Well, we have had an eventful past couple of months here between our last trip to Gogoi, hosting Rev. Marco Cable, our Africa Area Executive, and shifting gears in our work in Beira! Our last trip at the end of April to Gogoi was very successful. We were able to help form a local agriculture committee to oversee the development work on the farm. We also spent a lot of time meeting with local leaders again and hosting a community meeting to discuss development of the farm and to hear everyone’s thoughts and hopes. It was good to be able to share all our goals for the project, to assure local leaders that the church hopes to improve the lives of the whole community, and to dispel some misconceptions regarding our coming to live and work with them. It seems that some people feared that we were coming to completely take over and make people leave the property. There was also some concern that we were planning on being politically active in the area. Once we were able to reassure people that these things were not true and that we were only coming at the church’s invitation to help develop the land and to help people with their agriculture ventures, things went much more smoothly.
The first night in Gogoi was an eventful one, to be sure. Almost immediately after unloading our supplies the skies opened up and began dumping a torrential rain. Being a bit on the backside of the hill, our house was right in the path of the small stream coming down and it went right in our front door! Kim and I were busy outside digging trenches to divert water and our friend “B” was mopping the water as fast as he could inside. It was so overwhelming it went right past being frustrating and straight onto being hilarious! It lasted only about an hour and let up, after which we changed out of our soaking wet clothes and had a bit of a rest. With all that time in the rain we didn’t even need baths that night and our travel clothes were nice and clean for the next day.
The rest of our time this trip was spent in meetings, exploring the property, setting out a site for our test garden, and continuing to get to know our new friends as we worked around the property. Towards the end of our visit we picked up Rev. Marco at the Zimbabwe border and had a nice time hosting him for a night at Gogoi. The next day we traveled the six hours or so back to Beira. We had a good time meeting with Rev. Marco and Rev. Lucas, discussing our first year. While some things were hard to hear, it was ultimately a constructive and positive experience, as most evaluations tend to be. It was decided that we will begin working with a new parish in Beira until we move permanently to Gogoi, sometime in September. The Munhava Parish is pastured by Rev. Lucas’ wife, Rev. Messi Henore. We have been formally introduced there and are already being woven into the life of the church in Bible studies and prayer services. Some people at this church have expressed interest in learning English as well as the programs for young women Kim has worked on previously. We look forward to this new venture and building more relationships with the people here.
I was recently able to participate in a national conference for reconciliation and peace in Mozambique, hosted here in Beira. It was quite an honor to be included and to have the ability to observe. I was able to see some familiar faces from past peace conferences and met many new people as well. While I am still struggling at times to hear everything that is said in Portuguese, what I do understand is both impressive and encouraging. Many international supporters and presenters were present; people from as far away as Finland, Ireland, and Kenya. An interfaith peace conference like this, with strong support from many levels of the church and national government, is a huge deal in Mozambique. They are planning, implementing, and succeeding in promoting peace on every level of society, from the individual to the whole country. I invite you to include this continuing process of promoting peace in Mozambique in your prayers.
Well, that is most of what has been going on with us for the last couple months. There is always more to tell and show. Keep an eye for renewed activity on our blog and Facebook page!
Blessings and Peace,
Kim and Erik Free serve with the United Church of Christ in Mozambique. Their appointments are made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.