I'm getting smarter. Two-thirds of the way in my trip. I'm finally taking pictures with my iPad so I can more easily post them to the blog. Better late than never. First, a narrative of the day and then some general observations to consider.
Ezy got up early and took the Jeep to get the muffler reattached, and surprisingly, it was done in 2 hours, under the 3 hour estimate we were given. When does that happen in the US let alone Mozambique? :)
We were on the road by 9:30 after getting the day's supply of water, snacks (snakes), and DS Alfa. Another 300+ kilometer day of driving, but we did some awesome things.
At 1:00PM, we finally arrived at Namuno UMC. An hour of really rough dirt roads got us there. The well was in use as we pulled up, and more people were coming out the longer we stayed, likely after lunch and likely to see the commotion. The driller of the well also was in the community. Being proud of your work is something that is cross cultural. He's proud and for the right reasons. The nearest well to this one is 2-3 kilometers (1-1.5 miles) away. I pumped about 15 gallons total of water, and it's hard work. It was 97 again today (36 Celsius in our Jeep).
This church is an Extension church, which in Mozambique church terms means it is larger than a local church but not yet a parish or full church.
On our way back we have stopped at Montopuez UMC. This is the second biggest city in the Cabo Delgado district of the country. Up against a high Islam influence, it's also the second biggest church in DS Alfa's district with about 65 adult members, plus children and youth. The parsonage has a well and is right next to the church. We met Pastor Felix Berto Josesefa who was just appointed to take over the Namuno Church Extension. He also works as a primary school teacher -- biviocational.
A super cool thing happeend today during typing this. We were stopped by one of the many police checkpoints on the main road this morning. In the conversation about how we were with the United Methodist Church the police officer asked if we had a Bible. Of course we didn't.
At Montepuez, there was a Bible older than me (copyright of 1979) on the pew and DS Alfa asked if he could take it for the police officer. THe pastor said he would explainto the owner and yes, he would approve. So, we just met the police officer! He appreciated it, had a smile on his face, and was obviously surprised that we actually pulled over on our own to give it to him. THAT is Evangelism.Amen
Muadja UMC was our last stop as dusk turned into night. Not a problem for us back home, but in Mozambique, of course, this means it just gets dark, with no electricity around. A group of 15 or so folks were still left, some having needed to leave already for the night. It's humbling to see people wait for you and have literally no idea when you will be coming. They are doing great things and are planning and have been given approval for a health clinic to be built on property but staffed and paid for by the government. There was a Missouri team that visited here and said they were interested in helping with this clinic. I'll be hunting down this information to try to make this a reality.
General observations on the driving today include:
1) There are electric lines scattered throughout the countryside but don't think they reach the people. Since the electricity s privately owned largely here, it's cost prohibitive for people. Literally, there are lines by thatch homes and businesses but it's cost prohibitive to tap into.
2) Perception is everything. As a Mizzou freshman, I complained about parking in CG1 (no longer there) and walking to the Quad with my backpack. Wow. Seeing people walk miles or push a bicicle up a huge hill that has the food they picked for the day is humbling. It makes you speechless.
3) The wells are an amazing thing in this country. That said, don't think it's easy to carry your 5 gallon bucket(s) to a mile to the well, pump it in 97 degree heat and then carry it home. The alternative of the well not existing is just unthinkable.
4) Air conditioning is a gift and something I take for granted each summer. Enough said here. Many in Mozambique are a long way from this. Air conditioning won't work in thatch huts and definitely won't work without electricity. Still, this spoiled American has a humble heart on this day.
Tomorrow, I'll visit Pembe UMC and then head to the airport to fly to Nampula. I'll leave you with a scripture. I just finished yesterday "Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity." Amazing book that I recommend. The ANC (Austin New Church) uses 1 Corinthians 9: 19-23 as a guiding principle. I encourage you to look this up. The United Methodist Church of Northern Mozambique has lots pushing against it: other religions who are older in presence, poverty, no electricity and water needs, different languages, and very little capacity of self support at this time to name a few. That said, they are living out this scripture.