Greetings to you all from Mozambique! Kim and I continue to do well and learn more about the warm and gracious people of this country. As we become more accustomed to life here and the rhythm of things, we are also more able to learn about the struggles people here face on a daily basis. By listening to the hopes and goals of the women’s and men’s groups, Kim and I are learning about needs for things such as literacy and language training, project management skills, sources of supplementary income, providing clothes and supplies for local school children, improved healthcare and awareness, and many others.
Early in July, we attended a short training in project management offered by one of our fellow missionaries here in Beira. It was very helpful as we have noticed that while there is no shortage of ideas for projects from Mozambicans, the knowledge and skills to implement those ideas with success are lacking. No sooner than the week after we met with our friend, we were getting requests to teach and advise regarding project management. We hadn’t yet told anyone in the church we were gathering those teaching resources and here we were receiving multiple requests for exactly that type of training. It was one of those times I step back and get a real sense of God being countless steps ahead of us; a humbling and exciting feeling indeed.
I recently attended a peace seminar hosted by the Christian Council of Mozambique, an ecumenical group of churches who, among other things, works to promote peace in Mozambique. As I sat and did my best to understand three and a half days of presentations in Portuguese, I was able to glean many things from the conversation. First and foremost among these is that the Christian churches in Mozambique take responsibility for promoting and teaching the way of peace to the people and leaders of this country. This is a huge task and one that they need all the encouragement, support, and prayer they can get in order to help them succeed. I felt honored to be invited to participate in a group of people so passionate for the cause of peace. They have a real sense that the future of their country and its people is at stake. The cause of peace touches every aspect of the society, from economic inequality to continued disarmament, from acts of domestic violence to lack of education. These leaders of the church left the conference with connections and commitments to return to their homes around the country and teach peace, to stay connected, and work for concrete change. I left feeling humbled and inspired by what I heard, hoping that in some small way I might be able to help in this peacemaking process.
Some of you may have read our blog post about our Machemeje trip and the revival we attended in July. We were able to see some of the farming project and participated in the revival to celebrate the renewal of the church in that place. They began construction on a new building and welcomed a newly trained evangelist to lead the congregation. It was a long, dusty ride there and back and well worth the trip.
As I reflect on the month of July and all the things we experienced, the overarching theme of peace is foremost in my thoughts. I see the vein of God’s peace flowing through all these things, from projects to provide supplementary income (that’s economic peace) to visiting small villages to encourage them in their faith (that’s social peace). The events of this month, and especially the peace conference, were a very welcome reminder to me of why I am involved in ministry in the first place. I was reminded of my own passion for peacemaking and peace as the way God has shown us we should strive for. Our hope is that we can take this theme of peace forward into the rest of our work in Mozambique and continue to have peacemaking as a foundation of our partnership.
God Bless and thank you for your continued prayers for Mozambique and its people,
Kim and Erik Free serve with the United Church of Christ in Mozambique.