Serving in church planting and leadership development in Mozambique. Mozambicans are amazing people who have survived years of colonization, 30 years of war and economic annihilation. They are now emerging and finding their way in the world. Mozambique is a poor county with arguably 90 percent of the population living off the land and living in simple concrete or grass homes. Mozambicans, when given the opportunity, are extremely hard working industrious and entrepreneurial people. Fifty percent of the population is under age 15 and desire an education and better way of life.
Mozambicans are overwhelmed with the confusing pseudo Christian/animistic teachings of the Zionist, Apostolic, Universal and other traditional churches. These groups all teach variations on the theme of Christianity, but almost all focus on and enforce ancestor worship and animal sacrifice, binding the people to fear and darkness. In the end, most Mozambicans are left afraid, bound to ancestral obligations, confused and without hope.
Pray that the bondage of ancestor worship, Western materialism and spiritual darkness will be broken through by the love of Jesus, his word and God’s people walking hand in hand and side by side.
During their first term of service, Rodger and Lynne Schmidt dedicated their lives to learning language, culture and finding their place within the community and church life. Their desire was to build strong Mozambican relationships, and walk alongside them to see lives transformed and churches established.
Rodger and Lynne, alongside a Mozambican church, started a new church in the village of Djuba. Seeing the church grow from a small gathering at the local elementary school to a thriving community of active seekers and new believers was nothing less than miraculous. The church now owns its own property and is averaging close to 120 people in attendance. The Baptist Church of Djuba is baptizing, discipling and ministering to their community. “We believe that this young, exciting church will be reproducing itself in a nearby village soon,” say the Schmidts.
The Schmidts gained trust of their Mozambican friends by speaking the truth in love, participating in community events, spending many days in the homes of Mozambicans listening, encouraging, teaching, laughing and playing. In Mozambique, a person in authority is usually put on a pedestal and is far removed from the intimate lives of those he/she serves. So in order to make a difference in the lives of their dear friends, Rodger and Lynne chose to sacrifice positional authority and respect to gain influence and build incarnational relationships.
These relationships have proven to be life transforming as they saw many come to know Christ, follow Christ in baptism and become leaders in the church. Many others are seeking and on the way to a transformed life. Rodger and Lynne were asked to participate in several funerals, one of which was the first and only Christian funeral in that region. Lynne and Rodger have also cared for AIDS babies in a local orphanage and, in partnership with others, assisted four families in purchasing land and/or building homes for their families. There are even a few newborn babies bearing the names of Rog_rio e Lina.
The Schmidts are committed to powerful partnerships that will train leaders and plant churches. After three years in Mozambique, they have become passionately committed to their calling and are seeking to expand the work through living in community, loving and serving people, building incarnational relationships, equipping, mentoring and trusting God to see lives transformed and churches planted.