Mozambique – “An open door” …”meanwhile praying for us that God would open to us a door for the word to speak the mystery of Christ” Col. 4:3
When it appears to you that the door is firmly shut, you may just be wrong. Joel Lopes and I had our tickets for Mozambique, but had no visas. With my visa denied and great pressure upon us we thought that the door was shut and perhaps the Lord did not want us to go this year. But at the 11th hour my visa was granted and Joel obtained his too. God had done it and we were now off to Mozambique. What did He have in store for us?
On the way to the airport Joel spoke with a backslidden taxi driver. The man wept as Joel prayed for him. Then on the plane I sat next to a girl who initially said she did not believe in God, but after a long conversation stated “I think God put you next to me today.” She asked about my relationship to God and gladly took the missionary biography I was reading by Marjory Foyle.
After a night flight we arrived in the capital city, Maputo, on Saturday 13th July and stayed at the Missionary Guest House. As we walked the streets our first taste of Africa was to witness the women carrying delicately poised packages on their heads. We also noticed the brightly coloured clothes of the people. Maputo has two million people and the vast majority are poor people who speak their tribal language called Changana as well as Portuguese. It was all new to us and the next day we went to our first African church service. It lasted 4 hours!
We had come to give Bible training to pastors and church workers. Our contact in Maputo had arranged for the seminars to take place in a nearby seminary.
The facilities were good. We began at 9:30am and finished around 4:30pm each day. On the first day we taught the big story of the Bible, the story of redemption from creation to consummation. One young man later wrote to us and said that when we taught about glory he was filled with such joy that he just wanted to depart and to be with Christ. This was precious to hear. This surely is one reason why the door opened for us to come.
After three days of teaching in Maputo we flew north to Nampula. This city was very different with many more mosques and Muslims present. After our arrival we joined a conference of over 300 church leaders meeting in a large tent. The Bible ministry was excellent and we were asked to share about PTI. As a result over 30 signed up for our course. Dr. Charles Woodrow of Grace Missions has held the FIEL conference for church leaders for 20 consecutive years. He has trained many of the men, taking groups of them for “essential doctrine” classes. This year he had 21 students and he taught 10-12 hour days from Sunday afternoon through to Friday night. The Lord has given to him much grace. Charles advised us not to take all who signed up for our classes and he devised a test to whittle the number down to 23. He and his family were a tremendous example of Christian love and hospitality as they took us into their home to share rich fellowship with them and the visiting speakers from Brazil and Zambia. With their grown up children present and all the speakers there were 13 people for meals. We all slept in their home and Charles and his wife rose very early. To witness such love and devotion was another reason why God had opened the way for us to go. What a blessing to be there.
Our time in Nampula went quickly. We had 20 men and 3 women for our course. Some were able students and we had some key figures too. For example the area superintendent of several hundred Baptist churches was with us as well as the regional coordinator of the women’s work. I suppose what surprised and gladdened me was to see men from many Pentecostal denominations. What a privilege to minister God’s Word. I thank God for help in the language and for Joel who taught well and tied all of our teaching together. On the last day of teaching all the students received either copies of Stuart Olyott’s “Preaching Pure and Simple” or R.C Sproul on “Holiness” (books in Portuguese). We tested the students and the best student received Wayne Gruden’s “Teologia Sistemática”. He was beaming!!!
The highlight was to meet pastors and evangelists who were converted Muslims and to hear that the harvest is ripe in the north as Muslims are beginning to come to Christ. Pray for missionaries like Charles Woodrow who have given their lives to making the Gospel known in Mozambique. Pray for the church too. A door has opened for them to reach their Muslim neighbours. It was such a blessing to be such a small part in helping equip the men for the work of the ministry. Praise God for the open door.
By Andrew Love