The Mozambique Initiative has had a focus of encouraging, approving, and supporting various microfinance or sustainability projects to assist the churches in Mozambique to become self-sufficient. We've learned hard, valuable, and good lessons. Some projects have failed, some didn't receive enough funds, but some are providing valuable funds to assist congregations become reliant on themselves instead of on our support. Below is the summary report for the Mozambique South Annual Conference projects. We hope a North Annual Conference report will be received soon, and we will share this, as well.
Lastly, we will be relaunching our efforts in sustainability projects at Annual Conference. Look for more details to come!
Mozambique Wrap-Up Thoughts
Today marks our last full day/night in Mozambique and has essentially been a travel day. I will take the opportunity to share a few final random thoughts/observations/lessons of this trip. I will distinguish between the three of them.
1) Mozambique is a BIG country and we traveled it on this trip. As a reminder, we arrived on October 13th. Since then, we’ve traveled a total of 2,149 miles by plane and a minimum of 900 miles by car. That’s like flying from Atlanta to Seattle and like driving St. Louis to Denver – except on roads not like I-70! The distance from Atlanta to Johannesburg is 8,425 miles – we covered more than 25% of that distance in Mozambique. It’s been a grueling travel schedule and one can only truly appreciate it if you’ve been to Mozambique. Check out a map and find the following cities that we’ve spent significant time in (2+ hours/overnight): Maputo, Nampula, Lichinga, Cuamba, Marrupa, Beira, Chimoio, Mutare (Zimbabwe). It’s a huge amount of space we’ve covered.
2) Mozambique Methodism’s roots are deep. I’ll mention the stops in a minute, but it always amazes me the respect of United Methodism in Mozambique among its people. This respect has served us well—much better than it would (in a situation such as a police stop, baggage questioning, and in asking for directions).
3) It’s really hard to be in the minority anywhere—and stand out. It’s easy to be “on guard” in a foreign country—but when you don’t blend in, speak the language, and have a bunch of luggage ---you are a target. A target of skepticism and of people wanting to take advantage of you because you aren’t in a position of bargaining authority. These experiences show me how powerless we (as humans) can be. I don’t notice this on trips where it’s just me. However, I notice it when I’m in a group.
1) Corruption is a hard beast to defeat. Maybe this also fits under Random Thoughts. But think about it. How can you defeat blatant corruption in a developing country which has thousands of starving people, underpaid public officials, and whose checks and balances don’t amount to holding those in a position of authority responsible. Yes, we have corruption in the USA—but not to the extremes and openness seen in both of the countries we’ve been in. It’s unfortunate and I must hurt the broad economy and tourism.
2) Students Will Be Students. Visiting Africa University was so much fun. We learned about the Mozambican students attending and also learned about the faithfulness of AU toward seeing a bright future for African students. A fun observation was that when we pulled into campus, we had interaction with students that we would likely see in the states. Smiles, laughter, greetings, groups of students, nervousness around us as outsiders who were viewed as superior to them (although we shouldn’t have been—many of these students have wonderful life experiences that make them more of experts on things than I would ever be!)
3) Differences in the Church in the North and the South. I didn’t notice this during my first trip to the north. These differences aren’t “this is better than this.” The north continues to be more subdued, living into their Christian faith walk differently than those in the south. Education opportunities are greater in the South. There are more mountains in the North. The infrastructure in Nampula (where this really nice hotel didn’t have water, because the entire district was not working) isn’t as good as Maputo (which we had regular water in both places we have stayed). The South has some rough roads that are relatively rural. The north’s roads that connect major communities is rough. Like real rough. Worse than our worst gravel roads, except for literally 100 miles. Paul, in our group, noted the differences and growth in development (specifically the availability of our guest house, which was more comfortable accommodations than he had in 2015). These differences doesn’t mean one is better than the other. It’s worth noting because it’s a large country with different subcultures, economies, lands, and languages. It’s a social science person’s dream.
1) We should seek to live uncomfortably. The last two weeks has continued to pound the phrase “Live Uncomfortably” in my head and I can’t get it out. What do I mean? I mean that we should all seek uncomfortable situations in life to learn from them. These situations make awkward moments turn into great stories of strength and open our minds to new opportunities and for growth. Each trip makes me uncomfortable in many scenarios: from showering with a cold shower two nights at Africa University because I was too prideful to ask for help to being uncomfortably approached by baggage security only to the guard’s wall coming down when he heard I was with the “Igreja Metodista Unida” to not understanding a word of the greeting song during worship but loving the passion for which the song was sang. Each of these make us better human beings and better able to understand ourselves. Be uncomfortable in some way today.
2) Scripturally, the church in Mozambique and Africa is very strong. At Africa University, the Mozambican students often noted how Hebrew and Greek were favorite or (more often) least favorite classes. Between these and the Old and New Testament opportunities, I come away reassured of the scriptural understanding that is being taught at AU. When we visited the Gondola Training Center, I was reassured as we learned what classes were taught and that experts come from Cambine and across the Methodism denomination in Mozambique to teach lay pastors and leaders. I’ve been interested in discipleship back home and sharing the belief that it is important that we (as the church) grow disciples with knowledge of why they believe in Jesus as their Savior. Even with limited Bibles and Hymnals, I heard this discipleship being practiced in various contexts where we visited.
3) Water. Ugh. Water. As I said earlier, we were without water overnight for one evening. Each day after flying to a new destination, our first stop was for water. Water nourished us. Water refueled our body. And yet still in Cuamba, Marrupa, Munene, and Lichinga --- water remained a major issue. In Marrupa – the nearest water sources (unsafe water) were between 20-30 minutes walk. The nearest safe source was more than 2 hours walking distance. We will be continuing to try to find drillers who can do wells in the North. I always forget how precious water is until I’m in Mozambique and am forced to purchase bottled water, feel guilty as I drink more than locals to stay hydrated from the heat, and ensure that every bottle of water purchased at dinner is fully used in order to not waste any. People are thirsty, still, in Mozambique. As a conference, we’ve completed a lot of wells. And there are still abundant needs, particularly in the north.
4) To slow down and appreciate the beauty of nature and God’s people. We were fortunate to get to visit Gorongosa National Park. Enough said there. Seeing nature as a sanctuary can never be overrated and I highly encourage it. Taking a day to have the ability to slow down and actually watch for beautiful animals from large waterbucks, hilarious looking pumbas (warthogs) to the majestic swans flying just above the water --- this is not done enough by me back home and I hope this is a lesson I can figure out a way to incorporate into my life. It will fill me spiritually and mentally if I do. God’s people are beautiful, too. Sitting across from Africa University students, I saw their hopes, dreams, and struggles in their smiles and voices. I saw the beauty of humanity watching women that were my wife’s age or younger walking with water on their heads with a baby on their backs and carrying food or sticks in their hands and were dressed in the brightest capulanas you can imagine. We need to take a minute each day to remember and acknowledge the beauty in who each of us are and why God created each of us.
It’s been a wonderful trip. The journey home begins tomorrow. I leave straight from the airport for Asbury Seminary in Wilmore for an intensive class Thursday/Friday. Pray for safe travels, please, for our team—as the 30+ hour journey begins for us at around 9AM tomorrow Missouri-time.
Until next time,
We have one full day left in Mozambique, which is basically going to be just a travel day back to Maputo and running a few errands (tomorrow/Monday). Let’s focus on today, though!
After leaving Africa University by 7:45AM, we had no difficulties crossing and entering Mozambique.
I told Paul Fensterman that days like today are so difficult to explain because of the overwhelming nature of them. We were a few minutes late (we got lost trying to find the local church of Munene where they were having worship) and so it had already begun.
The very small local church chapel crammed between 70-85 people in it, with about 15-20 children. The service was full and included me and my parents presenting gifts from the First UMC Rolla congregation including paraments for the altar, Bibles, Hymnals, notes from the parishoners in English and in Portuguese and a Communion Set. They were overwhelmed with joy to receive these gifts.
The service lasted approximately 2 hours and included a sermon from a lay member, a monologue of how blessed they were to have partners such as us (First UMC Rolla) which was spoken in English. The choir had wonderful harmonies and voices, and the offering which included 5 rotations is always a blessing to watch. During our offering, they sang a song “We need Jesus (leader), responded with (by everyone) “Yes, Yes—Noone can say no.”
After the service we drove to the new church location and were led by about half of the congregation who rode in chapas (public transportation) to spend more time with us and share in the joy of the new sanctuary together. The new chapel will be beautiful and large --- 20x10 meters, or about 26 normal steps for me x 13 normal steps. We saw the renovations done to the parsonage and shared with everyone some freshly cut papaya—YUM!
After service and the celebration, we drove to Chimoio and stopped by Chimoio UMC—partner church to First UMC in Jefferson City. This quick visit included a tour of the church that will house Annual Conference this week for the North Annual Conference.
We enjoyed a great dinner and called it a night. It is worth noting that meals (eating out) take much longer than in Missouri. Our dinners in restaurants have consistently been solidly 2 hours long, tonight's being 2 hours 45 minutes. Tomorrow, will be mostly observations and thoughts on this busy, trip. We are thankful for your prayers and to God for our safe journey thus far. Our God is doing great things with the Christians in Mozambique.
Wow. I thought today would be a little more low-key than others. God had other things in mind. Literally, a packed day. After breakfast, we had a tour from a 4th year Africa University. We arrived yesterday evening as I may have pointed out.
The tour showed a beautiful campus, much like a small liberal arts college back home. The similarities between a campus like Central Methodist University (CMU) and Africa University were pretty striking. I am prayerful that with some encouragement, conversations, and God’s hand, the two institutions can work more closely together in the future. There’s lots of possibilities here from health sciences/nursing to some of the arts.
After the tour, we met with some financial aid staff and scholarship committee members to learn about the selection processes of various financial aid opportunities. In a nutshell, the Missouri Annual Conference has an endowment at AU in honor of former bishop Ann Sherer to where two Mozambican students are allowed to attend AU on scholarship. In addition to this endowment, it is worth noting that each bishop in Africa gets to select up to four students who get a full scholarship, two in theology and two in other degree areas. Bishop Nhanala, they reported, always selects her students – which is wonderful!
After lunch, the surprise and moving moments came. First, we met with Memory, one of the two beneficiaries currently on our endowment’s scholarship. Memory was shy, a bit quiet, awesome, and from the Tete district. After a conversation and sharing why we wanted to meet with her, we offered to pray for her. After our prayer, Memory thanked us and our conference with tears in her eyes. She hopes to work for an organization like “Save The Children” where she completed an internship for last year. While she isn’t United Methodist (and this isn’t a requirement for the endowed scholarship) – Mozambique will be a better place when she graduates. In a “small world” moment, we found out her Ezy knows her mother who works for World Vision in Tete.
We then spent more than an hour and a half with 15 of the Mozambican students attending AU. About half were theology students, some of them current ordained pastors in Mozambique who are furthering their education and have served many churches. This was a great time. After learning about them, we offered to answer questions they had of us about the American church. Questions/answers included our (overall) decline in Christianity/Methodism, how churches are reaching new people (bar churches, worship in other venues), the number of bishops in America, and how the worship styles compared. We concluded with me asking them to go around and answer what their favorite and least favorite classes were at AU. Answers of favorite classes included Old Testament, New Testament, Evangelism, Clinical Psychology, Christian History, and English as a second language. Common least favorite classes included Hebrew and Greek and Mathematics.
A beautiful sunset atop one of the mountains concluded our day with dinner.
It’s been fun to see Ezy reunited with old friends, professors, and employees of AU – he has been “lit up” and just shining for the last 36 hours.
One last story, during our tour of the campus we learned that at any point, AU has approximately 2,500 students with between 20-31 African countries represented. AU mandates that first year students be roommates with people who are from a different country. English is the common language (Zimbabwe’s national language) but often times students don’t learn this until coming to the University. This forces students of different ethnicities, languages, cultures to embrace and appreciate each other’s traditions in ways that I can only imagine. How wonderful would it be if we did this? Instead, we (including me) are paired with roommates who have similar interests. This struck me as we think, understand, and move forward with how partisan our society has become. We read only news we agree with. We talk only in person to those who we agree with. AU and this model challenges that in ways that break down barriers and make everyone uncomfortable.
I’ll maybe touch on this tomorrow or Monday, but if we were all more uncomfortable, vulnerable, and awkward with each other --- the world, I think, would be a better place. Nothing about this roommate model is comfortable, but our tour guide said she has heard nothing but positive experiences. We have much to learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ so far away.
Wifi has been limited over the past few days, but tonight and tomorrow, we are in good shape (as long as I don’t jinx it). So, there is lots to share!
On Tuesday, we drove from Beira to Gorongosa, stopping at the Dondo Orphanage on the way in addition to the Episcopal House under construction in Beira. The Dondo Orphanage held its dedication the week before we arrived with the funders (Foundation 4 Orphans), and they expect to accept 25 children and open in January to house the children. This is good news, for the thousands of orphaned children in the Dondo area due to a very high (50%+) rate of HIV/AIDS due to the trucking industry here.
Our respite was to be to visit Gorongosa National Park. We arrived on Ezy’s birthday (Oct 18) and were able to treat him with a morning and afternoon safari on the day after (19th, Thursday). I highly recommend Gorongosa. I’ve been wanting to visit since I became the MI coordinator. Doing a safari and supporting the reintroduction of native animals to Mozambique that were decimated after the War of Independence and Civil War is really important to me.
Our morning safari started at 5:30AM with our safari driver, Castro. We had an extra guest with us, Tammy. We hit it off with her immediately, as she said she was raised Methodist! We were all family for the rest of the morning. We saw water buck, kudo, impalas, pumbas, beautiful birds, and an elephant! We even saw the elephant knock down a coconut/palm tree! Tammy knew the philanthropist, Greg Carr, whose foundation is primarily funding the project and helped set us up with a lunchtime tour of the scientific lab portion of the park that isn’t open for public tours. We learned that at any point in time, more than 20 scientists are working to categorize and take note of all of the species of animals in the park.
In fact, we learned that there are two species of bats that are only native and found for the first time ever in Gorongosa Park! After lunch, we had an afternoon safari where we got to see a beautiful lion, named Senator. A gorgeous sunset at the watering lake ended our evening.
Then, Friday, we headed out early toward Zimbabwe.
We stopped at the Gondola Training Center and the Inchope Water Project. The Inchope Water Project is 2 years in-the-making and just got started last month! After overcoming challenges of not finding water at the initial well site, no electricity at the new well location, and their water tank falling and breaking before full in a storm --- the project is going and is doing well!
This sustainability project fills via electric (solar) pump 20 liter (approximately 5 gallon) buckets of water. This water is filled and sold for 3 MZN (5 cents). They fill approximately 100 buckets of water per day, making between 250-300 MZN per day ($4.15-$5.00). This pays for a worker and will provide profit for the church to continue funding priorities of the church! God is good! What was really neat is that there is a hand-pump (not owned by the church) within site that also sells water—for 2.5 MZN. However, to save time, people are willing to pay the extra .5 MZN to have it filled within seconds.
Our journey continued through the Manica province where we headed into Zimbabwe to visit Africa University. With no problems, we were able to obtain visas and get to Africa University. It’s a beautiful campus that we will learn more tomorrow (we arrived right at sunset).
The Vice Chancellor for Advancement joined us for dinner. Our topics of conversation ranged from business incubation and intellectual property coursework AU is leading Zimbabwe in, our Missouri endowed scholarships, to opening conversations between Central Methodist University and AU to explore potential partnerships. We were joined by Revs. Chembeze and Zunguze (Alfiado)–both Mozambican who were at AU for the Board of Directors meetings that just concluded today.
It’s getting late here, so I won’t comment too much on my thoughts and reflections over the last few days. However, I can share that experiencing God’s wonderful physical nature in Africa is breathtaking. Enjoying a sunset at AU and at Gorongosa back-to-back nights with different landscapes (mountains vs. water plain) is spectacular. In addition, hearing and seeing the work of the Inchope Water Project only reminded me that often times in the USA, we know so very little of the successes. If I hadn’t suggested to Ezy that we perhaps stop at the water project, we would have zipped on by. Even Ezy was impressed by their work and early successes. Ha!
The phrase that keeps popping into my head over the last two day is this: God is Good, All of the Time. And all the time, God is good. Deus e bom, em todo o momento. Em Todo o momento, Deus e bom.
We’ve had a very busy few days! On Monday, our task was large. It was travel 150 miles from Cuamba to Marrupa and visit the church there. Then, drive another 200+ miles to Lichinga where we were spending the night on Monday.
Let’s just say Mozambique happened, in all of its glory, beauty, and challenges. Also, a warning: this is a fairly long post since I’m covering two days and some other observations.
The 150 mile journey to Marrupa took about 4 ½ hours on almost all (90%+) dirt roads. There was 7 people crammed in a 7-seat car, about the equivalent of a Toyota Highlander. Let’s just say my mom, dad, and my knees were literally at our chest in the very back seat. In Marrupa, we were greeted wonderfully by a very small congregation. Their nearest UMC is approximately 150 miles away. Their song, dance, hospitality, and love of Jesus couldn’t have been clearer. Our message here was that water was scarce. The use water from an open (unsafe) well that when it rains, the well and water area fills with dirt. There is a natural spring located about 10 minutes away, but during the dry season (including right now, the beginning of rainy) it is completely dry and there is no water.
Marrupa began as a church in 2008 with 10 people and has 32 members but the chapel made from thatch is used a minimum of 4-days of the week. It was a joyous visit filled with smiles, singing, and an “ah-ha” moment! This moment came when one of the women leaders requested for a DVD video that explains and helps Christians evangelize in Portuguese. Jennifer said that there are organizations that have this sort of resource, and I look forward to looking into this deeper when we return.
Marrupa’s visit included a 3-way translation (Portuguese, English, and Emacua (local language). This experience always proves to me the power of Christianity and our God. It’s so easy to think of Christianity from an “English” or American cultural and lingual lens. Christianity is so much more than that, and I think we (in America) take that for granted every day.
After a quick lunch in Marrupa of goat and rice, we hit the road again. During lunch, we ran into two women who are Peace Corps workers in the area and who had been painting a school. It’s always good to run into these situations and realize that there are many people both in the USA who have a passion and love for the Mozambican people.
The rest of the day, we drove to Lichinga, where we were spending the night. Some highlights of the drive included:
· Nearly running out of gas (turning around and buying gas from a street vendor who had gas cans).
· Getting stopped 5 or 6 times by police officers and paying a ‘ticket’ at the time of the violation. While this was….frustrating, some God-moments happened at two of these stops. At one: an officer asked if we had a Bible and said he was a part of the Baptist church. Our driver gave him his New Testament. At our last stop of the day, the district superintendent recognized one of the officers who was a member of his home church in Lichinga.
· We saw elephant crossing signs.
· The car nearly overheated a couple of times. When we stopped to stretch at one of the stops, Ezy and the local people who came out to see what we were doing got into a conversation about education. The local family and children didn’t go to school and didn’t think it was super important. Ezy engaged in the policy debate with them and this shows the challenges of Mozambique.
· Between Marrupa and Lichinga lies a mountain range that treated us to an absolutely beautiful sunset. Relatedly, we commented on God’s majesty during one of the police stops after dark when we had to get out of the car and was able to enjoy and view the beautiful night sky.
· Upon arriving at the hotel in Lichinga approximately at 9:00PM (say 3-4 hours later than we hoped), we found out that the hotel (a hotel on Trip Advisor, so this was a legit hotel) didn’t have running water.
It was a long day and we as a team had great experiences where we felt the presence of God both in a worship context, enjoying creation, and experiencing the need to understand that we (as individuals) are not in control of everything that happens.
Tuesday was a similar day in a lot of ways. An early breakfast took us then to Lichinga UMC before our flight out. This large church of more than 200 members and averaging more than 80 on a Sunday is in need of a covenant partner in Mozambique!
The harmonies we heard from the people of Lichinga were music to each of our ears. We heard their congregation’s plans, hopes, dreams, and challenges. This will be the newest and 3rd orphanage in Mozambique that will be under the UMC’s jurisdiction in Mozambique. Last week, there was a groundbreaking here for this community. In Lichinga, there are more than 1,000 orphaned children that have no home and are living on the streets.
The hope that they have for their community is contagious. They verbally expressed that they pray for us as their brothers and sisters in Missouri.
We then departed for our flight to Nampula, where we had a 6-hour layover. District Superintendent Herminio spent the afternoon with us as we relaxed and had lunch. After our flight to Beira, we met with Eurico, the North Conference’s VIM coordinator. Before going to our guest house we visited the Episcopal Residence that is under construction for the North. Thus far, the New York Annual Conference’s Mozambique Connections group has funded this project thus far and is looking to partner with Missouri and others to complete the project.
We’ve almost reached the half-way point of our journey. The northern part of Mozambique, especially where we’ve visited thus far, is very rural, often uninhabited, with lots of challenges that go beyond church growth. A lack of appreciation for education, virtually nonexistent basic infrastructures such as water, electricity, roads, or economic opportunities fill the Niassa province, which is the largest province by land mass but the least inhabited throughout the country.
We are close to beginning the 2nd half of our trip, traveling further south, going from Beira to Gorongosa/Chimoio and then to Manica and into Swaziland over the next week.
This trip has fulfilled its purpose thus far. I have a greater appreciation, understanding, and connection with the people of Niassa, where I had never visited before. The challenges are great. However, our God is greater than any of these challenges and my prayer today is that the people of Niassa feel empowered to spread God’s word among harsh conditions and almost monetary no resources. I will share their spirit with you all, as Missouri’s churches, during my visits.
Ahh. Worship in Mozambique. What describes it? Collective voices. Unity in Christ. Energy. Hot. Hard to understand. Fairly liturgical. All generations.
Morning Star UMC has provided a permanent chapel for their partners, Cuamba UMC that we were able to dedicate today. Hebrews 3 tells us that reminds that…”Every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything…” (verse 4). God is the builder of our partnership together.
The morning was filled with joy as pastor Jennifer Long was given the opportunity (and only 12 hours notice) to both cut the ribbon of the new chapel but to be the first preacher after dedication to preach. The celebration included the arrival of the mayor of Cuamba (a city of 130,000) and his entourage. There were representatives from other denominations (Church of Christ, Presbyterian), and a community leader who joined in the celebration.
Today’s worship included about 20 children under the age of 5 sitting for more than two hours. It was about 90 degrees in the new concrete structure. It was both an exhilarating and exhausting experience.
After worship, we enjoyed lunch as a congregation in fellowship. My mom passed out stickers to the children and they loved getting their photos taken and being shown. Then, we visited with the administrative board to learn about the life of the community and congregation.
We heard needs, challenges, aspirations, and even brainstormed ways of mutual struggles such how to best reach new generations. This good discussion concluded with no hard end results, but we did think about the future partnership between Cuamba and MI.
At about 2:30PM or so, we arrived back at the guest house. I neglected to mention that the electricity went out somewhere between 3AM-5AM and was off all day until nearly 4:30PM. After getting some soft serve ice cream at the local market which was being run by a generator, we capped off a busy day.
We’re a bit jet-lagged and tomorrow will feature a long day of travel up to Marrupa (partner of Zion UMC in St. Louis Lemay) and then a drive to Lichinga.
Thank you for your prayers. We are grateful and look forward to continuing to share our journey!
You read that correct. I left home at 3AM (Missouri time) Thursday morning and we didn’t arrive in the town of Cuamba until about 10AM Saturday morning (Missouri time), 5PM local. Our travels went smoothly with no major hiccups, but yet, it still took 55 hours. That’s with no stops other than literally a 6-hour stop at a Maputo hotel before our flight the next morning.
I’m back in Mozambique. Last time I was here was in June with Bishop Farr and a leadership team. This time, I’m with two people from Morning Star UMC and my parents. Two unique trips in a row. Why Morning Star and my parents? Well, I’ve never visited Cuamba and the churches in the Niassa district of Mozambique and it’s long overdue. Morning Star has raised funds over the past few years for a chapel—so Pastor Jennifer Long and Paul Fensterman were interested in tagging along. Why my parents? I wanted to visit Africa University on this trip—and to do so, we would pass right through Munene, Rolla’s covenant partner who has just finished raising funds for a new chapel. My parents have never been to Mozambique before. So, this trip has lots of good lenses that I'll likely post some of their insight/thoughts on over the next two weeks.
Last night, I was perusing through scripture and came across the pretty easily recognizable verses in Hebrews 11—living by faith. This text provides a definition of faith but then contextual examples of those in the Old Testament who had faith. I appreciated this because getting through to the next journey or even answering the question posed by my dad, “Ezy will be at the airport, right?” takes me and them having some sort of faith – the reality of hope for that we don’t yet currently see. It struck me because of the long, journey to get here takes faith. Faith in yourself to mentally push through it. Faith in others (will Ezy be there?) and faith in God to keep our hearts open.
Today, we visited the Malema Primary School being provided in partnership with The Gathering. At the school, I was thinking about how this school with hardly any homes in sight would still (even with few homes in sight) cut down on walking time and provide educational opportunities previously unseen to women and children. In fact, we saw homes that were new to the area because of the school’s construction. Those people moved having faith in what they had not seen (the school is in the final stages of construction, but no students are there yet).
I’m always struck with the “why” question in Mozambique. Yes, there’s the “why” do we do things one way and in Mozambique, things are done differently. More importantly, the question that always comes to mind is: Why am I in the USA amongst luxuries that 95% of the world does not have? I believe God wants to use each of us (whether in Mozambique with limited resources and in a rural area or in Missouri with limited resources in a rural area) for something greater. My prayer today is about encouraging you to find that something greater. I’m in search for what that is in my life and believe it is constantly evolving. What’s the “something greater” in your life that God is pushing you toward?
Tomorrow’s Teaser: Worship service at Cuamba. I’m. So. Excited!
In a moment of just being real with you: I’ve got two foster kiddos at home that we’ve had with us since early May, and this is already the hardest trip away from Brittney and the kiddos. I miss them dearly (even though I have family, my parents, with me on this trip). I would be grateful for a prayer of strength and perseverance for me. Missing a spouse is one thing. Adding children on top of that is just brutal.
The dream became a reality!!!
Friday, March 17, 2017 will be remembered as the day of joy and celebration for the United Methodist Church in Mozambique, when hundreds mingled at “KaMukhambe, Bodini” (Cambine Boarding Mission), to witness the inauguration of the first Methodist Higher Education Institution. The dream that became true after 126 years of Methodism in the country, where church leaders have been preaching through acts of service and words.
The United Methodist Church in Mozambique has since then been involved in teachings in religion, health and education. A dozen primary and secondary schools, Seminaries and hospitals were erected throughout the country, and have nurtured thousands of people and equipped them with moral and ethical values to serve and develop the country.
The Governor of Inhambane Province, Daniel Tchapo was the guest of honor who among other dignitaries officiated the opening of the University. Tchapo cut the ribbon sided by Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala, the retired Bishop Joao Somane Machado, guests from the Methodist University of Angola, the University Board members and the crowd comprising of District Superintendents, Pastors, lay people, Mission students and Morrumbene district population.
A beautiful choir from Cambine Seminary students presented songs of praise for the occasion. Invited to use the podium, Bishop Nhanala thanked God for this blessing and highlighted that the Methodist Church has been for many years a partner in the area of Education. She pointed out that there are lessons to learn from effects of cyclone and other humanitarian challenges including poverty, and therefore, Cambine will be the center of production and development of attitudes and dissemination of knowledge to confront all challenges of humankind.
The Methodist University is aspiring for emancipation and self-determination of students, aiming for excellency in education and health sector. Nhanala pointed out that Cambine has nurtured church, society and government leaders, one of which helped in the struggle for the liberation of the country and considered the architect of national unity- Dr. Eduardo Mondlane.
She warned University students and staff to excel well in all aspects of their academic exposure, and training should be focused in areas of ethics, moral and cultural values. In her closing remarks, Bishop Nhanala mentioned that the University should serve all, irrespective of race, orientation and religion; achieving knowledge beyond limits of research.
The Governor of Inhambane Province, Daniel Tchapo’ speech in his turn pointed Cambine as a center of knowledge, religion and ethics and that there is no doubt this University will be different from other institutions in many ways. He highlighted that like many prospering Universities created by Christians, this Institution will be unique. He called for professionalism in both staff and students, and that both should plant good attitudes, behavior and represent true change agents. The Governor added that it is high time we need to recover moral and ethical values the country has already lost particularly for the youth group. We are harvesting what we planted- he said, and the University should embrace this cause, introducing to the students board, scientific, technical, and religious knowledge. In his closing remarks, the Governor advised University authorities to introduce a debate on secular education for the benefit of the State and the society and that students trained at this University must have a seal of the uniqueness in excellency, promptness and high quality education from a Methodist University.
“The UMUM- Participating in the Education of Citizenship”
A public lecture was delivered by Rev Dr Jamisse Taimo, a Methodist born in Cambine. Jamisse sang “Hi Katekile” (we are blessed) song, giving thanks to God for a reality come true from a long journey in the thinking, hard-working moments for the establishment of the University. This is the University we want- he said, and outlined the openness of this institution where various issues of the country will be dealt about. He invited students for “dissertation” on issues of interest for country’s social, cultural and economic development. Jamisse quoted scholars who stated that “freedom of one ends where freedom of another one starts”, reinforcing the need for students to deliver their knowledge in the service of other human kind. He indicated some aspects of citizenship and referred to the challenges, where staff and students are asked to constantly develop competences, as an item which is part of the vision and mission of the United Methodist Church in Mozambique; students capable of mobilizing, activating and knowing how to do things and to support others in order to solve day-to-day problems.
Jamisse went deep by requiring that research be developed by both students and lecturers to help them know how to better serve communities in areas of administration, communication, health, to name but a few. Students are called to listen and respect other peoples’ ideas; pass-on-the-gift of knowledge to communities alike; lecturers that introduce dialogue as reference with their students even outside classes.
Jamisse finally told the crowd and student community that learning and teaching process will need participation of all including parents, and through this interaction the Methodist University will be in mutual process of strengthening education of citizenship and participating together in country’s social and economic development.
The UMUM will offer opportunities for training national students complementing the existing capacities of public and private education; will struggle for excellency through deliberate system of quality control of delivered services and products; will capitalize valences of the United Methodist Church in social sciences and humanities; and contribute for global effort in the struggle against poverty through social equity policies in access of learning and training.
Nearly 70 students have given birth to this University and are enrolled in the following faculties: Social Sciences and Humanities; Sciences of Education; Sciences of Administration and Management; Religious Sciences and Computer Engineering and Technologies. Classes have already commenced this past Monday, March 20, and the initial classes were delivered by Dr Azevedo Nhantumbo and Rev Dr Julio Vilanculos.
There are still challenges in the restoration of infrastructures in the Mission and also in equipping the library and laboratory; in the edification of more classrooms and establishment of halls of residences for students and staff. Prayers and support needed!