From the Superintendent's DESK
This past weekend, John Musgrave and I, along with a delegation of district superintendents from across Africa, enjoyed the first activities in the new Mozambique headquarters church. These included the dedication service, a concert, and the Sunday morning devotional service that concluded the 2023 camp meeting.
Headquarters church dedication
The long-awaited dedication of the headquarters church located in Chimoio took place on Saturday, April 15. Our delegation arrived to find a very large crowd standing outside the building, singing joyously. We were greeted by Mozambique District Superintendent Francisco Chatisso who was smiling broadly.
After officials from the government arrived, we 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 I 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 we took our seats for the dedication service, the choir sang beautifully “When I Go.” We enjoyed several congregational songs including “To God Be the Glory” and then Onias Gumbo, the Southern Africa District Superintendent, offered the opening prayer.
A brief history
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 Brother 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.
Dedication service continued
During the announcements, Brother Chatisso recognized key leaders in attendance including government officials and our delegation of district superintendents. I used the opportunity to greet everyone and explain the source of funds that completed this project. 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, and Zimbabwe 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, Stephan Mpiri, 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 Boniface Banda, the Zambia District Superintendent read 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 for the Scripture reading. A choir number preceded the sermon, which was taken from 2 Chronicles 5:1. The message 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 Antonio Castilho, the District Superintendent of Angola. 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.
Saturday evening concert
In the evening, the concert began with an opening prayer by Chris Nkhata, the District Superintendent of Malawai. Then Brother Chatisso welcomed everyone. I also spoke and let the congregation know how blessed we have been by their beautiful music. In addition, I expressed appreciation for the dedicated musicians, choristers, and workers.
Throughout the evening we again enjoyed wonderful music. We heard several choir numbers in Shona, including the opening piece “Crown Him Medley.” We also appreciated hearing from vocal ensembles such as a group of men who sang “In the Sweet By and By.” There were solos as well, including “Are You Ready for the Judgment Day?” As the choir sang the final song of the evening, people began making their way through the crowd to the altar area, which filled quickly. They prayed with all their hearts, and it was a wonderful conclusion to the evening.
Sunday devotional service
The final service of the 2023 Mozambique camp meeting began in the prayer room where numerous requests were piled on a chair. Then in the sanctuary, every available seat was taken, including those brought from the prayer room, and still people stood at the back.
The prelude began with a keyboard solo and included a vocal solo and choir number in Shona. Following this, Brother Chatisso welcomed the congregation, and we were led in several songs, including “O Happy Day.” Then Isaac Adigun, the West and Central Africa District Superintendent, offered the opening prayer.
A men’s group harmonized beautifully as they sang a cappella “Tell it to Jesus” in Shona. Then the Scripture reading was taken from Acts 3:1-5 and read by Confidence Nemaungani, the District Superintendent of South Africa.
A solo preceded the message, which centered on “Exceeded Expectations” with text from Acts 3:5. The account of the lame man who was healed at the Temple gate called “beautiful” was used to illustrate that expectations can be met, or not. When Peter and John raised this man up in Jesus’ Name, he received far beyond his expectations. In closing, the congregation was urged to come and have their expectations exceeded. In response, there was a great rush to the altars of prayer.
We are thankful for how the Lord has blessed the work in Mozambique. He always exceeds our expectations. Brother John and I are now headed home and expect to arrive in Portland on Tuesday evening.