The Church of the Nazarene in Mozambique is one of the largest and fastest growing on the Region. I recently had the privilege of visiting the areas that were affected by Cyclone Idai. I had never been to Beira, and was not sure what to expect when I arrived. I had heard of the devastation—the buildings, livelihoods, and lives that were lost in the cyclone, but I had also heard of the relief efforts that had already taken place. My plan for the trip was to visit the people and see the sites that had been affected by Cyclone Idai.
My first stop was to the Tica Community. As we approached the area, I heard beautiful voices singing and dancing to the Lord. In their language, they sang, “Stand firm in Jesus.” These people had experienced so much loss, yet the church they were standing in had already been rebuilt since the storm. We left the church and began marching down the road, still singing and dancing. The last song they sang said, “You and me, we are warriors of Jesus.” I couldn’t believe the joy and hope that flowed through their voices. I stood in awe of these people, their passion for life, and the Spirit of God that was so evident among them.
Our second stop was to the Lamego Community. Again, I was touched by their song. The youth sang, “Let’s be firm in our faith in Jesus Christ. Though our brothers lost their lives because of the Cyclone Idai. Others lost their animals, their houses… They lost everything, but let’s keep our faith in Jesus Christ.” They used these songs as a way to express their lamentations, their fears, and their problems without doubting God’s faithfulness in the midst of everything.
We went on to visit the Gondola community, the Inchope community, and the Jasse community. In each of these places, I saw people who were filled with hope and expectation. They welcomed us with open arms, happily sharing with us what little they had. They sang, “Jesus is King, I see Him when I pray.” Although the people in these communities had every reason to be angry or doubtful, they knew that God was with them through the storm.
I met one man who gave his testimony. He proudly pointed to his clothes, saying, “These were given to me by the church.” Each person I met was so thankful for the way that the church supported and stood by them in the midst of this disaster. They know that life is fragile, so they live every minute with the expectation that Jesus is working in and through them.
We ended our visit at the Ebenezer da Beira Church. This church, in the middle of the city, is one of the relief centers. They distributed food, clothing, and supplies to those who had lost everything in Cyclone Idai.
As I left Beira and Chimoio, I couldn’t help but smile. The people there have given me a new sense of excitement for life. In each place we visited, the people naturally and joyfully gave us gifts. In the midst of their tragedy, they never ceased to be generous and hospitable. The victims of Cyclone Idai have taught me to never take a day for granted, and to trust that God is working in every moment. I am proud of the way that the Church has come around these people and provided for them in their time of need, and I am thankful for a God that is present in every circumstance.
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