Wheresoever has been the catalyst for starting many churches. When we hold an outreach we talk to the local denominations represented in the Wheresoever Councils and whenever possible try to assign a leader that will take responsibility for the new Christians. So the first approach is to expand one of the existing nearby denominations by encouraging the leadership to start a new church branch and supply a leader. When that is not possible, the Wheresoever Core Team supplies a leader and starts a Foursquare church branch, since our home church in the USA is Foursquare.
The Foursquare Church has existed in Mozambique for many years, but not in the areas that God has assigned to us to work in. In the way described above we have now started twenty Foursquare churches in these areas. One of the resulting issues is that instead of a local denomination to support the churches, the support comes mainly from the Wheresoever Core Team and the main Foursquare church that meets at our mission base, with encouragement from the national Foursquare Church leadership elsewhere in Mozambique.
It is important to train these new pastors to be able to lead their congregations in a mature way, so we encourage as many pastors and leaders to train at the interdenominational Bible School that we started at our base (and have started to expand to the villages). In addition, Foursquare Mozambique requires that a pastor successfully completes a set of four courses in order to become Licensed Foursquare Pastors. Wheresoever funded the first of these courses in November through a donation from the USA. We hope to help with future courses here, and also help Foursquare across the rest of Mozambique to do this, as they lack the funds to accomplish this on their own.
The course was a tremendous success. This first course was teaching about the Foursquare background and foundational beliefs. Pastors Antonio (head of Moz) and Neva (deputy head) came and taught the course. We tried to hold it to 35 leaders mostly to keep the cost down, but in the end gave in to the pressure of all the people who wanted to become Foursquare pastors, and we had 47 leaders go through it and took the exam at the end. A bit tricky to get the money to cover the needs even for the additional people, but we made it in the end. Of the 20 new Foursquare churches that we have started, 18 were represented, but not all of the pastors with overall responsibility for the churches were able to come.. The exams won’t be graded for a good while yet so we don’t know how many passed. Pastors Antonio and Neva said that it seemed these leaders were pretty quick picking up the concepts compared to others, although there were some of the village pastors that obviously needed a lot of help. It was interesting watching the exam, with around 10 people that didn’t know how to write sitting in the corner waiting for the others to finish – then as they finished each student would pick up one of the non-writers and verbally give them the same exam they just took. I was amazed that it seemed to work.
We continued our 5am prayer meetings and the early evening services every day. I especially loved the night before the last one when the Holy Spirit showed up in power. At the end of the service when we asked if anyone had spoken in tongues for the first time that night, ten people came forward. We provided accomodation and food for all the pastors, mostly in a big room with straw mats on the floor and all the men lying on the mats next to each other, and the same for all the women in a small seperate bedroom. I was impressed at the number of people wanting to go forward to become licensed pastors, we did have to turn many of them down to keep the numbers manageable.