Each trip to Mozambique is more exciting than the previous one! Just a foretaste of what will be reported: The Concordia Lutheran Church – Mozambique (ILCM) had 10 congregations in August last year when the first eight pastors graduated and were ordained.
They have now, in June 2016, 33 churches! We had the opportunity to visit 14 places in June, and several churches came together in one place to meet us. In total 2,588 people came to meet us and to praise God and to listen to His Word!
While in Beira, we bought stationary material for the students and food for the long trip of the next day. In the evening we visited the new Lutheran Community in Beira. Due to the draught, many are moving from the rural areas to the cities, looking for jobs.
A property for sale, well located in that suburb, was visited. When we came back from Sena to Beira the next week, we visited this group again. They are asking for one of the ordained pastors to move to Beira and to start mission there. This is a good opportunity for the church to begin a work in the cities!
The day after, Tuesday, we went to Sena by train due to security issues. As we have to cross the territory of Gorongosa, where the headquarter of the strong opposition party is settled, it is dangerous to go by car, as we used to do in previous years. It was a 11 hours trip, in a wagon packed with people.
The pastors were waiting for us at the train station in Sena when we arrived around 11:00pm; and all the candidates were awake in the Lutheran Guest House (Pousada Luterana) waiting for us, singing and welcoming us.
We offered a thanksgiving prayer, we greet everyone shaking hands, and went to bed. – When we came back to Beira, we got a second class wagon on the train, and we had a cabin for four, where we could lay down and sleep. It was a little more comfortable.
We were hosted in the Pousada Luterana, a former Game Camp. We reported about this in the last Newsletter (January 2016).
The guests had individual cabins with shower and running water.
The local pastors and students were hosted in some other rooms
and they slept on mats, as they do it in their homes.
The water was pulled straight from the Zambezi River
to a big water thank.
The electricity was provided by a generator and also by solar panels, managed by the electrician Domingos.
Two ladies were the cooks and they did an excellent job.
Wednesday morning, 1st June: Meeting with the 8 pastors, the 30 candidates of the Portuguese speaking Class, and the 25 candidates of the Chisena speaking Class.
They got orientations for the Theological Education Program;
they received a sample of the Small Catechism in Chisena, translated by one of the candidates, printed in Brazil (3,000 copies) and sponsored by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF);
18 sets of Sunday School material (Bible Story pictures)
sponsored by Mrs. Ignez Strelow de Carvalho, from Brazil, with the support of many friends;
Luther’s Morning and Evening Prayers, plus the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer (laminated) to each family of the ILCM;
and a sample of A Summary of Christian Doctrine, (E.W.A. Koehler), in Portuguese, which was used as text book for the Theological Training Sessions ministered by Pastor Carlos and by Pastor Rony.
They also received bath towels and bed sheets, donated by St. Thomas Lutheran Church, Cape Town, that will remain to be used at the Lutheran Guest House.
The Training Sessions began in the afternoon. 20 candidates were enrolled last year, when this second class began.
More candidates applied for studying Theology, and we have now 30 candidates, representing most of the churches. This Training Session was sponsored by the LCMS due to a special grant; and by the IELB, according to a budget presented by the CLCM.
They also went through a proposal of a Constitution of the ILCM. The pastors will soon call a General Assembly to approve the Constitution and to elect a new Board. - At night, a meeting with the pastors tabled plans and projects of the church, which is just celebrating 10 years since the first service was held in 2006 by Pastor Joseph Alfazema in Kapasseni.
A new Chisena speaking Class is being organized. As some candidates don’t understand Portuguese, but only the local language, the plan is to prepare them to be Deacons. The teachers will be some of the ordained pastors. This plan will be finalized in July and maybe the classes will begin in August. This Class was not in the budget and we are looking for sponsorship (transport and food).
Thursday: Training Sessions led by Pastor Carlos;
and from Friday to next Wednesday Pastor Rony led the Training Sessions.
A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by the Pres. of the ILCM, by the vice-pres. of the IELB, by the Area Director for Eastern and Southern Africa – OIM – LCMS, and by the Coordinator of the Theological Education Program. The other partners: MLC – Germany had already signed; The Pres. of the IELB, the Bishop of FELSISA, and the Pastor of Redeemer LC, Canada, will sign it as well.
From Friday on the eight pastors took the visitors to visit the churches. 14 churches were visited, and in many of them the other congregations of the parish came together. Rev. Shauen translated the report that Pastor Júlio prepared, as follows:
Friday 3rd June 2016
Kapasseni St. Mark Congregation. Representatives came from M’Bweza, Mosse, Galão, and Khanako congregations. Total estimated: 400. Pastor Rui Jaleni Sousa is in charge of this parish.Zambeze Congregation. Representatives came from Moniqueira. Total estimated: 55. Pastor Jolinho Minez Nhapigode is in charge of this parish.
Murrema St. Luke Congregation. Representatives came from Sabonete. Total estimated: 315. Pastor Ernesto Domingos Raposo is in charge of this parish.
Mpago St. Matthew Congregation. Representatives came from Checha. Total: 362. Pastor Paulo Ernesto Mineses is in charge of this parish.
Saturday 4th June 2016
Cado 1 St. John Congregation: Nhamichindo. Total: 60 (read more below). Pastor Mateus Domingos Sifa is in charge of this church.Cado 2 Congregation: Nhachiwa. Total: 100. Pastor Mateus is in charge of this church.
Chemba St. Peter Congregation. Representatives came from Suero. Total: 195. Pastor João Luis Nota is in charge of this church.
3rd February St. Timothy Congregation. Total: 172. Pastor Júlio Albano Castomo is in charge of this church.
Sunday 5th June 2016
Sena St. Paul congregation. 381 in worship,135 received communion,
59 baptized by Rev. Carlos, Rev. Shauen, Rev. Rony, and Rev. Jambo. Pastor Manuel Jone Jambo is in charge of this church.
Chola congregation (near to Pousada Luterana). Total: 45. Pastor Nota is in charge of this church.
Monday 6th June 2016
Nhangoma (Mutarara region) St. James Congregation. Representatives from Vila Nova, Traquino, Nhamizula, Lemzwa. Total: 215. Pastor Jambo is in charge of this church.Chinsomba congregation. Pastor Ernesto is in charge of this church. Total: 72
Mwanda congregation. Total: 69. Pastor Ernesto is in charge of this church.
These three congregations are on the other side of the Zambezi River,
and we had to cross the 3 km pedestrian bridge by motorcycle with the local pastors.
Tuesday 7th June 2016
Amambo (Marromeu) congregation. (3 hours by car, more or less 100km).Representatives from Maviga (21 who walked 14 hours to reach Amambo). Total: 131. Pastor Jambo is in charge of this church.
Rev. Shauen wrote in his report: The congregations were visited for the sake of encouragement, introductions, instruction, and to provide one or more Gospel messages to the members and visitors in each location.
All in attendance clearly heard a Gospel-focused message from Rev. Carlos Walter Winterle (FELSISA/IELB) and/or Rev. Shauen Trump (LCMS) in addition to the briefer messages and greetings brought by the local pastors.
All of the congregations provided gifts of some kind to the visitors, primarily directed to the individual or individuals who had brought the Message/Homily.
Through the course of the week, we received 18 chickens, 2 goats, and 10 doves/pigeons. (Rev. Shauen).
On Wednesday, 8th June, we visited the Social Project Kuwangisana in Vila de Sena, which was founded by Pastor Alfazema and his wife Perpétua.
We visited also the new Chief of the Vila de Sena, Mrs.Noemia, and were very well received. She is willing to give support to the church through her office. - We went to the bank (Caixa Financeira de Sena) as well to talk with the manager about the church’s projects.
On Wednesday night we took the train back to Beira, and from there we all went back home on Friday, with God’s blessing and with our hearts refreshed and filled with joy. “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:3). To HIM all the glory and praise!
Credits: The pictures I am using in this Blog were taken by Carlotta, Shauen, Rony, Mateus and myself. Added to my text, other parts of the text were written by Rev. Shauen and by Rev. Rony. Pastor Júlio, Secretary of the ILCM, provided us with a report and attendance of the churches we visited. Thank you all.
Read some exciting mission stories in the next post. (Hope to finish it next week). While in the car going to visit the churches; or seated at night with the pastors; and even during the long trip by train, we asked the pastors about the beginning of some of the new churches. As they were telling the stories, Pr. Carlos translated it to Rev. Shauen, and he took notes on his tablet. It is exciting to see how God works, sometimes in very strange ways, to reach people with the Gospel of salvation, “because he has many people in this country” (Acts 18:10).