A Joyous Occasion at Mozambique Headquarters Dedication
The long-awaited dedication of the Mozambique headquarters church in Chimoio took place on Saturday, April 15. Those in attendance included Superintendent General Darrel Lee and Reverend John Musgrave on behalf of the Portland headquarters, as well as District Superintendents Isaac Adigun of West and Central Africa, Onias Gumbo of Southern and Eastern Africa, Boniface Banda of Zambia, Antonio Castilho of Angola, Chris Nkhata of Malawi, Edmond Makwiramiti of Lesotho, and Confidence Nemaungani of South Africa. Several government officials were also present, including Tomas Chithango, who was instrumental in acquiring the property for the new church. These were all warmly welcomed by the Mozambique saints and their District Superintendent, Francisco Chatisso.
The new headquarters church is located adjacent to the current church lot. For over twenty years, the Chimoio congregation has been worshiping in a small wooden structure with metal roof. Though it was well maintained, it did not have the capacity to hold the numbers who attend the annual Mozambique camp meeting. During the 2023 camp meeting, there was standing room only inside the church, with scores remaining outside. By comparison, the new church building accommodated everyone, and impressed the guests with its construction quality, functionality, and beauty.
Before the dedication, Reverend Chatisso shared part of his testimony, which included some of the history of the work in Mozambique. In 1990, he was among a group of ministers identifying themselves as part of the Apostolic Faith Church. That year, he attended the camp meeting in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and realized he had not previously understood or received real salvation. Before the camp meeting was over, he prayed through to salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Then he returned to his local group of ministers and shared that their doctrinal understanding was wrong, and they were not even saved. Those who heard his report—about twenty ministers—subsequently prayed and received salvation and later their deeper experiences.
At that time, a civil war was being fought in Mozambique and large gatherings were prohibited. Reverend Chatisso asked the local General to allow the group to meet for prayer, and he granted permission to hold worship services! The group met in a grass hut where the current wooden church with metal roof now stands.
The dedication service alternated between Portuguese and English being interpreted in Shona. To begin, everyone assembled in front of the building where a ribbon was stretched between two of the porch pillars. The Provincial Secretary of State, Stephan Mpiri, held the ribbon as Reverend Lee cut it, dedicating the church in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This was followed by a roar of “Amen” from the crowd. Then everyone filed into the spacious sanctuary.
As people took their seats, the choir sang beautifully “When I Go.” After congregational singing, Reverend Gumbo offered the opening prayer.
Next, a brief history of the construction process for the church was read by Alfonso Jose Simango, the Mozambique Board Secretary/Treasurer. He said the first stone was laid on August 5, 2012, by Reverend Chatisso, and construction began. The congregation gave their full support to the project, volunteering their labor when funds ran short. After the completion of the masonry for the ground floor, work stopped for several years as funds were lacking for the roof. There was an additional setback in March of 2019 when Cyclone Idai struck, destroying thirty-five percent of what had been accomplished. Construction resumed in early 2022, and the outer walls were completed. Then once again, the project was halted due to a lack of funds. In September of that year, John Musgrave visited the site and was moved by the plight of the congregation. On behalf of the Portland headquarters, he promised that every effort would be made to finish the church, and it was. The history report closed with a statement of appreciation to God first, and then to all who helped see this project through to completion.
After announcements, Reverend Lee greeted everyone and explained the source of the funds that completed this project. He said that in April of 2022, an assessment of worldwide needs was stated in a letter that was sent to pastors in various regions of our work. In response, churches in Nigeria, North America, Scandinavia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere sent contributions to help complete projects worldwide, including this one in Mozambique.
The government officials also spoke. Francisaca Domingos Tomás, the Manica Province Governor, thanked the congregation for taking the initiative to build the church. She said it is sure to add to the betterment of the community. The Provincial Secretary of State said he felt God’s peace when he entered the building and is thankful it will be shared with others. He hopes to return to the church many times.
The service continued with a vocal solo. Then Reverend Banda read 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 for the Scripture reading. A choir number preceded the sermon, which was taken from 2 Chronicles 5:1. Reverend Lee brought out that when construction of the Temple was finished, the building was not truly complete because it was lacking God’s presence. Just as Solomon prayed for God’s glory to come down, so must we. The congregation was also advised that more important than the dedication of a church is the dedication of the hearts of the people who worship there. Everyone was admonished to dedicate their lives to God.
The service closed with a dedicatory prayer offered by Reverend Castilho. Then the congregation went to prayer as the officials were given a tour of the new building. In addition to the sanctuary, prayer room, and restrooms on the main floor, there is an administrative area upstairs with three offices, a kitchen, pantry, and restrooms. We thank God for how He has exceeded expectations in blessing the work in Mozambique!