Flying Across the Continent
It was the evening of Saturday, June 15th, when I arrived at the airport in Maputo, Mozambique (the capitol). After a long day of travel, and wading through the bureaucracy of the customs and visa officials, I finally met up with Isak, our friend who is a missionary in Mozambique. This country is a strange fusion of Portuguese and African culture: I felt at times as if I were in South America with a hint of Africa thrown into the mix. It is a beautiful, lush country with friendly African people, who have a complex history of communism, Catholicism, and the Islamic slave trade.
Mozambique from Communism to Christ
Mozambique had been a Portuguese colony for 470 years when it underwent a nine-year civil war (1965-1974) and officially became a Marxist country in 1975. The revolutionaries, known as Frelimo, appointed Samora Machel as their dictator, who proudly stated that Mozambique was “the first truly Marxist-Leninist country in Africa!” Under Machel, Christians were severely persecuted, churches were closed and nationalized, missionaries were kicked out of the country, and imprisoned, witnessing was illegal, Bibles were burned, and countless believers were sent to concentration camps.
By God’s grace, since 1995 the country has become a democratic country and today is wide open to the Gospel. They gladly welcome and greatly respect the work of missionaries in the country. Today, there are 10.9 million Christians in Mozambique 2.6 million of them identified as Evangelicals. However, there is still much work to be done for the Kingdom of God in discipleship, as cults, false doctrine, and extreme poverty still abounds.
Back to the Bible Mission: Africa for Christ
After visiting a local church in Maputo, planted by a Brazilian missionary, Isak showed me around the capitol city. The next day we drove down to Back to the Bible Mission (BBM) just across the South African border. Last year, I had taught Ethics to the second-year students, but now I was given the joy of teaching a subject I absolutely love, New Testament Greek to 111 students from 19 different African countries (and one student from Brazil). We arrived on Monday afternoon in time to sit in on the students Monday night preaching class. It was encouraging to see how these students are being equipped as competent handlers and preachers of God’s Word.
Greek for African Pastors
The next morning (Tuesday), I jumped straight into teaching the Greek Alphabet. Due to the public holiday that fell on Monday, I only had three days to teach Greek with a final exam being on the last day. On the first day, they learned to sing the ABC’s in Greek and how to pronounce words. By the second day, they were reading the Greek NT (although they didn’t necessarily know what it meant). On the second and third day, they learned about English and Greek Nouns. They were also trained on how to do a word study on “abide” from John 15 using a helpful Greek interlinear Bible App. I started hearing encouraging feedback from the students that they were actually getting excited about Greek. In the past, a teacher had kicked a student out of the classroom for asking too many questions. That was a stark contrast to my teaching style, since I wanted all the students involved in learning. Every morning they were given exams on the previous day’s lesson. Then throughout the day, as I taught them new concepts, they were given time in their small groups to practice what they were learning - since no one can learn a new language without practicing. At the end of each day, Isak helped me to mark their exams and create new exams for the next day, based on the content we covered.
The Final Exhortation
On my last day, I encouraged them to continue learning Greek. I pray that God may call some of these dear believers to translate the Bible into languages that do not yet have a Bible, as great translators of the past like William Tyndale who gave His life to produce the first English Bible translated from the original languages. I left them with resources for further study, including a 26-part video series (from DailyDoseofGreek.com) that will help teach them all the basics of Greek Grammar, along with many other websites, apps, and notes to aid them in their studies. Most importantly, they have large Greek excerpts from the Gospel of John to continue their practice reading. I also left a number of Greek New Testaments for the college.
After our final session, Isak and I spent seven hours grading exams and homework, as well as imputing final grades. I was incredibly grateful to have someone with teaching and grading experience with me, as he made the process go much more smoothly.
Back to Mozambique
After my time of teaching it felt like a breath of fresh air to cross over the Mozambican boarder and start heading to Xai Xai to spend the final part of the mission resting in Christ. I was able to spend extended time with the Lord without interruptions, which was music to my soul. None of this would have been possible without Andrea caring for the boys for the twelve days I was away. I was so grateful to have a time of reprieve from the last year and a half of ministry. It was much needed, and the Lord used my time with Isak to sharpen and refocus me spiritually upon seeking first His Kingdom. Both Isak and I came away with a deeper desire to live lives of complete surrender to the Lord. I’m grateful for this fellow missionary friend, who can be an iron-sharpening-iron brother in Christ.
Xai Xai for Christ
Isak’s family have been living as missionaries in Mozambique for the past twenty-one years. In the first ten years of their ministry, they focused on reaching children with the Gospel, then they added literacy centers to their means of reaching the children. They have been discipling many of these kids for the past five years and now have a core group of believers they regularly meet with to study the Word of God. They are also in the process of building a christian school in their home town, where they can reach and disciple many more children for the Kingdom of God. This is all funded from their tent-making, construction work. Please pray for God’s continued provision for them and that many more would be brought to salvation and discipled unto the Glory of Christ.
Pray for Ministry in Cape Town
Please continue to pray as our local outreaches to Muslims takes place. Also, pray for the university students that we will be reaching out to, in a couple week’s time as the new term starts up again. Also, John, Peter, and I are preparing for our next Psalms preaching workshop on the 27th of July.
Our family is doing well, as Joshua has begun sleeping in Jeremy’s bedroom and is giving us a bit more rest at night. He is also crawling and pulling himself up on furniture. Jeremy has been embracing his role as a big brother and likes playing with Josh and being a helper to him. Please continue to pray for Lenora as she continues to battle with cancer again and for our family as we learn to trust the Lord through this time.
4th of July in Winter
We celebrated our second American Independence Day in Cape Town last week. We enjoyed a festive celebration with our good friends, the Cliffords, and the Hammond family. The fourth of July looks a little different here, but we're still making a point to make memories as a family. It was fun being reminded of home away from home amidst the wet, cold Cape Townian winter.
Thank you for your continued love, support and faithful prayers!
With love in Christ,
Hunter, Andrea, Jeremy, and Joshua
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Dawn will return your calls on Fridays.
Peter Hammond, Through the Fires of Persecution-Answers to Prayer in Mozambique (2012)https://www.frontlinemissionsa.org/mozambique/through-the-fires-of-persecution-answers-to-prayer-in-mozambique
See also: Peter Hammond, In the Killing Fields of Mozambique (1998)