Key leaders graduate in Mozambique
The past two weekends have been special times for us here in Mozambique. Weekend before last Josh and Chelsea McManus, Lynn, Andy and I all caught the early military convoy North and drove the 11 hours to Doa on the Zambezi river. We only had one of our leaders graduating there, but it turned out to be very special. Domingos Martinho is a Reformed Church pastor and he had so many good things to say about our program and how blessed he was by the opportunity to study further. He had studied a program through his church, but said our program really opened his eyes to new things.
It also turns out that Pastor Domingos is the associate Religious Affairs leader in that District (a fairly important government position). While he was studying, he decided that he had to promote the studies to as many pastors in the area as he could. There are now 22 students in Doa and they are pretty fired up! In a context of political turmoil and drought, people are turning to God and the comfort and strength they find in His promise!
On the Sunday after the graduation we drove through to Sinjal, another community we serve and where we have property for a remote base. This was a good chance for Josh and Chelsea to be exposed to the intense heat and poverty of these remote areas. We had a morning service under a big tree (just too hot for a building!). We then checked out our property and the work of the association here and followed up about the emergency food distribution that had happened. If you donated to this, know that you have fed a lot of thankful people.
Due to feedback from the various areas and a few bigger donations, we are now buying 14 tons of maize seed to distribute by the end of this month and in time for the planting season. This, according to our leaders, has the best chance to break the cycle of hunger as long as we get rain. So please pray for rain for Mozambique.
We returned to the mission for a busy week of work which included attempting to apply for residence permits for the two young ladies who are doing a six month practicum. We found out that they had the wrong visas and would have to leave the country to process the right ones before we could continue, and although it was an unexpected hurdle, Andy was leaving the next weekend for South Africa to do the maintenance on the aircraft. This provided an awesome opportunity for the girls to get out of the country and apply for the right visas! What a blessing.
Then last week Friday, Lynn and I and Janette packed up and left early with the first convoy again to Tete. Here I had a graduation at our school in Moatize (the heart of the coal mining area), and Janette and Lynn had a craft fair sale at a fancy hotel there to sell products our ladies make to help fund the literacy program. The ladies had a good Saturday meeting people and selling crafts and sharing about the mission in general. I and our supervisor of that area had a great graduation experience with a crowded church and 3 graduates who were so grateful to have achieved this milestone.
I wish I could have transported all of you to sit in and hear the stories and comments. One of the graduates, António, is a bank manager! During the open mike session an older man got up and excitedly shared that in 1978 he was this graduate’s youth pastor and that from his earliest recollections António wanted to study God’s word. But being moved first to Mutarara and then to Tete, there simply were not opportunities. But when he found our school in Tete, he started to study under Pastor Chico (one of our monitors). Besides studying, he helped Pastor Chico and the supervisor to help get schools going in 5 other locations! As a result of some of these efforts his studies were delayed, but he has now finished and his wife is not far behind!
During this meeting another pastor got up and instead of address the graduates, he came and directly addressed me. “I want to thank you Pastor and the mission for starting this training program. Because of this ministry we now have leaders who are able to “chew” the word of God and teach truth in ways that were not possible before. Thank you!”
Early Sunday morning we caught the first convoy again and made it to Guru, a town in Manica province, on the way back to the mission. The graduation service had already started, so we joined as quickly as we could. Here 5 graduates from 4 different denominations were honored for their achievement. Pastor Antonio (our monitor here and also the national leader of a church denomination in Mozambique) proudly introduced these 5 young men and then promptly introduced 5 young couples who have just enrolled in the program to take the graduates place.
Thank you for your support and prayer for this effort. We as a mission could do nothing without your support and prayers, so please keep them coming and be encouraged that God is at work in wonderful ways.
On the way home we had to catch the last military convoy and although the trip time was only around 3 and a half hours, as we travelled through a remote area, the military vehicle leading the convoy started shooting it’s 50mm canon at a rock outcrop at first and then fired over an already burnt out community. Needless to say it got our attention and reminded us that our dear country continues to face challenging times and we need your prayers for peace.