Blessed to be a Blessing!

We are sorry that it has taken us so long to update our blog!  The past months have been extremely busy.  We hope, however, that you have received our prayer letters.  If you don’t already receive our prayer letter and would like to be added to our mailing list, please email us at (melvinsapo@gmail.com).

It is impossible for us to write about all that has been going on here in Mozambique in the past months but we want to give you a resume so you can join us in praise to God for His faithfulness!

Carlos, Tina and Joanna

‘Mãos Ajudando’ (Helping Hands)
Step by Step the ‘Maos Ajudando’ (Helping Hands) ministry among disabled people has been developing.  As foreign OMS missionaries, we have been working in partnership with Igreja Evangelica Palavra Viva so that this project might unfold in the hands of the Mozambican Church.  Please pray for understanding and courage as we seek together to advance God’s Kingdom.  Carlos recently gave up his job to partner with us in the development of this project through the Living Word churches.

Pastor Carlos’ primary role is to help our Living Word church leaders and members to understand the vision and mobilize each church to participate in the project.  We pray that every church catch the vision and touch the lives of numerous disabled people in their locality through the general witness of the church and specific involvement by volunteers visiting, befriending and helping them.

Heather Phillips’ heart to both encourage the volunteers and visit the disabled has been a real blessing.  Her expertise as an Occupational Therapist is very useful in so many respects.

Isobel & Heather

Isobel is the Director of the preschool at the T3 Church and has a real heart for disabled children.  Please pray for her and her staff as they work with the 4 disabled children she has accepted into her preschool!

We are learning new things each day about the culture and desire to shine Christ’s light into dark situations.  We are finding that many people with disabilities are not able to read as they have not been to school.  We have been able to buy Audio Bibles in Portuguese and in the local dialect ‘Shangaan’ and desire to give them to those who are illiterate so they can listen to God’s Word.  We are also learning that there is a great need to empower those with disabilities by giving them vocational skills so they can support their families.

Praise God the container arrived safely and we were able to complete all the paperwork to receive it!  Heather has been selecting appropriate wheelchairs to suit the people with whom we have been in contact.  We have so much to learn as we are doing this for the first time!  We need to listen carefully to our Mozambican brothers and sisters to ascertain the most appropriate way to give these chairs to families so that they understand God’s love and take responsibility/ownership for the chair they receive.

Wheelchairs of all types and sizes!

Thank you to all who put in many hours work to pack the container!

Melvin and Stephen McClure have been mentoring Victor as a wheelchair repair technician. This young man is a member from our church in Khongolote.

Victor

John Paul (João Paulo) receiving his repaired and adapted wheelchair today at the Chamanculo Church.

As we develop this ministry we realize more and more the vast need.  We often feel overwhelmed and inadequate but also know that this is the ministry that God has called us to and are so privileged to be part of it.  We are so aware of the need for more workers in this ministry.  Our hearts desire is for God to bring people to join us who have a calling to empower the church to minister among marginalized people.  We need people with Pysiotherapy and OT training.  Also people with practical skills to mentor those repairing wheelchairs.  Ministry in Mozambique is not easy.  Time is needed to become proficient in the language in order to minister effectively.  However we have no doubt about the need.

On Friday we had an opportunity to visit a Government centre for lost and abandoned children.  Very often children get lost in the busy suburbs of Maputo.  Until their parents are located, the children are dropped off at the centre.  Sadly, many children are never claimed.  Many other children are abandoned because of their various physical and/or mental disabilities.  With 71 children, the director at the centre told us that they only have contact with the parents of one child.  This was very shocking to us.  As we left, our brother Carlos said that it made his stomach freeze which would be our equivalent of saying that it made us sick to the stomach.  What would it feel like to be abandoned and not have anyone visit you?  What is God asking us, his followers, to do to shine His light in this situation?

Edmundo, one of the precious abandoned disabled children at the centre.    He responded so affectionately to our voices, our smiles and our touch.

‘Nakteko’
Nakteko means “blessing”.  It has been wonderful to work with Pastors wives in order to disciple and teach them new skills so they can be a blessing in their families, churches and communities.  The ladies had their first opportunity to sell their items at the CAM school fun day!  This was a great experience for them.

We have been buying items to see if we can find a market for them in Northern Ireland.  We also desire to open up markets both in Mozambique and across the world.  If you would be interested in becoming a trader for us and selling some of these goods please get in touch.  Presently we are working with the ladies to hand over responsibility of this project when we are on furlough.  They are exploring the possibility if having a stall at the local craft market.  Please pray that God will bless and provide for these ladies and that this project will grow from strength to strength as we empower them to bless others.

Visitors
What a blessing it was to have Stephen, Ali and Lily McClure ministering alongside us for over 2 weeks!  They taught English and IT classes to leaders from Igreja Evangelica Palavra Viva!  Stephen also helped Victor repair some wheelchairs and organised items in the container.  Together we visited various people and projects related to ‘Maos Ajudando’!

We look forward to receiving Ian and Sharon Thompson in a few weeks.  Pray for them as they prepare to come to minister here!  As we continue in ministry we need to think carefully about handing over responsibility to others while we go on furlough.  We also need to pack our house and prepare for deputation.  These are days of much transition.  We really value your prayers especially for our children as we desire to guide them through these transitions.

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