This has been my second trip to Sena, Mozambique. A Theological Education by Extension course is ongoing there, sent by the Seminário Concórdia, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brazil. (Read about my first trip in this Blog, Postage August 2010).
Last year I came from Nairobi, Kenya, to Johannesburg, South Africa, a 4-hour flight. I needed to sleep one night in South Africa to go to Mozambique the day after. This year I came from Cape Town to Johannesburg, a less than 2-hour flight; and the connection to Beira, Mozambique was on the same morning. - My wife Lídia came with me as far as Johannesburg, and from there she went to Porto Alegre, Brazil, to see our children and Henrique, our grandson. Henrique will turn 3 years old in August, and last time we saw him was in April 2010. So, Lídia is not alone in Cape Town while I'm far, and is enjoying her time with the children in Brazil.
What's new?In Beira:
I arrived in Beira around 1:30 pm on Monday 25 July.
A driver from the Project Kuwangisana met me at the airport of Beira and took me to the Hotel. We were to drive 8 hours the next day to Sena.
- While in the hotel, Pastor Davis Wowa, from Malawi, came to meet me. He travelled more than 1.800 km by bus (about 1 200 miles) from the north of Malawi to meet me. We had been in touch by e-mail. Dr. Mike Rodewald, LCMS World Mission Regional Director, had introduced me to Pastor Wowa. Pastor Wowa is the President of a new Confessional Lutheran Church in Malawi, a country that borders Mozambique. We spent the afternoon with a good conversation, getting to know each other more and sharing plans for the church in Malawi and the church in Mozambique.
On Tuesday, around 11 am, we began our trip to Sena. Before this, Pastor Wowa saw the Indian Ocean for the first time and tasted the water! And he came with me to meet Pastor Alfazema in Sena.
We stopped several time to buy bananas, cabbage, onion, coke and others.
It was already getting dark, a little before 6 pm, we had a puncture. Thanks God the driver changed the wheel soon, with the help of two assistants who were traveling with us.
We arrived safely in Sena at 7:00 pm. The last 1 hour was on dirt road.
Pastor Alfazema was waiting for us and I was hosted in a new guest house he built close to his house and to the Project Kuwangisana. (see the first picture of this Blog).
It is in the middle of the village. The setting of most of the villages in this area is similar to this one.
From the 8 original students, one, Jordão, was substituted by Paulo
The other 7 were faithfully there for the classes.
They were all accommodated in a small hostel, and the classes were there as well. We had classes from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm, break for lunch; and the afternoon session went from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm. The course was about the Christian Doctrines, using Koehler's Summary, in Portuguese. Not all the students speak Portuguese so well, and we went advanced very slowly with the material, so that all could understand it.
A member of St. Thomas congregation donated special T-shirts, embroider with the Luther Rose. Other shirts were also donated by other members and given to the students. - Thank you!
I prepared my breakfast every morning: coffee, bread and bananas. Pastor Alfazema gave me some very good papayas as well, freshly harvested from the tree. The students had their breakfast in the hostel.
For lunch we had chima (Ugali= white corn flower cooked in water, like a polenta), rice, beans, chicken, goat, beef.... not all on the same day, of course, but every day something. When I saw cassava (mandioca) planted behind the hostel, I asked the cook to prepare some. Cassava is very popular in Brazil and I like it. I couldn't find cassava in Cape Town.
One night pastor Alfazema invited Pastor Wowa and me for dinner to his house. He prepared a special dish: dried fish, pigeons and hippopotamus intestines, with chima and rice.
I preached in three churches on Sunday, 31 July.
The first one was in Kapasseni, the very first place were Pastor Alfazema began the work. It was a 1 hour drive from Sena. Pastor Alfazema was born in Kapasseni and he came back from Canada to see his mother, having been away as a refugee for many years.
The chief of Kapasseni asked him to build a school there. And this is how the mission began in this part of Africa in 2006.
Rui, one of the students, led the service. - I received a hen as a gift after the service. (The hen was already inside the room during the service. It was our dinner on Tuesday)
The second service was in Morrema were another student, Ernesto, led the service.
I got another chicken after the service!
The third was in the afternoon, in Mpango,
were Marcelino, a church leader, led the liturgy. The new student, Paulo, is from this congregation. Marcelino was severely injured during the civil war in Mozambique, and due to the injury his right arm was amputated a few months ago.
In all the services, people sang a lot, in their own way to sing with a drum and other typical instruments.
Pastor Alfazema (on the right, behind)
Because of health issues, pastor Alfazema is moving back to Canada at the end of this month. His 3 children are living there. His wife, Mrs. Perpétua, is Director of the Project Kuwangisana in Sena. She is planning to come back for some months every year. The Mission Board of the Project in Canada is studying the possibility to send Pastor Alfazema for a few months back to Sena as well. Please, pray for this new mission.
The 8 students are already in charge of 6 congregations. They are not ordained, but they are accepted by their people to lead the services. Pastor Alfazema has trained them to do so, and the TEE course is giving them more knowledge and training to be faithful to the Gospel as they are ministering to their people. Maybe they will be ordained when they finish the TEE course. This is their dream.
The Kapasseni Project has already been handed over to the Government. It's doing well with the school and the hospital.
The Kuwangisana Project in Sena has partnership with the International Medical Team, of the USA,
and receive food from the World Food Program.
It has more than 60 employees, most of them called “activists”, this means: they go to the houses of the people infected by HIV/AIDS to give them orientation, medicament, food and counseling. Around 300 people are reached by the Program, in Sena, Kapasseni and Chemba.
The Project also manages a school, that has new facilities in a big plot donated by the government. They have just built a Library and are asking for books in Portuguese for the children.
On the last day in Sena, I planted a tree in this new property.
A new nursery school was dedicated on my last day in Sena, after we had finished the TEE course. It is on the same property as St. Paul Church in Sena. The chief of the village and other authorities were there.
People sang, danced, presented a drama about the challenges of the orphans, and demonstrated some skills of the children. After all, a lunch was served to all the people who attended the dedication.
The church has Jesus' promise: “For where two or three como together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). The Christians are optimistic about the future of the church. Sorry that many are moving from the rural area to the cities, looking for a job and better opportunity. The church suffers from this.
Pastor Wowa had good discussions with Pastor Alfazema. Both are working with people who understand a common language: Shichewa. Many of the Mozambique people used to be refugees in Malawi during the civil war and had learned that language while there.
Every year someone is supposed to come to Sena to lead the TEE program. Maybe a Professor from the Brazilian Seminar will come next year, and I will go to Angola.
Thanks to the churches, brothers, and sisters, who are giving support to the TEE program. Four partners are involved: Kapasseni Project, Canada; LCMS World Mission, USA; Seminário Concórdia and Igreja Evangélica Luterana do Brasil; and St. Thomas Congregation, Cape Town, South Africa. It would be impossible to have this program without your support. THANK YOU! - Donations can be sent to:
LCMS World Mission
PO Box 790089
St. Louis, MO 63179-0089
(Designate: Winterle 60606
Pastor Carlos Walter Winterle