June marks a significant milestone in our lives here in Mozambique. Kim and I have officially completed our year of language training in Portuguese! Now, you may be thinking, “Hey, haven’t they been in Mozambique more than a year?” and you would be right, we have. Though our language training started a couple weeks after our arrival last March and with the two months the school was closed for holidays and time taken off for various church events we have actually completed our 12 months of study in good time (insert applause here). We are very excited to be done with attending classes nearly every day. It is, however, a bittersweet sort of victory in that we have thoroughly enjoyed our growing relationship with our instructor, Professor Nota. He has been and, I am sure, will continue to be a significant resource for us as we navigate life in Mozambique. Now, we move forward to a new stage of our relationship, one of colleagues and friends rather than teacher and students. I guess that means I am going to have to start calling him by his first name - I wonder what it is???Read more
Lectionary Selection: Mark 4:35-41
Prayers for Mozambique:
God of peace and grace, hear us now as we join our prayers for peace with those of our brothers and sisters in Mozambique. As they continue to traverse the cultural expanse between the war-torn past and a peaceful, hope-filled, future may your presence be a solace to them and an inspiration as it was to the early Disciples.
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.Read more
Well, Kim is completely healed from her Typhoid experience and we were able to make a week-long trip to Gogoi in March. We spent a lot of time meeting with local leaders and fulfilling protocol requirements in order to gain permission to work in that area. It was an eye-opening experience since it never would have occurred to me that the local tribal chief, who is miles away, would care anything about us working on the church’s private land. It is just one more thing I have learned about the differences in our cultures. We were blessed to have the guidance of Pastor Edmore, the pastor in charge of the Gogoi farming project, to help us navigate the process of meetings and introductions. While we are continually gaining proficiency in speaking Portuguese, most people in this rural area speak only the local language, Ndau.Read more
While you are all looking forward to the end of winter and the coming of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, we here in Mozambique are anxiously expecting the end of a hot, wet summer and the coming of the cooler, milder winter season. It is also nearly avocado season and the avocados here are HUGE! You can make a whole bowl of guacamole with just one of them, though there is nothing even resembling a plain corn chip to be found anywhere. We’ll just have to find new ways to enjoy them.Read more
We hope you have had a wonderful and sacred holiday season. Everything in Mozambique tends to slow way down over the holidays so we have not had much to share lately, but that will soon change as the new year begins and new plans are put into motion.Read more
Greetings and blessings to you from Mozambique! We have had a very eventful month full of celebrations, both personal and church-wide. November 1st we helped celebrate the 2nd birthday of a friends’ little girl, complete with ice cream and bouncy-house. The United Church of Christ in Mozambique held their annual Synod, including a visit from Rev. Dr. Leon Spencer who shared about his recent book on church history in Mozambique. Christian Council peace meetings continue and we attended a weekend-long wedding. It has been a full month indeed, reminding us we have much to be thankful for.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Isaiah 40:1-11
Prayers for Mozambique:
God of light and life, we lift up the people of Mozambique to you in prayer, that you might speak tenderly to them, offering your divine comfort. Remind them that they are your beloved. Remind them of the power of your love and guide them in your Way. Speak words of peace into their hearts, for their times of chaos are not so far behind them and times of great trial continue even now.
God, we ask your divine influence in the hearts of those who are equipped to offer aid. We thank you for those who have already answered your call and for continuing to inspire them to reach out directly and indirectly as your hands and feet on earth with offers of time, skills, and resources.
Like a voice in the wilderness the people of Mozambique ardently cry for peace; peace in all its many forms, between peoples and within individuals alike. Make a pathway, God, in the hearts of people where peace and love might prevail and become the driving force for the renewal of your people in that place and all places. May the church in Mozambique continue to be strengthened in faith as it works to be a beacon of hope and peace.
We pray this prayer of supplication and thanksgiving in your son Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Mozambique:
Mozambique is a land full of contradiction. Materially, it is one of the poorest nations in the world. Beautiful beaches are full of fishermen barely skirting the poverty line. A fairly recent history of wars and violence is being strongly tempered by the ardent peacemaking efforts of many religious leaders and groups.
In a country where the church is such a powerful advocate for peace, but also is short on ordained pastors, support for seminary education is vital. People like the newly ordained Rev. Antonio have been able to obtain this education with assistance from Global Ministries provided in part by you, the local church. He is passionate about God’s church and participating in his ordination ceremony was an honor. I am positive that he will serve the church well.
Your support and prayers are a powerful element in the effort towards renewal and peace in Mozambique. With your gifts our church partner, the United Church of Christ in Mozambique, is able to work for peace in so many ways. Growing food in Gogoi supports economic peace and combats hunger and women’s saving groups use their funds to support the renewal of the local church, a strong force for educational and religious peace. GM funds help make local-language Bibles available to all people and programs for young women promote healthy self-image and support individual peace.
Thank you for assisting and supporting our partners’ programs in Mozambique as they continue to strive for renewal and peace in their country. Thanks you also for your continued support of this mission partnership. Please continue to hold the United Church of Christ in Mozambique and all Mozambicans in your prayers.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Kim & Erik Free)
Mission Partners in Mozambique:
- Christian Council of Mozambique
- Mozambique Synod - United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
- Ricatla United Seminary
- United Church of Christ in Mozambique
More information on Mozambique: http://globalministries.org/africa/countries/mozambique/
Global Ministries Missionaries in Mozambique:
Kim and Erik Free, members of Portland First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Portland, Oregon, serve with the United Church of Christ in Mozambique (UCCM). Kim trains the church community on health care and preventative medical care. She also works with women and girls on empowerment projects. Erik trains youth and elders in the community in agricultural skills and also serves as a local church pastor as needed by the UCCM.