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First Trip to Mozambique

Written by Wayne & Ingrid Wilson
August 19, 2005

On July 26, 2005 we crossed the Swaziland/Mozambican border for the first time. The distance between our home in Mbabane and Maputo, Mozambique is about 160 miles, so it takes us about 2.5 hours to get there, depending on the wait at the border. Our goal was to reach Maputo, the home of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa’s, Mozambique Synod. As a precaution we arranged for a friend and colleague to meet us at the border. His name is Rev. Dinis Matsolo and he is the General Secretary of the Christian Council of Mozambique(CCM). Wayne and Dinis met nine years ago while studying together at the Graduate School of the World Council of Churches(WCC-GS) in Geneva, Switzerland. Also, Ingrid’s uncle was one of their fellow classmates, so in spirit a portion of  the WCC-GS  c/o’96  was together again.

{mosimage}The ride from the border to Maputo was quite memorable. There we were in yet another corner of the continent, challenged with new sights, new sounds, and new smells. Our first stop was at the program office of the CCM where the regional representatives and program leaders were meeting. The weekend prior to our arrival, they’d concluded their annual meeting, so a spirit of pride and accomplishment was still in the air. At that meeting, we were introduced and received an overview of the work and ministry of the Council. We were informed of the work of the Council that had been funded by the Global Ministries family of donors(UCC/Disciples Conferences, Regions, and Congregations, etc). These included The United Seminary of Ricatla, an ecumenical theological institution founded in 1958 under the leadership of the protestant churches, the Guns into Plowshares Program that converts old armaments into pieces of art, and CARAN(The Center for Support of Girls in Need). Due to time constraints, we were not able to go to Ricatla that day, and this is the time of year CARAN is on break, so we did not physically go to those two places. Yet, we must always remind ourselves that “active ministry is a marathon, not a sprint”, therefore, we have already planned to go to those two places during our next encounter in August.  After lunch, we spent a little bit of time just getting to know Maputo. Here again, the sights, the sounds, and the smells were incredible.

{mosimage}Our second day was spent with Rev. Arao Litsure, General Secretary of the Mozambican Synod of the UCCSA. The Congregational Church in Mozambique was founded in Inyambane. The Synod is growing, having 7 congregations in the Maputo area, 20 in the Inyambane area, and a plan to establish a new congregation in the region in between known as Gaza. We talked about how we would move forward in ministry together. Generally speaking, we agreed to the outline of our original plan of work in Mozambique, committing to about ten days per month working, living, and worshipping in Mozambique. Since our gifts and skills are in the area of project creation, administration and management, we have agreed to initially work with the regional secretary of Maputo and the regional secretary of Inyambane and their pastors/leaders to develop one initial project in each region.  Generally speaking, the UCCSA, Mozambique Synod has programmatic mandates that are similar to those in all of Southern Africa: HIV/AIDS, Agriculture(they are recipients and distributors of seeds through the Seed Program, Inc), Income Generation, and Projects with/for Women. We introduced Rev. Litsure to the Lydia House Initiative that is based in South Africa(RSA), and look forward to partnering with men, women, and young people of Mozambique who make saleable handcrafts. We also agreed to provide Rev. Litsure with written transcripts of all meetings so that he is always in the loop, since his schedule may not allow him to be everywhere we go at all times. After an informal dialogue with Rev. Litsure, he took us to the site of the UCCSA Church Center where we took plenty of pictures and video that  will be used as mission interpretation/ fundraising tools. We believe in the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  The Center will soon be an excellent place for mission and ministry to take place. In our rough estimate, the construction phase is about 75% complete, then they will have to acquire furnishings and do the landscaping. The UCCSA, Mozambique Synod is still in need of vital financial gifts from people like us to complete a project that began just five years ago. It is one of the projects that is listed on the Global Ministries’ website.

On the morning of the third day, we received a telephone call from Rev. Litsure informing us of an opportunity to meet and strategize with a representative of  International Relief and Development, Inc(IRD), Mr. Themos Ntasis. Presently, IRD has projects in South Africa and Mozambique. However, it is looking for opportunities to partnership in Swaziland. This potential ecumenical partnership has great promise, since a few of the leaders of IRD are members of the United Church of Christ. We are not sure what shall come of it, but we shall follow the words of the old hymn that says, “I will go, I shall go, to see what the end shall be.”

Our next scheduled journey to Mozambique is just around the corner. Our primary goal of that trip will be to meet with regional leaders and discuss how we can be of specific help to them. After five months in Southern Africa, it is a joy to finally be able to cross another border to do God’s work and will. We shall continue to “sing the Lord’s song in a strange land,” knowing that wherever we are, God is and forever will be in our midst.

Peace,

Ingrid and Wayne Wilson
Your Missionaries in Swaziland and Mozambique
 
Wayne and Ingrid Wilson are missionaries with the Kukhany'okusha Zion Church. They are development project officers.


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