It took these pastors 2 380 days of hard work, much labor and even more hurdles than the normal student, to succeed in obtaining their diploma in Theology.  You see …. there were no official classroom, no lights, no desk …. very little paper …. hardly a Bible in their mother tongue but they still pressed on to reach their dream and obtain a qualification in Theology.

The 7 pastors who successfully completed their course are all from our local area in Mucombeze, central Mozambique.  After finishing 26 books and various disciplines, they were welcomed like heroes by the local communities.  People came from everywhere.  The church (which is much bigger than the norm set here in the bush) was packed to capacity.  It was as if the local community self completed their studies.  It brought hope, pride and dignity, not only to the pastors, but to a community who desperately need hope and good news.

Mozambique has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons.  A fragile 20 year peace accord has been broken by the opposition party (and previous rebel movement) and rumors of war were going around the past year. Unfortunately it wasn’t just rumors.   More than 70 people  already died during skirmishes in central Mozambique.  Attacks on convoys, private vehicles and armed forces were a daily occurrence and were rising.  The country and its people needed hope.

And in a way the graduation ceremony provided all of that to the community.  They wanted to celebrate and take pride in people they don’t even know.  It was good to see.  Many pastors never have the opportunity to finish the course they start – as many die of illnesses along the 61.2 years.  There is no or very little opportunity to study in a third world country like Mozambique.  But when the opportunity rises  ….  they grab it with both hands.  It was a memorable day …. which left a great legacy in the hearts of 7 men … who never gave up …. and were fortunate to see and experience the day!
The church was packed to capacity as a whole community waited for the successful students to arrive.
The moment is huge …. and although a bit somber for the occasion – the 7 pastors makes their way into the church.
Ok I got carried away a little bit.  It is often true in rural Mozambique that married couples don’t show a lot of affection.  On this day though … the wives of our pastors greeted their husbands with a kiss before everyone.  That got me going.  A happy day!

One of our lead students giving his acceptance speech.  It was a proud moment indeed.
Congratulations …. as a wife of this pastor wipes his face to show her appreciation on his achievement.
Happy faces …. and relieved!

Mozambique paparazi – 21 century technology … catching up on the action on the stage!
The big and the small came to celebrate.  Little Tendai was dressed in her best and most colourful outfit for the day!
Everybody wanted to see what was happening inside.  Children peeping through the small church windows to get a glimpse of a dream come true.
More peepers!
When it was time to encourage the community and the leaders I could think of no better way to tell the story of a rabbit and a tortoise … to the joy of the kids of course!   
A more formal moment … with a few smiles this time.
Children and people came from everywhere …. dressed in the best attire for the day – even if it meant coming in your best pajamas.
Ladies bringing their thanks to GOD … by sharing their tithing.
No where in the world would you find this … children squeezing into the church to be part of ‘being church’!   Have not seen this in any western church lately.  It’s why I love the African church – everyone is part of it.  BIG AND SMALL.