We met at Johannesburg airport, South Africa, and flew together to Beira, Mozambique, arriving there in the afternoon. Driver Silva was waiting for us and he took us straight to the Bible Society shop to buy Study Bibles in Portuguese and New Testaments in the Chisena language for the 20 new TEE (Theological Education by Extension) candidates. We spent the night in a guesthouse in Beira.
Services were celebrated in Cado on Saturday morning and in Sena on Saturday afternoon. The liturgy was led by one of the future pastors, the three of us delivered their messages/sermons; several adults and children were baptized and the Lord’s Supper was offered.
On Sunday, the services were celebrated in Chemba and in Três de Fevereiro, with baptisms and Holy Communion as well.
On Monday morning we visited the churches in Kapasseni, Zambezi, Sabonete, Mpango and Murrema, delivering short messages and prayers. People were always waiting for us on the way to the church and in front of the church they were singing, clapping hands and dancing, showing their Christian joy.
Four churches are still huts, and the other ones are very simple brick buildings. On Tuesday we visited the youngest church, Mutarara, a one and a half-hour walk, including crossing the Zambezi River on a pedestrian bridge.
An impressive moment to share: In one of the churches, when I was addressing the candidates before the Baptism, and I asked them: “Do you renounce the devil, all his works and all his ways” – and knowing the big role evil spirits play in the traditional African religions, I added: “and do you renounce all the evil spirits?” all answered, YES, and an old lady shouted, “NEVER MORE! NEVER MORE!”
We had meetings also with the Chief of the Village of Sena, Mr. Adamo; with the eight future pastors; with the 20 new TEE candidates; and with other local people as well.
As the Lutheran Church in Mozambique has not had an ordained pastor up to now (June 2015), they always had to wait till an ordained pastor came from Brazil to perform baptisms and to offer Lord’s Supper. A total of 117 people were baptized in the four Services, 37 adults and 80 children. The other places are waiting till July, when an ordained pastor is coming from Brazil to lead the TEE classes and to celebrate Baptisms and the Lord’s Supper.
It was always nice to cross by car many villages in the bush on the way to the several churches: the visitors inside the car and the future pastors sitting outside behind it.
After their graduation and ordination, they will supervise the 20 new candidates. There are representatives from all 10 established congregations in the new class, and they are leaders, helping the future pastors doing readings at the Service, visiting people and sharing the Gospel. They will be challenged to go to new places when they are ready.
The doors are open to the Gospel in Mozambique and the challenges are huge. People depend on their small machambas (farms) to survive, and what they harvest is all what they have to eat: corn, rice, beans, sorghum… Some raise chickens and goats. Sesame and cotton are cultivated and sold for some income. The pastors do not receive any salary, and the offerings at the Services are very little. Even so, they are happy to serve the Lord.
The Lutheran Church of Brazil donated a bicycle to each of the students three years ago, and this year a motorcycle was given to the eight candidates so that they can serve better the churches far from their own villages.
MLC (Mission of the Lutheran Churches) is now partner of this Mission, after the visit of Pastors Roger and Chris, sharing the Gospel with unreached and unchurched people in Mozambique.
The word God addressed to the Apostle Paul can be quoted here: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city” (country) (Acts 18:9, 10). Indeed, God has many people in Mozambique to be called to the salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. After our visit we can testify that this is true and we praise God for His faithfulness, still sending His messengers to the end of the earth to save His elected.