Hello prayer partners. I thank you for your constant interest and prayer for Mozambique. I have not sent out an update for about a month. Sorry, been busy, could have done it much earlier but trying to rest a little. Those of you at Hope Chapel have seen some blogs and updates via the church Missions Page and personally from the team that returned Sep 6th. Lindy returned Sep 11th and I'm still here, returning Oct 16th. Lots of ministry still happening, as well as planning, visioning, etc.
The last three days (Thu-Sat) we concentrated on Folotia, a village that sorely needed the light of Jesus. By yesterday Saturday, they were ready to start a new church there. We baptized around 40 people who want to be the initial congregation. Since there was not enough time to arrange a meeting place for today, it will meet for the first time next week. So they all decided they needed to come to our church at the mission base today. We agreed to send back our Land Rover as many times as needed, squeezing in as many people as possible each time - since the drive is around 45 minutes (1.5 hrs per trip), many decided to walk - no idea how long it took them, maybe 3 to 4 hours? In the end, more than 60 came from there, 46 adults - these people are serious. The Holy Spirit came down, the very first encounter with Jesus for most of them, it was wonderful. They all decided to wait to be at the afternoon service as well. We'll start shuttling them back soon.
So many things happened during our three days of crusades and baptism there. The one that sticks in my mind was the lady that asked us to walk to one of the village houses and pray for a lady that had not been able to walk for about a year. Hospitals had given up, witch doctors had failed. They carried out of her mud hut and we prayed for her - she started to walk - Thank you Lord! The next day Friday at the night crusade we found out that she had walked to the crusade after visiting some of her friends at their houses. Going home from the crusade she fell and thought she had damaged her spine. She was carried home, more prayer, walking again. No pain in lower spine but complaints of some pain in the legs. Our God is GOOD. We are praying for complete recovery with no leftover pain.
The baptism was tremendous fun. Danced all the way there and all the way back with the speakers on the car following us, I would guess maybe a mile and a half, not too bad. Baptized them in the only water available (this is the end of the dry season). It looked more like chocolate milk. Probably the dirtiest water we have ever baptized people in. But they didn't mind. Very enthusiastic - these people can DANCE. Out of the people we baptized, I only needed to change one name - his name was Trouble in Chichewa, I renamed him David. And one demon manifested as the woman came out of the water, and was cast out. Much joy. After we finished and were starting to head back, another three that saw what was happening were begging to please baptize them as well. So I went back into the mud bath to do it. At least no risk of crocodiles there (still searching for a 17-year-old man who disappeared at the big river after he went to bathe - please pray, his mother is struggling).
Persecution in Folotia - 2 weeks later
I want to briefly share some things that have happened since the last time I wrote to you. You will remember the great success that God had via our team in Folotia. They went off happily to arrange for a place to meet in the village school. As you know, the devil is often not happy with what he sees. We found out later that the headmaster refused to give them a school room, the chief of the village refused to arrange another place, two women were severely beat up by their husbands because they had accepted Jesus. A little girl was hit in the wrist so hard by her mother that the wrist had swelled up to twice its normal size. We prayed and prayed. The next time our team had a chance to go there to encourage them was this last Saturday. They found a bunch of happy people, undeterred by the complications of the world. All the people who had been abused were there happily worshiping the Lord. One of their members had offered an empty field on the outskirts of the village. They are now planning to build a stick and grass shelter to protect them from the rain and sun (the rainy season is starting very soon when it will rain pretty much every day until February).
The next day after the powerful morning service at the base, the team went out to Folotia again to help them hold a Sunday service there as well. The team was a little nervous since we had not been able to make contact with the pastor of another village that is not too far where we had started another church a couple of years ago. You may remember one of the weddings we had earlier was Simao who is now teaching in Mutarara - he started that church and then passed it on. That pastor had volunteered to go be with them every Sunday afternoon until they can grow their own leaders, but after last week's events we did not know if he would be there. The team was very happy to find when they arrived that the pastor was there with people from his church, and had arranged for people from churches at three other villages to be there as well. I'm not sure where two of those other villages are even though our team started them, but the one that I know is a few miles away, and they all walk. This was their second service of the day, they had another one in the morning with all their new friends from other villages. Encouraging to hear all this, including the testimony of the woman whose husband had been released by two hospitals, nothing more they could do. So she carried him on her back to the church where he was healed and able to walk home to his village. Obviously, Folotia needs your prayer, as well as all the other neighboring villages.