From the Superintendent's DESK
John Musgrave and I arrived in Chimoio on Friday, April 14, for the final weekend of the 2023 Mozambique Camp Meeting. We were accompanied by District Superintendents Isaac Adigun of West and Central Africa, Onias Gumbo of Southern and East Africa, and Boniface Banda of Zambia. We were met at the airport by many leaders in the work, including Francisco Chatisso, the Mozambique District Superintendent.
Shortly, we were taken to the site of the new headquarters church. Located in Chimoio on property adjacent to the current church lot, it is nearly complete. Construction resumed seven months ago, and it is amazing how much has been accomplished since then. We were impressed by the quality of construction, size of the structure, and its functionality and beauty.
This was further realized when we then went to see the church building where the congregation has been worshiping for over twenty years. Though the wooden structure with metal roof has been well maintained, we could see that it did not have the capacity to hold the crowd that greeted us. As we approached, the congregation was waiting outside smiling, waving, and singing a welcome song in Shona. We were presented with flower leis and then filed into the old building until there was standing room only with a single narrow aisle. Meanwhile, scores if not one hundred remained outside.
We went to the prayer room first and were greeted by the Board of Trustees and provincial leaders, whom we thanked for faithfully laboring for the Lord. Then, back in the sanctuary, the evening service began. We enjoyed beautiful music specials and congregational singing. This included some well-known hymns, such as “It Is Well with My Soul” and “Trust and Obey” in Shona. The entire service alternated between Portuguese and English being interpreted in Shona.
During the announcements, Brother Chatisso recognized the foreign leaders by having them stand one at a time. In addition to those traveling with us, this included District Superintendents Antonio Castilho of Angola, Chris Nkhata of Malawi, Edmond Makwiramiti of Lesotho, and Confidence Nemaungani of South Africa. In addition, he acknowledged several government officials in attendance, including Tomas Chithango, who was instrumental in acquiring the property for the new church.
The testimony service was reserved for the foreign leaders. Brother Chatisso also gave his testimony, which included a little 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. Brother 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 on the very site we were now meeting.
Following the testimonies, the service continued with a vocal solo by Rebecca Kagura of Zimbabwe who sang “Jesus is Passing this Way.” Then the sermon drew from John 21:15 and focused on the personal call of God. The Lord’s questioning of Peter, “Lovest thou me?” was likened to how the Spirit deals with us to get a response from our hearts.
At the altar call, there was so little room for praying. Yet the people came and, kneeling one row against another, prayed earnestly with all their hearts. It was such a privilege to worship with them.
The schedule for this final weekend of the Mozambique camp meeting includes the dedication of the new headquarters church, a concert, and the concluding Sunday morning service. We look forward to these activities, should the Lord tarry.