Wow! October has been quite a month! Before I begin telling you all about it let me extend greetings to you all and blessings from sunny Mozambique.
The weather here is beginning to change as we enter the wet season. Like much of the Northern hemisphere, we are soon to experience a long period of moisture here in the South, though ours will be increasingly hotter as yours gets cooler. Last month I celebrated my 34th birthday in a beautiful place in the western part of Mozambique called Maforga, a former estate and current mission station operated by our new friends, Roy and Trish Perkins. We were there learning about their farming projects and getting new ideas for the Gogoi farm project. We have also made contact with other farming projects throughout Mozambique in order to visit and learn from them as well in the coming months. It is so exciting to see what the potential is for the land and the people here.
Early October also saw the onset of election season in Mozambique. International observers flooded into the country and, quite literally overnight, election posters covered every available surface in Beira. Not even cars were safe from the plastering of propaganda. We are blessed to have a unique insight into the social and political scene in Mozambique through our partners here, the United Church of Christ in Mozambique. The president of the church, Rev. Lucas Amosse, is deeply involved in the peace process as a member of the national peace and reconciliation team as well as serving on the National Election Observatory. He has been invaluable in helping us begin to understand the socio/political and religious climates in Mozambique. The elections seem to have occurred with little upset, though the results are being contested and many citizens of Mozambique are unhappy with the situation. More than ever, the people and leaders of Mozambique need our support and prayers for peaceful resolutions.
In the midst of excitement surrounding the elections, life continues to move forward in smaller ways. Kim has been introducing a program for young women and girls to build confidence and encourage healthy self-image. I have been offering peace-oriented Bible studies for the youth as well as tutoring some young men in English. A couples months ago we found a source for the latest Chindau (local language) translation of the Bible, which is most commonly used in churches here. With some generous funds from Global Ministries, the church was able to purchase multiple boxes to be made available affordably for local church members who otherwise would have no access to new Bibles.
I recently had the opportunity to offer some driving lessons to our national church’s administrator, Pastor Augusto Sitole. He needed some practice making three-point turns and driving in reverse, specifically. We spent multiple afternoons driving around empty neighborhoods forward and backwards and trying to make ourselves understood. Explaining the intricacies of balancing clutch and break in a foreign language proved to be quite a challenge, but we made it through without so much as a scratch on the bumper. Many hand signals were involved. I am happy to say, though, that Pastor Augusto passed his driving test despite the frustration I undoubtedly caused him with my inadequate explanations. They never even tested him on three-point turns! At least we have some funny memories to show for the practice.
Mozambique is a beautiful place with beautiful people. We continue to acclimate to the culture and language and make friends. In November we have been invited to a church member’s wedding. Stay tuned next month to hear all about what a Mozambican wedding is like! Thank you so much for your continued support and interest in your partner churches in Mozambique. Keep them and their country in your prayers as they continue to navigate the road to peace and well-being.
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 Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.