To make a long story short, God has lead us to Mozambique to go to a family friend’s farm to help and love on the people after cyclone Idai hit. My dad (Jaco) was already in Mozambique on the farm helping and on the 11th of April we left Namibia to join him. The farm is located in the Manica Province; an area that was heavily affected by flooding after the cyclone. On our drive to the farm we started to see the destruction left by the flooding. Three weeks after the floods, the landscape was starting to recover but the damage was still evident as we passed by the foundations of houses and huts that had been completely swept away. In some places we saw the maize still caught in the electricity wires, almost eight meters above the ground. It was hard to imagine that not long ago the road was covered by more than eight meters of water.
By the time we arrived at the farm the last emergency response team stationed there was just leaving as all of the people in the area had been given food and shelter (tents) and were good for the time being. We started our time by walking around the area close to the farm, meeting the locals and asking God to put the things on our hearts that he has planned for our time there. Because there was so much need we knew we had to trust God to show us where and in what ways to help.
Our first chance to help was when a woman, Amélia, approached us and asked if we can help her child who has diarrhea. Jaco had something with him that he could give the baby and Junia connected immediately with the woman. We later returned to check on the baby and found it was doing good. Amélia, the mother, asked Junia to come teach her English because she really wants to be better at it. This was the start of a friendship that continued for the rest of the time. Junia returned many times to spend time with her and could give her a bible at the end of our time there.
At the beginning of our time, while we were still walking around meeting the people we met a woman called Arminda. She is a mother of seven children whose husband passed away little over a year ago. When we first met her she was sick and coughing a lot because the only place she had to sleep was a hut with no walls left. The other two houses that were on her property were either completely swept away or barely standing and not safe to sleep in. We felt God guide us to help her so we returned with a translator to explain that we wanted to help. She was thankful and after giving her some medicine we started putting up walls for her hut. We also gave her a blanket, clothes, and food as all her things had been washed away in the flood. It was amazing to see the joy return to her life as she got better and even started joking with us as we returned to her throughout our time there. This was one of our highlights while being in Mozambique.
Even before we arrived Jaco had been connecting with some of the local teachers. God put it on his heart to keep spending time with them while we were there. One evening he went to have a Bible study with the teachers and Junia stayed home and specifically prayed for his time with them. After returning he said that there had been a complete change in their behavior and that for the first time they were open with him and could talk about the flooding together. They told him about how they were stuck in a tree for three days, having to hold on for their lives while they saw the people float by who could not hold on anymore. One of them even said that he could feel God holding his hand; keeping him in the tree when he had no strength left. It was an emotional time for Jaco and them as they could feel the sadness of what had happened together. We could see how prayer helped us win the spiritual battle and how the people started opening up.
When we arrived Jaco told us about a village called Pambanisa and how the chief had invited him to come to them. Pambanisa is on the other side of the Buzi river and because of the bridge being swept away by the flood it was inaccessible by car from where we were. In order to get there we first had to drive with the car to Dombe, which is about 30km away from the farm and took us over an hour to drive because of the bad roads. Once we were in Dombe we took the bark canoes from the locals over the river where there is still wild crocodiles and hippos. When we got to the other side we biked down a small trail through the bush for about seven kilometers before reaching the outskirts of Pambanisa. Here we stopped at a small store (a mud and stick hut) and bought some Coke from the lady. We felt to give her a Portuguese Bible and she was overwhelmed with joy, explaining that her bible had been washed away by the flood. As we continued into Pambanisa we stopped in front of a house where we were greeted by an english-speaking man. After starting to talk to him the chief, that had invited Jaco to come but who we had not told we were coming, emerged from the house together with the district chief. It was amazing to see how God had led us right to the house where the very person we were looking for was. Jaco was excited to see the chief and it was an emotional time as they told us about how the flood came and how they had to climb into the trees or on the roofs to survive and how many people had lost their lives. Finally the chief asked us to tell our church back home to send someone to them to teach them about God and to start a church. We then prayed together with the chief and district chief for God to call a missionary to Pambanisa to bring them the gospel.
Going to Mozambique was a big step of faith for us but we could see how God had led us there in exactly the right timing to do what he had prepared for us. As the kids walked us home on our last night there they finally opened up to Junia and took her hands on the way back, something that was almost unimaginable when we first arrived as they were very withdrawn. Leaving with this picture in mind we look back fondly on our time spent there and will miss the people we met in Mozambique.
We are thankful for:
28th of April 2019