Crossing Over to the Other Side

Our amazing race continues by boat across the beautiful Nacala Bay to visit the church at Racim, a Muslim community except for the souls won to Christ through evangelists Sergio and Gassite and others on Team.

Our amazing race continues by boat across the beautiful Nacala Bay to visit the church at Racim, a Muslim community except for the souls won to Christ through evangelists Sergio and Gassite and others on Team.

Maria, disciple in training is totally excited. This is her first visit to Racine where she will return after further training to minister especially to women. The women are mostly married to Muslim men and have many questions on how they should live in the home and how to walk as Christians within their environment.

Maria, disciple in training is totally excited. This is her first visit to Racine where she will return after further training to minister especially to women. The women are mostly married to Muslim men and have many questions on how they should live in the home and how to walk as Christians within their environment.

After a short walk,  Racine wa Yesu is in sight. This is the only church within the area. Having lived within the community for three years, Gassite and Sergio, both Bible School graduates, have won the confidence of several Muslim families. They allow their children to play at the church and to hear bible stories. The church is still very small, only 15 to 20 adults in church on Sundays. Each one is a miracle; born again out of Islam into the community of Christ.

After a short walk, Racine wa Yesu is in sight. This is the only church within the area. Having lived within the community for three years, Gassite and Sergio, both Bible School graduates, have won the confidence of several Muslim families. They allow their children to play at the church and to hear bible stories. The church is still very small, only 15 to 20 adults in church on Sundays. Each one is a miracle; born again out of Islam into the community of Christ.

We set up camp under the shade of cashew nut trees. This is a beautiful place indeed.

We set up camp under the shade of cashew nut trees. This is a beautiful place indeed.

Gassite cracks open coconuts for a cool, refreshing and totally healthy drink.

Gassite cracks open coconuts for a cool, refreshing and totally healthy drink.

The only water well in the area is on our church property. People come from all over to get water. This is a good way to share life and Jesus in a Muslim community.

The only water well in the area is on our church property. People come from all over to get water. This is a good way to share life and Jesus in a Muslim community.

So good to take a shower after a hot journey.

So good to take a shower after a hot journey.

In the meantime the young girls are preparing lunch. They serve with smiles and laughter. People start arriving at the church for week-end meetings.

In the meantime the young girls are preparing lunch. They serve with smiles and laughter. People start arriving at the church for week-end meetings.

We sit on reed mats in true African custom to enjoy organic chicken, fish with rice and chima (cornmeal dry porridge)

We sit on reed mats in true African custom to enjoy organic chicken, fish with rice and chima (cornmeal dry porridge)

Saturday afternoon’s women meet under the trees and Youth meet in the church. These young people worship God from the heart, crying out to Him for their families. Most of them when they reach marriage age (from 14 or 15 years onwards) are no longer allowed to come to church as they are forced to marry Muslim men.

Saturday afternoon’s women meet under the trees and Youth meet in the church. These young people worship God from the heart, crying out to Him for their families. Most of them when they reach marriage age (from 14 or 15 years onwards) are no longer allowed to come to church as they are forced to marry Muslim men.

Sunday morning the young people who had walked from far to come and sleep at the church so as not to miss meetings, were all brushing their teeth in unison. They use a stick off a certain tree that is pounded at the end to make bristles. For toothpaste they sometimes use salt or ash from last night’s fire. They have amazingly strong, white teeth as they don’t have candy or junk food to eat.

Sunday morning the young people who had walked from far to come and sleep at the church so as not to miss meetings, were all brushing their teeth in unison. They use a stick off a certain tree that is pounded at the end to make bristles. For toothpaste they sometimes use salt or ash from last night’s fire. They have amazingly strong, white teeth as they don’t have candy or junk food to eat.

Teeth

Sunday church was a precious time. Hearts were soft and ready after a beautiful communion service Saturday night. So much peace and joy within the mud whitewashed walls.

Sunday church was a precious time. Hearts were soft and ready after a beautiful communion service Saturday night. So much peace and joy within the mud whitewashed walls.

Beach activity while waiting for our boat to come in…

19 18 17 16 15 14In the midst of this idyllic place, cultural and religious traditions mixed with witchcraft and horrendous initiation rights for small girls and boys, rip into the interior of heart and soul. Just a stone’s throw from the church, the ground vibrated with drums and the sounds of shouting and chanting. The young boys from ages four to eight are undergoing six weeks of initiation to ensure that they grow up to be ‘real men’, supposedly. Gassite explained to us as follows:

        “The parents pay the elders to take their boys and prepare them to be strong men that will be able to endure hardship. They are beaten several times a day and insulted continuously. They are taught to insult one another also, to be aggressive and to beat each other also. The songs they sing are chanted insults. They must learn how to insult each other in the worst possible way, to taunt and curse one another. They sit under a thatch shelter while they are being taught the traditions of men and then put out into the sun with no water at the heat of the day. If it rains they are put out to suffer the rain. They get very little food, sometimes no food. This teaches them to survive. If they are put in prison, beaten, left in the sun with no food or water, they will be able to survive life. They must be able to bear insults and give worse back without allowing weak emotions to affect them.”

Gassite and Sergio told us this was not done in the Central region where they come from but the North of Mozambique has the worst initiation for children. Thus theft, rape and violence is worse in the North. These children grow up to do the same to their children and the generational curse continues. Gassite’s face was sombre when he told us this, then suddenly his face brightened. “But at Youth Conference the young people were taught this is not God’s way and they have the power in the name of Jesus to break this stronghold and generational curse in their families. The youth responded by saying they have been through all this and they never, never want their children to endure such treatment. They will not do it, they are followers of Jesus.”

When someone takes the love of Christ into a community, the light begins to shine. We are so thankful for each church member, evangelist and missionary who works with Afrika wa Yesu, constantly encouraging the churches scattered throughout the nation and opening up new places with the gospel. In the North little girls undergo female circumcision together with their initiation, enduring unspeakable things. We are commissioned to carry life, hope and the love of Jesus wherever we go. We cannot change the traditions of men but it is the Truth (Jesus) that sets people free, and gives them the courage to bring the necessary change.

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