Tuesday, 28 May 2013

UK church dates

After the long haul flight, a little re-acclimatisation, some time to catch up with good friends and family and the all important debrief sessions and medical check-ups, we’re now beginning to look forward to our church partnership speaking engagements. It'll be great to be able to see you all and thank you in person for your support during our first term of service in Mozambique and also to be able to share more of what God's been doing and what life is like.

Our schedule is now pretty full, so unfortunately we can't promise any additional visits, but if you can get along to any of the events listed below we'd love to say hello! 

2nd June 2013 Canterbury Baptist Church, Kent
9th June 2013  Arbury Road Baptist Church, Cambridge (morning service)
9th June 2013 Christchurch Baptist Church, Welwyn Garden City (evening service)
15th June - 16th June 2013 Upminster Baptist Church, Havering
23rd June 2013 Colchester Baptist Church, Essex
29th - 30th June 2013 Salisbury Baptist Church, Wiltshire
6th July - 7th July 2013 Brentwood Baptist Church, Essex (Saturday and Sunday evening)
7th July 2013 Pilgrims Hatch Baptist Church, Essex (morning service)
14th July 2013 St Peters and St James Churches, Hereford

For more detailed information send us an email or get in touch with the respective churches.

Monday, 15 April 2013


A close encounter
We've just come back from a break in St Lucia (South Africa) followed by the BMS Africa retreat where we all had a great time.  We’d caught up with BMS friends and colleagues, done plenty of safaris (including one in a Kayak and another on a horse).  I think we’d eaten more meat in a week than we’d eaten in the entire time since we left the UK! We’d had time for ourselves, each other and the children. Throughout the retreat we’d had great teaching from Haggai and felt ready to take on life in Beira with a fresh energy before we return to the UK in May.  We realised we’d been ground down by some of the challenges of everyday life but were determined not to be got down again.  No more moaning about potholes, no more only talking about work and no more of the complaining. More time to be spent with God, with each other and looking for the positives in every situation.  With this new energy we arrived back to our house.

The following are some of the things that had happened while we had been away for less than two weeks.

Isaac, Naomi and Sammy,
 not looking very scared at all
1. One of our guards had been severely ill with a bad bout of Malaria.
2. A dispute to the south of Sofala Province between the police and supporters of the ex-rebel group  RENAMO led to violence in which seven were killed including several police officers and tension across the country.
3. A group of organised robbers down a road where some friends live had systematically stripped parts out of several cars.

Keeping a positive outlook was already looking like a challenge and then there were the ants…

These tiny housemates have been with us for months and we had hoped they might vacate the property in our absence but no luck.  On the night we got back, we climbed into bed only to discover that they’d moved in between the covers. We stripped the bed, sprayed, and sprinkled baby powder around the bed to discourage them from returning to their new found home.  The following night the same happened in Isaac’s bed and since then the little creatures decided to make a home of our sofa whilst we were trying to chill out one evening. 

When the children are playing on the floor, the ants are there. When you cook, they’re there. When you pick up the kids toys, they’re there. To make it worse, when the ants feel threatened they bite; they may only be tiny but trust me they hurt! So much for the no complaining and the positive attitude, we've been talking about!  The plan for a fumigator to come and blight the little creatures is our current preferred topic of conversation.
Almost all of our IMC Africa friends on retreat

However, when we honestly look at things we have plenty to be thankful for. Beautiful sunshine on a daily basis, food to eat, good friends and great beaches nearby all help us to carry on with what we’re here to do. After all, it’s only a few weeks until we get to see UK friends and family and visit churches for our first home assignment.  Let’s hope the ants will take the hint and go on holiday too!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Prayer letter and home assignment dates

Great news, our first prayer letter of the new year is now available online! You can find it by clicking here.

Also, we'll be on home assignment in the UK and available to request as BMS Speakers from 6 June to 2 August 2013. Churches wishing to request us as BMS Speakers should use the online speaker request form at www.bmsworldmission.org/speakers or call the Church Relations Team on 01235 517600.

Please submit your request before the 18 March 2013.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Mozambique Floods

Today's blog post was written by our colleague Fiona Welsh and was posted on the BMS website earlier this week. The original BMS post can be found here. Since the post was written, the death toll from flooding in the lower Limpopo river now stands at 80 (according to Reuters news agency).

(Photo credit: Phil Hay/UN/Word Bank)
Intense flooding in Mozambique has displaced at least 150,000 people and killed 40 so far, the United Nations said on Monday, with the figure expected to rise further as fresh rains spread flooding northward.

BMS worker Fiona Welsh asks for prayer:

I'd like to ask you to pray for people affected by the recent floods in Mozambique. The rains are due to continue until the end of March so the situation could still get worse:

The flooding from the Limpopo river, which began on Wednesday, killed around 40 people and forced more than 100,000 others to flee.

Amid the catastrophe, two babies were born on roofs where their mothers had taken refuge in the southern village of Guija.

(Photo credit: Anna Wallenlind/IRIN)
The mud-filled hospital in Guija is empty, with all the furniture and equipment drying outside, while a nurse distributes painkillers to the sick and ensures the injured are airlifted to hospitals outside the area.

Local medical staff have already treated around 70 cases of diarrhoea and are keeping an eye out for cholera and other waterborne diseases. Apart from air transport, which is reserved for urgent cases, the only way to access the community of roughly 7,000 residents is by boat.

Local officials estimate that Guija will remain isolated for at least three months, the time it will take to rebuild the roads and bridges swept away by the Limpopo waters.

(Photo credit: Leonor Fernandez/WFP)
Four bodies were found in Chokwe, whose flood-ravaged streets were also littered with rotting animal carcasses.

A Baptist pastor contacted us on Monday to say that they have had 2.5 metres of rain in a few days in Chokwe.

Please pray for the local churches as they attempt to help their local communities at this terrible time.



Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Monday, 3 December 2012

Tuning into the sounds of Mozambique

This is just to say that we recently had an article published on the BMS World Mission website that tries to describe some of the drama of modern-day Mozambique. You can read it by clicking here or going to www.bmsworldmission.org and looking in the list of recent articles. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Tradition and responsibility: Life after death in Mozambique.

A few months ago, Mario’s (not his real name) father died. Although he was an old man for Mozambique (life expectancy is 421), the stroke was quite sudden. He was brought from his village to stay near the city not far from our house to be with his extended family, most of whom have migrated to Beira for work. In Beira he was also able to see a nurse2 but he never recovered and died about a week later.

The funeral took place on a Tuesday. A short service was held in a catholic church and he was buried in the cemetery. Back in the UK, we tend think about funerals as marking an end of a life, but in traditional Mozambican culture, the funeral is just the beginning of a series of ceremonies intended to help the safe passage of spirit of the deceased into the realm of the ancestors. The village shamans and healers play an important part in this. For example if the ceremonies are not done well enough, the spirit can turn malevolent, wreaking havoc on the family health, crops and livelihoods.

During one ceremony, the spirit chooses a family member to inhabit, joining the ancestors that live on after death in the living. Although not the eldest son, Mario was chosen to receive the spirit of his father, he said, because his father loved him the most. And with this honour came all the responsibilities due the new head of the family; no small deal for a young guy still studying.

We first noticed a change in Mario quite soon after his father’s death. He was less cheerful, less talkative and more sullen. We knew that he’d started turning up late for work but we put this all down to stress, mourning or the weight of extra responsibility.

Then one day he nearly got fired. He’d turned up for work drunk and unable to do his job. In desperation he spoke to us about his problem. Everyone knew that in life his father had liked a beer on a Friday evening, but he told us that in death the spirit of his father was making him drink away every last metical of his small salary. He knew he was in trouble but how could he reject the spirit of his father?

Whatever you believe about this kind of thing, in Mozambique the physical and the spiritual are believed to be intractably interwoven in the fabric of everyday life. Every action taken in this world is watched, judged and acted on by those that inhabit the spiritual realm. The only way to overcome a problem in this world is to also overcome the spirits who are causing it in the other.

Whether you believe Mario’s experience is a genuine one, or just put it all down to psychology, he needs to find a way of getting out of this mess whilst feeling that he is honouring his father. But in this culture passages like 1 John 4 really come into their own.

Test the spirits, writes John. If they’re from God then they’ll acknowledge Jesus, if not they’re false and therefore liers. He tells his readers that because God is in them they can overcome the lying spirits and in a twist of logic he says now that they are from God and the spirits are from the world.

We believe that through Jesus, there is a way out that both saves Mario’s job and livelihood and honours the memory of his father. Please pray for him as he begins to study his bible and discover this wonderful truth.

1According to the United Nations, Mozambique has the second lowest life expectancy in the world:

2Access to rural healthcare is very poor. There is roughly 1 nurse per 5000 people and the vast majority are based in cities and towns: