Monday 11 July 2016


 As promised in the last post, read in this post some mission stories. 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 in Portuguese, Rev. Carlos translated it to Rev. Shauen, and he took notes on his tablet. It’s 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). (Carlotta C. Thies went a LCMS volunteer photographer).


Twenty kilometers from the closest town, beyond the fields of sorghum and desolate places where the savanna grass looks down on a man treading the path, a small group of Christians in the village of Amambo (Maromeo Region, Mozambique) were on their own, abandoned five years earlier by the priest who had been serving them. Without pastoral care, their congregation remained isolated and alone, slowly dwindling as members fell away. 
 Meanwhile, eighty kilometers away, in Villa de Sena along the banks of the Zambezi River, the Igreja Luterana da Concórdia em Moçambique - ILCM (Lutheran Church of Concord in Mozambique) celebrated their first ordinations, ordaining eight pastors in a ceremony attended by 1,000 joy-filled members.
 The ten congregations of the Lutheran Church came to town by the truckload for the ordination service in June 2015. What he saw and heard at the ordination service so impressed one of those truck drivers that he talked about it for days and weeks afterwards. A woman traveling in his truck to Amambo heard the story from that truck driver which she then conveyed into the village when she arrived. 
 At the story she told, the Christians in Amambo felt a renewal of hope and decided to send two representatives to try and locate someone from this Lutheran Church to learn more first-hand.  Benjamin Vinti (on the left in the photo) and Luis Gombegombe set out on their bicycles and rode twenty kilometers to town where they could safely overnight and then take a truck to Villa de Sena. The only possible route by vehicle took them through a park known for lions pulling people right off the back of trucks as they slowly make their way along the rough road. It took Benjamin and Luis two full days to get reach Sena, arriving on a Saturday night and asking around town for the Lutheran Church until they were directed to Rev. Mateus Sifa who welcomed them and directd them to the house of the President of the ILCM, Pastor jambo, who hosted them in his home. After a night of conversation, they accompanied Pastor Jambo and Pastor Mateus to church on Sunday and returned home the next week to an eager assembly that immediately confirmed the request of Benjamin and Luis to have a pastor from the Lutheran Church visit them and begin a course of instruction. 
Within a few weeks those newly ordained pastors from the Lutheran Church did, indeed, visit.  On September 6th, 2015, members, pastors, and visitors dedicated the Lutheran Church of Amambo. 

 Three weeks later they dedicated another congregation some 50km away in Maviga as the Christians in Amambo shared the clear Gospel message they were now receiving.  
 Nine months later (June 7, 2016) we traveled by truck from Villa de Sena to visit Amambo Lutheran Church to encourage them, pray with them, and share a message from Scripture.
 110 members from Amambo welcomed us.
 In addition, Maviga Lutheran Church sent representatives to be with us for our brief visit since their congregation was too far for us to reach that day.
 While by truck we had traveled just 3 hours to reach Amambo from Sena, Manuel Tangwe and his wife Maria led 19 representative members from Maviga through a 14 hour journey by foot to welcome us and hear a message from the Word. Local church members hosted the visiting congregation for the two nights they were in town. 
 The woman who relayed the testimony of the truck driver never joined the church and the truck driver who told her about the ordinations is unknown. Nevertheless, through these two agents, the Gospel has gone forth into Marromeo and God’s people rejoice in response. 


The Lutheran Church in Amambo (Maromeo Region, Mozambique) has endured through years without a minister before they were brought to the Lutheran Church. Their extended time of isolation caused some to leave the fellowship for a time and others to fall away from the faith altogether. For those who remained, they took up a burden of responsibility and self-sufficiency. Faced with the challenge of finding a space sufficient for them to gather together, they endeavored on their own initiative to build a church building that would meet their needs. 
 They fashioned mud bricks for their church with their own hands and fired them using wood they gathered in the thin forest of their area. Out of a sense of pride, desire for a permanent and low-maintenance structure, and to demonstrate their conviction to the community, they committed to roofing their church building in tin sheets rather than thatch. For the timbers, tin roofing, and mortar for brick-laying, they cut trees and burned charcoal, walking or biking it the twenty kilometers to the closest town where one very large bag of charcoal sells for $1 (60 Meticals).

 Through these efforts the Lutheran Church in Amambo today worships in a brick building with a tin roof.
 While they eagerly desire to continue the work and put in a concrete floor, doors, windows, and to plaster the interior of the church, they’ve stalled in construction because of the drought and violent political conflict which has further depressed the economy of the area, significantly reducing the market for charcoal and increasing the cost of building materials.
 Nevertheless, the Lutherans in Amambo know that in time, stewarding what God has entrusted to their care - small as it may seem - and perhaps with the assistance of friends in the faith, they will continue to develop their worship space as they gather around Word and Sacrament.

 Praise the Lord for His people in Amambo and their eagerness for the best possible space set aside to gather together in His name.  

 3. CADO

The Christians of Cado, Mozambique, paid dearly for pastoral services, struggling under the tyranny of a pastor who mandated a substantial cash payment for each visit. Their community was remote, some 45km from the nearest town, and it wasn’t until villagers started going to town to find a market for their goods that they realized that not all churches operate in the same way. When the possibility of life together under a different model came to light, the congregation took action to learn more. Two youth were sent by bicycle the 45km to Villa de Sena to make inquiries of the churches there. In Villa de Sena on the banks of the Zambezi River, those two youths met Pastor Mateus Sifa and Pastor Manuel Jambo and eagerly began to interrogate them about the Lutheran Church’s beliefs and practice. Pastor Jambo hosted them in his home as they continued in discussion. Of particular interest to these Cado villagers were the teachings on stewardship, offerings, and the matters of financial administration in the church. Through these avenues, Pastor Jambo shared with them the clear Gospel proclamation and the church’s focus on the Word and Sacraments that convey that Gospel. On Sunday, the youth from Cado attended São Paulo Lutheran Church in Villa de Sena and saw those things of which Pastor Jambo had spoken. By the end of the worship service their path was clear.

 They stood when invited and introduced themselves as visitors to Villa de Sena who had a single task of finding a parent church body for their congregation. In what they had seen and heard they were convicted that this Lutheran Church is the very church they had come to find. Knowing the challenge of reaching Cado and that for São Paulo to share their pastor would mean they would go without their pastor some Sundays, the Cado representatives requested the blessing of the São Paulo congregation to send a pastor to support a Lutheran Church in Cado. The Christians of São Paulo affirmed the request unequivocally for the sake of God’s people in Cado and the Gospel.
 A few weeks later, three Lutheran Pastors traveled to Cado. The first Lutheran Service in Cado was attended by 50 villagers meeting under a tree.
 Within the year the congregation had grown to 80. 


Pastor Mateus Sifa of the Igreja Luterana da Concórdia em Moçambique (Lutheran Church of Concord in Mozambique) was returning from ministering in the village of Cado. The 45-kilometer one-way ride by bicycle would be taxing in the best of circumstances and even more so on one of Africa’s typical heavy one-speed bicycles on rough dirt roads. About 10km into his ride home, Pastor Mateus stopped at a trading center for some refreshment. While resting, a teacher, Rogerio, approached this stranger in the trading center. Gesturing to Pastor Mateus’ clerical shirt, Rogerio asked if he was a priest. In explaining that he was a pastor of the Lutheran Church, they began to discuss the history and doctrine that is distinct to Lutherans. Very interested in what this bicycling pastor had to say, the teacher wanted to know, "Why don't you start a church here?" To which Pastor Mateus replied, "You have to help me plant the church here!" 
 Several weeks later Pastor Mateus again came into the trading center on his way to Cado to find that the teacher and a collection of villagers were waiting for him, gathered to hear more. Pastor Mateus spoke to them briefly and then said, “Come, and see!” That day they continued on to the church in Cado together. In Cadfo-Nachiva, the first worship service was attended by 80 people. Today 150 members regularly attend services where the Gospel is clearly proclaimed.


Across Mozambique, villagers gather together in the shade of the thatched roof covering the bicycle repair kiosk, the covered porch of the trading center shop, or each other’s homes to listen. Community radio stations give a lifeline to these remote and rural hard-working farmers and entrepreneurs, connecting them to Mozambique and the rest of the world through FM broadcast. As they all do, community radio station host Sinalo Christiano gave airtime to the local pastors in Chemba, Mozambique.

 But when Pastor Julio Castomo of the Igreja Luterana da Concórdia em Moçambique (Lutheran Church of Concord in Mozambique) had his first moment on air, the host was intrigued. Here was a message quite different from the other preachers who came for their 5 minutes of proclamation. Sinalo talked to Pastor Julio extensively after the broadcast about the message and about the church. The next day, Sinalo came to Pastor Julio’s home to continue the discussion. On Sunday, the radio host came to church and saw for himself. Immediately, Sinalo traveled to his home village of Suero to tell his extended family about Jesus Christ’s amazing love for us to which the people mandated that Sinalo go back to Chemba, collect Pastor Julio, and bring him to tell them himself. After a few evangelistic visits, the people of Suero organized into a church and invited Pastor Julio to come to their first Sunday morning time together. Sixty people were gathered to hear him. The next week there were 80. Today God’s people in Suero rejoice in Word and Sacrament alongside God’s people around the world. 


Drought had stricken Southeastern Africa. In Mozambique, God’s people in Villa de Sena cried out to their friends and partners with a request for food aid. 

 In compassion, the partners of the Igreja Luterana da Concórdia em Moçambique (Lutheran Church of Concord in Mozambique) (especially the LCMS through a special project sent to Emergency and Relief Fund) responded in February 2016.
 With the food aid came an acknowledgment that although the provision was meager, the members of the church with whom rice had been shared were requested to also share with those in their communities.
 Over the years, Domingos and his wife Beauty had a pleasant relationship with Pastor Mateus and Angelina but were not interested in the church. The gift of a bag of rice and 5 liters of cooking oil, though, piqued their interest - why would someone do such a thing, particularly in difficult and hungry times like these? Pastor Mateus appreciated the opportunity to talk about the love of Christ and how we are compelled to respond, even in love towards our literal neighbors. Domingos, hard working and well educated did what any reasonable person would do. Domingo searched Google for the Lutheran Church. He read about baptism. He read about the scope of the church - reaching across the world. As is often the case, Domingos’ research on the Lutheran Church raised even more questions.

 Meanwhile, Beauty had also been doing research of a different kind. As she visited in the home of Pastor Mateus and Angelina she was observing how they interacted with each other and with their children. That love, the living out of the testimony she heard, was compelling to her. But when Pastor Mateus and Angelina invited Domingos and Beauty to church to see for themselves, Domingos declined on behalf of the family.  
 But the next Sunday, when invited again, Beauty came with Domingos’ approval although he still would not join them for worship. Instead of attending church, though, Domingos is still biding his time but now eagerly and willingly spending time with the pastors and members of the church.
 Domingos began to repair and provide routine maintenance for Pastor Mateus’ motorcycle. When the monthly church leadership meeting came around at the church office at Pastor Mateus’ home, Domingos brought out his tools and tuned up all their motorcycles. When the leadership of the church gather for a week and a half at Pousada Luterana guesthouse and training center seven kilometers from town, Domingos made himself available to provide on-site support for the electrical, solar, generator, and motorcycle repairs that would be necessary throughout the week. He spent a full week with those pastors, theology students, and visitors from South Africa, Brazil, and the United States. Some sense of fear, though, still keeps Domingos from attending worship - a fear, he thinks, that he might not like it. Domingos is still uncertain about coming to the church and hasn't yet stepped through the doors.

 But on Sunday, June 5, 2016, I baptized Domingo’s wife, Beauty. That Sunday, Beauty, along with 58 other men, women, and children, celebrated new life in the waters of baptism at São Paulo Lutheran Church in Villa de Sena. Praise the Lord for the faith he has worked in Beauty and the seeds of faith that are planted in the heart of Domingos. 


During the first week of June, 2016, two leaders from an independent church in Mutarara (Inhangoma region), Mozambique, came the 40km to Villa de Sena in search of a church body with substance. Through relatives, these two leaders from the Christ Forever Church had heard about the Igreja Luterana da Concórdia em Moçambique (Lutheran Church of Concord in Mozambique) and traveled to Sena to learn more. They came to Pastor Mateus Sifa’s home twice in that week looking for someone to tell them about the Lutheran Church to find that only Pastor Mateus’ wife Angelina was home. But, Angelina told them, I know if you go to Pousada Luterana, seven kilometers outside of town, they will receive you well and be happy to visit with you. Much to the joy of those visitors, that week the pastors of the Lutheran Church were engaged in a continuing education course - just the kind of well-trained pastors they were looking for.
 After visiting with the pastors and receiving a meal, they asked if the Lutheran Church would please send a pastor to Mutarara to take over responsibility for their congregation. That visit should be made in the weeks ahead with the dedication of yet another Lutheran Congregation to come shortly thereafter.  Praise the Lord for drawing His people to Himself through the church.


 Kapasseni pastor, Rui Jalene Souza, after his ordination, went to visit other nearby villages to share the gospel. When people hear the Gospel, they say please come and plant a church here. There are now four congregations in the Kapasseni area.


 Mutamara across the pedestrian bridge was founded by the President's brother. He came to visit and they went to church and Jambo took the leaders of the congregation in Sena across the bridge (which is a different province). They helped the interested folks identify a leader among them. Then the congregation leaders came back and gave a report to São Paulo who encouraged the pastor to start the congregation there. 

 2012 President Jambo had a very bad accident when returning from visiting family in Beira. There is no public transportation to Sena, no bus, no taxis. Most people travel in the bed of a cargo truck. The fuel truck he was traveling in (carrying barrels of petrol) lost control on the road and he was thrown from the truck as it rolled over. None of the barrels were ruptured but the 15 people in the truck were hurt, some killed in the accident. President Jambo cut his neck and broke his arm. He was sent back to Beira for treatment and had a long recovery, eventually regaining use of his arm. Both his family and the people who helped him when recovering are part of the Lutheran Church in Beira now. 

 Beira congregation started because faithful Lutherans from Sena area moved to Beira. They called the president and asked what to do. He told them to come together for Bible Study and start to meet together on Sunday. President Jambo went the first time to organize them

 and then Pastor Mateus was assigned to be responsible for the church. 

 The very first congregations were founded by Pastor Alfazema who was born here and was a refugee who left when he was 14 or 15 years old via Malawi, Tanzania, and finally Kenya. He studied with Pastor Omodhi in Nairobi. From Kenya he got a refugee card for Canada. Since he was a strong leader in Canada and gathered other refugees from Mozambique in Canada. The congregation offered to send him to seminary with the intent that he would go back to Mozambique. He studied at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St Catherines, Ontario, and then was sent back to Mozambique for the first time in 2004. He found his mother still alive in Kapasseni. 
 The village chief asked him to help build a school and clinic. One of the donor organizations supporting the social work is Caia Connection. Pastor Alfazema founded the first congregation in Kapasseni in 2006
 He sought to found the next church in a larger town and headed towards Sena.

 Along the way he planted three more churches.

 The first permanent structure church building erected was in Villa de Sena.
 The second was in Morrema where Ernest is pastor.
 Next was Chemba.
 Then, Kapasseni. 
 Then M’Pango. These had all been built by Canada.
 Then Brazil began to help with Cado
 and Três de Fevereiro (3rd of February).

 No raising funds for Zambezi  and Sabonete (where bricks are already ready). 
 Then the property was brought in Sena village by Brazil and the USA
 as a special project by the Lutheran Laymen's League (Men's league) in Brazil.
 The guesthouse where we're staying was bought by FELSISA
Rev. Shauen Trump
Area Director for Eastern and Southern Africa
Office of International Mission
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
+254-20-3882145     +254-700-931367
 Credits: The pictures I am using in this Blog were taken by Carlotta C. Thies, Shauen Trump, Rony Marquardt, Mateus Sifa, André Plamer, Paulo Brum and myself. Thank you all.
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