Monday, June 5, 2017

Holly is in the Air!

**I wrote this up several months ago in February 2017, and somehow forgot to publish it!  I thought everyone would still enjoy it, even if outdated. ***

Both Grady and I have our pilot certificates validated for flying in Mozambique.  Praise the Lord for their arrival!  Our written exams in the capital were passed at the end of December and our validations arrived about five weeks later.

Six months to the day after our arrival in Mozambique I was able to do my first solo flight ops.  I took three passengers from our base in Nampula down to Topuito and then had an empty return leg.  Oh, it felt absolutely wonderful to be up in the sky again!  As per MAF tradition, the welcoming committee was a wet one.  Thank you everyone for praying for these validations to come through!  Unlike our pilot certificates, the validations expire and will have to be renewed periodically.

Below are some random pictures from life lately.
 Goats, people, and many things often travel in unusual ways.

 Seatbelts optional.

Gurue, Mozambique 

 Uncle Jody came to visit for Christmas!

Can you spot the lizard?

Did I mention it's hot?! 

Laundry line. 

All he ever really needs is a pile of dirt. 

Just chilling.  Diego loves the water.  We were able to take a couple days for beach camping several hours from our home with Uncle Jody. 

 Sails are made from many different products. Not sure what this plastic came from.

The oldest European building in the southern hemisphere... Vasco de Gama arrived on Mozambique Island in 1498. 

Used for pulling water from a well.  Clean water is still a big issue here.

The governor of Nampula Province came to a presentation at our hangar and the Caravan was sprayed in his honor. 

 Lucas makes friends wherever he goes.

Uncle Jody brought a care package from our home church in Washington - we had a blast with the train gingerbread kit! 

Lucas has a Land Cruiser too... it's made from bamboo.

Oma & Opa came to visit right after the new year! What a lovely way to begin 2017!

 Stop discrimination and human trafficking - we are all together fighting this evil.


“Home is where the heart is.” 

“Home is where you hang your hat." 

“There’s no place like home.”

 “A home away from home.”

Home.  I’ve been thinking on it a lot lately.  It is a word that invokes a lot of feeling.  Sometimes it brings positive emotions and sometimes negative.  It can bring peace, joy, loneliness… but for me the concept of home can also be confusing. 

How so?  Well, where is home?  We have just returned home to Mozambique from our first furlough.  But we were also “going home” for that furlough, and not just to one home but two, in two different states.  And last year at this time, we were getting ready to say goodbye to our home in Portugal.  For me, I keep coming back to that iconic phrase: “Home is where the heart is.”  But my heart is in a lot of places these days, with a lot of people. 

We enjoyed being back stateside, spending time with family for our six week trip.  Two weeks in Texas at my parents’, where I grew up from kindergarten on.  Soaking up time in the yard, watching my kids play with Oma, Opa and Uncle Cody, gobbling salsa and fried okra (not together), feeling comfortable. 
(with Oma and Opa enjoying tractors at a historic farm reenactment)

And there were three weeks in Washington, too, making memories with Grady’s mother, brother, and sister.  The weather was gloriously sunny.  We lived in that house for three plus years while Grady became a mechanic, coming when Diego was less than a year and only moving when it was time for language school in Portugal.  So, in both cases it was coming home, only not totally home anymore, a strange feeling . . .

 (sledding with Grandma and Uncle Jody on Mt. Baker)

Diego was asked while we were back how it felt to be home.  His response was swift: “This isn’t home! My home is in Mozambique!”  It does my heart good to know that Diego and Lucas are identifying home as Moz.  In fact, Lucas did not even remember the US – it was all new to him because we had left before he was seven months old.  We delighted in introducing him to our special homes in TX and WA, in building memories with him and our family there.

Now, we have returned home to Mozambique.  To be honest, I was nervous when we left for the States.  I thought I might not want to come back; that I’d come back resenting it.  The nine months we’d had in Moz so far hadn’t been easy ones and we left worn out.  But, while the goodbyes stateside were hard, while Diego cried as we drove away after each goodbye and it tore at my heart strings to leave, I didn’t really want to stay.  Because home is here in Mozambique, too.  We are building a life here, relationships here.  Our teammates met us at the airport to help with our bags, and oh, I had missed them!  We went to church on Sunday and during the greeting time I felt so joyful.  So many familiar faces that I am slowly coming to love. 

(a pause do admire our passion fruit vine during his ride)
(Diego riding to Lucas after school)

So, I’m learning that you can have more than one home to turn to.  And I’m so thankful for the people who make those houses into homes for us, all across the world.  The love found in each gives us a taste of our heavenly home. 

Can you be praying that our love for the Mozambican people would grow, that it would become more and more reflective of the love Christ has for them?  Please pray for these weeks of transition back into life here, dealing with jetlag, being willing to step out of my comfort zone into the culture, final recover from surgery, etc?  Also, for our family back home – goodbyes are hard and while we are missing them, they are also missing us!

Here are a few quotes on “home” that I’ve found and enjoyed lately:
“Like a bird that flees its nest is anyone who flees from home."  Proverbs 27:8
Home is where one starts from.” T.S. Eliot
“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. “ Robert Frost
“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” Jane Austen
“You’re traveling all over the world but to be home is something special.” Sebastian Vettel
“When you live far away, home looks a little different every time.” Gideon Raff
“Family makes a house a home.” Jennifer Hudson
“The thrill of coming home has never changed.” Guy Pearce
“Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except true love.” Billy Graham
"How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young - 
a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you." Psalm 83:1-4

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Landcruiser Update


(Our last blog covered our Landcruiser importation issues, so please go here for the background behind this update: Landcruiser blogpost.)

News has come down and we are excited… we will be able to keep the Landcruiser!!  I am especially grateful for a number of reasons:

  1-     This vehicle has a heavy duty bull bar.  That means added safety for our family on these crazy roads.  A couple years ago one of our teammates had a wreck – driving through the dust with very low visibility a bus that was driving on her side of the road hit her head on.  Everyone walked away, credit to God & that heavy duty bull bar! 

  2-     It’s reliable.  Leaking oil and clutch fluid may come eventually, but for now we can spend time on other endeavors and not car maintenance!  Also, no dogs covered in oil because they love the shade under the vehicle…

  3-     The most important:  We’re thankful for the opportunity to use the program vehicle while we waited for our Landcruiser… but it was a pickup and the suspension was super stiff.  You felt EVERY SINGLE bump.  In comparison, our Landcruiser rides like a dream over these rough roads and Grady’s back can tell the difference! 

We will be continuing to raise funds to help cover the unexpected importation fees, instead of closing out our vehicle account as planned.  MAF has asked us to raise an additional 20,000 but we are already over 35% of that figure!  Thank you to those of you who have given and prayed throughout this whole process so that this vehicle could become a reality. 

~Holly, for the Naces

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


As many of you have probably seen on Facebook we were finally able to import the Land Cruiser we fundraised for last Saturday.  This is a huge answer to prayer as it has been in port for about a month and a half, and importing it has been a very stressful process for everyone involved.  We love it – it is perfect for the roads here, and as anyone who has read The Camry Diaries knows, I have a soft spot for Toyotas.  (And everyone tells me we will appreciate it a lot more once rainy season comes).

Unfortunately however, it is not all good news – we had to pay significantly more than we had planned on (or fundraised for) in order to import it.

There are a few reasons we imported a new vehicle instead of buying used here, but the biggest one was import duties.  To import a vehicle into Mozambique, you normally have to pay 100% of the value of the vehicle in duties.  This gets passed on when a vehicle is sold, so even a 10 year old 4x4 with 100,000 miles on it sells for about $25,000.  The road conditions here mean that used vehicles are in much worse condition than they would be in the US, and most of the time the closest spare parts are in South Africa, which means it takes a couple of weeks to get them if a car breaks down.

Ambassador Aviation (MAF’s name in Mozambique) meets the requirements to import new 10 passenger vehicles duty free, so for $35,000 we could import a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser with fold down seats in the back to fit 10 passengers (and it is not hard to end up with 10 people here).  The value of a brand new vehicle that will last much longer with less maintenance made this a very good choice, and MAF Mozambique imported two of the same model of vehicle without problems in the last year.  And with most of us driving the same model, when they do get old we can share parts.

When the Land Cruiser we ordered showed up in port though, instead of classifying it as a 10 passenger vehicle, Customs looked at its 4x4 capabilities and classified it as “Jeep Category” vehicle, which must pay 100% duty.  While this Land Cruiser is a 10 passenger vehicle, it does also meet all the requirements to be considered “Jeep Category.”  Mozambique is going through a very difficult financial crisis and the government struggling to pay the bills, so it seems as they have shifted their policy to charge duty for the higher of the two options when a vehicle can be classified differently.

Diniz, our Mozambican administrator who is AMAZING, worked with a clearing agent for the last month and a half trying to find a way to reclassify it and import it for less.  At one point they thought they had figured out a way import it for about $15,000, but after paying that, the computer system in the capital rejected it, and we learned the only way to import it would be to pay the rest of the full amount.  If you do not pay Customs the required amount they impound the vehicle and keep it.  We could have applied to get the $15,000 back, but that process often takes one or two years, and the outcome is not at all sure.

At this point we had about $50,000 invested in the Land Cruiser, and our choices were to either to lose it all or pay the remaining $20,000 to import it.

We chose to import it, and now we have two options.  If we fundraise a significant portion of duty fees MAF will help cover them and we can keep it.  Otherwise we can sell it for around $50,000, eat the $20,000 loss, and still need to fundraise about $10,000 to buy a 4x4 in the 10 year old, 100,000 miles range.

Either way we need to raise some, so MAF has left our vehicle account open, and we will see what God does with it.  Please pray for wisdom making this decision, and please prayerfully consider making a donation to our vehicle fund.  We have been overwhelmed by all of your generosity already and we really appreciate your support and prayers!

If you would like to make a donation towards this (which is tax deductible) you can do so online here, by phone at 1-800-359-7623 (reference fund 4986), or with a check made out to MAF with “Nace Vehicle, 4986” in the memo line mailed to:

Mission Aviation Fellowship
P.O. Box 47
Nampa, ID 83653

Thank you so much!

In Christ,

Grady, Holly, Diego and Lucas

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Two Month Anniversary (in Moz)

There has been a lot going on the last two months!  I have some pictures below to help show a few snippets of life here.

Diego and Lucas were great helpers on the flights to Moz.  Yes, if you look close you'll see that my children are wearing shirts with pilot epaulets…

It’s nice to be outside in the morning or late afternoon when the temps creep down.  Diego rides his scooter and Lucas tries to break free!  We arrived at winter’s tail end which means we can slowly adjust to the temperatures that are coming and were able to learn to drive here before rainy season hit.

A view of our street from our gate.  If you look the other direction, our neighbor kitty-corner to us is a coke distribution center.  This means a fair amount of traffic – but much of it is people carrying plastic cases of glass coke bottles on their heads!  

 The scary corner – on a hill, full of hard to see foot, bike and motorcycle traffic, where you turn onto the main road to the airport while remembering which direction to look because here we drive on the left side.

Did I mention it is dry season?

We arrived three weeks before Mozambique Family Conference.  This is a time when the team gathers together for a couple days of rest and team meetings.  There were team meetings every morning lead by a visiting church team from Florida, and bonding time each afternoon at the beach.  It was about a 2 hour drive out and oh-so-worth-it.  The conference came at the perfect time – we were starting to get pretty overwhelmed by all the differences here so we appreciated a chance to step back and process some of our experiences while they were still fresh. 

It was our first time to the Indian Ocean.  Lucas’ early morning wakeups meant that he and I (Holly) enjoyed some lovely walks on the beach shellhunting and watching the fishermen.  It is beautiful – now who wants to come visit? 

All the MAF kiddos in country.  All the little guys were disgruntled with the idea of a picture…

Birthday exploring.  Blue tailed lizards are our friends – they eat mosquitos for us!

Diego started 1st grade with two other MAF 1st graders – Annie & Bekah.  It was such a relief to this momma’s heart to have everything go so well!  Their school is about an hour drive away and they travel on a cute blue bus.  It picks Diego up about a two minute walk from our house.  They were a black and white uniform and have orange PE shirts.  His smile at the end of his first day says it all! 

It is a Christian school in English, but they have Portuguese classes.  There are students of many nationalities and religions attending.  There are also music classes, PE, swimming and electives.  It started five years ago and they are now working on developing a high school program as well.  We are so grateful to have this school and these excellent teachers loving on our son.

Rapale International School – the grounds and the 1st grade classroom. 

Grady and I are doing observation flights and waiting for the test date for our Mozambique pilot written exams – they only do the exams in the capital (a 2 hour airline flight away) and only when they have enough people signed up to do the exam.  We've been on the list for over a month.  Grady will also have a maintenance exam to take.  We have both been to the Niassa Reserve in the north – Grady had to overnight there and even saw hippos in the river!

Often times people have little farm plots outside of town.  We were able to visit one of our night guards’ plots after they finished the manioc harvest. It’s a root kind of like a potato (or yucca if you’re familiar with Latin American cuisine.)

I (Holly) was able to fly along on a flight in the new Caravan last week, which took a journey along the coast, right over Mozambique Island with all of its old colonial buildings.  One of the pilots saw a whale, but I missed it. 

A few pictures of the yard here at home.  I am my mother's daughter - I bought four plants that I'm putting in this week and it makes me smile just thinking of getting my hands dirty!

Please be praying for our vehicle situation.  We are thankful to have this one on loan to us, but our vehicle is having importation issues.  

Partial eclipse viewed through breaks in the clouds.

These last two months have definitely had come with their challenges, but overall we have really enjoyed our first two months here - I hope you can see that through these pictures!  We're looking forward to many, many more months in Moz!  Please be praying for us as we continue to settle in and as Grady & I continue training.  Ask for wisdom for us to deal with many new and unfamiliar situations - that we could each day handle them in a way that points our kids and others towards Christ.  And please let us know how you are doing as well!