Mozambique, the Land of the Smiles!
When I was at the European Mennonite gathering, held in Madrid, in November 2011, I met Liesa Unger who asked me if I could be in Switzerland in May of 2012 to translate into Portuguese at an MWC event. I knew that brothers from Angola and Brazil would be there, so I was very glad to do that.
When the time came, I went to Chrischona/Basel, Switzerland and the day I started to work I was very surprised to also see a brother from Mozambique, his name was Filipe Mubecane. Right then and there we had the chance to connect and talk about that former Portuguese colony.
Besides the fact that with Mozambique we have a common language and it being a former Portuguese colony, perhaps the biggest connection was that my brother-in-law and his family moved to that country in 2007 and work as missionaries there. So we had good chats about his country, the work there and also I promised from my side that when I would go visit my family there I would make sure to connect him, brother Filipe, and pay him a visit.
Well, because ICOMB reunion in 2014 was programed to happen in Luanda, Angola I asked ICOMB Executive Director and my very good friend David Wiebe if I could fly instead to Maputo, Mozambique, visit my family and Filipe and from there I would fly to Luanda at my expense. David gladly agreed and I immediately sent an e-mail to Filipe Mubecane saying that I was on my way to Mozambique...and he was very excited.
After my time in Luanda and the deep Angola interior for 2 weeks (that’s another story...) I flew back to Maputo and with the help of my brother-in-law we settled a time to meet again. You might imagine how thrilling and exciting was that moment with brother Filipe...he right away had a big agenda for me, seminaries, preaching, visiting churches, but unfortunately I had a short time there so I could see his frustration, he actually said “Brother José, you’re killing me!”...but with some further talk we could manage to visit a church the coming Sunday and have a great time with the community there.
Also, like a commitment with the church in Mozambique my brother-in-law promised he will visit that conference again, prepare some seminaries and also help in any way he could the brothers there. So that brought lots of peace to brother Filipe and in the end of our meeting he had a big and glad smile!
So Sunday 8 June, we visited one of the Brethren in Christ churches in Maputo with brother Filipe, his wife and children. It was a great service with lots of singing, lots of joy and happiness and I was able to share the Bible with the community. I also shared that they are not alone, there is a big Global Family around that prays and is really interested what is going on in Mozambique, and I assured the brothers and sisters there that I would talk about Mozambique when I returned to Portugal.
In the end, it was time to leave, but I had such a great time in this country with these people that I really must return there...and hopefully my words will challenge some of you to go there to and feel....The Land of the Smiles!!!
P.S – When Vasco da Gama, on his way to India, stopped in a place called Inharrime, south of Mozambique, he was so impressed the way he was received by the local King that he called that place “The Land of good people”. The date of this event was 11 January 1498.
Story by José Arrais, Portugal