Back in 2005, the Lord impressed on Danny and Lindy that they were to “cover” the Tete Province of Mozambique, and confirmed the command with a vision. Since then, Wheresoever had held outreaches and pastor seminars in all of the province’s districts except for 2. And Wheresoever Councils have been organized in nearly all of the districts covered, in order for the local pastors to continue the work with much better coverage and discipleship. The two towns visited this time are both in the Magoe District, leaving only one district not covered. However, these two towns definitely need follow-up visits, and there is a very remote huge part of the Magoe District that also needs attention.
Excerpt from Danny’s Report / Prayer Requests, Oct 17 2013
We keep getting the benefit of your prayer. Please keep it up. I'm writing this in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi, in the dark during a blackout, hoping that my battery lasts long enough.
Earlier today (Thursday) we took Steve and Tina to the airport, they should arrive home in North Carolina around 10am tomorrow morning. We had such a fantastic time with them as the Holy Spirit remained in control. Lindy also left today on her way to Iceland.
So now I stay here in Africa as the only American on the team until I go to UK on November 14. I felt a bit emotional watching Lindy, Steve and Tina go, but very excited about the next part of the assignment when we go to an area where we have never been before (Magoe district, near the Zimbabwe border) to two towns (Mukumbura and Magoe). We had no connections at all until we reached Estima and found a pastor that came from there, and Songo where a young man has been reaching the youth there. Thank you God. These are two towns in the populated part of the district which has a huge area west of them where I cannot even find a road using Google Earth. I have been told that part of that area is totally unreached by the Gospel, but I have not been able to confirm or deny the statement. The assignment is not only to reach the lost in the more populated areas, but also to reach the Christians there and encourage them to take responsibility for the people in the unpopulated areas west of them - initially with our help maybe on our next trip here. We'll see what God has in mind.
The following excerpt covers the time of preparation for the new areas, and the continued ministry in or near the Wheresoever Mission Base in Vila Ulongue which went on during the preparation.
Excerpt from Danny’s Report / Prayer Requests, Oct 28 2013
(preparations for Magoe District and local outreaches)
Yesterday was my birthday, Sunday the 27th. I had a wonderful day in an unconventional way. They planned to make an African birthday cake for me - baked on an open fire with one pan full of hot coals above the other - actually tastes pretty good as I remember from previous years. But this year there was no time, way too busy doing what we do. We'll see if they surprise me today. Instead of blowing out candles, I felt like I was helping to light a few, spent the whole morning preaching and the rest of the afternoon in church - can you imagine a better birthday? I suppose the downside is that I'm missing Lindy quite a bit, but we'll be back together in London in just over a couple of weeks. She felt her mission to Iceland was very important and needed and accomplished a lot - prayer, ministry and new interesting ministry contacts. She said she has sent an update via Facebook, I haven't been able to see it yet so am looking forward to find out more myself.
So on my birthday I didn't get any cake or candles, but I felt like we were lighting a few spiritual candles. A few of us went to visit one of our churches in Domue, where I preached and we all prayed and encouraged one of the churches that we started. It's still going strong even if with a small number of people, between 35 and 40 adults at yesterday's service. And that small church has now planted a second one at another village near Domue. If the name sounds familiar, it was coming back from there some years ago that God multiplied our fuel. Some of you may remember, we had run out and took the tiny bit out of the generator to get there, hoping to find some fuel there, thinking that fuel would only take us 5 to 10 km. Domue is a good 45 minute drive - yesterday it took over an hour. We did not find the fuel, I remember Lindy and Evelyn smiling enthusiastically because now we had to put ALL our dependence on God. So just as you would expect, we were able to drive all the way home, deliver all the ladies and their children to their homes, and return to the base. That's part of the reason I was really looking forward to going back there. Very nice way to spend my birthday. We spent hours teaching about the authority that the Holy Spirit has given us - but I think we'll have to do it again since the prayer at the end nearly all the prayer and ministry that went on was led by the pastors and leaders. We do know that seed grows into very big trees.
I told you in a previous email that we're getting ready to take off to another district very near Zimbabwe, Magoe district, one of the two districts in the province that are new to us. I got the name of the town wrong in that email, we have now made a few contacts in Mukumbura through friends. After the seminar and crusades in Mukumbura, we hope to have enough time to also hold a crusade in Magoe, the capital of the district which I understand is actually a much smaller town. This map shows most of the Tete Province which covers around 39,000 sq. mi., which is roughly the size of Virginia. The blue dots on the map, with the exception of Mukumbura, are the current Wheresoever Councils (with another 3 not on this map. We're taking off on Wednesday with the car (remember the Land Rover you helped us buy?) and the bus, I'm figuring about a 12 hour drive since a good bit of it is on dirt roads. But we'll stop along the way in Estima where we've just been with Steve and Tina - want to see what the Lord is doing there since we left, and pick up people with the right language since we need help with Shona-Chichewa-Portuguese translation, only one person on the team speaks Shona. By the way, Steve and Tina made it home fine and I expect by now they may be well rested, but please keep praying for them as we know from experience that lots of prayer is needed AFTER a mission trip. And as you're praying, please extend it to include more financial provision for this part of the journey - thank you to those of you who have been able to help provide for the original budget plans, and we're trying very hard to keep within the original budget, but we keep finding other needs to make it more effective and reach more souls, and other unexpected expenses keep popping up in front of us.
As part of the preparation for this next part of the trip after Steve and Tina left for home, we decided to engage the church at the base together with people from neighboring churches to step up their prayer life to a new level. With a focus on preaching, teaching and practicing prayer, we cancelled all activities for the week and replaced them with daily services at 5pm, and a call to prayer at their homes between 1am and 2am every night, and prayer at the church being built (they like to call it the Cathedral) from about 7am to 9am. I was amazed to see a full, sometimes overflowing church every day. So many people taking this so very seriously. On the last day, Saturday, four youth were asked to preach, two young men and two young women, quite a long service as you would expect. They did extremely well especially since they only had about four hours lead-time to prepare. But the part that surprised me is when they called up four ladies who needed healing, one for each of the young preachers, and after the prayer they were all healed.
There was a lady who could not turn her head from side to side with a very stiff neck, and after the prayer was turning it with no pain at all. Another one had so much pain in her foot that she had to force herself to come to the church, and later was jumping on that very same foot. Another one, a church elder's wife, had all the symptoms of malaria, which were gone after the prayer. And the fourth had itching all over her body for some days, gone after prayer. Thank you God! So encouraging to see the future leaders of the church stepping into their Holy Spirit authority as they expect their prayer to be answered.
I was only able to be at the last part of that last day Saturday service because five of us had gone to hold an afternoon crusade/outreach at a small village called Biri Wiri on the border with Malawi. I was curious to see how it would go since we normally take much greater teams than that. It started quite small with mostly Mozambicans. After a while people from Malawi started coming over across the border. In the end, 126 adults prayed to accept Jesus. The real surprise came late last night when I heard that one of our pastors had gone back there on Sunday, and reported that the church in that area which is normally half full at best had standing room only with many more standing outside. God is so good. As people connect with Jesus, the hunger for discipleship grows.
Thank you again for your faithful prayer
All for Jesus,
Excerpt from Danny’s Report / Prayer Requests, Nov 5 2013
(outreaches to Mukumbura and Magoe)
Hi wonderful prayer partners. I hope you're not getting tired of these updates, I think this one is likely to be the last one from Africa during this trip. Tired or not, you must be praying up a storm, because we keep seeing the results of your prayer here. Very late last night we got back to the mission base after going out to the Magoe district, to the towns of Mukumbura very near the Zimbabwe border and Magoe. It was a pretty short trip, just under a week. In that short time we saw right around 1,000 accept Jesus. That makes it roughly 3,000 adults since we arrived, counting the time when Steve and Tina were with us. Thank you Lord for honoring us by letting us see your harvest!!! And I believe that one of the very important achievements was the increased hunger in the pastors that we were teaching in the seminars.
Let me paint a backdrop, explaining a little of the political situation that we're working through. Some of you may have heard in the news that the opposition party (Renamo) had called an end to the peace agreement that was reached 20 years ago after a very long and bloody civil war, first against the Portuguese colonialists, then against the communist government that had taken over, the Frelimo party, which renounced communism after the Soviet Union collapse and is the only party that has ever ruled since colonial days. Renamo claims that the agreed democracy of 20 years ago has not taken place because of common reprisals to anyone supporting Renamo. As a result, many Renamo supporters have become rebels and there have been a few deaths in the country, although I do not know of any in our Tete Province. I believe this situation was responsible for all the visa problems that Lindy and I had at the beginning of this trip. But for the last couple of weeks things have been quiet. And since the Mozambican economy is doing very well under the current government, there was a strong international backlash to the Renamo uprising, and they made a public announcement that they were not interested in re-starting any war.
The night right after we started our journey to Magoe District, there was a group of about 300 men marching through Vila Ulongue where our Wheresoever Mission Base is. It was thought that they were Renamo rebels marching west towards Fingoe, another of our towns, near the original Chofombo where God first sent us in Mozambique. But later that night, between 2am and 4am, there was lots of gunfire for quite a while. Nobody seems very sure what was happening but most people think that they were firing into the air just to make a statement that they were here. We had been warned that we should only travel in daytime, but as it turned out we could not for various reasons. So when we arrived at the other end, we found that a lot of our friend and family back in Vila had not been able to sleep, thinking we were somehow caught up in the conflict. We thank God for His protection as we didn't see any part of it.
In fact, when we arrived in Mukumbura after a 15 hour drive that actually felt a lot longer, we even expected the government to limit our night crusades because of the situation. But when we went to make the rounds and introduce ourselves to the government, to the police, and to the Frelimo party, they all welcomed us with open arms and said we could do it anytime we wanted to - one of the better welcomes we have received. The Frelimo guy even said if more people paid attention to the Holy Spirit, these political conflicts would not exist - that was unexpected.
A few more challenges. After arrival in Mukumbura, we found that we were being boycotted by a lot of the pastors. I turns out that the pastor from one of the denominations which I will not name had some political control over most of the other pastors in the area, and was not happy about a group of strangers coming in to teach false doctrine. As I heard more about this denomination, there is some mixing of witchcraft with Christian beliefs, and some other strange beliefs that again I will not mention as I have not confirmed the accuracy of what I was hearing. Partly as a result of fear of upsetting this pastor, there seemed to be many very tiny churches of a handful of people that did not speak with each other, the vast majority of which met under trees (I only saw one church building), so could not meet at all during the 4 months of rainy season. Even though it's clear that in many cases there are very strong and healthy small churches, there's something very wrong when the body of Christ will not communicate with itself, and the very common attitude seen here that Christians are supposed to be poor and worship in a spirit of poverty. However, the only church building that we found is in process of expansion, building a very nice looking brick building (see picture).
Even with the handful of pastors and leaders that we had at the beginning, we were given the largest meeting place in the town, which was a classroom in a school that in normal situations I would guess would accommodate maybe 30 to 40 children. It did not take long. As people start hearing the message of Christ, they start coming from everywhere. By the second afternoon, I counted 82 adults crammed 3 per little desk which I would think were designed for 2 children. Even more looking in the windows. A lot of them came across the border from Zimbabwe, I still have no idea how they heard we were there. Many kept commenting that they had never heard many of the basic Christian messages we were feeding them with. We never did meet this one pastor that did not want us there, I hope to next time we go, when it's clear that what we bring is the Biblical truth, together with a message of unity. We talked about forming a Wheresoever Council there, but all agreed that we need to give the Holy Spirit to work in that place first. The three outreaches we ran, one each night, were very effective and a great example to them. I did not sense they were in a position to start doing it themselves, of course in much smaller numbers since they don't have vehicles or sound equipment. But I really felt the burden for the lost in a number of them - after a second trip there hopefully next year, I hope they would be ready. We had so many requests to return as soon as we can. We were still getting calls today up to a few hours ago asking us to come back.
On Sunday, the last day we were there, we arranged to hold a joint service including many of their churches, in the only place we could, under a big tree. Everyone was telling us that this is the VERY FIRST TIME EVER that they get together like that. Wonderful service, especially at the end when many were baptized in the Spirit and others were caught up in deliverance when the demons started manifesting. I don't think they'll forget this day very easily.
Sunday afternoon we took off to Magoe, the capital of the district. We held another crusade on Sunday evening, and a mini-seminar on Monday. This time we saw none of the church politics issues that we had seen in Mukumbura. We had sent one pastor the day before to prepare. Even though there was almost no preparation lead-time and we were unknown in the area, we had 9 pastors from 5 churches at the mini-seminar, plus some other leaders and wives. We explained to them that this could only be a taster session because of the small time involved. Again, they were enthusiastically asking us to return at the end. These teachings that sometimes we feel are so basic, to them it's revelation that they don't forget for years. Sometimes I feel that we're so spoiled in America. We would have loved to stay a few more days with them, but were out of funds and could not pay even one more night of accommodation or food for the team. I think if they had more time to prepare, they would be very willing to help.
A few funny things, observations, blessings and life in Africa.
- I was looking forward to figuring out the proper spelling of Mukumbura once I got there. Just like so many places in Africa, nobody can agree how to spell it, and as long as it sounds the same it's ok. When you see official signs in the town, some say Mukumbura, others Mucumbura, and in one map I even saw Mecumbura. Oh well, I guess my desire for accuracy will not be fulfilled.
- On the way there we were wondering if we would make it on one go or if we needed to stop for the night. One of the local pastors that we had picked up in Estima to help with the language told us that there is a guest house in the bush not too far from our road, and he figured it must be inexpensive because the elephants are always bothering the guests on their way to the water hole. I must admit that I was quite tempted to be bothered, but we all agreed that we did not want to lose 2 to 3 hours of seminar that these people so desperately need.
- On the way back, some of our team on the bus started pointing out the window yelling something that sounded like "bujo, bujo". So as you would expect I start looking out the window to figure out what they see, asking myself "what in the world is a bujo?". More of them join in, "bujo, bujo", too busy to translate to me. In the end after it was too late, they explained to me that there were monkeys running or swinging parallel with the bus going around the same speed. I never saw them and find the whole thing amusing, but they assure me they were there.
- This trip we all went on the bus - 12 from Vila plus three we picked up in Estima for help with language and to help them expand their churches by planting new branches in Magoe. Rest of the bus totally full with all the things we need to take with us. Many of you know that we have in the past had problems with the reliability of the bus, especially with the driveshaft, and this time we were taking a risk without a second car to bail us out. So I'm very happy that the bus stood up to the challenge in great form. And THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH to the donor who decided to help us by buying 6 tires for the bus.
- Out of the 12 that came from Vila, 9 can be considered youth. Totally devoted to the Great Commission. I so wish I had been like them when I was their age. Very exciting to see them bloom. Took 3 younger ones this time (high school age), to develop them. Still difficult to say no to so many others that wanted to come and help. We did bring one other person, the director of the prison in Vila needed a ride to Tete, about a third of the way.
- We thank God that even though this time of year we should be deep into the rainy season, we have been spared. A couple of very light showers, no problem at all. The dirt roads we were concerned about did not cause any hassle.
- The first two days in Mukumbura were stiflingly hot, it usually gets very hot before the rains come. I've been in many of these trips when it gets hot, especially around Tete, but never like this. Never found out the real temperature, my guess is between 105 and 110 deg F. I couldn't help but include these pictures of a very cute cat and dog trying to make it though the heat under the tables we were eating at. The room I was in had barely enough space for a single bed, with iron sheets maybe at 7' height and a tiny little window. During the day the mattress and the pillow felt like a hot bricks. One time I made the mistake of leaving my laptop, powered off, on the mattress. I touched it when I came back and almost burned myself. During those two days I could only have the laptop on for 5 minutes because it would shut down overheated. All I could think is to thank God that Steve and Tina were gone by then - I could have found two puddles of water where they used to stand. Things got much cooler after that, probably down in the 90's. Got back to Vila and it was in the upper 70's - heaven.
- In Magoe when we were running out of food, the cook split the bit of goat we had so there was one little piece per person. As you would expect one of the older pastors took two, breaking the law of the cook. It was a great source of entertainment watching the young guys try to figure out how we could get the police involved.
- We came back last night, arriving around 1am, exhausted. Because we had been so out of touch I decided to check my email for anything urgent. I was still sitting there near 4am, still with all kinds of noise outside with people campaigning for Frelimo, big speakers & truck-fulls of people. I would think campaigning at that hour would lose then votes -but then who knows in Africa. I was thankful to be able to sleep until mid-morning today.
I only have a few days left here in Mozambique. I fly to London on Nov 14th. So I am now changing gears and focusing on all kinds of activities and discussions as we cast out the ministry strategy over the next few years. We are in a time of transition and could really use your prayer as we ponder the future expansion of the African side of the ministry. Wheresoever has already expanded into Malawi and Swaziland in a small way, and we need to make sure that we are aligned with God's will with every move. It makes me wonder how Paul felt as he prayed about his strategy after his season in each church.
I will finally join Lindy when I reach London. I miss her terribly. We will stay a couple of weeks in England visiting with friends and family, and catching up with our pastor and church friends (I think today she was supposed to meet with one of the churches that I hope to meet up with as well). Then the day after Thanksgiving we take off to Hong Kong for the month of December.