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Disciples New Church Start Pastors Share their Mozambique Pilgrimage Journal

October 28, 2009

 

Global Ministries and New Church Ministry

Travel Journal

Critical Presence Visit

To

Maputo, Mozambique and Johannesburg, South Africa

September 30 – October 10, 2009

Participants:

Rev. Dr. Nadine Burton  - Indianapolis

Rev Sandra Gourdet - Indianapolis

Rev Melvin Brown – South Carolina

Mrs. Jean Brown – South Carolina

Rev Julian Ibarra –  Texas

Mrs Maria Ibarra – Texas

Rev. Jacqualyn McHenry – North Carolina

Rev. Dr. Michael Yarbrough - Kansas

To view photos from the pilgrimage, follow this link: http://picasaweb.google.com/bshebeck/NewChurchStartPilgrimageToMozambiqueOctober09?authkey=Gv1sRgCMCc7bHglbGiTg#

First Day

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We gathered as a group at the Best Western Hotel near Dulles International Airport.  At 1:00 pm, we started a Ministry and Mission Interpreters training under the leadership of  Robert (Bob) Shebeck  - Executive for Mission Interpretation and Constituency Relationships.  This was followed by orientation under the leadership of  Sandra Gourdet,  Africa Office Executive.

One of the overarching themes for our time together was, "Leaving something behind" where Bob led the group in a discussion of things to leave behind as we prepare our hearts, minds and bodies to receive the gifts of others in Mozambique and South Africa.

Sandra closed the morning session with a meditation based on Psalm 46:10 and Exodus 3:5.  "Be still and know that I am God.  I am exalted among the nations; I am exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10" and "Put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground, Exodus 3:5".

She reminded the group that there is always a certain amount of fear when leaving family, friends and loved one behind while venturing off to new places not knowing what to expect and not  knowing if all the negative things heard are really true.  All Christians are pilgrims, she said.  For ages, pilgrims have left behind the known and have endured hardship to find a holy place.  We should never forget that upon arrival, we should seek to mentally "take off our shoes" for we will indeed be standing on holy ground.

Closing Prayer:  God, we as pilgrims come before your throne of mercy asking you to fill us with your holy vision for this journey and the search for community (ubuntu) with brothers and sisters in Mozambique and South Africa.  Bless each pilgrim who participates in this mission.  Grant strength, patience and wisdom to set aside what is left behind and what needs to be left behind.  Give us an open heart to be a critical presence in the moment and in the places where each of us will find ourselves.  Grant us peace to be still and know that you are God.  Grant us the willingness and the fortitude take off our shoes so that we do not tread on others' dreams.  More importantly, do not allow us to forget that you, the exalted God, was in Mozambique and South Africa long before our arrival.

Recorder:  Sandra Gourdet

Second Day

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This is the second day of the mission and interpreters training. I led the group in a time of devotion.  The scripture focused on Isaiah 43:19, "See, I am doing a new thing" and I Corinthians 2:9-10, "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, the things God has prepared for those who love him – but he has revealed them to us by his Spirit." The group reflected on the question "What is it that you would like to see during this mission experience?" Most of us will see with our physical eyes and make judgments and assumptions.  God desires to show us something with our spiritual eyes that will transform the way we understand "critical presence" with our global ministry partners. We ended with the song, "Open my eyes lord, I want to see Jesus to reach out and touch him, to say that I love him, open our ears Lord, help us to listen, open our eyes Lord, we want to see Jesus."

Sandra briefly traced the historical and socio-economic context and movements of Mozambique's colonization and independence from Portugal in 1975. Through civil war between Renamo and Frelimo governments, the move towards democracy in 1994 with the signing of a peace agreement, the Mozambicans continue to struggle to maintain peace in the land.  Elections for Mozambique will be held October 28, 2009. We will be there hearing the work around the election, and the ensuing leadership influences.  This will be a historic moment for us to hear and participate in.  The Mozambicans are placing a lot of emphasis on the peace agreement - and the hope that peace and calm must remain throughout the country.  It will be also interesting to hear who the speakers are and what they will be saying. The situation in Mozambique could turn into a civil war or continuation of peace.

Mozambique places a lot of emphasis on the empowerment of women.  There are women in every phase of life.  They are highly functional in political and religious ministries.  The first Prime Minister of Mozambique was a woman.  It will be interesting to see how they are doing.  There are no women in denominational leadership.

Sandra shared her journey as a missionary in Haiti and Zimbabwe so that we would make the journey attentive to the oppressive structures and systems that continue to threaten the welfare of the people:

"During my tenure, the dilemma with HIV/Aids death, grief, and funerals did not giver me time to spend with the people. "It was like a machine, you put one in and another." They are so many lessons in suffering. In overcoming I found my strength. I knew as African Americans our suffering, but seeing it from the eyes of others, made me more resilient in helping to fight this common denominator that keeps people oppressed.  When I travel with you, please see the passion that I have – it is important for me to see your transformation.  It is your right to have that experience and you will just see me smiling as you go through the changes that you will go through.  For our evening reflections, it is very important for you to zero in on the issues faced by the people and see how it relates to new church ministry. There will be times when we are sitting around together and we want to be able to share in one-on-one settings, getting to know you."

Sandra gave several examples of the ways we need the continent of Africa and each other. 

  • Coltan is a mineral imported from the Congo.  It is used to make the chips in our computers and cell phones.  We (the US) need this material and we fail to realize our dependence on them.
  • We need the tropical rain forest.  If we did not have this we would not even be able to breathe.  If that rain forest is destroyed, we are going to be destroyed as well.  Showing people how we do need others.  We cannot be who we are unless we are connected to other people. "I am able to be me because of you and you are able to be you because of others. "
  • Nigeria is a major supplier (fifth or seventh) of U.S. oil.  Angola is the second largest producer of oil on the African continent.
  • The per capita income of Mozambique $747.00 per year. The minerals and riches of the land - none of these goes to the people of the land.  The USA is capitalizing on the resources that the people of the land are not using. This is a justice issue.

We ended our training with worship, communion, and a commissioning service.  Each of us were given the opportunity to select a stole from the communion table and given a global ministries pin to signify our passage as missionaries to Africa.

We began our departure to Johannesburg, Southern Africa Thursday afternoon.  We had a smooth departure. When we arrive in passport control, Julian and Maria were not allowed into Johannesburg because they did not have a Visa. Sandra worked tirelessly with immigration officials trying to fight for their passage, but to no avail.  Maria and Julian had to stay in the transport hotel overnight.  We were confident that they would be allowed into Mozambique because they had Visas.   This put a damper on the group, with some anxiety about the outcome.  However, we prayed together that God would intervene on our behalf.

 

Recorder :  Nadine Burton

Third Day

Friday October 2, 2009

We continued with our seventeen hour flight to Johannesburg.  Our flight finally arrived at our destination at 4:20 p.m.  We all gathered as a group before proceeding to passport control to enter the country.  Nevertheless, we faced our first obstacle and opportunities for God to work things out.

Julian and María Ibarra were not able to enter Johannesburg because they did not have a  visa to enter the country.   Sandra Gourdet, Global Ministries leader, allowed God to work the problem out.  What the devil took for bad, Jesus worked out for our good.  Although the journey was slightly delayed, we prayed.  In spite of no room in the airport hotel, God made room for them to be able to stay there and join the group in the morning for travel to Mozambique.

After securing hotel accommodations for the Ibarras at the Johannesburg airport, Sandra  joined the group that waited in arrival hall while Nadine Burton worked on contacting those responsible for transferring us to the guest where we were to stay in the evening.  .  We changed money and proceeded to our guest house to retire for the night.  The evening ended with a great meal and meditation as we shared our experience with the hand of God working on our behalf.  Michael Yarborough, chaplain, shared an evening vespers service in which we all took part and ended the night with prayer.

Recorder:  Jean Brown

Fourth Day

Saturday, October 3, 2009

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and e glad in it.!  Ps. 118:24

The graciousness of God allowed us to wake up to a beautiful Johannesburg morning.  The team shared breakfast and fellowship and then set out for our early flight to Maputo.  We passed through passport control without incidence, but ran into luggage weight challenges.  Nadine had to return to the terminal and check her carry-on as the rest of us continued to the gate. Sandra stayed behind to ensure that Nadine cleared immigration.  Once again, prayer prevailed.  Nadine met us at the gate prior to boarding and we met back up with Julian and María.  We were a complete, global team again, and we stood anticipating what God had in store for us in Maputo!

Our chaplain for the day (Melvin B.) gathered us in prayer before boarding and upon safe landing Sandra Gourdet identified our global partners who were eagerly awaiting our arrival.  Brief introductions were made, we loaded up the luggage, and we journeyed toward the VIP Grand Hotel.  The sights and sounds of Mozambique processed differently for each of us; some evoked memories of Haiti; some Ghana; some Jamaica; and the first timers (to international travel) observed with wide angle lenses the many street vendors, buyers, sellers, children playing, adults huddled together … while at the same time looking at abandoned buildings, traces of poverty, faces of deprivation and bare survival!

The VIP Grand Hotel is beautiful and after exchanging currency quickly due to the holiday weekend, the team gathered with our global partners for an official welcome, introductions and brief sharing of the week's itinerary.

We (team) received a warm, wonderful welcome from our partner hosts who shared the itinerary for the Sunday worship and the peace agreement celebration scheduled for Sunday and Monday.  The team will be split between two congregations on Sunday – United Church of Christ in Mozambique (UCCM) with Sandra, Jackie, Julian and Maria and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa with Nadine, Michael, Melvin and Jean.  The welcome from our Mozambique hosts (with translation) was  given by the Rev. Lucas Amosse.  Since Melvin B. was chaplain for the day, he received their warm with thoughtful words on behalf of us!

Sandra G. explained to our partners that we were church planters and we had come to learn from them; we want to know from them how they bring people to church, especially when they face so many difficulties.  We want to see how our Mozambican  brothers and sisters "do church."  We simply want to learn from them!  Afterwards, the team enjoyed lunch and great fellowship, anticipating each new experience here in Maputo ... and the next experience came shortly after lunch as Sandra, Nadine, Melvin, Jean,  Michael and I boarded the elevator.  Too much weight!  We got stuck with no means of communication, no elevator instructions and no buttons working.  As the temperature quickly began rising and the oxygen quickly diminished, our Dr. Nadine B. went the old fashioned way and began "hollering" loudly, through the door and help came.  We are still laughing about this one!

While we rested in our rooms, Sandra met with our partners and we had the opportunity to greet them and their spouses again.  As we were given instructions on pick up tomorrow morning, our team left and walked to a Mozambique restaurant for dinner and fellowship.

Evening Reflections:

After reading excerpts from Luke 19 and focusing on v. 41, "as Jesus approached Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it."  Melvin challenged us with the following:

What did we see?  What did we hear from the crowds today?  What were the cries?  What can we do to silence the cries from the crowd?  We then engulfed in silent meditation.  Afterwards, the team led sharing around the journey of the day.  This is some of the dialogue:

What can we do as partners?  I don't know! The sights, sounds of Mozambique made me nervous; all the people pulling at us wanting to help and serve was uncomfortable; the traces of poverty made me say, I don't want to live like this; made us hold on to our purses tighter with all these people surrounding us; but, we must look at what the partner gives us:  take note of their sincere appreciation, thire gracious attitude, attentiveness, hospitality and sacrifice!

Nadine stated:  "the blessing is in the presence!"  In the moment!  Just the idea that we came to see about them in Mozambique means so much to them!  However, by the end of the trip, we hope to have identified ways in which we can continue to be a blessing after the experience.  We will dialogue this in the days to come.

It is now time to prepare for Sunday worship and a good worship experience.  Today, we have been so blessed!  The chaplain concluded in prayer.

Recorder: Jackie McHenry

Fifth Day

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Today is also the Lord's Day for Mozambique Christians.  We give thanks for the breakfast buffet we are enjoying at the Hotel VIP in Maputo.  As arranged, group 1, Michael Charles Yarbrough, Melvin, Jean Ann Brown and Nadine Burton went to the United Congregational church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) to celebrate its 42nd anniversary with two weddings scheduled. Group 2, Jacqualyn Cadlett McHenry, Sandra Gourdet, Julian Ibarra, and me, María Ibarra, left with our driver, Agnaldo Carlos Pedro (many vehicles here have the wheel on the right side – and our vehicle was one of them), to another church, United Church of Christ in Mozambique, whose pastor is Lucas  Amosse.   The church building is still under construction, yet the building is large, spacious and beautiful.  As we waited we had the opportunity to meet and speak with the former pastor, an elderly man of 84 years, Arao Zarias Wgenya, retired after ministering for 56 years.  The pastors in their garb gathered and at 10:00 a.m. we heard not bells but the melodious voices of the youth choir as the long but beautiful worship service began.  The choir's harmonious sound alternated with the scripture reading, prayers, and congregational hymns bringing us to the moment when Rev. Sandra Gourdet delivered a brief but inspiring message based on Luke 17:11-19.

When it seemed the worship service was coming to an end, a deacon delivered the offering call in a surprising and admirable manner.  The Pastor Lucas' wife lead the offering act as follows:  a table was placed at the front of the sanctuary, and the people passed forward in groups to bring their monetary offerings and fruit of the land.  All were brought forth with singing and dancing and it was very impressive; we as visitors were impacted greatly by this.  When it was our turn to bring our offering we did the same, that is, we sang and we danced unaware that this had gone on for an hour and a half.  Believing that the service had concluded, it continued with singing and greetings and the Apostles' Creed.  It was 1:00 p.m. and the greetings continued as more than 100 worshipers left with us to the Hotel for a brief 15 minute recess and then continued to the United Methodist Church were a special joint worship Day of Peace celebration was held.  The service had more or less the same organization as the previous service, as we sang and prayed and heard the different leaders of the various churches present.  What was outstanding were the melodious, rhythmic songs of joy, as a beautiful expression of worship in the cultural manner of this musically talented country that was given the gift of song by God.

As we shared our experiences at the end of the day, we were all in agreement that this worship experience was unique and extraordinary, and thus it was unforgettable.

With love,

María del Rosario Montoya de Ibarra

Sixth Day

Monday, October 5, 2009

The African southern sun arose smiling today because a group of eight pastors from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from the USA were visiting the Republic of Mozambique.  And we were smiling because we boarded the vehicle that would take us to the United Seminary of Ricatla, in Northern Maputo, the capital city.  It was a holiday and many people were in the streets, which allowed us to see the people in their colorful cultural garb going about their daily business.

The seminary is in a rural area, an extensive property surrounded by beautiful wooded area; there were many varieties of trees and many different birds flying and singing joyfully.  I now understand why Christians in this country sing with such sweet and delightful passion.  We were able to tour the physical facilities whose design pretended to respect the original architectural design of the building, only with contemporary materials.  We also met the staff, the President, Rector, Professors, as well as many seminarians.  It was surprising to see such a large group of students – possibly 70 men and women.

I admired the Dutch missionary couple that develops the praiseworthy work of the seminary.  They are Hette and Petra Doonsburg, who have three natural children and a beautiful Mozambican adopted daughter. To see this child in their arms is to see how much they love this country where they serve; it was as if they had Mozambique in their arms, very near to their hearts.

There are "angels" singing in chorus everywhere in Mozambique.  The group of seminarians sang as beautifully as the birds of the African woods, and just less than the angels in heaven.  They gave us the gift of inspiration.

We had the opportunity to listen for a few minutes to Professor Cipriano De Nigeria's class, who was teaching about eco-theology of the 21st century.  We were impacted by such a powerful teaching.  Then we left to go to  the United Church of Christ of Mozambique where Rev. Amosse Lucas is pastor.  The singing "angels" sang once again in the congregation.  Between greetings among the congregants, visitors and pastor, we held a round table where we reflected on the church in Mozambique and in the US.  It was a long day but full of unforgettable experiences and unexpected blessings.  The love of Christ was clearly evident and felt in every greeting and in every brotherly hug.

The sun left us as it went on to Indianapolis, but it set smiling because it looked at our small group of pilgrims and strangers who had received blessings upon blessings in the sweet and holy name of Jesus.  That was the sixth day.  May God be glorified!

Pastor Julian Ibarra Zapata

Seventh Day

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We met, shared, breakfasted, and fellowshipped, and Jean, our chaplain for the day, offered prayer.

Our first stop was unofficial – it was the South African Embassy where Sandra and  Pastor Lucas Amosse attempted to process documents for Julian and María, but without success.  We then journeyed to the Christian Council of Mozambique along with Pastor Lucas and, while we waited for the General Secretary Elect, Pastor Lucas asked that we sing one of our church songs; Nadine responded with "I Will Do A New Thing" from the Isaiah 43 text.  We sang together and Nadine offered prayer.

The General Secretary Elect Pastor Macamo, arrived and officially greeted the team and shared some of his vision and goals for the churches in Mozambique.  He also took the time to give an impromptu history class, complete with handouts and pictures on the History of the Church in Africa.

The General Secretary Elect also gave a tour of the facility and introduced the staff.  He had a poster in the conference room with that powerful slogan – "live simply so that others my simply live!"  This is the second time this week that the slogan has spoken to us!  There were no more posters so we took pictures of it that will give the same effect.

Our next stop was Caran, which was indeed the highlight of the day.  The General Secretary Elect Macamo accompanied us to Caran, a safe haven center for street girls that  was founded and is supported by the Christian Council of Mozambique.  Upon arrival, the girls greeted us with smiling and joyful spirits.  We toured the facility, took many pictures, listened and observed the needs and concerns of the center.  With the challenges the girls have had to face, we were simply amazed at their joyful spirits.  They stared and giggled and whispered about the visitors like any other young girls and they danced.  They sang and danced and we sang and danced with them.  Even General Secretary Elect Macamo got in the circle and danced with them and the outbursts of laughter from everyone were electrifying and memorable.  This is a ministry deserving of intentional, focused advocacy and support because there is much to be done in developing the self-esteem and spiritual formation of these wonderful young ladies.  We were all so touched by being in theirresence and shall remember to keep them in our prayers!

After leaving Caran we stopped to look at some batiks along the road.  We made a few purchases, skipped lunch and stayed on the move.  Our next stop was Church World Service, South African Regional This was a great reunion for Sandra G. and Mhizah Chifamba, the Director.  CWS shared a slide show giving us an idea of their many projects.  We met some of the staff, toured the facilities and moved on to the next leg of the journey.

We visited TAE (Transforming Arms into Tools) program, which is another program sponsored by CCM (Christian Council of Mozambique).  We were given a brief synopsis on how the program works with participation from the council, the government and the community who give up their guns and weapons in order for them to be exchanged for sewing machines, bicycles and building materials.  The discarded guns and weapons are used to create unique art pieces symbolic of the peace in the country . This ministry is nothing short of amazing. 

In my opinion, one of the memorable statements made was "the relationship between the Christian Council of Mozambique, the churches and the Peace Building Program have cemented a partnership that has fostered a trust within the churches causing church growth."  The day's agenda was arduous, jam-packed, fast moving, but powerful!  The sights and sounds of this day in Mozambique will remain fixed in our hearts and minds for some time.  As the day closes, even after dinner, prayers and reflections, I can still see the Caran girls giggling, singing, and dancing with joyful spirits and as I close my eyes for the night, I see reflections of the outline of a Tiffany lamp made of gun parts.  This is the epitome of PEACE!!!!

Recorder:         Jackie McHenry

Eighth Day

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Our day began with breakfast at the restaurant in the Hotel VIP in Maputo where we have been staying.  Our driver, punctual as always, drove us across the city to the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa.  As we sat under a large mango tree, we were given a detailed history of church and its work, learning that there are currently 18 churches in rural areas, two in the Gaza region, and 12 or so in Maputo. 

We then left to a nearby home to learn how it is they start new churches.  We returned to the hotel for a brief recess and later drove 30 km. outside Maputo to visit a center that offers assistance to those suffering with HIV.  Again we sat under another mango tree to listen to the narration of different servants that are dedicated to this commendable ministry.  It was moving and emotional as we listened to the gratitude of many who were thankful for our group's visit, especially the pastors among us.

We prayed for the people, including those children present – we felt challenged by such a worthy ministry.  It was evening when we returned to Maputo.  However, we stopped at the United Church of Christ in Mozambique on the way to the hotel to share a final meeting with Pastor Amosse Lucas and others from the church.  This was another emotional and precious moment as we said goodbye with such joy and nostalgia, taking with us the memories of those brothers and sisters who hosted us and as we received their gifts of cultural garb for each of us.

Even though it was a long day and we had driven great distances, we took advantage of the moment at the restaurant to have our final reflection time as a group.  That is how, with profound gratitude, we ended this marvelous, unforgettable experience that may possibly be for most of us difficult to repeat.

God bless us all.

With gratitude and love,

María del Rosario Montoya de Ibarra

Ninth Day

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We began our morning with breakfast and the Chaplin opened with Genesis 12: 1-4.  Talking about the blessing of Abram, he reminds us that we, too, have those blessings.  Rev. Ibarra ends with the spirit dwelling among us.  He prays for each of the group members.  At that moment the Holy Spirit took control and we cried and hugged.  From that moment on we would never be the same. 

Then we left for the airport to travel from Maputo to Johannesburg.  We arrived safely, met with our guide, Sipathi, who accompanied us on a day of shopping and relaxation.   She gave a history and tour of Johannesburg.  We then arrived at  Rosebank Shopping Center  to shop and have fun.   Then we left for Wedgwood Guest House, a very peaceful, quiet, beautiful place.  As we prepared for our evening meal, we  gathered together and went out for a peaceful evening at Moyo's Zoo Lake for dinner.  It was a very nice place.  To end the evening the food and the fellowship were great!  We spent the rest of the evening reflecting on our experience. 

Rev. Nadine Burton shared the evening scripture taken from Is. 40 pointing to the fact that God's presence was on every corner in the country of South Africa.  In spite of the visible things that grabbed our deepest passion and beyond the stone walls of hopelessness God was at work and very present. 

We ended our evening in high spirits and inspired to activate our faith to accommodate our experience.  God has not forgotten his people.

Recorder:  Jean Brown

Tenth Day

Friday, October 9, 2009

The absence of Julian and Maria on our final morning in South Africa was felt.  Following breakfast at Wedgwood Guest House in Melville, we left with our guide to learn more about this very diverse country through the eyes of the people that we met in SOWETO, an acronym for South West Township, where an estimated two to three million people live.   We went from the plush, rich neighborhoods to those of abject poverty. 

On the surface, the ordinary visitor to Johannesburg can easily leave with the impression that South Africa is a first world country, and it is in many, many ways.   When one moves about, the legacy of apartheid and the challenges facing the country are still very obvious.  We saw the plush neighborhoods and the fine BMWs; we saw the hostels that were so prevalent during the era of gold digging; we saw the matchbox houses where 70% of the people of Soweto live and had an opportunity to visit one; we saw the elephant houses and finally the informal settlements, where households have to share toilets and water taps. 

We saw many other things that really helped us understand the beauty and love of life that can only be seen when interacting with people. We visited a "shebeen" , probably better known as a traditional beer hall, which was  popularized  in the USA through the songs of Miriam Makeba.  One of the men at the shebeen shared with us in all honesty that "here we don't have to worry about the totsi (bad guys).  We can come here and feel at home and at peace and not worry about the troubles out there.

We saw the largest hospital in South Africa, The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. We met with a herbalist and we were even tempted to purchase a few herbs for back pain and arthritis.  We were disappointed when we didn't have time to stop at Maponya – the largest shopping mall in Johannesburg.   

We visited the Freedom Charter monument depicting the freedom charter that was drafted in June 1955 by those who felt that one day freedom would come and that there would be equality and freedom for all of South Africa's citizen regardless of race.  It was this Freedom Charter that served as a foundation for the new South African Constitution hailed as being one of the most progressive in the world. 

We passed the Mundi Regina Catholic church where police started shooting at black students who were protesting the forced use of Afrikans as a medium of education. We drove through the Orlando Township where Nelson Mandela lived and where his former wife, Winnie Mandela continues to live.  We drove along Vilakadzi Street, which is famous for having two Nobel Peace Prize winners - Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.

Then we arrived at the Hector Petersen Monument, known around the world in memory of the first known casualty of the student uprising in 1976.  Hector Peterson was caught in the cross fire as police started shooting at the protestors.  The stones from which the monument is built are symbolic of the uprising and the empty spaces in the monument are symbolic of the untold stories and the lack of closure.  Olive trees are planted around the monument symbolic of the peace that now reigns in the country.

Before leaving the township, we visited one of Global Ministries partner projects – Bridgman Center, an after school program for neighborhood children.  There,  we interacted for a few minutes with Global Ministries missionary Carla Giger Makhalima who shared with the group about the center's ministry.

On the way to the airport, we drove past one of the large stadiums that will host the 2010 World Soccer Cup.   Back at the airport, the group joined up with Maria and Julian and waved goodbye to southern Africa and cherishing their moments – all too brief – beneath the African skies.

Recorder:  Sandra Gourdet

To view photos from the pilgrimage, follow this link: http://picasaweb.google.com/bshebeck/NewChurchStartPilgrimageToMozambiqueOctober09?authkey=Gv1sRgCMCc7bHglbGiTg#

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