Saturday: A Serving Church
"For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to
give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45
We have been impressed this week in many ways by the servant heart of the Church in Mutarara District. Here are three examples...
First, we have been hosted at our Mutarara base camp this week by a committee of seven. These humble people, four men and three women, have been waiting for us at the doorway of the Mutarara City Church with smiles and greetings every morning and evening. They have cooked our meals (including the Mozambican delicacy of goat intestine and liver over a charcoal fire), washed our hands, cleaned our dishes, and prayed for us. What was not immediately apparent, at least to me, is that this is not a group of local volunteers, but a gathering of elders and church leaders from various churches within the district. Many of them walked or rode a bicycle for hours to be here, spending the nights on the floor of the church while they are apart from their families.
Another vivid image of the churches' servant heart is the presentation of gifts of appreciation that is a part of each local congregational visit. It is humbling and inspiring to see people joyfully dancing forward with a bowl of rice, cassava, melons, chickens, a goat (a loud one at that!) and remarkably and beautifully, a single coin. These people are poor in possessions, but rich in spirit.
Finally, today we witnessed one of the ways that Nedson and Sebber's work impacts life in the villages. A group of actors performed a drama about HIV/Aids in the village of Kachasu. It was amazing to watch scores and scores of people gather round the actors as they performed an energetic, humorous and engaging presentation. We noticed something happening during the drama that was subtle but very powerful: the crescent of people surrounding the action slowly inched forward as they were drawn into the event. By the time the drama was over, they were upon the actors themselves. Clearly, the drama was connecting with the people and therefore serving them in a practical way.
In a conversation with the church leaders after breakfast, one of our group asked what they had to say about the growth of their churches compared to the relative decline of our American churches. Their response was simply to love and serve the people-- not merely to invite people to church, but to show up at funerals, to visit and pray for people who are sick, to be there in their times of need so that "they will want to know why we would do such a thing."
We can learn much from our friends here in Mozambique.
Blessings from Bob Jacobs for the Mozambique Team