13 September 2010

What a long way that was

Last week we flew a team from a church in Cape Town to visit some of their missionaries in Mongu, Zambia and Quelimane, Mozambique. The trip involved five countries and almost 3000 miles (4500 km) of travel. Enough to get you from London to the North Pole.
We had flown a team to Mongu five years ago and were looking forward to returning to see how the work was getting on. Mongu is set on the banks of the Zambezi River flood plain only 75 miles from the Angolan border and is known for having one of Africa's only inland harbors.
They find that people are willing to walk about an hour each way to church and so their vision is to plant a church within walking distance of each person in Zambia's Western Province which is about the same size as the UK. The area is vast and the calculation is that they will need 65000 churches for the one million people living there. Currently they have 65 churches planted.

We visited some of their churches in Mongu...
and then drove out to one of the bush churches...
The road to and from this church was arduous and dusty, and required a 4x4.
Some of the churches they have planted are many days drive away and when the Zambezi floods - in places up to 50 km wide, it is easier to get there by boat.

There are many aspects to their work including the above mentioned church planting, but they also run a Bible School for the church leaders, as well as orphan care, community development including primary health care, community schools and agricultural development.
You can find more information at their well laid out website at: www.zam.co.za

Strangely enough, one thing we remembered about Mongu is the plethora of barber shops as well as the many interesting and almost biblical names given to these businesses.
We spent two nights in Mongu and then headed east via Livingstone, for customs and immigration, through Harare, Zimbabwe for fuel (yes fuel!) and on to Quelimane in Mozambique.

On the way we did a quick lap of Victoria Falls...
The guys in Quelimane have set up projects very similar to those in Zambia. These include:
Schools work...
Agricultural projects...
Brickmaking - for commercial and for building some churches...
A Bible School held in a church.
In the evening the students put mattresses on the floor and throw mozzy nets over the pews to sleep. The kitchen is a wooden structure round the back of the church building.
They have also set up a prison ministry which we unfortunately didn't have time to visit.

One project we did visit involved a long drive down a road lined by coconut trees...
Once there a young bloke shimmied up a tree and chucked a load of coconuts down. Then another bloke attacked them with a machette...
so that we could have a cool drink of coconut milk.
We could go through the details of all the work here but it is better told at the World Wide Missions site: www.wwm.org.za
Thanks

Mercy Air team

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