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We were in Mozambique - Travelling report

Toys for the youngest

 A completely different travelling
 report - to which our section
 graphics on the left is not
 corresponding at all.

 Nevertheless, we thought this article
 may interest you greatly.

  We were in Mozambique

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Once again I leafed through the newsletters of a Christian ministry in South Africa, at the same time remembering the pictures and videos which I had seen: emaciated babies, children whose bellies were swollen with hunger, and adults clothed in rags, their bodies covered with scars. 


The look in their eyes revealed their hopelessness; through war and diseases they have been cheated out of an existence worthy of human beings and consequently have just about lost their courage to face life. Other photographs show expectant faces of black children holding out their tin plates to the workers in the soup-kitchens, where they are fed some good and nutritious soup full of protein 2 or 3 times a week. 

I recalled the report of an American woman who had collapsed weeping when the soup she was dishing out did not suffice for everyone, and the waiting children were crowding around her in a state of near panic. For the hundredth time I asked myself, "Am I really willing to see such misery with my own eyes? How will our team of 18 Bible School students and graduates from rich Western European countries deal with the sight of such boundless suffering?" Every time I had seen reports of disaster areas on television, I was moved with sympathy for those poor people - yet I forgot them rather quickly again. Now we were to fly to such a place in order to help a team of Christians who year after year, renounce a life of ease in Western civilization in order to care for orphaned children, for the sick and the hungry. 

After our arrival in Johannesburg we first spent a few days at the mission base where we cleaned hundreds of tiny window panes and helped prepare and put together evangelistic literature in the Portuguese language. After that we flew to Mozambique where we were picked up by a transporter and taken to our destination. Eight years earlier, the founder had started building this orphanage, and today the place consists of many buildings made from hand-made cement bricks, some covered with thatched roofs and others with corrugated iron sheets, in which the children live together with their foster mothers as well as the staff of the orphanage. 

We were divided into different groups according to our abilities. The 3 nurses among us were a valuable help in the clinic, others worked on different building projects. We waved baskets, sorted second-hand donated clothing, rearranged storage sheds and planted, in all, about 5000 onions. Our two electricians repaired faulty appliances and installed a power supply independent of the main generator of the hospital. By the way, they had to dig a ditch over 100 yards long for the cable! We worked side by side with the local people and learned to communicate with them by sign language. However, in the end we had picked up a few scraps of "Tshitsua" as well as an African chorus. 

The experience which probably impressed all of us the most were the visits to the soup kitchens run in surrounding villages. Each time a group of us, together with the nurse and her interpreter, went with the Pastor an his wife to the different villages, where the soup barrel had already been prepared in the early morning. It took 3 hours for the 200 liters of water in the former oil-drums to start boiling over the open wood fire. After the soup-powder had been mixed in, the soup had to be kept at boiling-point, stirring occasionally for another 2 hours before it was ready for eating. When we arrived at the village, the children were already there waiting for their soup. The Pastor and his wife made use of the time by singing Christian choruses with the children and telling them about Jesus. We "malungos" (white people) were invited to sing a few German children's songs to them. After that our pantomime group played first an amusing piece and then an evangelistic piece, which the Pastor subsequently explained to the listeners. Even before the soup was dished out, the Pastor was able to pray with several children who wanted to give their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.

When the soup was to be distributed, the children stood in line one behind the other. To our amazement they stood there waiting patiently until it was their turn. No pushing, no shoving, no shouting. The scoop was a Coke tin with a wooden handle; the children's containers fitted many beggarly descriptions; leaves from surrounding trees were used as spoons - yet the children were so thankful to receive their portion. They never complained about the taste nor the fact that it was "chicken soup again". For us Europeans who are so spoilt and pampered, to see such a thing constituted a real challenge. One cannot but question seriously some of one's private "faith projects" which may have seemed absolutely vital. 

All the members of our group have come to the same conclusion: this journey has truly changed our lives. Not only have we been exposed to a different culture and met with rather "unusual" hygienic conditions, but every one of us has experienced something which has greatly enriched his or her own life. We have seen the love of God in action through the team on site caring for the poorest of the poor, and this love has impressed us deeply and taken root in our own hearts, so that we were able to come home with a new understanding of the huge importance and urgency of missionary work.

Since then, each time we see pictures or hear reports from Africa, we are stirred in our hearts and cannot but exhort ourselves as well as others, to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Even if you can't go yourself in order to help the people with your own hands, you can always support the missionaries and the ministries who do!

Missionary work is the heartbeat of God, for He gave His Son for each and everybody, even for those who eke out a scanty living in the furthest bush. These people must also hear the Gospel - the good news that Jesus came to heal the blind and the lame, to set at liberty those who are bound and to give to them, too, eternal life!


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