Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Herminia is a young woman we met shortly after we arrived in Mozambique four years ago. She was one of the 10 young people who took our microenterprise course and then taught it directly in Shangaan to different groups. Shortly after that she was asked to live in Chinhangane and lead Bible clubs with children and youth. This week I had the privilege to be with her and she shared her story with us.

Herminia was born into a family that worships the ancestors. When she was young she started going to the children's clubs close to her home and became a Christian. At that point she told her father that she didn't want to continue with ancestor worship. He became very angry and was threatening her. But her grandmother said not to worry - she would get sick or die if she didn't worship them. Herminia told them that even if she died she would not give up her faith because she knew where she would go. She told them, "This is not a stage I will grow out of. I will live this way for life."

As a teenager she became a volunteer helping with other kid's clubs in Chokwe. She worked with us for about six months and was then asked to start clubs in Chinhangane. At first it was an uphill battle because the pastors thought she had come to start another church and did not accept her. She eventually convinced them that she wanted to support their ministries by the kid's clubs. She works with 107 children and youth in Chinhangane and 34 in another village where she has started working. It is a challenge and she is praying for more Christian volunteers to help her run the clubs. Please pray for her.

Here she is with a shawl that she knit. She is one of the fastest knitters and crocheters I know and does beautiful work.

A week in Chinhangane

I, Rachel, just returned from a village almost at the ends of the earth. My duties with WR now include accompanying some of the church teams that visit Mozambique. Most of them come during the "winter" here when it is cooler so between April and October it can be a busy time.

The group from Grand Rapids was involved with children's clubs, Bible teaching, knitting with the women, looking into a new agricultural site and project, thinking about a nutrition bar or supplement, and a kid's day.

Here are some of the 220 kids that came for games, snack and the wordless book.

The women learned how to knit some new items. The best part was seeing them come to sell items they had made previously and then use some of their cash to buy more yarn. They were excited!

The teenage girls were given crowns to remind them that they are princesses in God's eyes. It was sad to hear how many of them have dropped out of school. The local school only goes through 7th grade and it is very difficult for them to study longer.

It was really difficult when someone told us of the 18 yr. old that was admitted to the hospital in the next town because she was so severely beaten by her boyfriend. We learned that wife beatings (and I'm sure child abuse as well) is a daily occurrence. Some of the young men we talked to indicated that when they grew up they would have four wives, and of course they would beat them. To not do so means that you are being controlled by your wife or that she has put a love potion in your food. The teachings to the group included topics such as Christian marriage and learning to walk as children of the light every day of the week, not just Sundays in church. At the farewell, people said that they appreciated hearing this.

One of the bright spots in Chinhangane is the fact that they have enough food this year and will not be hungry. A door of a dam nearby was accidentally opened last year and the water flooded the surrounding areas. It was so dry that most of the water soaked in and they were able to plant corn. Later it rained and they had a second planting and harvest. It's amazing to see the bins full of corn and more bins being constructed. They are also selling to other villages. They attribute this to God answering the prayers of the group from Michigan. The group encouraged them by telling them that God hears their prayers as well!