Wednesday, November 14, 2007



One of the greatest mission opportunities for the churches ofChrist could be about to open in Mozambique. Such was the thoughton the minds and hearts of a team of ten researchers as theystepped off the plane in Maputo on July 31, 1991. They werebeginning an eighteen day on-site study. This research came on the heels of a course of study atAbilene Christian University which included the history, cultureand recent problems in Mozambique. The team had also been throughsessions on the methods of on-site research. Their emotional andspiritual preparation went much further in that many of them wereplanning to become fulltime missionaries in this suffering nationin 1993. GOALS The research was an in-depth follow-up of a trip the previoussummer. On July 19th, 1990, Jerry Johnson and Richard Chowningcrossed the border from Mutare, Zimbabwe into Mozambique. Theyspent seven days in the country. The preliminary research whichthey were able to accomplish indicated that the Makua speakingpeople could be a priority target. They traveled to Nampula, thelargest city in the Makua area. Their observations were cursory atbest, however they did determine that a further, more in-depth,research trip was in order. The trip in the summer of 1991 is a fulfillment of that need. This research trip was undertaken to assess the needs andpeculiarities of Mozambique with a particular interest in the Makuaspeaking people. 1. Can we live in the Makua area? 2. Is there the possibility for high church growth in the Makua speaking area? 3. How secure will Mozambique be in 1993? 4. What will be the financial needs of missionaries? 5. What will be the paramissions needs for the Makua area in 1993? Extensive research in books, periodicals and interviewspreceded the on-site visit. Once on the field, the teamconcentrated on interviews and observations. They hadquestionnaires to guide the interviews, lists to record logisticmatters, and forms for noting daily observations. Each team memberkept a diary as well. The Makua of the north of Mozambique were the main concern ofthe team. Nampula is the most important city among the Makua,therefore it became a site at which the team spent the bulk oftheir time. A preliminary visit to Maputo, the capital, providedopportunities for interviews with government officials and leadersin the various missions working in Mozambique. The team was carrying letters which identified them withAbilene Christian University, Manna International, and the Churchesof Christ.

TEAMGreg Bailey Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University. Candidate for Master of Missiology, Abilene Christian University. Greg has led two campaigns to Swaziland and South Africa. Completed a summer internship in Shakawe, Botswana.Darla Bennett Darla spent eight years in Brazil and speaks Portuguese. She is the daughter of Les and Patsy Bennett. She completed a summer internship in Kitale, Kenya, and she is currently on track toward a degree in Nursing at Abilene Christian University.Rod Calder Rod is a native South African. Candidate for the Masters in Church History. Completed a summer internship in Sotik, Kenya.Sue Calder Sue is a native South African. She completed a summer internship in Sotik, Kenya.Kelly Jeffrey Kelly has been on mission journeys to Africa on four occasions. She completed summer internships in Eldoret, Kenya and Shakawe, Botswana.David Jenkins Holds a Masters of Missions at Abilene Christian University. David completed an internship in Kitale, Kenya.Jana Jenkins Jana spent eight years of her life in Kenya. She is the daughter of Gaston and Jan Tarbet, who have served as missionaries in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Kenya.Tara Wells Tara spent four years of her life in Ethiopia. She is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Wells who worked with the USAID in Ethiopia. Tara has been on a campaign to Nairobi and completed a summer internship in Kitale, Kenya.Supervisors:Richard ChowningCynthia Chowning Richard and Cyndi were church planting missionaries in Kenya for sixteen years. Fourteen of those years were spent among the Kipsigis. This is Richard's seventh research trip. He has been a Missionary In Residence at ACU since 1988.


Mozambique is twice the size of California (799,380 squarekilometers). The population is sixteen million. Half of thepeople are below the age of fifteen. Mozambique is inhabited primarily by Bantu people who traveledacross Zaire and Zimbabwe seven to ten centuries ago. The Portuguese first came to Mozambique, as traders, in thefifteenth century. It was three centuries before they began tocolonize. They did not educate or train Mozambicans to manage theinstitutions and infrastructure they built. They were far lessdedicated to assisting the Africans than the French and British hadbeen in their colonies. Independence came on June 25th, 1975 aftera seven year war. The fleeing colonialists left Mozambique one ofthe poorest countries in the world. At independence the literacyrate was less than 3 percent and the federal coffers contained lessthan one million dollars. The post independence government was led by the Frelimofaction which had fought for freedom. Samora Machel was the firstpresident. His Marxist regime began immediately to indoctrinatethe urbanites and rural peasants in the principles of socialism. Christians in the country, particularly the Roman Catholic church,were persecuted and their lands were confiscated. Since independence, an opposition faction, Renamo, has beenwaging a counter revolution. This bloody, fifteen year war hasdevastated the infrastructure and economy of the country, left morethan 200,000 dead, and two million Mozambicans have fled intoMalawi, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. In October 1986, President Machel was killed in an airplaneaccident and Joaquim Chissano was appointed President. Religiousfreedom was reestablished under the new regime. In 1988, allchurch property was returned and missionaries were encouraged toenter the country. Chissano has also worked toward settlement ofthe war by meeting many of RENAMO's demands. In August of 1989, hedeclared to the 5th Party Congress that Marxist-Leninism was nolonger the guiding doctrine of FRELIMO. He has also freed up theeconomy to private enterprise. He has taken the risk of moving allof the Zimbabwian troops in the country to the Beira Corridor (theroad that runs from Mutare, Zimbabwe, to the Indian Ocean). Atpresent, joint negotiations are underway in Rome to bring an end tothe war. Maputo The population of the capital, Maputo, is now two million. In1980 it was only 800,000. The town of Maputo is highly compact. High rise apartments towering as much as twenty-five stories jutinto the air in the central section of the city. Even to the farreaches of the city four and five floor buildings are common. Theground floors of the taller structures serve as shops andbusinesses. Many of the apartments are two and three bedrooms,with two toilets and a bath. The glory of the structures has fadedand they are in disrepair. Tile roofs on as much as five percentof the city are caving in. The paint is faded due to the sun, windfrom the sea and lack of fresh paint. Sidewalks are buckled andthe smell of sewers is common in the residential areas. Signs of a modest rebound are evident. Products have againbegun to line the shelves of the stores, even though these productsare predominantly imported goods. The number of new vehicles isincreasing. Much of the improvement is due to the government'scooperation with the International Monetary Fund and the WorldBank, as well as honest attempts to bring a conclusion to thefifteen year-old civil war. Exchange rates have made foreigninvestors and importers more comfortable with stepping up theiractivities. Loans and grants by foreign governments are on therise. President Chissano has assured the world that his intentionsfor peace are honest. The Fifth Party Congress drew up a newconstitution which purged the Marxist doctrine of the old laws andlaid the foundation for a republic. Though the city has hundreds of high rise apartment complexesand a large port, the average income is $80 to $100 per year. Hundreds of refugees arrive in the city every day. According toUNICEF, Mozambique has the highest infant mortality rate in theworld (297 out of 1000 die before they are five years old).


The primary focus of our research was the Makua speakingpeople in northern Mozambique. The Makua speaking people are thelargest ethnic group in the country, numbering more than 4 million. Nampula and Zambezia provinces are home for most of them. According to the U.S. State Department, "The north centralprovinces of Zambezia and Nampula have traditionally been the mostpopulous, comprising about 50 percent of the population." The research team flew to Nampula province. The population ofNampula Province is 3,035,900, and it has the largest populationdensity (34.8 people per square kilometer) of any area in thecountry with the exception of Maputo, the capital city. The attraction of this area for the research team is itsrelative unchurchedness. More than ninety percent of the entireMakua speaking people are followers of their traditional Africanreligion. Patrick Johnstone, in Operation World, calls the Makua "thelargest animistic unreached people in Africa, possibly the world." These peopleare in rebel-held territory and have had little exposure to the gospel. The Makua are the largest ethnolinguistic group in the country who numberbetween four and five million. They are divided into two primary groups: the Makuaand the Lomwe. The Lomwe are greater in number with a population of near twomillion. There are Bible translations in both Makua and Lomwe. The Makua are the primary people group in Nampula Province. The Lomwe dominate Zambezia. Daipa,a Mozambican Baptist missionary, says that there are some major differences betweenthe Makua dialects. All other informants advised that, except for some smallgroups near the coast, there are very few differences in the different Makuadialects. The team was not able to learn Makua culture with any depth. Traditionalhealing and ancestral worship are prevalent. Makua people tie cloths around a treein their village and spread a cloth on the ground upon which they make sacrifices. There are protective amulets warn primarily on the wrist, but also just above thebiceps. A paper written by researcher Greg Bailey can be made available to thosewho want a sketch of the traditional beliefs as gleaned from readings. Tea and fruits are grown in the Makua area, as well as staple crops of corn,cassava, cashews, and potatoes. As soon as the war comes to a close this portionof the country should be able to make a quick economic turn around.


When Jerry Johnson and Richard Chowning flew from the port city of Beira toNampula on a Red Cross aid airplane in August of 1990, they saw the city as apossible site for the location of a team. The researchers in the summer of 1991decided to use Nampula as the base for their study of the Makua people. Nampula is the third largest city in Mozambique and the administrative headquarters of the Makua speaking people. The official population is 300,000,but local estimates put it at twice that number. At independence in 1975, Nampulawas home for no more than 120,000. Although the countryside around Nampula is often hit by rebel bands, the city itself is safe due to a strong militarypresence. The buildings are better preserved than those in the much larger coastalcity of Beira and on a par with Maputo. It is estimated by missionaries in Nampula that there are about seventhousand Catholics and Christians in the city.

Anchilo Trip

The research team took three trips outside of Nampula. A trip to Ribauewill be discussed in the Security section. The short excursion to an agriculturalproject is presented in the Physical Needs section. The first ride out of Nampulawas to a hospital at Anchilo ten miles east of Nampula. The area between Nampulaand Anchilo has many mango and cashew trees standing in sandy soil. Manyrectangular thatched huts line the road. Troops were seen occasionally eitherwalking or in military vehicles. Papayas, bananas, tomatoes, cabbage, and peanutswere being sold under trees. Five miles out of Nampula the team stopped at a Catholic seminary. Thisseminary had been built by the Catholic church twenty-five years ago, but Frelimoconfiscated it in 1974 and used it as an indoctrination center for the party. Itwas returned to the church last year. The scars of the Marxist regime remain. Painted across the back wall of the auditorium was the likenesses of Lenin, Marx,and Engles. Party slogans were painted over the door posts of many rooms. Toiletsand showers were in shambles. This is just one of many institutions which wereseized by Frelimo soon after independence and has now been returned. The onlypositive contribution was a modern water tower. Governor Gamito, of NampulaProvince visited the seminary last year and told the church to take the slogans offthe walls. He said such rhetoric did not belong in a church. This is a sign ofthe change taking place with the leadership of President Chissano. Further up the road the team drove through what was supposed to be a minimumsecurity prison with an agricultural project. What little that was planted was notdoing well. Three miles up the road was the town of Anchilo. Cars were not permitteddown the tarmac beyond the town without a military escort. The team parked at theshops and walked around. The police chief came up to the car. We explained thatwe had been with officials in Nampula and we wanted to look around Anchilo. Hewelcomed us after stating that we could not go beyond the town. Tomatoes, driedfish, coconuts, peanuts, and cassava were being sold by venders on one side of theroad. There were stone shops on the other. The people were friendly and wereexcited to hear team members speak a few words of Makua. Members of the team walked down the road toward the hospital then down a pathto talk to a family. The old man answered questions about Islamic and Christianinfluences in the area. He said that there were a few mosques and a fewcongregations of catholics and some protestant groups. When he was asked wherethey were located it became obvious that the churches were very few and quitedistant from each other. The hospital had 125 beds. It has a reputation for better diagnosis andtreatment than the hospitals in Nampula, but they do no surgery. On the way back to Nampula the team visited a farm run by a Portuguese man. He has the only dairy herd for miles. There are sixty-three cows producing 100liters each morning for sale in Nampula. This is basically the only source forfresh milk in the city. Five hundred head of beef cattle and four hundred pigs arealso kept on the farm.


Christians have learned from their Lord to be concerned about the materialproblems people experience as they live on earth. Material aid should, however,be understood as temporal in nature and the priority and ultimate aid is thesalvation of their souls. The people of Mozambique have been severely tormented as a result of theprotracted civil war. The United Nations 1990 Africa Recovery Briefing Paper,ranks Mozambique as possessing the world's lowest Gross Domestic Product, thelowest growth of Gross Domestic Product between 1980 and 1988, greatestpercentage of debt compared to Gross National Product, the highest infant mortalityrate, and the lowest caloric intake in the world. Add to this hundreds ofthousands children separated from their parents, two million refugees, and adevastated infrastructure. The physical needs of the country are extreme. Anymaterial or developmental aid would be best associated with a church planting teamof missionaries. This ideal is both possible and probable, in the Lord. First hand information concerning the physical needs came from threeinterviews. The first was on August 1, with Dr. Julio Schlotthauer, MissionDirector, USAID, Maputo. He informed the researchers that the central portionof the country was sparsely populated. The USAID was coordinating government aidin the south and Canadian Aid was handling the north. Scholtthauer said thateighty percent of Mozambique's imports and seventy percent of the government'sbudget was subsidized by donors. Market conditions are depressed and the countryseems to be in a coping mode. Donors were supplying one-third of the grainsconsumed in the country. One-third of that came from the U.S. Ten percent of thenation's food needs (20% in cities) is from the United States. According to Schlotthauer, Chissano's government is now moving to the middleof the road politically. This along with compliance to World Bank and IMFguidelines has opened the country to more technical and supervised aid. He thoughtthat the money would be forthcoming from these banks to finance the most pressingneeds of primary health care, agriculture (livestock, pigs and chickens), bridges,and water supply. The USAID Director suggested that missionaries desiring to be involved indevelopment work tie in with an existing non-governmental organization. Hementioned World Vision as the agency through which USAID contracted much of theirdevelopment work. Dave Smith, Director of Development for Cooperation Canada Mozambique(COCAMO), was the most informative expatriate aid worker in Nampula. Heestimates that eighty to ninety percent of the aid goes to the cities (40 kmradius). Some organizations are just beginning to help in the outlying areas. Dave believes that the primary needs in Nampula Province are education, housing,health clinics and eggs. Dave gave the researchers a connection which resulted in a trip twentykilometers out of town to an experimental, agricultural project. The projectcovered more than forty acres, primarily of rice and beans. Small patches of avariety of vegetables were also growing. The black soil seemed to be extremelyfertile. Water was no more than two or three feet below the surface. A hand pumpbore hole was used to irrigate most of the project. The members of the villagebrought rice they had harvested to a collection point. The researcher were toldthat not many cash crops, such as rice, had been planted during the war. Thisproject was not only an attempt at growing the produce, but more importantly, itwas to become a model for marketing this produce. The public Mozambican government official who endeared himself most to theresearchers was Alberto Viegas, Director of the Provincial Commission for theEmergency in Nampula. Mr. Viegas is an extremely compassionate former elementaryschool teacher. Governor Gamito asked him to head up the Commission of theEmergency fourteen years ago. He is angry that the clinics, health care units, andschools in the rural areas are being systematically destroyed. Mr. Viegas does notbelieve that handouts are the answer to Mozambique's greatest problems. Mozambicans, especially his Makua people, need peace and education more thananything else. Mr. Viegas escorted the researchers on a flight to Ribaue which isdiscussed in the Security section of this report.


Background Christianity is not new to Mozambique. The Portuguese, maritime tradersbrought Dominican missionaries to Mozambique as early as 1506. Even with theclose association with the Portuguese, Catholics did not always find favor with thecolonial government. In 1941, the White Fathers criticized some of theirhierarchy for identifying too closely with the colonial government. As a resultthe White Fathers were forced to leave the country. The Catholic priests haveremained predominantly expatriates. This is a sore spot in the church in post-independence Mozambique. Protestant churches date to the 1880s. The first to come were the AmericanBoard and Methodists in the south and the Scottish Presbyterians in the north. The Scottish Presbyterians came in response to a call from David Livingstone. They planted churches in the Alta Maloque region. The history of these people isdiscussed more fully under the Igreja de Cristo section, below. After Independence churches were hampered by the government of SamoraMachel. On June 4, 1975, Machel declared, "religion divides people." Later hisadministration confiscated all church property and denied Christians any positionsin the party or local government. It was not until 1989 that churches had theirproperty returned by Chissano and only in recent months have they taken possessionof them. Missionaries have still not returned to Mozambique in great numbers. Presently there are only two Protestant missionary families working north of theZambezi River. Stuart Foster and his family are working for the I.U.B.(International Union of Baptists), but they are of the African EvangelicalFellowship of Boone, North Carolina. The Fosters have only been in this areasince 1987. Stuart is able to travel into the rural areas as far as he can traveland return by night fall. He has found the Makua speaking people extremelyreceptive to the gospel. There is also a Brazilian couple working in Nampula. These are the only two Protestant, expatriate families doing church planting orleadership training among the Makua speaking people. Unchurched Areas As stated on the first page of this report, some mission organizations viewthe Makua as one of the largest, relatively unchurched ethnic groups in Africa. Less than seven percent of these four million people are followers of the Christianreligion. During the course of the research the team became aware of other ethnicgroups which are very unchurched. Nyassa and Cabo Delgado Provinces have very fewChristians. The Yao people of Nyassa are almost entirely Muslim. There aresmaller ethnic groups along the coast who are 100% Muslim. Stuart Foster and national evangelists reported that conversions are taking place among the Muslimpopulation. Three areas look promising enough to demand further investigation. The500,000 Makonde people are in the extreme north. For years they have beenresistant to change from outside influences. They were some of the first recruits for FRELIMO's fight for independence. There are no substantial numbers offollowers of the Christian religion among them. The Angoshe area near the coast was suggested by Stuart Foster to be a goodlocation for a new team. Such a team could work among Makua and/or Koti people. The area to the north of Quelimane is not heavily evangelized, yet it isheavily populated with Makua people. The war seems to have calmed in that region. Further research trips might be scheduled for these areas. Status of the Churches The war and the resulting security problems have produced an environmentwhich makes for difficult research into the number of congregations and members inthe various religious groups. Further, the poverty of Mozambique has causeddivisions and changes of allegiance when there is a hope of identification with orsupport from an outside source. The following information is based upon on-site interviews with religiousleaders as well as stateside, headquarters reports.According to Ethnologue, Mozambique is 61% followers of African TraditionalReligion, 13% Muslims, and 21% Christians (4.5% evangelical according toOperation World. This makes it one of the most unchurched countries on thecontinent. Igreja de Cristo (Church of Christ) In Mozambique there are at least three groups who call themselves Igreja deCristo (Church of Christ). This fact added an unsuspected distraction to theresearch trip. Instead of handling each of these groups in a separate section, itis informative to trace their history as they relate to each other. The history of these movements begins when David Livingstone challenged theScottish Presbyterians to come to northern Mozambique. They responded toLivingstone's plea by initiating their work in 1880. They moved the missionheadquarters to Mia Carne in 1913. Soon after that they ran afoul with thecolonial government and were forced to leave in 1920. They handed the work overto the South African General Mission. The SAGM found great receptivity amongthese Makua speaking peoples. The mission station was moved to Neulla in the1940s. So great was the response that the Catholic church and the Portuguesecolonial government tried their best to discourage them. They were under scrutinyconstantly. In 1959, an evangelist began to perform healings, attracting many tothe movement. In his zealousness, he killed a child so that he could raise himfrom the dead. The child did not come back to life and the government had theexcuse they needed to close down the mission. Every door and window on the missionwas nailed shut. Missionaries slept in their cars for six months until their workpermits expired. For several months the church went through struggles for lack ofwell defined leadership. One of the leaders traveled to Maputo and asked the UnionBaptist missionaries to come and assist them. The missionaries were not met witha unanimous acceptance upon their arrival at Neulla. A faction of the group said"we have never been Baptists and we will not be now." They called themselves theIgreja de Cristo. After developing their own constitution in recent years they areofficially registered as the Evangelical Church of Christ, although they are stillcommonly known as the Church of Christ. In 1967, a member of the Church of Christ, D.B. Feliciano traveled fromAlto Moloque to Malawi. There he met some Brazilian missionaries of the Churchof Christ. He was impressed by the teachings of the Brazilians and remained intraining with them for two years. When he returned to Mozambique he began to tellthe members of the Church of Christ that it was wrong for them to have acontribution, allow women to speak, and to use an instrument in worship. His homecongregation told him to leave. From that point Feliciano began a new division of the Church of Christ. Hestarted a short lived, training school. The two prominent leaders in this divisionboth graduated from Feliciano's school. This group still sees themselves as beingconnected with the Church of Christ in Malawi. There is a group in the Sofala region in the south of Mozambique who callthemselves the Church of Christ Sofala and Manica. This movement was formerlySwedish Presbyterian. They adopted their present name in accordance with anattempt by the government in the late seventies to get all Protestant groups to callthemselves Church of Christ. Union Baptist (A.E.F.) The largest Protestant group in the north of Mozambique is the UnionBaptists. The missionaries in this movement are with the African EvangelicalFellowship (A.E.F.) of Boone, North Carolina. This is the group which tracesits heritage most directly to the beginning of Protestant missions in the north. They are, with name changes only, the same group that was initiated in 1880 by theScottish Presbyterians who were called by David Livingstone. At present the UnionBaptists have 150,000 members north of the Zambezi River. Most of the membersare Makua speakers and live near the origin of the movement in Alto Maloque. Theyalso have churches along most of the railways and roads in Zambezia and NampulaProvinces. Stewart Foster and his family, who live in Nampula, are the only NorthAmerican Protestant missionaries north of the Zambezia River. They have beenworking with the Union Baptist churches in that area since 1987.

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