Andy Cottingham and Paul Wood (elders of City Church Bristol) travelled to Mozambique in March to visit two families, originally from City Church, who live and serve in an exciting project based just outside Nampula. The project brings together business, training, discipleship and church planting on a huge scale.
‘Ebenezer Mozambique’, a training wing of the project, describes itself as: ‘a Christian faith-based leadership training centre for young school leavers and has a strong emphasis on mentorship, agriculture, business and family.’ It is based in Rapale, near the city of Nampula, in northern Mozambique.’
Andy wrote to the church back in Bristol, “Paul and I have now spent almost a week in Nampula experiencing life at Ebenezer. Every part of life here is affected by the movement of a tiny insect that has the power of life and death over the population. From mosquito nets to the daily anti-malaria tablet and insect repellent, the mosquito influences everything. At any one time, a significant percentage of the work-force is suffering from malaria, dramatically reducing productivity.
For the pasty white Englishmen, it feels like an imposition, another challenge on top of the already considerable pile of challenges of living here. However, it has been a joy to see the Greigs and the Rowells taking life in the tropics in their stride and building business and church here. Their kids are thriving too and making an impact on the lives of those involved with Ebenezer. Tali, who’s currently studying for her GCSEs in Mozambique, wrote this for us:
“For me personally, the best bit about life here at the moment is teaching one man to read. I’ve been teaching him since June of last year, and he has gone from writing his first ever letter to being able to read (albeit very slowly) normal texts and sentences. That is very exciting, because when a person can read it opens up a whole world of opportunities that were never available before and particularly here, where job opportunities are limited and low income, being able to read could make the world of difference for him and his family.”
We’ve had the opportunity to join a meeting at the church on the farm. After a massive rainstorm the previous night the meeting was moved from the wet sands of the school playground to the drier veranda. We spent time worshipping and prayed for those affected by the cyclone that swept through Beira elsewhere in Mozambique. We also spent time looking at the Hebrews 11 heroes, led by a lady from the church who the previous night had her house flooded and whose husband was currently sick with malaria – we couldn’t help but think that this was “by faith” in action!
We also had the privilege of spending an evening with Scott Marques, who oversees many churches across southern Africa which are part of the Newfrontiers family. Scott also helped to found Ebenezer. We’ve been very encouraged by our visit and are looking forward to developing a stronger relationship between Ebenezer and City Church Bristol in the future.