Charles Woodrow presents the latest news from Nampula, Mozambique. You can read this newsletter online here.

Julie's Shoulder Operation

Read the two-minute version in red below.

Dear friends.

Julie and I arrived back in South Africa last Monday where we were expecting Julie to undergo a procedure on 20 April to repair a torn ligament in her right shoulder. Many have been praying for a successful outcome and are inquiring about the results.

We returned to Africa last week for Julie's operation.

Unfortunately, a minor skin infection developed a few days prior to the procedure and was slow to respond to antibiotics. To prevent the infection from invading the surgical site, the operation had to be cancelled. Now it is rescheduled for 18 May.

But it had to be postponed until 18 May due to infection.

To make good use of the time, Julie and I promptly left for our friends' sea-side vacation flat that had been originally offered for our use in February. Here, I work on long delayed church projects during the days, while we both enjoy relaxing together in the evenings! 

So we are now at the Indian Ocean, where I can do church projects.

We enjoy the beautiful scenery, the constant sound of the surf just a hundred yards away and one hundred feet below us, and being surrounded by the blue deep stretching out to the horizon on two sides of our glass-enclosed apartment. 

We enjoy this idyllic retreat . . .

This haven is a constant reminder of the wondrous creativity of our Maker! How thankful we are that He made all of this to display His glory, and then gave men the ability not only to perceive the majesty of His creation, but even to enjoy, cultivate, and improve upon it!

. . . and are enthralled with the wonder of God's creativity!

Results of Charles’ Heart Operation

I am now ten weeks out from surgery and feeling completely normal. I much appreciate everyone's prayers for a good recovery. 

Ten weeks post-op, I feel normal!

Six weeks after surgery, Julie and I traveled to Jackson, TN to be near my mother, who at 94 is still very much alive and well, while I spent three weeks doing cardiac rehabilitation at the heart center there. Cardiac rehab is basically working out in a gym in a hospital while your heart is monitored by nurses to make sure you do not develop arrhythmias or other signs of heart strain.

I finished 3 weeks of cardiac rehab while visiting my mother in Tennessee.

Since my heart never suffered any damage from the four obstructed arteries, I felt ready for real workouts (which I had already been doing on a treadmill at our hosts' home), but due to the marked anemia from my GI bleed post-operatively, my exercise heart rate kept soaring beyond where the nurses wanted it. They constantly told me to slow down, not because of any harm happening to my heart, but because it was having to pump so fast to supply adequate oxygen to the tissues using the watered-down blood now coursing through my veins. Even after three weeks, I never got up to the speeds I was doing the first week after leaving the hospital when I exercised heedless of my heart rate.

Because of a high heart rate due to marked anemia, the nurses did not let me do much.

Here at the ocean, I continue to work out in the pool, but without the benefit of sergeant-major nurses frowning down at me. I did learn from their warnings, however, and carefully monitor my heart rate. Sadly, I discovered at once that it will be a long while before I can swim the way I did before the operation. It will also be another couple of months before all the blood cells I lost are finally replaced by new ones.

Here at the ocean I can swim at will - but sadly, I find the kiddie pool is more my speed just now!

God's Kind Answers to Prayer

Many people have prayed for good outcomes for Julie and me, and so a couple of significant answers to those prayers ought to be shared.

God has been answering prayers.


Even though our trust is in God, not man, and even though the best of surgeons can still have a bad day in the OR, I am grateful that God led us to a fine but completely unpretentious heart surgeon who either had time or made time to do my operation as the first case in his busy schedule after my arrival in San Antonio. 

Friends prayed for a good operation, and God sent me to a fine surgeon.

We found him because Belinda Dickey, the Executive Director for Grace Medical, was directed by her cardiologist to seek help from a Dr. William Davis. The cardiologist then very kindly approached the surgeon himself to make all the arrangements for us, and Dr. Davis agreed to work me in as his first procedure once I arrived in the States.

Belinda Dickey, our Executive Director, and her cardiologist made the referral.

Though neither Belinda nor I were capable on our own of identifying or contacting THE best heart surgeon in San Antonio to help us, we found out after the operation that Dr. Davis had recently been featured in a publication of "Best Doctors in San Antonio". He was rated number one in the category of heart surgeons, a designation that I presume resulted from consulting cardiologists and other heart surgeons for recommendations. 

Only after the operation did we learn that he was rated the best in San Antonio by his peers!

Studies have revealed that 75% of bypass grafts are severely or completely occluded within ten years after surgery, and 45% clot off in the first month after surgery. But the cardiologist who recommended Dr. Davis said the man has some sort of golden touch, because it is unusual to find one of his grafts occluded even 15 years after the procedure. 

Most grafts be~ come obstructed over time, but this surgeon has a remarkable patency rate.

Only God knows what will happen in my case, but I am thankful that many friends were praying and that God answered those prayers in this way. How often I have experienced that one of the greatest blessings of serving on a foreign mission field is that so many Christians pray for missionaries! Julie and I noticed the abrupt manifestation of this reality in only our first weeks in Mozambique, and it is something that we continue to note to the present.  Dramatic answers to prayer have been far more common since coming to the field than they were before!

As missionaries we have often found that having many friends praying for you pays wonderful dividends!


God's kindness was again manifested on our flight back to the U.S.

The trip started out pretty miserably. After getting airborne, the airport in New York we were heading to was closed down due to thunderstorms. We were re-routed to another airport where our plane had to wait nine hours before it was allowed to continue with the trip. We finally arrived at midnight, long after our flight to Africa had departed.

Blessing no. 2:

A nine-hour delay in flight forced us to miss our plane to Africa.

We then had to wait in a very long line with other passengers who also needed to rebook their onward flights. Finally at 4:30 in the morning, we had our tickets for flying out 19 hours later.

We stayed up all night trying to get another flight.

Truly by the mere grace of God, while arranging our boarding passes the night before the flight, after much debate within myself and finally on an impulse I could not explain at the time, I paid $70 for the privilege of allowing Julie and me to spend our layover in the New York airport in the airline's special lounge. Never before have I paid for such a luxury, but with Julie often suffering from pain in both shoulders and because of the special gifts we had received for handling our medical needs, I finally parted with the seventy dollars to make the six hour layover in the airport more pleasant. 

By the grace of God I had paid for the privilege of using the airline's special lounge, a first for me.

But of course, the stop did not last a mere six hours. We ended up with a 23-hour layover that started with staying up all night to get new tickets. How thankful we were to God to head to the lounge with its soft upholstered chairs and sofas where we could sleep, not to mention the showers and the non-stop supply of free food and beverages through breakfast, lunch, and supper!

This made the 23 hour layover in New York very enjoyable.

Thanks to the delay, I was able to read "More than Conquerors", William Hendriksen's classic commentary on Revelation, and start on Sinclair Ferguson's "The Whole Christ" while lounging in the lounge, often thanking God for His kindness in the midst of what otherwise would have been a grueling experience for Julie and me! 

We were so thankful that God knew what was going to happen and prepared us for it!

Current Projects

While here at the ocean, I would be grateful for prayer that God would undertake as I address the following tasks:


  • Preparing for the 22nd annual nation-wide conference for church leaders.
  • Revising my 15 articles on "Covenant vs. New Covenant Theology: The Bible Speaks."
  • Completing the several Scripture memory catechisms I started during my last stay in South Africa.
  • Revising our church constitution and by-laws so they provide for an association of like-minded autonomous Reformed Evangelical churches in Mozambique.
  • Writing an article on "Fleeing Fornication" for Mission Ekklesia's periodical journal.
  • Reviewing some of the new books we have purchased for distribution through our bookstore and reading clubs.
  • Ordering mission equipment from South African suppliers to be exported and hauled to Nampula in our 8-ton truck when we return in early June.

My projects at the ocean include six for the church and one for the mission.

Sadly, these projects can be done only while on leave from Nampula, as at home administrative duties and regular weekly ministry take up all my available time. You can imagine how much I look forward to our annual trips to the sea!


In closing, let me thank all those who so generously pray for us and see that our needs are always met! And please remember Julie's shoulder operation now scheduled for 18 May!

In the good Shepherd,

Charles and Julie Woodrow

Due to time pressure at home, these can only be done while away!

Thank you, and remember Julie's op on 18 May!

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