The last two day have been filled with joy. Yesterday (Saturday) we started our day in Cambine. We toured new buildings and structures then learned about the progress of the Methodist University at Cambine. Next month (February), they will be open for business when classes begin on February 27th. We also had a short visit with the seminary students who introduced themselves by class and expressed gratitude for our visit and sponsorships of their studies.
Quickly, we visited the Carolyn Belshe Orphanage for about 45 minutes. It was wonderful to see children who mean so much to us. Maria Lina, Emanuel, Nelson, Dercia, and so many others have gotten bigger since my last visit here in 2015.
Our last order of the day was to visit Panga UMC, where we are doing something new and exciting. Panga’s church members have to walk 14-15 kilometers (8-9 miles) for clean water. We’re drilling a well but then also will be creating a sustainability project with the well by pumping water to people’s homes. The problem we have to overcome? How do you do this without electricity? We found solar panel system that should overcome this problem.
The Panga community sang, led us in dance, provided us lunch, and we observed work from the solar panel crew. The super cool thing is that the owner of the solar panel pump company is the son of the current pastor appointed at the Panga church.
Sunday of course is church day! We attended Bispo Penicela UMC – a new church start that was spun-off of Belem UMC, covenant partner to Savannah UMC. Worship began at 8AM and ended at 11:15AM. For perspective, they worship in a local material chapel (thatched), and outdoors at 7:45AM it was 85 degrees with a heat index of 97. It was likely more than 100 heat index in the thatched chapel with no windows.
Church is always an eye-opener. Very liturgical, we sang and instead of a sermon, the delegate to Annual Conference presented a report. Those of you who know me also know that I rave about the offering. Our offering lasted about 20 minutes total and collected a total of $157 USD, but the average local church offerings were less than $2. Our guest offering equaled more than $110 USD. $38 was collected by those who are tithing by about 10 people who came to the front. I really like the idea of publically showcasing your commitment to tithing – but I know it wouldn’t work in our culture for many reasons. I am fascinated by the generosity of those who have so little money.
This afternoon (Sunday), we are going to be partaking in the Sabbath by going to Tofo beach. I’ll sign-off to post this. It’s been a joy-filled few days that really can’t be put into words. Yesterday and today brings back wonderful memories and being around friends, worshipping in a joyful way under incredible rough conditions, and providing water to a community that spends countless hours walking to fetch clean water.
Our time (except for Beth) is more than half-over. Tomorrow, we head back to Maputo with a pit-stop by dropping off Bibles/Hymnals for Pembe UMC (courtesy of St. Luke’s UMC in KC).
Until next time, enjoy your Sabbath. Our scripture from church here was Joshua 1: 7-9. Everything Bispo Penicela UMC is doing is to be strong and courageous in their faith sharing the faith.