McClenahens to Mozambique
"…That they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread…”

February 23, 2013 by rkmcclenahen

The 4:00am call to prayer from the local mosque rings out loud and clear over the still, dark neighborhood every morning here. With the heat of the last day still lingering, our open windows allow for every sound of the street to echo up to our second story apartment. There’s been hardly any way to avoid our children’s new wake-up time becoming 5:30am- by that time the sun is already bright and clear coming through their window, and many people along the street out front are beginning to make their way (by foot of course) to the nearby ocean dock or somewhere else for work or groceries, extending loud greetings to those along their path.  So, we try to welcome the morning and adjust to the rhythm of our new home culture.

Usually we greet the morning with bread. Local “bairro” bread is quite a staple here- medium sized bread rolls that can be bought several places around town in the morning or evening. We’ve learned to enjoy them nearly every day, accounting for at least one entire meal- with or without jam or cheese. And because of the climate, the bugs and the nature of the bread, buying bread is essentially a daily activity, not just for us, but for most of those in Pemba. Also, the cheapness of bread means that it is one of the only items that nearly everyone can afford; the locals literally could not live without it.

The concept of taking the time to go buy this bread daily, and the reliance of this poverty-stricken area on such bread for sustenance causes us to remember the section of the Lord’s prayer that requests of the Father to, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).  Being Americans, it has been easy for us to forget the trust and humility it takes to pray such a thing. Without such provision, we would not survive; only God can provide for this basic human need, and this prayer says that we are trusting Him to do it. Although for most of us it is not as literal a need as for those in the community here, it should still be our prayer, and we have been made aware of many new applications of this prayer of trust over our last (first) week here in Pemba.

Without a vehicle, we do literally need God to give us what we need for the day in ways of food items. We are not lacking money, but food does not have a long shelf life in the humidity, and refrigerator space is slim. We pray that God will help us find what we need and use what we find to nourish our family. Also, with everything being new, we find that every day has been different- our team leaders have planned a bit of a schedule for us, but we are not in control ourselves and many times do not know what the day holds. We pray that God would help us get done what we need to in each day, and hope that soon we will be able to nail down a good routine that allows for all of our needs during the day- cooking, language learning, shopping, family, studying, etc. Obviously, we are also eager to “do something” meaningful in the community, but of course we find that we can barely manage to actually buy bread, because we have great need to learn the language and culture! This first week has definitely been full of “gringo” moments of having no idea what people are saying! We pray that God would help us as we begin this week to start learning Kimwani, the language of the Mwani people; we must first learn to say “hello” before we can preach, or even build friendships!

We also keep in the forefront of our minds Jesus’ words in Matthew 4:4, “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Just as God provided manna in the desert, so He will be our provider. Our greatest prayer is that we would hunger for God’s daily word to us, that we may stay directly in line with Him, and grow to know him and to be like Him more and more each day. It will be our God who makes a way for His own word to go forth among these unreached people in Pemba, and it will only be by our obedience that He will choose to use us.


“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

~Matthew 6:10


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