Whew! I just celebrated my first year of ministry with MI. What have I been up to? In my first 52 weeks, I’ve spent 23 weekends guest preaching and visiting congregations from Shell Knob to Marceline. Five of these Sundays I spent in Mozambique, and one Sunday I spent at Annual Conference.
These weekend visits allow me to share stories of our ministry and impact. Churches of all sizes produce plentiful fruit – raising funds to drill a safe water well, providing mosquito nets for mothers and children, purchasing motorbikes to address pastoral transportation needs.
MI visibly grew during the last year. Our presence on Facebook increased by more than 90 percent. The number of “LIKES” on our Mozambique Initiative page grew from 625 to 1,189. Growth emerged as an organic result of sharing ministry successes in real-time. Our website presence added real stories of Mozambicans sharing the church’s impact on their life as well as sample calls to worship and liturgies for Missouri congregations to use.
Some changes to MI happened behind the scenes. We revamped our e-newsletter to a more friendly service (MailChimp), renewed a focus on covenant partnerships, and updated electronic filing structures.
From the Mozambican-side, my first year was filled with political and social exasperations. Mozambique faces rampant inflation as it’s currency devalued by 83 percent. The country suffered a life-threatening drought and a political scandal that disclosed $1.5 billion hidden government loans.
Even amidst struggle and turmoil, the church in Mozambique remains a pillar of hope and strength that I experienced from my two visits with Ezequiel Nhantumbo, who tirelessly works to advance our mission. I’m confident God will work to change the lives of Missourians through our partnerships and visits. Next year, at least seven Missouri churches are expected to independently visit Mozambique to experience the love of Christ in our brothers and sisters.
Lastly, MI is completing a process of dreaming where our ministry should go in the next five years. Our ministry is exciting, should be ever-changing, and always be centered on our mission of partnering to transform people (in Missouri and Mozambique) to the image of Christ. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for a wonderful first year of ministry.