This trip was intense, everything about it was intense – the heat, food, facilities, smiles, friendships, ocean, red dust, worship, sunrises, prayer hut, water, electricity but, the most intense was Love.
We came from 4 continents, 24 of us, ranging in age from 14 to 75 and with many differing backgrounds and yet we all bonded as a team. Many of us had been on several mission trips before but everyone agreed this trip was special.
So why was it special? Well, there was only one answer really and that was the powerful presence of God's love all around. The first night we arrived at the Pemba base, some after journeys lasting almost two days, we went to the Wednesday church service and were immediately restored by the Spirit. As we sang "Thank you, Jesus" in three languages, Portuguese, Makua and English, there was an overwhelming sense of joy as we were all His people worshipping together. Our time was spent in darkness, with a single generator providing only sound and one light while the electricity supply took a rest! This merely made the spiritual light shine more intensely as we ministered to each other.
The next day brought a two day outreach opportunity for the majority of the team, who went off for four hours bouncing in the back of a truck to a remote village in the bush. That evening several of the team did skits of Bible stories and gave their testimonies. Along with the Mozambican Bible school Pastors, two pastors on our team also preached powerfully on the prodigal son and transformation. Many of the 300 who had come to watch the Jesus film were saved, prayed for and healed. In particular one man received hearing for the first time, his deaf ears opened and our team rejoiced with him. Muslim men prayed to know Jesus. Others prayed to give up drinking and become better fathers in response to a prophetic word from one of our team.
The following day saw outreach into the villager's homes, as the team broke up into small groups, praying, sharing love and playing with the children. That night one woman who was having seizures took off the necklace that the witchdoctor had given her to wear and her seizures immediately left her. The power of God felt and seen was humbling, especially at the 6 a.m. baptisms on the next day. The team returned to the Pemba base full of joy and with a new team slogan, "Everybody Mambo", which was shouted by the Mozambican pastors in the truck when a huge bump in the dirt track shook them up. We thought it meant "be happy" and we were.
Those who stayed at the Pemba base were doing village evangelism and healing prayer in the local villages, seeing stomach cramps, headaches and pains healed under the Holy Spirit power. On the Friday night the local Rahab outreach, a ministry to girls, women and those on the streets, occurred. While the men guarded the hut and prayed for men on the street, the women were safe in the hut where we washed feet and painted the nails of young girls and those needing to sell their bodies to provide for their children. This was a deeply moving ministry of honour to those the culture degrades. As we prayed and hugged these women, we saw grace and the heart of Jesus for each one flow amongst us.
Some of us bounced off in the back of a truck to the men's prison to join the weekly Bible study and prayer time there. As we spoke the Word and ministered to the Christian guys there, we were thrilled to see that Jesus was there before us and the power of the Spirit was obvious as we prayed. Despite ministering in a corridor with a Muslim meeting at one end and all the other prisoners watching and jeering at the other, Jesus was Lord!
On the base the children were everywhere, smiling, greeting, holding our hands and hugging us. We were blessed by them constantly yet our hearts were broken by their need for attention, touch and value. We discussed whether it was any different in the Western culture at root, just more hidden perhaps. But on the Children's Day national holiday, we were part of the celebration in serving over 5000 children a good meal of chicken, cabbage and rice, instead of the usual rice and beans, and we were so excited by their joy. Later we were treated to barbecued fish at the beach.
At the school's Monday morning church service, the children sang and prayed together and we felt so privileged to be there. We also joined in with the daily feeding of over 1000 local children, for whom this may be their only meal, and served at the Baby clinic and Medical clinic.
The Harvest Bible School students had just arrived and we were asked to be the ministry team for the meetings when Will Hart and Heidi preached. These were powerful services of worship and impartation and at times we were too overcome in the Spirit ourselves to be of much use praying for anyone else, but we went for it when we recovered our feet! Heidi preached a message of adoption from Ephesians 1 that we are no longer orphans but sons and daughters of the living Father, which embodies the whole of the Iris ministry in practice.
Our time together finished with our entire team, Mozambican Pastors, Harvest School and a Norwegian team going to a village in the bush on an outreach led by Heidi and Rolland. To see them both minister to those who have so little and whose crops have failed this year after the floods, to sit in the dirt with little children in our laps, to watch a mime on the Good Samaritan and then to be part of a fire tunnel, praying and watching the Lord heal many. Four were healed of deafness, stomach problems sorted and one man opened his eyes for the first time. It was all so intense. It was Jesus on the front line. His heart more revealed by such brokenness. Again we saw the culture of honour as Heidi herself prepared Starbucks coffee for each of the team and then presented us to the Chiefs of the village to honour them - a picture of grace flowing through servanthood.
We went to Mozambique to love, serve, pray, bless and be part of God's work in another culture. We saw spiritual riches, love and honour. We left dirty, happy, humbled and more blessed. The trip was a challenging but unbelievably enriching experience. Thank you to all at Global and Iris who made it possible but mostly thank you, Lord.