Challenge and Encouragement within Mozambique
From the 10th to the 22nd of June Samuel Adams and Gary Bolton travelled to Mozambique to see how our literature is being distributed by Every Home for Christ in that country. We trust that, as you read this report, that you will be challenged and encouraged to see what God is doing in the land of Mozambique through our Gospel literature.
The country of Mozambique in South East Africa has a population of about 23 million people. The official language is Portuguese but many other tribal languages are also spoken in the country. For many years we shipped Portuguese literature to an organisation called Lifeline working in Mozambique. One of their volunteers was Pastor Anacleto. The British workers eventually moved out of the country and handed their entire work to Pastor Anacleto to carry on. A few years ago he joined Every Home for Christ and we have been shipping him container loads of literature in the Portuguese language for evangelism.
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One of his aims and desires is to help struggling churches whose pastors need encouragement and help in their work. A few weeks before we arrived, they had safely received a container of literature which we had sent and they were very keen to have this distributed to many pastors and evangelists. On our first Sunday we visited two churches and this began to give us a little bit of an idea concerning the needs of the churches in Mozambique. We had brought supplies of literature to the churches and this was received with much excitement. We heard later that the first church that we visited decided immediately after the service finished to go and conduct some door to door visitation in order to use the Gospel literature.
The next day a pastors’ Conference had been arranged. As Gary opened up the Word of God and preached three times that day, we realized how hungry these pastors were for good Christian teaching. Most of them lack good books and commentaries to lead them in the study of the Word of God. During the day they took time to explain to us the tremendous need that there is for Bibles in their country. The few Bibles that do exist are very expensive and outside the reach of a normal person. At the end of the day each of the pastors was given one set of our children’s Bible lessons and a quantity of Gospel tracts for evangelism. This literature was received with much interest and delight.
The following days we travelled from Beira to different areas in order to deliver literature to central points where the local pastors could come and collect supplies. This involved a lot of travelling and frequently on extremely poor roads. Many hours were spent in a 1985 Toyota jeep with Pastor Anacleto driving and ourselves in the front. Then in the back of the jeep there would be a load of literature, and sitting on top of this a number of pastors who travelled with us to each of the villages.
Each time we arrived we were always greeted by the members of the church singing and, even though we frequently did not arrive until the early afternoon, people told us that they had been at the church from 8 o’clock that morning waiting for our arrival. This gave us a feeling of how keen they were to receive the Gospel literature and to meet us. As we arrived at our first village church, we looked out over a whole valley which looked totally undeveloped and yet, through the tall grass, shrubs and trees, many little paths intertwined between villages, churches and people living throughout this valley. We were told that two years ago there were only about 30 churches in this area but, as the literature was distributed, many new churches were formed until today there are about 500 churches in this area. We heard testimonies from the people who have come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We were also told that in this area some witch doctors are leaving because they have so few clients left, this is a testimony to the power of the Word of God.
One of the greatest challenges that we faced was when we were told that the people in these churches do not have Bibles at all and this includes the pastor! The only Scripture that these people have are the Gospels of John that we have sent to them in previous years. This gave us a little bit of a glimpse into the tremendous needs and yet, at the same time, we realized that if we had not sent the Gospels of John at all – then these people would probably still be living in darkness without the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. After the service was over, we went to the local village for some evangelism and door to door visitation.
Our return journey that evening was in the dark along very dark and bumpy roads where very few people travelled. Suddenly we heard a loud noise which brought us to a stop. It was quickly determined that some bolts had come out of the power shaft. We had no sooner found this out than a lorry appeared and stopped with us. They enquired if we had broken down and, upon hearing our situation, they immediately told us that they were mechanics and would fix the jeep for us. It turned out that three bolts had fallen out and two of the pastors started walking up the road looking in the sand and dust for these bolts using the screen of a mobile phone as their torch! Amazingly in a few minutes they found two of the bolts. The man in the other lorry then enquired what we were actually doing and we told him that we were distributing Gospel literature. He then informed us that he himself was a pastor and in the end only charged a fraction of the proper cost for fixing our vehicle. Within a very short time we were driving again and praising the Lord for all of His goodness to us.
The next day as we travelled to the village we left the tarmac road, followed a wide dirt road which gradually got narrower and narrower until it was no wider than a bicycle track. And eventually we were told we could go no further in the vehicle. A crowd of people from the church were waiting at this point and immediately unloaded the vehicle with all of the literature. Then the children, women and men picked up bundles or boxes of the literature, placed it on their heads and we all set off in a line to the village which was over half a mile away! In order to get there we had to climb down banks and climb up the final bank to arrive in the village.
We held an open-air meeting as so many people had gathered and other pastors had come from the area in order to meet with us. We were also honoured as the head man of the village attended the meeting. He spoke at the end of the meeting and thanked us for coming and for bringing the Word of God. Before we arrived someone had told him that a political party was coming so he decided to come and see for himself! This church had built an extra room at the back of their church, in order to create a store for the literature so that other churches in the area and pastors could come and get supplies of literature for their own churches.
We also agreed to do a three day trip as the distances involved meant that we could not return to Beira at night. We hired a lorry and brought about 4 tonnes of the literature to the city of Chimolo. Once again this literature was put into storage so that churches in the whole surrounding area could come and get supplies. It took us approximately six hours driving before we arrived at the church and, as usual, a group of pastors were waiting to see us. They immediately ushered us in and asked us to speak.
That evening we drove many more miles on dirt roads until we arrived in a village. It appeared that everyone was already packed into the little church. It was pitch dark and they only had two little oil lamps on either side of the platform. After Gary had preached and the meeting was closed, we discovered that the people were quite annoyed as they had planned to have an all-night meeting to last until 4 a.m.! Pastor Anacleto had to explain that he and ourselves had been travelling all day and that we were all exhausted and that we would have to rest. However, they were free to carry on their meeting. A couple of tents had been brought with us for ourselves and the pastors travelling with us. So we went to sleep in the tent a few yards from the church where they continued to sing and worship all night!
The next morning we had another service at 8 o’clock for the people and then started travelling to another village. This was a long slow journey due to the terrible road conditions and the remoteness of the area. We discovered later that we were the first white men ever to visit this village. Once again we had a meeting for the pastors and then it was announced that a Gospel film would be shown that evening. We were amazed as several hundred people turned up but, of course, we realized that this was a very unique event in the area. As the pastors set up the equipment they realized that the battery pack that they had brought was flat so they decided then to run the projector from the battery of the jeep.
When it finished, one of the local evangelists got up and preached a Gospel message, followed by an appeal and prayer. When the meeting was announced as being complete no one moved. Instead they wanted more preaching from the white men! After this was completed, the people still did not want to go home. So, once again, we found ourselves going to sleep in a tent and a mass of people all around singing with drums beating a few yards from the tent.
The following morning we had a service with the people before we left. At the end of the service the people brought their offering. Each person brings their offering to the front of the church, the offering does not need to be cash, but can be anything that the people produce. The offering that morning was for us in appreciation for all of the literature which we had brought. So we ended up with a little bit of cash, five lengths of sugar cane, two large bunches of bananas, a large mango, a live chicken and a bag of maize flour. This, of course, all had to be loaded onto the jeep as well for us to take. However, we were very happy to pass this on to Pastor Anacleto. We didn’t think that the airport authorities would be very pleased having a live chicken on the flight!
At the first two services that we conducted and some of the other services there was an opportunity for people to come forward with their prayer requests. The people would line up, share their prayer request with Pastor Anacleto or Godfrey (his assistant) who would then translate it into English for us – and then we were to pray in English for the people. We found that this was an extremely good way of understanding exactly the needs of the people. The following are some of the prayer requests which we received:
– One pastor explained that he was so discouraged that he was ready to give up his work. Having heard the Word of God that day he decided that he will carry on.
– A young man having heard the Word of God prayed that he would be able to serve the Lord in an even greater way.
– We had many who were sick and suffering from a variety of physical ailments.
– Some ladies requested prayer that their husbands would stop beating them and would treat them properly.
– Other women were childless and told us their husbands were threatening to leave them if they could not have a child.
– Some young people were desiring to have an education. Others were concerned that their parents had taken them out of school because they could not afford the school uniforms.
– One lady came requesting prayer, but told us that she has a number of fetishes in her house which her father encourages her to use every day. Pastor Anacleto explained to her that, until these fetishes were burned and destroyed and she renounced these, that she could not come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This woman then explained that the fetishes belonged to her father and that she could not destroy them. This gave us a little glimpse of the power of the witch doctors and the terrible bondage in which many people are held.
On our return journey from Mozambique we had to fly through Johannesburg and we had arranged to spend one day with the leaders of Every Home for Christ in South Africa. They had told us that they had already supplied quantities of our Gospels of John to Judea Harvest, but what we had not known was how they were using our Gospels of John. We quickly discovered that they are using the “Seven steps to knowing God” as an introduction to the Gospel for people in their own homes. Then, much to our encouragement, we discovered that they are using the Gospel of John as a discipleship course in order to try and ground the people with a real understanding as to the Gospel message. Not only are they using the Gospels of John for discipleship, but they actually have a programme of church planting through the Gospels of John.
Already they have used about 200,000 of our Gospels of John and they are now requesting half a million Gospels of John each year for their work in South Africa. They are now working with about 5,000 pastors all across South Africa and they are constantly teaching these pastors through two day seminars. They have 7 full-time staff involved in these seminars when they gather around 50 to 60 pastors at one time and teach them for two days and then move on to another area. This means that each of the 5,000 pastors involved in their work is given two days training each year.
As we left Mozambique and South Africa we were challenged afresh with the tremendous needs for Gospel literature – and, at the same time, really encouraged to know how the Lord has taken up the literature that we have sent to these countries and is using it to bring a harvest of precious souls. Many times people thanked us for the Gospel literature and asked us to pass on their thanks to you, our supporters, for the tremendous way that each of you has stood behind us in this ministry.
As I reflect on our visit to Mozambique two words come to mind: ‘encouraged’ and ‘challenged’. It was greatly encouraging to see how the literature of Every Home Crusade is being used to bring people to Christ. During our visit we were accompanied by a Pastor who shared his testimony in one of the meetings. He passionately told the congregation that he was bound by the power and darkness of sin before the Lord set him free through reading one of our tracts – what a joy to know that the work we are involved in is having such an impact for the Kingdom of God. One afternoon I was talking with one Pastor about what topics I should preach on during our visit to Mozambique. He replied: ‘The only book I would advise you not to preach on is John’s Gospel as they hear sermons preached from this book every week’. As I chatted further I soon realised that the Gospels of John printed in our factory were the only material that many of the Pastors had to teach their people. It was encouraging to know that we were providing this literature but also challenging to think that some Pastors don’t even have a copy of the Scriptures! Everywhere we travelled we saw a tremendous need for Christian literature to help these believers grow in their relationship with God. Please continue to pray for us that we might know the best way to help our brothers and sisters in Mozambique through providing them with good solid literature.
During our visit we were able to gain a little insight into the history of Mozambique. We listened to the stories of the destruction that was caused during the recent war that the country experienced. Thankfully the country is more stable in these days. However, another war still continues – the war that rages for the souls of men and women. Give thanks to God for those that are being saved through our Gospel literature and continue to pray that the Lord will take up his Word in these days and bring many to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ… Gary Bolton.
Please continue to Pray in regards to the huge financial needs of the ministry. During the past month we shipped 4 Containers of literature to S. Africa, India, Brazil and Rwanda. Each of these containers loads cost £35,000.00 including paper, printing and shipping costs.
Yours for a Great Revival,
Samuel Adams Clive Allen