The Mwani – God doesn’t give up

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Tim & Bron Heaton live and work in northern Mozambique amongst the unreached Mwani people. They give this update on the struggles, privileges and activities of their day to day lives amongst the Mwani.

God doesn’t give up

At night the whir of generators can be heard in one or two homes but otherwise Pemba is silent and dark. The rains, while they bring the promise of new crops, can also cause havoc and devastation. Last year we experienced a four day cyclone and this year the floods brought down four bridges and ten major electricity pylons cutting the electricity off from the north of the country. It is a reminder once again of the physical poverty and lack of decent infrastructure in this country but also of the lack of hope and light of God that the people around us have. Our family have been in northern Mozambique for ten years now learning the language and culture of the Mwani who fish up and down the coast. The fruit among this people group has been slim and there seems at times almost a stubborn refusal to come out of the darkness. But God doesn’t give up!


Along The beach

The Mwani whose lives are tied to fishing and the ocean, live along the coast of northern Mozambique. Although fiercely Islamic in name, the Mwani’s worldview is strongly influenced by the animistic world of ancestors and the use of mediums such as witchdoctors. Witchdoctors are often paid to protect the boundaries of the rice paddy with beads, bottles, cloths and bones.

Divorce is common and many women have been married several times, so family units are difficult to discern. There is so much distrust between husbands and wives and the culture does not encourage faithfulness or open communication. Our oldest Mwani believer, Shikito, is facing serious marriage difficulties and Tim has been counselling him. Please pray with us, that God may restore peace and love to them.

Holding up the pot

Last year we were joined in Pemba by two AIM families, one couple from Canada and one American family with three kids. The Mwani have a riddle about a mother who has three children; if one leaves everyone goes hungry. It refers to the three large stones they use underneath their cooking pots – take one away and the pot falls over hence no food! We have come to appreciate the value of not being a single stone but of having teammates around us to also hold up the cooking pot and allow God’s fire to burn. This is the second Mwani team we have had the privilege of being part of and it has been exciting, as leaders, to see them overcome the struggles and connect with the Mwani community.

Each day’s an adventure

There is no typical day but language learning has been the main focus of the first year and now, as we start the second year, members have been involved in a variety of activities such as Bible-storying, teaching English and computer classes, helping neighbours erect canopies to prepare for weddings, attending funerals and generally being involved in the lives of the neighbourhood. Tim leads not only the Mwani team but also takes responsibility for the Unit here in Northern Mozambique and it has been a question of juggling balls to deal with all the finance, administration and pastoral support needed for the different members. Each day is an adventure here and it is only through the grace of him who is able that we make it through and we trust he will bring the work with the Mwani to completion in his time.

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