Adventures in Itineration
Well, for those of you that don’t know, Kim and I had to return a year early from Mozambique due to political unrest with armed fighting too close to where we were working in the rural areas. Thankfully, we have been able to remain in contact with our church partners and colleagues in the area around GoiGoi and know that they are keeping as safe as they can, though life is very difficult. Farming their fields is often impossible due to the fighting, making food scarcity an even bigger problem than it has been in recent years.
Since our return to the states in August we have visited some churches and church events, reconnected with family and friends, and begun transitioning back to life here. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to return to Mozambique in the foreseeable future and we have had to adjust to the idea of remaining in the states and, in many ways, starting over. It was disappointing for all of us working on the farm, having to leave. We were really becoming a part of the community there and the agriculture training and work was beginning to show some real progress, and then it stopped. Suddenly, like so many of our Mozambican friends and others around the world, we were displaced people. Unlike some of our neighbors, we had the resources to leave the area and eventually come back to the USA. This whole experience, of course, caused some mixed feelings for us. We are scared for our friends, hopeful that the work we started together can continue under their leadership, and glad to be safe but also feeling guilty because we can be safe and they can’t always be.
It has taken some time to work through all these emotions and experiences. Our short answer when asked how our experience in Mozambique was is often, “Mostly good.” It was often difficult, sometimes frustrating, and, a lot of the time, exciting and rewarding. We almost always had fun and forged some lasting friendships along the way.
Now we are visiting churches in earnest and sharing lots of stories and pictures. We are doing our best to paint a realistic picture of what we experienced and observed during our time in Mozambique, often finding that the average church’s 15-20 minute sermon time is just not sufficient to do it justice. So, we take turns telling a favorite story and encouraging you all to stay informed about what is happening in the world. We are enjoying the opportunity to meet all of you who have supported us over the years and say, “Thank you.” The potlucks are pretty good too. So far, we have visited churches in Oregon, Maine, and Alaska. We will finish the rest of February in Washington state and after that, only God knows for sure, but we are sure there is a place for us somewhere. Please continue to pray for peace in Mozambique and for the continued work of our partners and friends there.
Kim and Erik Free serve with the United Church of Christ in Mozambique. Their appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.