Dear Friends and Lord's Servants,

Warm greetings and hope this email you all doing fine. We are doing fine with God's grace. It's been about 2 weeks since I returned from Gorongosa Mission - in Sofala Province. The trip went on well, minor difficulties encountered along the way, but with God's grace we managed to carry out our planned duties there.

The attached, is a small snapshot we would like to share with you. We take this opportunity to thank you all for the generosity and for holding us in your prayers. There is a lot yet to be done not only in Gorongosa but in Chinjinguire where another concentration camp is located. We are preparing another Mission Trip to assist those God's children whose main needs are equal to those of Gorongosa. Please, keep us continuously in your daily prayers.

Peace be to ALL God's Children.

In Christ,
Rev. Joao Sambo
Relief Coordinator, Mozambique Conference.

Click here for the colorful PDF file of the mission experience (this file is large: 2.2 MB)

Headquarters for the northern conference of the United Methodist Church is in Beira. Previous teams have partnered with this conference in doing training for young adult ministries in their localities.

Chicuque Rural Hospital and Center for Hope are critically important facilities for medical care and community outreach. Mission teams are needed for skilled assistance in the hospital, helpers with the varied outreach ministries of the Center of Hope, repair of the existing guest house, and encouragement of all they are doing to be a way-station of skilled care and concern for a very large rural region.

A large complex of United Methodist facilities and ministries which include a medical clinic, a secondary school, an orphanage, a residential seminary for training clergy, a vocational school (for both girls and boys), and agricultural training area. There are continuing needs for construction of additional housing, repair of existing facilities, training of church leaders through the seminary, assistance in the medical clinic, and encouragement of all they are doing.

A ministry of the Women’s Division of the Mozambican Conference, located in Messinga, providing housing and basic supplies to a vibrant community of elderly women, who have been abandoned by their families and home villages because they are the widows of men who have died from AIDS. The women appreciate spiritual and emotional support from visiting mission teams, as well as financial support through the Women’s Division.

This complex of buildings in Bugane was built by the Virginia Conference (contributing all the money and some of the labor) in 2002 and 2003, and is named the Janene Pennel School). The school serves more than 1,000 children and youth, in several shifts, and provides residency and vocational training for about two dozen girls. Recently the school was damaged by a typhoon. Needs include building repair, equipment, supplies, and expansion of buildings. These facilities could easily be used by a mission team to present training seminars for laity and clergy in that locality. The longer term hope is that we would offer assistance in raising the visibility of this school so that surrounding churches might adopt it as their own, “close to home” mission!

School and vocational training for children, located on the edge of the city in a higher density, low income area. This center has continuing need for equipment and supplies, and repair parts for their well, which provides drinking water to the immediate community. Number of children being served by this center: ____.

In Mozambique, heavy rains in January caused a humanitarian crisis. Rains swelled rivers and led to flooding that washed away homes, crops and livestock in Gaza Province. The United Methodist Church in Mozambique, one of the Virginia Conference Initiatives of Hope mission focus partners, is responding to the crisis with a new emergency plan to assist more than 140,000 affected families.

The Rev. Joao Sambo, an Africa University graduate and pastor of Liberdade United Methodist Church in Maputo, was appointed head of a task force on relief by United Methodist Bishop Joaquina Nhanala on Jan. 28.

In early February, the Virginia Conference sent $10,000 of IOH reserve funds to help with the immediate crisis to provide food and bottled water. Read the Rev. Sambo’s letter of thanks below.An appeal has been launched through the United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) International Disaster Response Advance #982450. Donations can be given through the conference Treasurer’s office, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Or, write a check payable to UMCOR with "Advance #982450" or “Mozambique flood relief” in the memo line, and send it to P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087 or place it in the offering plate at any United Methodist church.

For more information about the Mozambique crisis, go to

Letter from the Rev. Joao Sambo

Warm greetings and best wishes from the Flood Relief Task Force Coordinator,

With God's grace we are doing well. Our Flood Relief Ministry is going well, however difficulties of a work of this magnitude are always there, but we are inspired to give our input daily.

In Mozambique rains are still devastating families, communities and the whole society. In the North of Mozambique, the reports we are receiving from the DS are not encouraging. The rains continue to increase the number of victims. A few minutes ago, I received another report now from Rev Octavio Jone from the Zambezia District stating that parsonages, church members' houses as well as chapel are either partially or completely destroyed.

Due to the emergency situation on the ground, and upon discussing with Bishop Joaquina, we decided to approach you to negotiate (with a lack of a better word) a possibility of enabling us to use the funds you sent for:

  • Building Fitimela parsonage that has completely been destroyed with furious waters in - Zambezia District of the UMC and do repair another one Nicoadala's that is partially destroyed and both pastor's families are now living at church members' houses.
  • The remainder of the money you sent us, we would like to use it for buying mosquito nets. With the rain season still taking place right now, the number of victims is increasing. There is a lot of dirty water almost everywhere proper for mosquito breeding, let alone many areas which are basically swamp. Pastors in different congregations have time and again reported to us about fatalities which have the root cause malaria. When assessing this situation, we understanding it as just the beginning because when the rain seasons ends it will escalate. So, it is thinking about the many lives that we may loose that leads us to request for your comprehension. If we can provide mosquito nets now in this emergency period, we would reduce the number of fatalities which most of the times becomes high as compared to victims due to the rains.

Looking at the nature of the emergency situation in the North Conference, it begs us to act now.

Again, please convey our gratitude to the Virginia Conference, for the ever present support and mainly at this time of emergency.

We look forward to hearing from you.

In the same vineyard,
Joao Sambo

Meet Bishop Nhanala


In July 2008, the Rev. Joaquina Filipe Nhanala was elected bishop of Mozambique. She is the first female United Methodist bishop to serve in Africa.

Bishop Nhanala oversees 170 churches in two conferences in Mozambique with more than 121,000 members, 29 schools, a theological school, agricultural programs, a hospital, two clinics, a seminary and four Bible schools. She also oversees the South Africa Conference.

Bishop Nhanala’s vision for strengthening the church in Mozambique addresses the need for leadership development and self-sustainability for the church in Mozambique and better access to health care and education for the country itself. In partnering with the Virginia Conference, one of Nhanala’s priorities is improving education to reduce dependency on outside aid and to increase the knowledge-capital and enterprise of Mozambicans.

Of Initiatives of Hope’s involvement, Nhanala says, “We have moved from givers and receivers to brothers and sisters — to a spiritual level.”

Only 44% of the adults in Mozambique can read, according to UNICEF. The bishop pointed out that illiterate women and their children often are trapped in poverty. Improving education is one of her highest priorities and one that IOH has worked with and will continue to address. For now, Cambine Theological School has few desks, old books, and limited support for students. If Cambine Theological School elevates itself with a degree-granting program, students will receive a higher caliber of training. Some students may later return as faculty, while others teach throughout the country as pastors.

“And if we have too many Mozambicans with theological degrees, we can send them to Samaria,” she jokes.

Having led a World Relief HIV/AIDS program designed to mobilize churches for education and advocacy in Mozambique's three southern provinces, Nhanala is keenly aware of health issues facing Mozambique and hopes to expand the efficacy of preventative medicine programs.

She encourages the churches of Mozambique to intentionally include women and youth in programs, in leadership, and in community improvement initiatives, such as the Women and Youth Vocational Training Center in Bungane.

Nhanala and her husband, the Rev. Eugenio Tomas, began attending Gbarnga School of Theology in Liberia and, their studies at Gbarnga having been interrupted by civil war, finished their degrees at Trinity College in Ghana. She holds a bachelor of divinity degree from Limuru University, as well as a master's degree in Bible studies and theology from Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, both in Kenya. She is the only female pastor with a master’s degree in Mozambique. Nhanala was ordained a deacon in 1989.

Her husband is principal of the United Seminary of Ricatla, an ecumenical theological institution in the Maputo area.

In December 2009, the Mozambique church will celebrate 30 years of ordaining women as clergy.