Sadly this is the last blog post from Team Mozambique. Our time overseas has been amazing, yes it’s been challenging but we’ve learnt so much in the 6 months we had away from home and the memories & relationships we made have been wonderful. In this blog post I’ll be explaining our last few days overseas, our journey home and each team members highlights over the 6 months we had.
Our Last Few Days:
As we’re all familiar with the current situation going on in the world, unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic brought a sudden end to our time in Mozambique. We had to come back home a week before we expected to be safe and ensure that we could make it back into the UK. Obviously we, like other teams, had plans to say our proper goodbyes to the amazing people we worked with and got alongside in Mozambique. Although we didn’t get to experience the goodbye’s we had expect, thankfully we had enough notice to be able to say a proper bye to our projects and friends! We had a leaving service in our international church and said goodbye to the youth, we were able to go to the school we helped out in and the street boys project and say goodbye to the children we got alongside. Unfortunately we didn’t say a final goodbye to our Portuguese speaking church, however we were able to say tchau to the youth from there in a bible study we attended the week before we left. We are so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to say farewell to the majority of people, friends, colleagues, our language teacher and the children we worked with. Although it was sudden we are blessed to have had that closure.
We want to say a massive thank you to our fellow BMS friends – Mark, Susanna and Lizzie. The memories we had with them and the support, guidance and encouragement they gave us every single day was so important. Each of us individually can’t thank them enough and are so grateful for everything they did for us. We look forward to seeing you again soon, and we’re so glad we can keep in touch!
Our Journey Home:
Okay so if you’ve kept up with our blogs since the beginning you’d know that travel has never really been on our side! We had to fly back from Mozambique a week early, meaning our original flight plans had to change. We ended up flying back to Heathrow with TAP Portugal via a layover in Lisbon. We got to Maputo airport at around 5am, checked in, got our tickets and sent our luggage off. We were so shocked at how easy and quick the process was compared to last time!
Jokes were on us, thankfully just before we headed to security Joel checked our boarding pass and we realised our flight from Lisbon to Heathrow that evening had been cancelled! They had booked us onto the next flight to Heathrow which happened to be at 4pm the following day. After a bit of panic and communication to BMS, our amazing supervisors and our families, we had to accept the fact that we were going to have a 22 hour layover in Lisbon airport. We all looked at the bright-side and saw it as another adventure to embark on!
We got through security in Maputo and waited to board our 10 hour flight to Lisbon. The flight was great, just a bit strange seeing so many people wearing masks and gloves! After 10 hours we arrived at Lisbon and that’s where our adventure began. We had no luggage, couldn’t get through security until the next day and couldn’t get an earlier flight home. We sat in Burger King listening to the news because the president of Lisbon was making a decision at 8pm whether to cancel all flights or not. This shocked us a bit, but we stayed calm, prayed and continued to eat our burgers haha! Thankfully our flight didn’t get cancelled again. We slept on the cold, hard and uncomfortable floor, ate a lot of take away food and tried to entertain ourselves in an airport for 22 hours. The next morning we got through security and were able to go to a nicer waiting area than we had been in. We slept some more and waited for our flight. We boarded our flight to Heathrow and the plane was pretty empty! Compared to a 10 hour flight, this 3 hour flight quite literally flew by and before we knew it we had landed in the UK for the first time in 6 months. As a team we prayed together and said our final goodbyes before we went out to see our families. A special moment to remember!
For me the last 6 months has been a great experience living everyday with such excitement for new things. New people, new food, new culture, new climate. Each day there was something new sometimes great things and sometimes not so great things but each and every one of them has been an amazing thing to encounter with God at the centre. There’s been days that really stretch me to my limit but that always brings something good in the end. What stuck out for me the most is how God is always working in you, in your seasons of rest and seasons of challenge he is always working in you to prepare you and teach you. He’s going to use your challenges to build you up.
2 Corinthians 12:10 “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong”
Wow! What a crazy adventure! We’ve made so many memories that I will cherish forever! There’s so many highlights from the year I have and here are just a few of them! Of course our team holiday is up there, we had so many adventures during our time in South Africa and we witnessed some incredible things that I will never forget! Another highlight for me was the international church ‘picnic’ – this was more of a banquet than a picnic, it helped us to build our relationships with people in the church as well as enjoying all the food that was involved! The youth group at the international church was also a big highlight for me. It’s all I seem to talk about now but it’s what I love to do and I really enjoyed how we were able to help out with this group and meet some amazing people! There’s so many more highlights that we all have that I would love to share but there’s just too many to explain! From things like our trips to the shops and the walks to projects to long journeys and crazy adventures with so many amazing people! Gods taught me so much over the past 7 months, the biggest thing is patience! Everything that could go wrong over our time away from flights to visas didn’t go to plan…this came with a lot of stress and uncertainty which taught us all to trust in him and learn deeper patience! I’ve been blessed to be part of the team I was, we’ve all grown so much together and we will never forget what we’ve experienced! So many memories of us all crying of laughter and having the best time of our lives cover up all the tough, difficult times! He know that we would work so well and planned for us to do this together!
A highlight of mine being overseas would be leading worship and helping out at youth on Friday night! It was so amazing to have the opportunity to lead and play worship with the youth and spend time worshipping God, it was great to have that responsibility of providing music for the Youth, as I definitely saw an Improvement in my guitar playing! It was also so much fun creating and developing friendships with all the different people from the youth!
Something I believed God taught me specifically while being overseas is patience and to be flexible with plans! This is because when we was chasing our visas process it was a very long and confusing time as it was never certain when or if we will ever be able to pick them up, so I had to learn to be more patient and to trust in Gods timing and not my own! A reason I believe my flexibility with plans was strengthened would be that our time working with the school was uncertain most of the time and we just had to commit fully and if timings or lessons were changed we would just have to adapt!
These 6 months overseas have been amazing! I’ve loved learning new things and being able to experience a completely different lifestyle. Yes, there’s been challenges and hurdles we’ve had to overcome but this year has helped me grow in my faith so much and to really rely an trust in God during hard times. I wouldn’t change anything about this experience as I believe everything we experienced had a purpose and taught us different things.
My personal highlight for my time overseas was the children’s centre, Sekeleka, we helped out at in Macia. I loved every second being there. The children we worked with and got alongside were wonderful and they never failed to make us laugh! I really enjoyed being able to set creative activities for them and watch them shine through their creations. The fellow workers we met at Sekeleka were amazing too. We formed so many friendships and despite the language barrier we were still able to have conversations and bible studies (with a lot of help from google translate!) I absolutely loved the experience, especially being able to try lots of local foods and dishes. One day in the future I hope to be able to visit again.
Something I learnt during these 6 months has been patience. Before going overseas I wasn’t a very patient person at all. But, fair to say with all of the visa and flight problems we experienced, this definitely drew me closer to God and showed me that I can’t do anything about situations beyond my control. I’ve learnt to be patient and wait, because God has his perfect timing and we need to trust in that and have faith in him always.
- For all those being affected around the world by corona virus. That fear won’t take over and people can find comfort in the Lord.
- For the healthcare system in Mozambique. Before we left the virus hadn’t really reached Mozambique yet but now it is there. So prayer for the doctors, nurses and patients in Mozambique as they may not be able to afford the equipment to treat the virus and some patients may not be able to afford the treatment.
- For each of us on our return home. That we’re able to deal with culture shock and that we can spend our time in lock down wisely, reflecting back on our time away, writing about it and being able to catch up (over video call) with those we still long to see.
A huge thank you SO much to everyone who has supported us during our time overseas. The prayers, words of advice and messages have meant so much to us and we are so grateful to you all. We are sad that our time with BMS has ended so soon and tour is no longer going ahead. However, one day in the near future we hope to be able to come together as a team again and share all of the wonderful experiences we had with you all.
Tchau for now,
Team MO-ZAM-BIQUE! 🙂