One Mission Society entered Mozambique in 1996 with the expressed purpose of planting churches and training leaders to carry on the work of evangelism, church planting, and training. The initial ministry was the Christian Academy of Mozambique (CAM), which was established at the request of other mission agencies in Mozambique to support missionaries in the field. This ministry continues today as a key ministry.
Starting as Bible Studies in 1997, the OMS team began a number of churches in and around the Maputo area. These churches planted other churches, for a core group of about 8 churches over the next several years. With the assistance of teams from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, two cornerstone churches were constructed in T-3 and Khongolote. Both churches currently administer pre-schools and operate as ministry centers.
OMS missionaries began a seminary program in February 2001 with 25 students meeting in two small room rooms on the current seminary lot. A 4-story handicap accessible seminary building (photo at right) was completed in 2008 that is capable of handling up to 160 students. A church aimed at the emerging middle-class of Maputo meets in the chapel of the seminary building.
The Every Community for Christ (ECC) program was introduced to the fledgling denomination in the early 2000’s. A number of churches were planted in and around Maputo through this program. A young seminary graduate returned to the Zambezia Province in 2004, introducing the church multiplication program into northern Mozambique. In 2007 through 2009, using church multiplication strategies initiated by Into-Africa, the work expanded into Nampula, Gaza, and Inhambane provinces. By June 2011, the number of IEPV worshipping groups increased to over 100 with a total membership of over 4,300. The Village Church Planting (VCP) program in Mozambique is coordinated by Mozambican Juka Fernando.
Founding of the IEPV Denomination
In 2005, OMS handed off the torch to five Mozambican seminary graduates who registered the IEPV church (Igreja Evangélica Palvra Viva) with the Mozambican government. OMS stepped back into more of a mentoring role as these wonderful young men began to lead the denomination into the future.
The denomination name Igreja Evangélica Palvra Viva means Evangelical Church of the Living Word in English. The stories below, compiled in mid-2009, convey some of the ways in which God is working powerfully through His committed servants from this young church group in Mozambique.
How God Works
António Nacuatiana is a VCP trainer in Mocuba Mozambique. About two plus years ago, António heard about Bible studies being given by a man named Dinis about 150 miles away in the district of Gurue. António wanted to know more and wrote Dinis a letter inviting him to Mocuba. However, in his fervor, António forgot to include his contact information so Dinis began to pray for this unknown man. Not to be discouraged, António had such a hunger to know more about God that he sold his bicycle and used the money to take a bus to Gurue in search of this man of God.
He and his wife, Theresa, arrived in Gurue, staying with relatives as they looked for Dinis. God quickly brought them together and they immediately began a time of daily Bible study. António accepted Christ as his personal Savior and returned home to begin planting churches. He was accepted into the VCP program in January of 2008 as a trainer and today, sharing with his friends, relatives, and neighbors, he has initiated over fifty churches. He has gathered a group of men around him who have caught his passion to tell the story, to tell of lives transformed by the living Lord. In the photograph above, António (in the red shirt) addresses a church in Mocuba with another trainer, Mario, and Mario’s wife Rosa.
Training Center in Namaripe
As António trained his group of church planters, his enthusiasm was caught by all those he was teaching. Many of those he was teaching gathered others around them who also caught the passion for spreading the gospel and planting churches. With his gifts of leadership, encouragement, and administration, a network of trainers and planters quickly developed throughout Zambezia province.
António provides teaching that is then passed on to other trainers and planters, who in-turn pass it on to other church planters. António’s method exhibits the teaching in 2 Timothy 2:2 in which Timothy is encouraged to find reliable men to teach so they can teach others.
Baptism is an important part of demonstrating our faith, an act of obedience. In the photo above, people are being prepared for baptism. And what a celebration there was as each person was baptized! A church planter did the baptizing under the watchful eye of a VCP trainer, who was also being evaluated by the country coordinator. (2 Timothy 2:2!)
In Maputo province, another mission agency, Youth for Christ, had constructed a small church in the area of Boane but needed assistance with training and leading the small group of people meeting at this church. Into Africa stepped in to assist, using the small block structure as a training center and as a church on Sundays.
An initial outreach program using the Jesus film brought many to the church. A badly needed well was installed at the training center and the church is growing. The well itself is a story as there is little good water in the area and the people had to pay a nearby Mosque to receive water. And to even receive the water, they had to join the mosque. Now, this well provides a meeting place and a place to receive true Living Water. Nelio Nikouicie is the VCP trainer, working this area and advancing the gospel of Christ.
The stories are endless, from the witch doctor who was saved through a visit by two church planters, who renounced his past life and now leads a church, to old soldiers who in tears renounced past atrocities as they accepted Christ, to young children learning about a new hope and new life in Christ. God is moving in Mozambique.
|Nelio (left) Preaching with Juka (right)||Future Leaders|
Each year, the VCP teams are brought together for a week of training, vision casting, reporting, strategic planning, and fellowship. The photograph below is from the January 2009 conference in Nampula, Mozambique.
Christian Micro-Enterprise Development (CMED)
CMED is a companion program to the village church planting program. Two trained Mozambican CMED coordinators have established village savings and loan groups in many of our established churches. Through this program, a group of people is trained on Christian principles for managing money and they set up a savings and loan group in which they save their money and then loan it back out for business. The group has officers, a constitution, and a formal process for saving and loaning money.
Money is saved in a special box with two separate locks and a third person who keeps the box, which is only opened in front of the entire group. At the end of each year, the books are reconciled and the profit distributed. The groups are self-policing and our two coordinators carefully watch over each of the groups. A portion of the savings is also put into a social fund that the group uses to help those in need within their church and community. Small micro-businesses started through this program include a hair salon, a number of vending-type businesses, and a small store, to mention a few. Our coordinators hope to start more significant self-sustaining businesses in the future to assist the communities. Ideas they have investigated include chicken farming, batik making, sewing businesses, and an Internet cafe.
An exciting outcome of this program is that two churches were started out of CMED groups that were initiated in northern Mozambique outside of the church base.