Tchau Tchau Mozambique!

Since our last few weeks were very busy, unfortunately we didn’t manage to upload this post while we were still in Mozambique. But here it is! We’re now back in the UK and have just completed the first week of our mission placement in Birmingham (more on that later). After a few days at home, we’re staying at IMC until our original return date of 29th March.

After we got back from South Africa, one of our big projects was working at Rei dos Reis school twice a week, which we went to for a couple of months at the very beginning and returned to for the start of the new school year in February. Each of us was with a different teacher working in English, PE and IT lessons. We had to do a lot of working as we went along, as we were very rarely told what to prepare in advance. There were also plenty of times when the teacher left, meaning we had to put our (I’m sure you’ll agree) outstanding Portuguese skills to teach a class on our own. Despite this, there were good bits, and God can still use our work even though we often didn’t see our purpose. It was interesting to see what school is like in another culture as well and the similarities and differences to our own school experiences.

In our last few weeks in Mozambique, we ran English lessons twice a week at our church in Palmeiras. The group was split into two halves, one for those who speak only a little English and one for those who know more. The basic group taught vocab such as days of the week and simple sentences, while the advanced group focused on writing and speaking more complex phrases and paragraphs. While the numbers weren’t huge (usually around 5), they were fairly regular. We hope we helped them to learn English even in our brief time of lessons, and the advanced group in particular were eager to learn and complete the tasks we set to a good standard.

Our last English club!

Even though our early return wasn’t expected, we can trust that it’s all in God’s plan and that He has good things planned for us here in the UK. For our placement in Birmingham, we will mainly be working at Harborne Baptist Church and in an area called Weoley Castle. We’re also working at a project called the Green Gym (which actually isn’t anything to do with exercise, but working in IMC’s garden) and are going to Wales next weekend for a discipleship course with Big Life Ministries, which trains Christians to share their faith. All of us have really enjoyed the work in our placement so far, and we’ve already met a variety of different people.

We want to thank everyone who supported us while we were in Mozambique, especially those who have been praying for us. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but it’s been a great experience and we all feel we’ve learned a lot from being in Mozambique. We hope this will continue in the next two weeks of our placement here and we’ll get stuck into our projects here.

Finally, as you may have heard, Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique and Malawi on Thursday, including Beira, where we were staying. So far, more than 120 people have been killed and around 1.5 million displaced across the two countries. The storm has now hit Zimbabwe. Already the cyclone has destroyed thousands of homes, uprooted trees and left Beira without electricity and fresh water.  The city has poor infrastructure and many people live in makeshift homes without much flood protection. Many of the people we met will have been affected. While we don’t yet know the full extent of the damage, we would appreciate if you could pray for the people there, and for Beira in particular. Thank you.

Playing Ligretto with Mark Barrell, who visited Beira for a few days in February. Liz won again and again despite Alex’s best efforts, Liz making a variety of unusual noises in the process. Mark’s taking the photo, if you’re wondering where he is.

(Below) Another attempt at dancing Mozambican style, this time in front of a packed church. All while looking like an African version of a 90s boy band in our matching capulanas. The other dancers subtly pushed us to the front because it was our last week at church, and while it matched our usual standard of dancing, the church seemed to enjoy it anyway!

What did you really enjoy in Mozambique?

ALEX – The holiday club at Wagna’s church because of the fun we had ceilidh dancing, doing arts and crafts and playing games. It was great getting to build relationships with the same group of kids. I also really loved the energetic, spontaneous worship at church.

ANDREW – Although it was very busy, I found PEPE very rewarding, especially during the playtimes when we could just play with the kids and help them to have fun. It’s great that they have so much joy and energy and how excited they are about simple things.

JACK – Spending time at the orphanage getting to know the boys and seeing the difference from when they arrive to when they leave. They gain practical and social skills, which makes them extremely valuable employees, husbands, friends and figures in the community.

REBEKAH – I’ve loved getting involved in the church. It has been fun to experience church life in a new way including: going to the church youth group, dancing at the front of church and starting the English lessons. I’ve also enjoyed running the missionary kids club on a Saturday morning, as this has been our most consistent project. It has been great to get to know the children that come and have fun with them.

What will you miss most about Mozambique?

ALEX – The little things that have become part of our every day life such as seeing beautiful palm trees, chatting with our supervisors and the culture of buying mangoes and bananas on the side of the street because it’s nice to support local people.

ANDREW – The people we’ve met here and how hospitable they’ve been. It’s been cool to get to know people from different cultures and learn more about them. Also, some of the scenery here is amazing, especially in the rural areas we drove through to get to Maputo and the beach we went to with Liz and Sergio in our last weekend with them.

JACK – The way of life that became normal for us in Mozambique, our friends and maybe even when people shout “Muzungu!” at us. Also our guards José and Nelson as well as Linda, who helped us around the house. They all loved to laugh with/at us and we’re so grateful for all they did for us with and without us knowing.

REBEKAH – I will miss the weather: the almost daily sunshine and the enjoyment of feeling slightly cooler when it rains. I will also miss all the people that we’ve met here whether that’s the children we work with, the Vilelas, all the Brazilians we’ve met or the lady that we buy our fruit from.

What are you looking forward to?

ALEX – Visiting Action Team Wales and finishing our video to show the next Mozambique action team what life is like out there.

ANDREW – I’m excited to get involved more in our projects here in Birmingham, especially in our two church placements. Even though we’re home early, we can still serve God and I’m sure He’s got a lot planned for us.

JACK – Eating more British food and meeting more new and cool people in Birmingham.

REBEKAH – I am excited to see what God has in store for the rest of our time here in Birmingham, and to get to know more people here.

PRAYERS ANSWERED

  • Liz and Sergio arrived in Brazil safely.
  • We were able to see everyone we wanted before we left Mozambique.
  • Our safe arrival back in the UK and a much smoother return trip.
  • Our placement here has been great so far and we’re enjoying our work here.

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • As mentioned above, all the people affected by Cyclone Idai as it continues to sweep through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
  • That God will keep the people we met in Beira safe.
  • For the aid agencies trying to get relief into Beira and their work.
  • That we can continue to get stuck in to our projects here in Birmingham.
2 replies
  1. Barbara Hooper says:

    Dear Jack,

    Lovely to hear your getting on so well despite the obvious challenges! So wonderful to hear that you and the team are getting on well.

    Your mother said that you were coming to visit soon? I most certainly do hope so young man!

    All of my love,

    Gran. xx

  2. Peter Benton says:

    Such dancing skill is wasted hidden away on this blog. Have you considered entering “Britain’s Got Talent”?

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