You have to fly into Nampula as a roadtrip could easily take you more than 3 days from the capital city of Mozambique, Maputo. Three Harvesters trainers do exactly that. We never reach a high altitude throughout the trip which gives you a glorious view of Mozambique. The scenery quickly changes as hill after hill sweeps over the terrain. Shades of green greets you joyfully over the landscape.
Our joy lasts only an hour as we shaken from our seats as we touchdown. Greeted by an army of customs officials as we try to bring in over 400 kg’s of overweight materials for our first church planting endeavor into Northern Mozambique
After clearing customs miraculously Our objective was to plant churches deep into the heart of Northern Mozambique with the Makua and the time has come. The Makua ethnic group consists out of about 1,2 million Makua-Mozambicans.
BELIEFS OF THE MAKUA
Although some of the Makua have converted to Islam due to Arab influence, most still practice their traditional, pagan religion. In most African ethnic religions there is a belief in a supreme being, although regular worship is not offered to him. In many regions, there is the belief that at one time, this supreme being lived near the earth, but due to human familiarity, he withdrew himself from close involvement. He is still reverenced, however, as the one who sends rewards or punishments.
The Makua also believe in other spiritual beings that take the form of nature spirits or the spirits of dead ancestors. Powerful cults of the dead are the dominant feature of religious life, providing a basis for social life in East Africa. The dead are regarded as heads of their families. Once they have left their human bodies, they are thought to possess additional powers. These spirits receive much more formal worship and attention than the creator god. Every effort is made to assure a quiet, final rest for the dead. Otherwise, they will return as wandering ghosts. Time and resources are spent to make sure that the ancestors remain content and that the spirits are pacified. Certain rituals are conducted in conjunction with prayers and sacrifices to ensure the good growth of crops or to ensure good health.
With so little known about the Makua, they have easily remained a hidden people. The Makua need to be set free from the fear that comes from their pagan beliefs. Only through the cross of Jesus can they experience such freedom. Intercession is the key to seeing this become a reality in their lives.
It is within this backdrop that we enter a village with more than 100 Christian leaders who desperately were looking for an answer to their own people. As we plant churches through evangelism we started enthusiastically explaining one of our models to reach people. The practical implication of our program means 104 leaders were sent out for 2 hours to practice their evangelism skills in the mostly muslim community. The hunger was absolutely enormous. Within 90 minutes more than 323 souls were reached with the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many Muslims stood in astonishment at the story of Jesus Christ – the Messiah – the Son of God. Many declared ….. “we have not heard this Good News ever!” More than 233 souls dedicated their lives to Christ with many miracles and relationships healed. We realized quickly that the area was ripe for many Good News Churches.
As one church leader declared ….. “We never had a plan. We were like sheep longing for greener pastures but spiritually we stayed in the desert. It is difficult reaching Muslims and suddenly we have seen 200 receive Christ. Harvesters opened our eyes and gave us a plan to evangelize, disciple and plant churches. Nampula will never be the same again.”
We presented our church planting strategy and committed ourselves to walk with the newly planted churches for 5 years training leaders and new student pastors, to reach even deeper into Northern Mozambique. God has opened a way that we thought was never possible. God made a way ……!
Please pray urgently for the Makua people and their fears of being persecuted for their faith in this predominant muslim population. There is a cost to be paid if you accept Christ ….. but as everyone shouted before we left: “We are ready ….. Christ has come!”