In August of 1999, a partnership bridging 8,000 miles, was born. The Mozambique Initiative began as relationships formed, at first by individual Missouri and Mozambique Methodists, and later through connections between pastors, congregations and even districts. The relationships built have contributed to learning and growth both in Missouri and Mozambique. Now after 20 years of ministry together, the relationship continues to grow.
The Mozambique Initiative centers on three areas of transformation: the body, the heart and mind, and the community. A holistic approach to life and the church has been the hallmark of this ministry. We celebrate the work of the Mozambique Initiative with a snapshot of a program in each of these areas at the beginning of 2019.
Transforming the Body
Alleviating human suffering and increasing physical health are the primary goals of this focus.
To that end, MI supports ministries like the Chicuque Rural Hospital, the Center of Hope, the distribution of mosquito nets, rural health clinics and more. One of the most transformative projects for people in Mozambique has been the drilling of wells to provide clean, safe water in local communities. Through technological innovation this work has taken on an even more exciting dimension.
Advancements in solar technology allow MI to bring change and capital to remote communities. Local church leaders apply for a well through their local district. Following a site feasibility assessment, MI partners to provide initial funding for the project. In the case of solar wells, two local contractors are then secured — one to complete the drilling and tower construction and another to install the solar and electrical equipment. This employment of local labor brings strength and stability to the developing economy of Mozambique. Working in tandem with oversight from Ezequiel Nhantumbo, MI director in Mozambique, the contractors build a system where the water is pulled from the ground and stored in a tank above to provide adequate supply and water pressure.
The beauty of this system is it provides enough gravitational power to pipe clean, safe water not just to a single pump but directly into homes! People in the surrounding area may pay for this service or walk to the well to access clean water. The money received by those paying to have water piped to homes helps maintain the system and provide revenue for the local church. In some areas this has led to as much as $6,000 a year! As a result, not only does this project meet the goal of increasing health, it provides maintenance costs and revenue for the local church.
Transforming the Heart & Mind
One of the hallmarks of the MI has been church-to-church partnerships. The MI supports several schools and training centers to extend the transformation of the heart and mind. Malema Primary School is one of these places.
At the end of March, Bishop Joaquina Nhanala, bishop of the Mozambique Annual Conferences, traveled to Malema to dedicate a new worship space built with local funds and to visit Malema Primary School. In the remote, northwest corner of the country, access to education is often limited. Seeing the need, the UMC in Mozambique determined to do something about this. Through MI, several Missouri partners collaborated to build Malema Primary School, and construction of two school buildings, housing first through third grades, ventilated improved toilets and a residence for the school director were completed in 2018. Currently, there are approximately 60 students in each grade. The current plan is to expand the school each year until the school can educate local children for six years. This school gives students in this remote area access and the opportunity to excel in education.
Transforming the Community
As we experience in our own lives, transformation of a community can happen in a lot of different ways. In Mozambique microfinance projects, support for orphanages, and church or chapel construction projects all fall within the scope of this area of partnership. A standout among these efforts has been the Dondo Motorbike Project.
The Motorbike Project is an income generating project overseen by the Dondo United Methodist Church. As churches strive to meet their financial commitments to pastors, staff and the larger Conference, projects like these can help close the gap between the offering plate and the annual budget. Dondo has been particularly entrepreneurial.
First, the church identified the need for people to have safe, efficient and affordable transport in their community. Second, they requested and received an MI grant for an initial investment to purchase a motorbike. Running the bike as a taxi, the church set up a business, recouped their maintenance/replacement costs, supported the driver’s salary, set aside funds for additional bikes, and used the remaining profits to support the church.
This February, Dondo UMC dedicated its third motorcycle! Keeping thorough records, maintaining honest but firm management strategies and replacing the motorcycles with new equipment annually have all contributed to the success of this project. The project has worked so well they are hoping to share their lessons with other churches who may want to start the same.
Transformation has been the goal over these last 20 years. As we celebrate all God has done we recognize the incredible creativity and contributions by people in Mozambique, Missouri and places in between that have given of their time and talent to this relationship. If you would like to learn more about the Mozambique Initiative, restart or revive your relationship, or simply connect at a deeper level with this ministry contact Rev. Lucas Endicott, Senior Mission Strategist, at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime may God continue to work through the Mozambique Initiative.