Mozambique Trip Report June 2015
Holistic Evangelism in Tete Province
Dear Friends of Tete Province,
My wife Elizabeth, current Chairman of the Board of The Outreach Foundation Tom McDow, and I returned Thursday from leading a trip to Tete Province, Mozambique sponsored by The Outreach Foundation. Our team of nine came from Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia. We were joined by Nedson Zulu and Sebber Banda once we arrived in Blantyre, Malawi. After a short visit with Nedson’s family, when we dropped off thirteen bags of ministry supplies that our home churches had collected and enjoyed some delicious snacks, we took off for the Mozambique border traveling in a rented van and one of the project vehicles. We experienced van troubles soon after we left Blantyre. You should have seen the team trying to push-start the van on a busy road. The van was left behind for repairs, and the team was eventually reunited at our motel near the border.
We finally crossed over the Mozambique border into Tete Province on Thursday, after having left the U.S.A. on Monday. We met with the influential local District Commissioner and his government superior. She had left home at 4:00 a.m. and traveled for three hours to greet us and tell us how much the government appreciated our efforts. She said, “The government was only able to provide six wells this year, and your partners have given us seven wells.” When asked what she could do for us, we asked for help providing electricity to the new Leadership Training Center and assistance with the reinstatement of the Traditional Birth Attendant program that Sebber had developed. We were thrilled when she promised to try and help in these areas.
Our next stop was the village of Canhungue where we saw a new school provided by gifts to The Outreach Foundation and a wonderful drama performed by talented actors who have been trained by Sebber. They performed a play on HIV-AIDS prevention. The large crowd was riveted by the performance and by Sebber’s review after the performance. Observing Sebber address the large crowd of villagers was a study in teaching, crowd control, and love. Her work is making a huge impact in the lives and health of villagers all across Tete Province.
The next two days were spent visiting churches in very rural areas and also in the urban setting of Tete City. Some of the roads were nearly impassable for the van, but the welcome was always warm and gracious with open arms, singing, and dancing. We were amazed and humbled by their extravagant hospitality. We also met two new pastors who have been assigned to Tete Province by the Presbyterian Church of Mozambique, which brings the number of pastors to four for the seventy plus churches. We also saw some of the wells (boreholes) that had been dug. Villagers were overjoyed to see us and thanked us for the gift of fresh clean water.
Our last stop on Saturday was to visit the Leadership Training Center that is under construction in Tchessa. The newly rebuilt sanctuary will double as a classroom for the training seminars led by Nedson and Sebber. A well has been dug, and construction of the kitchen and dining area is underway. While the dormitory building plans are being reviewed by the government, site work for the dorm has begun and building blocks are being made. We were excited to see the progress on this greatly needed training center.
On Sunday before we left for worship we presented some bicycles to elder evangelists who will use them to spread the Gospel to remote villages. One elder said, “These wheels can go farther than my legs.” We then split into three groups and traveled to different villages to worship. Each group experienced lively and joyous singing and dancing in unforgettable worship services that lasted several hours. We were given abundant gifts by the churches, and we saw them dance down the aisle to present their gifts and offerings.
The church in Tete Province continues to grow. The Holistic Evangelism Project led by Nedson and Sebber is bearing much good fruit. However, there is still much hard work to be done, and the ongoing needs of the ministry remain quite high. The greatest priorities at this time remain funding to complete the Leadership Training Center (LTC) and staff salary support. I have mentioned in previous emails that we received a matching gift commitment for the LTC and for staff salary support. The gifts we receive for these two items will be matched dollar for dollar. Gifts for the matching gift program should be marked “Tete Matching Gift-LTC” or “Tete Matching Gift-Salary Support.”
Thank you for your prayers for our team. We felt your prayers. And thank you for your commitment to partner with our African brothers and sisters as we labor together to build God’s Kingdom in Tete Province. Please continue to pray for Nedson, Sarah, Sebber and their families. Your support is greatly appreciated!
Zikomo kwambiri (thank you very much),