March Update from Mozambique
Good news! We have successfully moved into the new house in GoiGoi and are in the process of settling in. We spent the month of March visiting area leaders and preparing to host the area ICUM (United Church of Christ in Mozambique) churches for Easter. It is very different living in a much more rural area like GoiGoi than it has been in Beira. There is no electrical service, so we tend to go to bed much earlier. It is quieter and the air is fresher.
Everything is green, especially this time of year, when there is more rain. For Kim and I GoiGoi presents new challenges and new joys. Life here happens at a different pace. You must make time for collecting water, maintaining equipment, greeting the many visitors, etc. I am finding the quiet and natural setting of the place to be good for my soul.
We have been greeted warmly by church members in GoiGoi and the surrounding churches as well as by other nearby missionaries. Relationship building is a key part of any missionary’s job and this is especially true in GoiGoi. Showing respect and following the cultural protocols is vital to building relationship here. We are trying hard to make sure we interact with our new friends and co-workers in a good way. They are very helpful in teaching us how to navigate community life in GoiGoi as well. The evangelist, Micheque, and his brother, Tomas, have been invaluable as cultural guides and co-workers in the church.
In a bi-lingual church like the ICUM translating is an important aspect of every church gathering. The congregations use Portuguese and Chindau languages in every service. Since I only speak one of those, Portuguese, I need a translator to help me communicate with those in the church who only speak Chindau. Tomas is that person in the GoiGoi church. He is a local teacher and lay leader in the church whose commitment to developing and supporting this community is easy to see.
One of the personal challenges to living in GoiGoi is the lack of refrigeration. Without municipal electrical service our old electric refrigerator wasn’t going to be worth much so it was sold. We have a generator, but it isn’t possible or practical to run it constantly. In fact, we only use it a couple of hours every two or three days to charge electronic devices and have some lights in the evening. I was not looking forward to a life without mayonnaise, cheese, condiments, or the ability to preserve leftovers. For me, the lack of refrigeration was something that had to be remedied.
Thankfully, Kim is a wonderful networker. We already had some new missionary friends in the border town of Espungabera, Jinx and Dawn. During one of our early visits with them we were talking about looking for a propane refrigerator and they told us they had a used one just sitting on their veranda that we could use if we wanted. Well, I had that thing strapped down in the back of our truck as fast as could be, already dreaming of sandwiches with mayonnaise, pasta salad, and the possibility of leftovers. I never thought I would be so excited over a refrigerator. Sometimes, it’s little things like this that give us joy and keep us going. Not to mention the graciousness of friends, colleagues, and our new church family in GoiGoi.
Even as we celebrate some small joys we continue to remember that Mozambique continues to struggle with drought, scarcity of food, and political unrest. Even amidst their daily struggles, the people of Mozambique and specifically the community of GoiGoi continue to witness to the Gospel and share their joy. May God bless them and you and may we continue to pray blessings upon one another.
Erik and Kim Free
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.