Mozambique-Malawi: Crocodiles, Hyenas, Baptisms--Eternal Joy Released
This trip into Mozambique was intended to visit all the new churches that have started as a result of Wheresoever's visits. In addition to the initial 4 churches started more than a year ago, there were an additional 7 for a total of 11. But it has turned out to be very
difficult to visit all the churches because they seem to be sprouting up everywhere starting around last October - there are now 24 churches including the original 4, in 4 different denominations (Forwa rd in Faith, Gennesaret, Agape Life Church, Assemblies of God, World Missions). We are having a very busy but extremely exciting time, and there are new people letting Jesus into their hearts all the time. All the churches do have a leader, either a pastor, an evangelist, or an elder - I was encouraged that when having the Wheresoever council members list whether each leader is spiritually strong, medium or weak, there was only one weak, with the rest split between strong and medium.The councils are doing a wonderful job not only finding the new Christians, but also assigning leaders. At most churches I'm being told that I'm the first white person (azungu in Chichewa) to ever step in the church, good to see walls coming down.
Yesterday went out to baptize people at one of the "way out there" villages around Tete on the shores of the Zambese, 2 hours on very rough roads, having to cross a river in the car along the way. We had visited there 2 days before and seeing the hunger for Jesus, had to back to baptize and teach a little more. But we were a couple of hours late since we had been stuck in mud the night near another church (our sleeping places have been fairly random) and could not pull out until the morning with 10 locals working for about 12 hours. We decided to cross the river at another point so it wouldn't be quite so scary.
When we arrived it turned out that the water in the river at the place we crossed 2 days earlier had risen and the only other car to try to get through had not made it across, so the village thought we were not coming and scattered to work in the fields. We were able to gather about half the number that wanted baptism in great excitement and celebration. Although we could not baptize them on the Zambese as they had spotted too many crocodiles so we went off a long way to a tributary smaller river - the Holy Spirit knows what He's doing as it worked very well with much more time to sing and dance praises to our King of Kings on the way. We need to return some future trip to baptize the rest. On the way back, the car stopped in the rain in the middle of nowhere and the battery ran down - push-starting impossible after lots of effort in the water & mud. I thought we would just sleep there & hope for a tractor in the morning, only to find out that it was hyena territory and since one of our windows was stuck half way down, it was time for more prayer. After about an hour of prayer, re-trying dead battery, and exhausting effort to push, the engine just decided to rev up as if the battery had no problem at all, and we praised God again. Of course we did look a little funny at the next church, preaching while dripping wet.
Today we've arranged a mass baptism for a bunch of churches near town -about 30 to 40 churches including many of the new ones started due to Wheresoever, but also many of the previously established ones. No idea how many people there will be, but I'm expecting a BIG crowd. We have chosen another smaller river with low chance of crocodiles. We'll be spending most of the morning transporting people to the river, and then taking them back after celebrations. No idea how many people we'll have as right now I don't have access to any of the lists, but I'm expecting a BIG crowd - yet another opportunity to teach and share about God's infinite love, and to praise and worship together with them in their very African ways. Please pray for increased hunger to not only believe in, but to KNOW Jesus.
Before the mass baptism we're heading into Tete to hopefully finalize the formal registration of Wheresoever in Mozambique.This has been a complicated process with many steps with different government offices, so Praise God that it's almost complete.That's also when I hope to send this email - last time the only internet café in town did not have access to the internet and didn't have much idea when they would, but I hear rumors there may be another one, I'm praying I can get this out to you. Haven't run into anyone with a landline phone in their house yet, and don't even know if there's such a thing as a normal ISP here, so really hoping for this café.
There is much anticipation for the seminars we will run as part of the trip later this month including the US team. I'm starting to wonder how we'll be able to keep the attendees down to manageable numbers - we cannot teach much more than 150 to 200. So please also pray for this.This trip with the US team will have as its main thrust opening up new villages to Jesus - it MUST BE bathed in prayer, so PLEEEASE….. Dates that need the most prayer (seminars in morning, new villages in afternoon and night) ar March 24,25,26 in Angonia district, and March 28,29,30 in Tete district, with lots of travel before, after and during each campaign.
Last week 4 of us went down to Chimoio and Beira, about a 10 hour drive. In Chimoio met with the Foursquare missionaries to Mozambique from Brazil and the Foursquare pastor overseeing three provinces including Tete. The previous week I had met with the Mozambique National Leader who came to see me in Malawi. There seems to be a lot of interest for Foursquare to expand in this area as part of the Wheresoever effort, if we can can jointly come up with leaders for new churches. Still some more groundwork needed, but promising. One of the most exciting parts of all this is that one of the mission aries has been sent to Mozambique for the specific purpose of setting up the groundwork in order to possibly start a Foursquare Bible School in Chimoio. Open to the idea of possibly setting up satellites in the Tete Province with our help. This all needs LOTS of prayer please.
In Beira we went around encouraging a number of the churches there, and also bought 10 bikes (2 boxes of parts, 5 bikes each) to allow local evangelists in the Tete Province to increase their reach - bikes much cheaper in Beira. The evangelists say they are ready to leave for extended periods as soon as the bikes are ready. While in Beira we did take advantage to see a Mozambique beach for about half an hour - it was very touching for me to see Kenneth and Christiano, the Malawi pastors that have been working so tirelessly with us from the beginning - seeing the ocean for the first time in their lives. And the Mozambique pastors with us say they only see it once every few years. Walked in up to our knees quoting scripture from Genesis, special.
There was a sad time in Malawi before crossing across to Mozambique. Grace, one of Christiano's sisters who lives in Mozambique died in our presence at a horpital in Malawi. She was buried the next day in Malawi since lack of embalming facilities make it necessary to be done quickly. Christiano's mother and other family members from Mozambique as they only received the hand-carried message the day after the funeral. I felt honored to be able to help arrange and take part in all parts of the funeral, including taking the body to be washed by village women, help a little in filling in the grave, etc. I'm told that I'm the first white person anyone had ever seen at one of these funerals, so it was even more special when they asked me to preach in the church. And at the actual burial it was the first time a woman had been seen to preach (Enesia prea ched there). I felt there was a big purpose for Grace's going home in Malawi, after Enesia's and my preaching there were about 60 people accepting Jesus at the end of the burial - the first time I've seen such reaction at a funeral.
Please pray in all ways the Holy Spirit leads you after reading the info above.