!"  Later, the next day, Amerel told me that she
Happy Birthday! Berasia turned 1 today!
had been awake already when he came into her room and had said, "In the name of Jesus, get out of my room!"  She then told me, "When that didn't work, I called Mommy."  I got a good laugh out of that
one.  That night after the thieves left, she was in the bathroom washing her feet because she didn't want to go back to bed with dirty feet after having walked around barefoot when I pulled her out of her bed. 
While washing her feet, she said, "I love You Jesus!"  She said all of the fear immediately left in that moment.  The morning after the break-in, she shared with me that the break-in helped her to see how much
she really loves Jesus and how amazed she was that she felt she was getting closer to Him through this experience.   

Well, what can I say about my youngest two children concerning their recovery after the attack?  They both slept through the whole thing!  Thank You Jesus!  :)

"Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God." Mark 10:14


Sunday, October 7, 2012

This is My Response...

If you haven't read our blog post from September 29th at, please stop reading and head on over there before you read this blog.  This post is in response to what we posted there. 

The night that armed robbers broke down our front door and burst into our home while our children were in bed sleeping is a night that we will not soon forget.  While it wasn't the first time that thieves have broken
into our home, it was definitely the first time they intentionally broke in while we were actually at home.  As five thieves totally ransacked our house looking for money and whatever else they could find that they
thought was valuable, the only thing I could think of to do was to begin worshipping Jesus.  We (myself and 2 other female missionaries who had just recently returned from night evangelism in the village and
happened to be at our house) were forced to stay in a corner of our kitchen while the thieves tore through our suitcases, rummaged through our shelves and dresser drawers, threw things out of our kitchen
cabinets and even threw things out of our (solar battery powered) fridge, desperately seeking anything of value.  A few times, they came towards us waving machetes and knives over our heads demanding in Portuguese that we give them money.  I knew what they were asking, but I continued to speak to them in English, not wanting them to know that I knew what they were talking about.  As they continued to ransack our home, I opened my mouth and begin to say, "Hallellujah, Jesus!  We worship You!  We love You!  You alone are worthy!"  The other 2 missionaries did the same and we just focused on Him and He gave us a peace which surpasses all understanding. 

In the aftermath of what happened, there is one thing that I continue to do...worship Jesus.  There is a song that keeps playing in my mind and this song is my response to what God did and is continuing to do
in my heart at this time:

Gifted Response (We Will Worship You)

This is a gifted response,
Father we cannot come to you by our own merit.
We will come in the name of your Son
as He glorifies You and in the power of Your Spirit.
We have come to something so mysterious,
too deep for minds to comprehend;
through the open door,
where the angels sing,
and the host of heaven are antheming!

And we'll sing the glory of Your name!
Celebrate the glories of your grace!
We will worship You!
We will worship You!
And we'll make your praise so glorious;
singing songs of everlasting praise!
We will worship you!
We will worship you!

By Matt Redman,  Facedown CD

Hallelujah!!  God is always worthy to be praised, no matter what the circumstance!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

School Break...

We've been on break from school for a few weeks now and will be starting back in a couple of weeks.  Here are some of the things we've been doing on our break...

Amerel and Isaiah pillow fighting!

Isaiah likes to make shortcake for breakfast after picking
fresh strawberries from our strawberry patch!

Amerel, Isaiah and Chayah in spontaneous worship one morning...

Chayah loves to help when I pick lettuce from our garden!

A photogenic moment with my two littlest girls!

Making homemade pretzels!  Yummy!

Berasia playing with Chayah's counting bears!

Isaiah worshipping in spontaneous song!

Do I really have to start school again???


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mission Impossible: Graduation 2012

“I made it!  I’m so thankful!  I never would have made it this far without the Lord!”  Those are the lyrics to an old song from Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and they exactly fit how I felt last Saturday, July 14th, when we held this year’s graduation celebration from school!  This school year has been one of the hardest in my entire life of homeschooling.  But it’s also been one of the best years-for all of us.  This year, my 2 oldest children made me so proud to be their homeschooling mom and teacher.  Amerel and Isaiah worked so hard to finish this year well - and they did!  Both of them accomplished things they’ve never done before.  Let’s start with Isaiah’s story…
When I was about to start Kindergarten with Isaiah about 4 years ago, I felt that I should have skipped him straight to 1st grade instead of doing Kindergarten.  I usually begin teaching my children around the age of 2 starting with simple basics like colors, shapes and numbers then moving on to letters around 3 and 4 years.  With Isaiah, most of the things I started to teach him, he was always able to grasp very quickly and sometimes even before I began to teach him!  He’s always been a very good listener and he picked up a lot of his pre-schooling education by listening to me as I taught Amerel.  Before I could even begin to teach him numbers, I heard him counting from 1 to 10 one day.  So I just picked up from there with 11 through 20!  That’s how it’s always been with him and when I finished a “Kindergarten for 4 year olds” curriculum with him at the age of 4, I felt that he didn’t need regular Kindergarten.  But my fear of myself not being able to do it kept me back from pushing him into what I now know was what God had for him.  I felt then that it would be too much work for me to make sure he learned first grade well, while making sure that I filled in any gaps that may have been missing from not doing the regular 5 year old Kindergarten program.  Early this school year, I knew that God was telling me I couldn’t wait any longer.  I still needed to skip him a grade.  So, after doing 3rd grade from August through December, I skipped him to 4th grade in January of this year.  We’ve worked hard together in these last months to get through all of his lessons, making sure there were no gaps left over from 3rd grade.  And, we finally made it through!  I’m so proud of my son!  He will be starting 5th grade in the fall.   

Our Graduation Celebration!
In October of this past school year, my 4th child, Berasia Dawn, was born - right in the middle of our school year!  This disrupted my schedule more than I thought it would.  I had anticipated being a little off schedule this school year due to the birth, so I started minimal lessons with Amerel and Isaiah in June of last year to try to get a head start on this school year’s lessons (I usually finish each school year in May, so we had already completed the previous school year’s graduation).  I thought it was all going well, until I realized that I would be taking off more time than I had originally scheduled after the birth.  My mother-in-law came to visit us for 6 weeks in November/December.  It was a really great visit, but it also really put me behind schedule for school!  I had promised my kids that we wouldn’t have school while Grandma was visiting.  I ended up taking off about 2 ½ months after Berasia was born, instead of my scheduled 3-4 weeks!  That was a huge set-back!  So I began to push my kids really hard to try to make up for lost time.  For Amerel, I realized much later, that was really unfair.  She was in 6th grade and there were a lot of new and challenging topics for her to learn and grasp, especially in Math.  I tried to double up and put a lot of the work on her to complete independently and she amazingly did much to meet the challenge.  Later in the school year, I realized that there were some learning gaps in certain areas that I hadn’t spent much time with her in and I had to stop and backtrack in a few subjects.  One of the subjects that Amerel has always found particularly challenging has been Math.  But during those months of pushing her to try to finish the school year as close to our normal graduation schedule as possible, she did end up finishing Math and Language on schedule, choosing to work ahead independently on her own accord.  In doing this, she actually did quite a few of her Math lessons on her own initiative without any help from me at all!  I was quite shocked to check her work, on many days when I felt the Math to be particularly difficult, and find out that she had actually learned and understood the material all by herself.  At the end of the school year, she ended up getting an ‘A’ on her final Math exam, which covered material from the whole school year!  Now that’s an achievement!  I’m so proud of her!

Praise God!  We made it!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fulfilled Dreams

So many times I sit around and think about all of the dreams I had once upon a time ago about what my life would look like when I “grow up”.  Some of those dreams included going away to Africa to be a missionary and the exciting adventures I’d have in some African jungle sharing the gospel; while other dreams were about settling down in America with my family in a nice house, with nice furniture, hot showers, and continual electricity.  Lately, I find that whenever I think about the American dreams I once had, I’m reminded or shown the “dreams” that God has actually fulfilled in my life here in Africa.  This morning I went walking around our yard outside (which I try to do daily), just marveling at all God has done for me here in Lichinga.  I once dreamed that I’d be able to build my own “dream” house with a nice yard, big bedrooms, etc. etc.  When I walked around our yard this morning, taking in the strawberry patch, lettuce plants, fruit trees, grapevines, and herbs and flowers that we’ve planted, it brought tears to my eyes, as it does most times when I walk around our yard.  I’m just amazed at how God has fulfilled my dreams in ways that I could never have imagined.  I’ve always dreamed of having a yard with my own fruit trees and vegetable gardens.  Now I have them.    

Most of our strawberry plants were given to us by a Mozambican friend.
I spend way too much time thinking about all of the things I miss about “normal” American life.  When I take a look outside in my own backyard, I can see all of the wonderful things God has blessed me with to make my life here enjoyable and pleasant.  I can see that He has given me the things my heart desires-not only in the things that I’ve mentioned here in this blog, but much, much more.  Yes, there will always be things that I wish could be different.  I wish I could just pick up the phone and call my sister or a friend and chat for 10 minutes or an hour without worrying about a huge, fat international phone bill.  I wish I could just order pizza at the last minute when I don’t feel like cooking on a Friday night.  Sometimes, I even wish I could just walk into a grocery store and buy normal, everyday foods that I’m used to in America like Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on spaghetti or sour cream for tacos, or even just a carton of fresh milk!  These types of things are unheard of in Lichinga!  But whenever I start to dwell on all of the things I miss about the “American life”, I start to see the things that I now love about my life here in Lichinga!  God has truly blessed me beyond measure!

We bought these grape vines on one of our trips to Blantyre, Malawi.  After a dubious start, they are now growing well.  Hopefully, they'll yield fruit in their season.


Monday, June 18, 2012

A Visit from my Sister!

Last Tuesday, my sister Kim went back home to the U.S. after visiting with us here in Lichinga for 2 weeks.  We all had such a great time just having her here with us.  For me, the visit was way too short!  It seemed like we had just picked her up from the airport when it was already time to take her back and drop her off!  I guess we had gotten spoiled by my mother-in-law's 6 week visit last year and were expecting her to be able to stay longer.  Anyway, we asked Kim if she wanted to write a guest blog about her visit here and here is what she wrote (those of you who are subscribed to our blog at have already seen this post on last week's blog):

Kim and I adding toppings to homemade pizza.  Yum!

Though I doubted it was as cold in Lichinga as Tiffany told me, I obediently packed my flannel pajamas and warm socks.  I was surprised when I actually had to use them along with three blankets to keep warm at night.  Yes, it does get cold in Africa!   Another thing I found very surprising when I arrived in Lichinga was the price of food.  I had read the blogs about how expensive things are, but I guess I had to see it to believe it.  A couple of trips to the grocery store confirmed that things like meat, cheese, and ice cream are not affordable and reserved for special occasions.  I had to think twice about purchasing food items I would typically buy in America on a daily basis.  I am witnessing how the items we send in care packages go a long way to improve my family’s quality of life.  My visit to Lichinga has shown me how critical it is to support missionaries.  Everyone is not called to be a missionary but I feel it is our duty to support the people God has called to “make disciples of all nations”.  I know it would not have been possible for me to have the awareness of what life is like if I had not spent time here.  It does not take very much to make a very dramatic difference.  I am leaving Lichinga with a renewed purpose to support missionaries who are advancing God’s kingdom.   This experience has been invaluable!
Kim with us at Assumane Church Sunday morning.

Well, there you have it!  Keep those Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes coming!  Ha! Ha!  So, who's coming next? 


Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Want My Stuff Back!

Last month, someone broke into our home (the 2nd time in less than a year) and stole a lot of our things.  My first reaction was anger.  I wanted revenge and I wanted justice and I wanted them NOW!  I couldn't understand how someone could have the nerve to break into our home, and literally "go shopping" through all of our personal items and just take whatever they wanted.  Some of the items they took are irreplaceable and not even worth anything to anyone besides us.  But they wouldn't have known that until they took stock of all of the stuff they stole when they got back to wherever they were planning to take it.  They probably just threw some of those things away when they realized they had no use for them. 

I was really unnerved and disoriented for quite some time afterwards.  Then I slowly came out of the haze and realized that my reaction to the theft was like a setup from the enemy.  It was almost as if the whole thing was staged...a strategic plan to throw me off course.  To distract me away from the purposes and the love of God.  To feel justified, even, for ungodly reactions to an injustice done to us!  I immediately repented, apologizing to my kids for some of the things I had said in haste that could have caused them to think my actions were justified. 

One of the things I thought about later, when God was bringing peace back to the situation (at least in my mind), was a story I heard on a Bethel Church podcast.  It was about someone who had his briefcase stolen.  He was driving down the road in his car and just said out loud, "Lord, I want my stuff back!"  Suddenly, out of nowhere, his briefcase just landed on the car seat next to him!  That's what I'm talking about!  I figured I'd try that...and I said, "Lord, I want my stuff back!"  Nothing happened.  OK, I thought, maybe I didn't say it strong enough.  So I said it another time, and then a few more times over the next few days.  Nothing fell from the sky!  Well, maybe the thieves would decide to return our stuff to us, especially the things they had no use for.  That didn't happen either.    

Every so often, since the break in, we find out something else that was stolen that we hadn't noticed initially.  Just last week, I noticed that my carry-on was missing.  I don't even know what I had in there.  (We use our suitcases/carry-ons for storage since we don't have a lot of storage space in our house.)  I got angry again.  It was a struggle to release the anger.  A thought that was so unlike myself entered into my mind that it caused me to stop myself again and bring myself into repentance.  The thought was, "I don't have to forgive them because they haven't repented of what they did to us!"  I finally realized that, even though I had repented of the initial anger, I still hadn't let go.  I still just really wanted my stuff back and resented those who had stolen it.  After repenting again, I willingly forgave the people who broke into our house to steal.  I've forgiven them and released them into God's hands.  I pray that they can bring themselves into a place of repentance also.  I believe one of them (who admitted he broke into our house last year) is on the road to repentance, if he hasn't already repented.  It's a start for him, at least.  I'm so glad that I didn't allow anger to stand in the way of showing love to someone who is truly sorry for what they have done.  And I'm glad that I can even show love to those who aren't sorry.  

By the way, God has brought some of our stuff back to us.  Not in either of the ways that I thought it would happen.  In His own way, which is higher than my ways, God has spoken to the hearts of friends and family who have offered to replace some of the items that were stolen.  Thank you to all of you who have allowed His love to flow through you to us!  And I pray that His love would continue to flow through me to all of those He sends my way!

God bless you, 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What's Cookin?

I love to try new recipes here because if I don't, I'll easily get tired of the food we have available.  Last month I tried my hand at making mozzarella from powdered milk since we don't have access to fresh milk.  We can only buy long life milk or powdered milk in the stores.  Those of you who have read our Fruitfulness Newsletter may have been wondering how the mozzarella would turn out.  (If you don't subscribe to our ministry blog at, you may have missed our annual newsletter called Fruitfulness.  Click the link to read it here:  Fruitfulness Newsletter 2011.)  Here are some photos of my first attempt at homemade mozzarella made from powdered milk...

Left photo:  I carefully followed all of the instructions-even used my handy dandy thermometer to get the mozzarella heated to just the right temperature!

Right photo:  The finished ended up more like ricotta cheese, so I made lasagna instead of pizza!   

While trying to find ways to use my sourdough starter, I stumbled upon a recipe for Sourdough Potato bread.  It turned out to be pretty good...sorry, we ate it up before I thought about taking photos of it.  But, I did take some photos of the Sourdough English muffins that I've made for breakfast the past 2 mornings.  This morning, I even added some cinnamon and Craisins to the dough!  Yum!

Last week, Tyren decided to buy some beef from the market.  This isn't the kind of beef you're used to.  It was very fresh beef.  Here, when you buy meat from the market, you buy it by the kilo (~2.2 lbs.) and it's just all cut up into unidentified chunks of meat, fat and bones.  I decided to try to make it stretch for a few meals, so I added some of it to a pot of beans which lasted two meals.  Then I used the rest of it in another new recipe which I altered slightly.  My recipe was inspired by an Amish recipe for Chicken Stoltfuz which is a chicken stew served over a pie crust baked crisp like crackers.  Instead of chicken stew, I made a beef stew and baked up some of my homemade pie crust until it was crisp like crackers.  It was pretty good!  My kids loved the pie crust baked like crackers and have been asking me to make it again as a snack.  That meal also lasted for two meals.  (Whenever we eat meat, which is not as often as I'd like :), I try to use it in ways that will last for more than one meal.)

The last new recipe idea I tried recently was Eggplant Parmesan-without the cheese, using my homemade breadcrumbs.  Tyren found one huge eggplant in the market and that one eggplant served us with Eggplant Parmesan sans cheese for 2 meals!

Oh, I almost forgot about my homemade vanilla!  Last year, a visitor gave us a gift of real vanilla beans from Madagascar!  I looked online to see what I needed to do to make my own vanilla extract, and to my surprise, found out I would probably need to make a trip to the local bar.  Well, being a missionary, that wouldn't look very well here.  Fortunately, I was able to purchase a bottle of vodka from a grocery store in Blantyre on one of our trips to Malawi late last year.  Last week, I dropped the vanilla beans into the vodka bottle and 3 months from now, we will have our own homemade vanilla.  It's as easy as that!


Well, until next blog...

God bless!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome 2012!

Let the New Year begin with reflections on the past year...

I had a new blog topic just about every week, but never had time to enter them in, so here's a quick synopsis of some of the blogs that I wanted to type from July through December:

Yay!  I got blessed with a Kindle as a birthday/Christmas gift!  I love to read, but being in Mozambique, it's kind of hard to have a huge collection of books or access to a good public library.  Now that I have a Kindle, I can carry a huge collection of books with me wherever I go!  So far, I've downloaded some free books, mostly cookbooks and classics, some free games, borrowed a library book from the public library in CT.,  and purchased the Kindle version of my Spirit Filled Life bible.  It's great!   

I came up with a few new recipes and recipe ideas:
*Chicken pot pie-Since we don't buy meat often because of the expense, I sometimes try to make the meat stretch for more than one meal...we can usually get at least 2 meals out of this one!
*Tiffany's Own Bran and Fruit bars-These I made with some bran that a missionary found in bulk in Malawi and shared with all the Lichinga missionaries for free.  I hardly ever baked with white flour when we lived in the U.S. so a little bran in all of my recipes helps me to feel a little bit healthier!  (These bars I created as a healthy snack alternative when I was pregnant and hungry!  Sorry, I lost the photo that I took of these.)
*Sourdough Pizza crust-Whenever we happen to have pepperoni from the U.S., Lichinga happens to have cheese in town, and we happen to have the money to buy it-all these conditions occuring at the same time-I usually try to make pizza.  I tried a sourdough version for the crust, since I've been experimenting with sourdough, but I decided to stick to my regular yeasted crust recipes!  In my opinion, sourdough is not for pizza!

His Grace is Enough:
Reflecting back on my pregnant days with Berasia, I realized that the grace I thought I didn't have during those times of lack of sleep, lack of comfort, and sometimes lack of just being able to walk normally towards the end, was actually there all along!  Through His grace, He enabled me to homeschool my children, teach at the bible school, host visitors to our center, pray and intercede regularly for my family and Iris Lichinga, invent new ways to enjoy normally mundane food (smile!), and a host of other things!  Only during times when I trusted in my own strength, did I feel weak and inadequate while doing the things God has called me to do.  I'm still learning that when I do the things God wants me to do, His grace is enough!

Christmas with Jesus:
When someone asked me, "How was your Christmas?", I responded, "Great!"  I didn't give any detail, but I'd like to share about how my Christmas turned out to be so great.  It started some weeks before Christmas when I usually like to prepare our home with festive decorations that remind me of this special holiday.  We also usually sing Christmas/Advent songs every night until Christmas day.  Since we've been in Lichinga in our own house, we usually decorate a small fake tree every year.  Well, none of these things happened according to plan this year. 

Then, the Wednesday before Christmas, we found out that some people we know here were involved in a horrible car accident after attending a Youth Conference in another province.  One of them actually died in the accident.  That night we (our family and others here at our center) spent hours together praying and interceding, hoping that God would raise the dead!  It didn't happen. 

On Christmas day, the parents in a new family that just joined us at Iris Lichinga were sick and mostly confined to their beds all day.  We babysat their 2 boys during the day so that they could try to rest and heal.  Tyren spent time during the day driving people to and from church services because there was no other available car.  By the time we got to sit down as a family together, it was around 7 or 8 at night.  Yet, strangely enough, at the end of the day, I realized that it was all good!  Through it all, God allowed me to see and partake of His goodness. 

None of these circumstances turned out the way I (along with others) would have preferred, but God allowed me to see that His will was done and that's all that mattered.  Yes, I've still left out lots of the details, but His love was shown and His love prevails.  Once I realized that everything worked out according to His perfect will allowing His love to prevail, I was satisfied, and I can honestly say in all truth that I had a great Christmas! 

May God bless you much this year as we walk in His grace and the revelation of His love!