The Psalmist wrote ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him’ (Psalm 34:8). As Peter Root, AIM Europe’s Personnel Director, reflects how God was at work over his 13 year period in Mozambique (1993 – 2006), he shares, “I can only say, ‘the Lord is good’”.
Following a formal cessation of hostilities and the end of a bitter civil war in Mozambique, peace came, monitored by the blue berets of the United Nations Peacekeepers. Infrastructure was slowly rebuilt, and the country moved from being ‘the’ poorest country in the world, to ‘one of’ the poorest. Educational levels and the ability to go to school slowly increased.
The Sofala Bible Institute was able to move out of a couple of 20-foot former shipping containers and into a purpose-built building funded by God’s people from around the world. Men and women were called and trained to handle God’s Word; churches grew, not just numerically in terms of the size of their congregations, but also in their understanding of the Word. Many hundreds of Bibles were able to be imported into the country, along with other Christian books, something which previously was nigh on impossible under the Marxist/Leninist state.
Reaching out further
I saw the country open up and travel become possible, enabling missionaries to move from the city of Beira to more rural and distanced locations, and two Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) teams were established among unreached people groups. I saw the number of AIM missionaries grow from about 14 when I first arrived in early 1993 to approximately 40 when I left.
I was able to witness God physically preserving, in answer to prayer, the lives of colleagues and their families through frequent bouts of malaria and the like, not least that of my own daughter, then a baby. I recall vividly praying early one morning with two visitors from TIMO HQ as we set out on a survey trip that God would protect and preserve us. Later that day he did just that, as I rolled my brand new vehicle in a freak accident in the middle of nowhere. The three of us travelling in the car all escaped unscathed (the vehicle didn’t).
I recall the opportunity the missionary community had, working with the Sofala Bible Institute and a couple of local churches, in the distribution of bleach and giving health education in the midst of an outbreak of cholera in and around the city of Beira. Whilst there were deaths, it could have been far worse – God was at work.
God was at work in the big things, like changing the country; he was at work in building his church, and still is; he was at work in the lives of individuals.