The United Methodist Church of Mozambique is a vital, faithful, and growing community of believers.
The video above was taken on the Mozambican Annual Day of Thanksgiving. It illustrates the deep faith and joyful worship so apparent in the lives of our Mozambican brothers and sisters. On the first Sunday of August, congregations all over Mozambique gather to give thanks to God for their many blessings. Singing joyfully, they bring forward their offerings of vegetables, chickens, coins, pineapples or coconuts - whatever they have, thanking God for His many blessings.
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There are many ways for you and your congregation to get involved in mission with Mozambique! For more information please contact Molly Wilmarth, the Initiatives of Hope coordinator for Mozambique.
VIRGINIA ADVOCATE | JANUARY 2014 (reprinted with permission)
By Glenn Rowley
In his book, Cultivating Fruitfulness, Bishop Robert Schnase writes, “Churches that practice risk-taking mission and service value engagement and long-term relationship. They measure the impact of their work in lives changed rather than in money sent or buildings constructed.” The Virginia Conference is poised to be a leader in advocating that theology of mission in all our churches and as a conference.
In October 2013, Molly Wilmarth, chair of the Mozambican team of our conference Initiatives of Hope (IOH), and I travelled to Mozambique to meet with the leadership of the two Mozambique annual conferences as we work to advance our long-term partnership. The goals of the meetings were to renew our commitments to one another and to re-define a mutual partnership in mission.
Like many mission partnerships, there has been a largely unintentional inequality because of the economic disparity and natural dependency that comes with a donor-receiver relationship. “Mutuality in Mission” is a catchphrase that has been a part of the lexicon of mission used by our church for many years. It goes hand-in-hand with “Partnership in Mission,” but how both partners envision their respective roles in the partnership can easily be misinterpreted, and the lines of mutuality can become blurred.
As Virginia and Mozambique sat down at a common table, we experienced a time of spirit and grace that brought our more than 13-year relationship into much closer focus. During those years, multiple volunteer teams have journeyed to Mozambique, and Virginia churches and individuals have hosted Mozambican clergy and lay members. This connection has created relationships that have served both partners and enriched the lives of many. It is the blessing of those relationships that has sparked a rekindling of the mission spirit and passion for the future.
The IOH team has been wrestling with a new vision of mission to guide their theology of mission with our mission partners. That vision is to promote a “Mission of Presence.” A theology of mission of presence is to acknowledge relationships as the foundation of partnership rather than donor-receiver.
The Virginia Conference is seeking and praying for a new partnership with Mozambique that does not view Mozambique as an object of our mission activity but rather a mutual partner sharing and discovering how grace can be shared and the gifts of the Spirit revealed.
“We are very thankful for the Virginia Conference’s long commitment to us and their willingness to share with us in an open and truthful way so that our relationship can become stronger,” said Bishop Joachina Nhanala during the roundtable discussion. Bishop Nhanala has a great appreciation for the idea of a mission of presence. She has spoken and written of her belief that nothing is more powerful in ministry than allowing the Holy Spirit to be revealed simply by being present with people.
In working to prioritize our presence there, the discussions led to an understanding that a major priority of our partnership is working to strengthen education and formation for both laity and clergy. Also to provide learning opportunities for young adults from Mozambique and Virginia to travel and share faith experiences. A first step in this process is for the two conferences to sign a memorandum of understanding which will be in place in January 2014.
Molly and I returned with a renewed sense of a common understanding of what it means to be partners with our sisters and brothers in Mozambique as well as a renewed commitment to the Initiatives of Hope and its mission of fostering long-term relationships built on mutuality so lives will be changed on both sides of the ocean.
-The Rev. Glenn Rowley is director of the conference office of Justice and Missional Excellence.
In the practical sense, it is early in the week. We have split into two teams thus far; one working on the roof framing & the second, my team, painting the tin that will go on the roof.
The weather is beautiful. If only winter were like this at home.
The work is simple but hot, messy and smelly. (All the paint is cut with turpentine & oil based.)
The seminary students have been helping on both sites. (But there is dancing at our site.) :)
The painting was finished early this afternoon & we will start putting the tin sheets on the framework in the morning.
In the divine sense, it is hard to communicate how these mission teams form into little communities - but we do.
Relationships develop between American, Mozambican, Brazilian, German...
Living and working in community is indicative of what God wants for his children. We lose all pretenses placed on us by our conventional lifestyle, nationality and race.
In the most basic way we become one body. And then without any sense of the change, the work becomes holy.
10/2013 .... On Thursday Glenn and I went with Naftal and Vitoria to visit the Tsalala Primary School in Maputo. As we were leaving we realized that Naftal had locked the keys in the car! With the help of the school director, we managed to get the doors unlocked. But as we settled in the car to leave, we discovered that battery was dead and we had to get out and jump-start the car. Later Naftal used this incident to describe what Mozambique needs from its partners in mission. - He asked us, "How did we go?" We answered that we got out of the car, and with the help of the director and several young boys, we pushed the car up a slight grade and then working with gravity, we pushed the car down the hill and jump-started the engine.
He said, "That is like Mozambique. We just need a little push, and then we can go. We are not a beggar country. Since the war things have been very difficult, but we are changing; then we needed a lot of help, but now we just need a push, and then we can go."