Almost every year, our church in Lonehill (and now Chartwell) does an outreach in Mozambique. We usually do a long and short trip with different ministries – the short trip is 4 days over a weekend and usually has over 40 people, and the short trip is about 10 days with about 16 people. Because of several reasons, we haven’t done the trip since 2009. Finances haven’t been great this year so the church decided to only do a long trip. Bryan and I went on our first trip in 2009 and loved it, so we were really keen to go again this year and managed to grab a spot in the 16 available.
The main purpose of the outreach is to train pastors deep within Mozambique. If we train up the pastors correctly, then they can teach their own congregation with the correct doctrine.
While our pastors do the training, we have men and women (like Bryan and myself) who go along to do women and children’s ministry within the Mozambique communities. There are also two pastors from Mozambique who help us communicate and organise the pastors to meet at the churches for training.
Xai-Xai (“Shy shy”) – 16-19 Aug
The first 3 days of the trip include the entire team of 16. This year we decided to stay at a lodge just outside Xai-Xai where we were ministering. The pastors (5) would meet at a church in Xai-Xai with about 80 pastors and do training the entire day. The rest of us would either head into orphanages or schools to minister to children, or organise a meeting with the women in the village to minister to them.
The children/women’s ministry isn’t planned in advance, so there is a lot of back and forth until we find a place to go. We usually organise this with the pastors or locals when we get there. We eventually found a orphanage near the church in Xai-Xai where we could share the gospel, stories and songs with the kids there. Fortunately, where we minister, the communities are already Christian, so the message and stories are received well. What was really sad though was how the children were being neglected. Since we are looking to help, we were able to help with a few bits and pieces like fixing their swings and talking to the teachers about what the children need (like clothes and food). Ultimately, this isn’t a permanent solution; it is actually the churches responsibility to take care of their local orphanages so we made sure we shared this with the pastors. A progress report later revealed that the churches had committed to visiting and helping out the orphanage every week. The message was well received!
Chokwe (“Shock-weh”) – 19-22 Aug
After Xai-Xai, our group split into two teams of 8, one going inland and the other along to coast to Chokwe (where we went). Here we continue with the training as well as the women and children’s ministry.
We were no longer staying at a lodge although our team had it pretty good this trip – we stayed in one of the local pastors’ homes at each place. Now most of the local Mozambicans live in homes made out of sticks, so it’s pretty undeveloped. However, now and then you will see some locals building homes out of bricks. Problem is, most of them run out of money so they can’t paint them, or there are no windows/doors etc. The first home we stayed in was built out of bricks and had water and electricity, which is pretty uncommon. The only thing it lacked was the ‘finishing’ touches, such as flooring and paint and most of the furniture, but it was still better than camping. What was so touching though is almost the entire family moves out of a room to let us stay. At the first home, some of the family was sleeping in the lounge and kitchen so the three ladies could share a bedroom. It’s amazing; they give up even the little they have to make us more comfortable – they have richness beyond our understanding.
The other team headed to _______ and were not as fortunate – they were literally deep within the sticks and had to camp. I can’t share on their trip unfortunately, but I did the inland trip previously and it was also incredible.
Maxixe (“Masheesh”) – 22-24 Aug
Our final destination before heading back to the lodge was Maxixe. Here we stayed at a home/missionary retreat. Compared to Chokwe, this was 5 Star with beds and paint! This is also the home of one of our the main pastors we deal with in Mozambique.
Again, we worked with the locals close to the church we were training at and shared many songs and stories.
One of the most amazing experiences for me personally was the women’s ministry we shared here. With so many differences between us and the locals (language, country, education, lifestyle etc.) it’s so hard to see more then just dirt and poverty. They seem so different, I found it very hard to relate. Then in one instance, this all changed. We did our last women’s ministry with a local group of women, some even pastors in their churches. We shared the gospel in colours and made bracelets to help them remember it. All the while we have a translator sharing what we’re teaching in the local language (either Portuguese or Shongane).We then asked the ladies if they would like to share their stories and we were blessed with two. The first lady shared the heartbreak of losing her husband, and how her mother-in-law blamed her for his death. She had since become a believer and shared on how God had blessed her. Another lady shared how she had become almost disabled because of a work-related accident and her struggles in finding a new job. It was incredible just getting a glimpse into their lives and we were all so touched. We were also able to pray for each woman and touch their lives in the only way we know – with the love of Christ.
Another incredible incident happened the next day but with the children – Bryan shared a story with them on why it’s important to pray everyday, and right after our teaching, the children went to the church, because they know that’s where you go to pray.
It was an incredible trip, life-changing, and I am already looking forward to the next trip. There is such joy in works done for Christ.