Holistic Evangelism in Tete Province - June 2019 Update
Dear friends and supporters of Tete Province,
Our trip to Tete Province, sponsored by The Outreach Foundation was great. Our thirteen-member team included fellow trustee Tom McDow and his daughter Anne and granddaughter Julie, Outreach Foundation Associate Director Marilyn Borst, seven members of North Lake Presbyterian Church, and my wife Elizabeth and me. We gathered in NYC on Monday, June 3 and departed for Africa the next day. After flying most of Tuesday and Wednesday, we met Project Director Sebber Banda in Blantyre, Malawi. We enjoyed a delightful lunch at her home and unpacked the medical supplies donated by our home congregations. We spent the night at a nearby hotel and departed for Tete Province in a three vehicle caravan the next day.
We had some challenges at the two border crossings where we exited Malawi and entered Mozambique, but we finally arrived in Tete Province late Thursday afternoon. We met up with Project Assistant Carlos Faquione and had dinner with the new pastor for the Zobue church district, Rev. Valentim Manuel, and leaders from the Zobue congregation. They greeted us with great warmth and hospitality. We sang and danced and enjoyed a meal together. Our hearts and stomachs were full as we left them and traveled to the nearby village of Tchessa where we spent the night at the Leadership Training Center (LTC).
The next day, Friday, we left early and visited two well sites and two churches. At the well in the village of Mavuwa, we asked how the well had impacted life in the village. A village leader said, “We have been given life again.” She noted the decrease in disease and dysentery. She was thankful that girls now had time to go to school after fetching water from the well. At the village of Amphande, we saw members of the congregation working together to mold bricks for the new church. The old church had been built in the early 1990s without a strong foundation and properly “fired” bricks. The unusually long rainy season had held up the efforts of the congregation to prepare for the construction, but they were working together in earnest and looking forward to worshipping in the new church. They gave us gifts of a chicken and limes. We also visited the village of Liziye where efforts were underway to prepare for the construction of a new church. We gathered with them in their current stick and straw church building. Several elders and the local chief greeted us warmly, and the head of the Women’s Guild thanked us for coming. We exchanged gifts and were impressed with their efforts to prepare for a new church before they even received a commitment of support. We then drove to Tete City to spend the night.
Saturday morning we met with the sessions of the Chimadzi and Matundo churches at the site of the proposed new Matundo church building. Matundo is a new church plant from the Chimadzi congregation. We saw and heard that the site is not yet ready for construction. They have had trouble obtaining Tete City government approval for their building plans (required because they are in the city limits) and have not gathered the necessary bricks, sand, and stones for the construction. We agreed to give them some additional time to complete their tasks before moving the construction funds to another site. On our drive back to the LTC, we stopped in the village of Mawira to show the team a teachers’ house similar to the one currently being constructed near the school at Khanga. The road to the Khanga construction site was not passable for the van and car we were using, but the team could visualize how important it was for the teachers to have modern housing instead of the mud huts surrounding most of the schools in Tete Province. We enjoyed another evening at the LTC.
Sunday was a day that we will never forget. We left the LTC early for worship on Pentecost Sunday at the rural village of Madzimaera. We arrived at 9:00 and were soon joined by over five hundred people representing six nearby congregations and choirs. An additional fifteen congregations were represented by elders in attendance. The Madzimaera church could not seat such a crowd and a temporary pole structure with a grass roof had been constructed for the occasion. There was much greeting, singing and dancing in the two hour worship service. Rev. Jeff Hosmer from North Lake PC preached and masterfully engaged the congregation with a greeting, scripture verses, and responses in their native language. After the inspiring worship service we walked a short distance to the nearly completed health clinic and clinic workers’ house that was funded by North Lake PC. The seven team members from North Lake participated in the dedication service for this greatly needed health clinic. This moving service began with a moment of silence for the late Rev. Nedson Zulu, who had worked so hard to make this project possible. Speeches of appreciation were given by church elders and the chief of the entire district. After the dedication service, we witnessed a powerful drama performance by actors trained and recruited by Sebber. They did two skits – one on faithfulness in marriage followed by one on child abuse. The large crowd was mesmerized by the performance, and our team members were greatly impressed with the skill of the performers and the effectiveness of the message. We next went to the church for a lunch and received many gifts, including a chicken, bananas, sugar cane, and doves. The six hours since we arrived had gone by quickly and we left with full hearts and a great appreciation of the faith of our African brothers and sisters.
Our team was richly blessed by our time in Tete Province. We enjoyed our time together with Sebber, Carlos, pastors and church leaders. The Holistic Evangelism Project continues to flourish and expand. We are extremely appreciative of your prayers, support, and gifts for this Kingdom work. There is still much to accomplish in Tete Province. There is an ongoing need for churches, wells, schools, teacher housing, and birth kits. The Zobue pastor’s manse is badly in need of renovation. Raising personnel support for Sebber and Carlos remains a priority. Gifts of all sizes for these needs are welcome. Please continue to lift Sebber, Carlos, and their families in prayer. Your support is a great encouragement to them! All praise and honor to our gracious and loving heavenly Father!!
Zikomo kwambiri (Thank you very much),
Berry Long, Outreach trustee
Read more about Holistic Evangelism in Tete Province HERE.
The Outreach Foundation is seeking $315,500 for churches, wells, schools, teacher housing, leadership training seminars and center, bicycles and village health kits. Make a gift HERE or by mailing a check to our office.