Is The Lock-Down In Mozambique Over?
Last week, President Nyusi spoke and said Mozambique is no longer under a state of emergency lock-down, but now under a Public Calamity Situation at a red alert level. No one had ever head of that before, nor knows what that means. However, government services are opening up, schools for some grade levels open October 1st, and churches, upon approval that conditions are being met, can start meeting again at 50% capacity. There was also a call for foreigners who work and live in Mozambique to return, however, boarders remain closed and there are no international flights into Mozambique. So basically, they say we can go back home but we have no way to get there. Until we can travel back, we are still stuck in the States. We live in interesting times.
According to the Mozambican government website, as of September 10, Mozambique has 4,832 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 31 deaths. A total of 2,857 individuals have recovered from the disease.
Small Groups Growing Despite Lock-down.
We have shared how during lock-down restrictions churches have been unable to meet. We quickly divided believers into small groups (meetings of up to 10 people were allowed in homes) and weekly lessons were distributed. This has been positive for the church in the city of Inhambane.
Recently, Ivanildo told me,”I am not ready to start meeting again in the church building, because several of the groups are just now starting to really grow. I am afraid when we start meeting again on Sundays, we will loose our momentum. We need this lock-down to continue until December.”
The growth in local leadership is a blessing than has come from “lock-down.” We have always taught and modeled that evangelism is the responsibility of every disciple. Under the restrictions, several of the disciples were now “forced” to take on greater leadership roles and have surprised themselves. We have had 3 new conversions in the last couple months – even without being able to meet as a “church.” When friends and neighbors learn that a group is meeting, several have come and ask to be a part of the group. The picture above is one group of students that recently started meeting in a park as no one was allowed to host it in their homes. The building still may be shut, but the Word of God is not.
Church In Guinjata Trying To Open Again
The church in Guinjata is trying hard to reopen. The government has put out a list of requirements and requires an inspection of the building to verify the appropriate safety protocols are being met before they will approve church services reopening. This is a picture of a thermometer that was donated by a church in Brazil that will help them take temperatures of all attendees. At a cost of over $100, it seemed an impossible amount for a poor small village church.
Other requirements include proper spacing and ventilation within the building (they may have to take the sides off the building), along with building disinfecting procedures before and after each service. They are even working to build a new toilet as the one they have won’t pass the inspection allowing them to open. But they are determined!
Loving Your Neighbor In Action
Recently, the disciples learned that the father and mother of a family in town drowned while fishing one night. They left 9 kids orphans, the oldest, a girl of 18 and youngest a set of twins. The disciples collected money, went and bought food, and took it to the family. Why? Because they said that is what being a Christian is all about.
Back in May, we started reaching out to another family who lives near me. Mira and Dimas were struggling to have enough food as well. My small group, with the help of the ECHO Project, started giving them a food packet each month. They started attending our small group, learning about Jesus and have now expressed a desire to be baptized. What is so exciting to me is to see the disciples not just being “hearers of the word.” but putting what they learn into practice. Praise God for the signs of spiritual growth among the local disciples.
The repatriation trip to the States was long. I wore a mask for about 41 hours straight. Yes, I would stretch out meal times or when I was drinking to have a bit of freedom, but I made it to Tulsa safely and excited to rejoin my wife after 4 months apart. I am now “settled” in Tulsa, but video conferencing with Ivanildo 3 or 4 times a week. I am still able to study and train him as we collaborate on lessons and the the work there. With the 7 hour time change between here and there, I joke that I have completed my days work by 8:30 or 9 AM. Actually, it just means my days start early.
Two weeks after arriving in the States, Lisa and I were able to take Jayden up to Chicago to begin his sophomore year. He decided to transfer up to Moody Bible Institute to help him prepare for mission work in Asia when he graduates. This is a picture of us in the Moody parking lot, just before we left him. He is doing well and really liking his courses.
A few days after our return to Tulsa, we were in the car again and headed down to Abilene to surprise Mariah. Michael Ranger had planned his marriage proposal and ask us to be part of the big event. Mariah had no idea that we were in Abilene, nor that he was going to propose that night. Big news is, she said YES! We are excited for them and they are looking at a wedding next Summer or Fall.
Additional family news is that we have moved Lisa’s mother into the house with us. She has been in a beautiful assisted living community but with all the COVID restrictions it had turned into months of isolation which wasn’t good overall for her health. We are happy to be able to give her the extra help she needs during this difficult time.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support of our ministry!
Scott, Lisa, Gabriel, Mariah, and Jayden Harris