From Elder Alberto Lourenco Luis ( Matema Restoration Branch)
If there is a difficult place to travel in this world, it is Mozambique. The roads are heavily damaged and in bad condition. Nonetheless, when it comes to going out to make disciples, we venture forth, traveling to places like Tsachirire and Nhambira.
These villages are located in Chiuta Province and people have been asking for the gospel to be preached there, ever since the missionaries came from America in 2016 and started teaching the fullness of the gospel in Tete City. On this trip came four of us from Tete City, in Tete Province, including Elder Martinho Benedito, of the Betsaida Restoration Branch, Elder Evason Banda, Presiding Elder of the Chissomo Restoration Branch, Priest Manuel Kulinji of the Matema Restoration Branch, and myself, Elder Alberto Lourenco Luis, Presiding Elder of the Matema Restoration Branch. We were led by Seventy Kingsley Zacharias, who came from Malawi where he attends the Blantyre Restoration Branch in Kateya, Malawi. For two years we have been teaching them the restored gospel and this time, we praise God for advancing His Kingdom through us. Water is very scarce in this territory, so the people had to walk many kilometers from Tsachirire and then walk two more kilometers from Nhambira, to a small watering spot where we had to dig with shovels to make a pool deep enough for the baptisms.
We began the day with more teaching of the restoration gospel, mostly by Seventy Zacharias, explaining again about the covenant of baptism, and he emphasized that baptism is dying, being laid down and then rising to be born again. More than fifty souls were baptized there in that small stream among very big rocks. The people sang and praised the Lord and there was much celebration as each one took their turn in the water. After all the water baptisms were complete, everyone gathered in the shade of the trees near the watering spot and each one was confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Spirit at the hands of the Elders and the Seventy. While there was much celebration at the water baptisms, there was a quieter celebration for the confirmations, but still with much singing. The Lord blessed us with His Holy Spirit and it was confirmed to us those men He had been showing us who had calls to His holy priesthood.
From Tsachirire Village, Augusto Filipe was ordained to the office of Elder. Adelino Khissimisi was ordained to the office of Priest and Mario Wilson was ordained to the office of Deacon. From Nhambira Village, Manuel Bandawe was ordained to the office of Elder. Izeque Conde was ordained to the office of Priest and Celso Domingos was ordained to the office of Deacon.
The newly baptized saints from both villages agreed to organize branches and they approved and accepted the priesthood from their villages to serve as their priesthood in the new branches.
We are still learning the duties and responsibilities of being His servants and we are not perfect servants. It was learned that a few of the saints who were confirmed by us were not properly given the gift of the Holy Spirit, so Elder Pedro Mwale, Presiding Elder of the Betsaida Restoration Branch, and Elder Armando Charles, Presiding Elder of the Chingodzi Restoration Branch, returned to these two villages a week later and re-confirmed those few saints.
Since the planting of the church in Mozambique in 2016, the church has grown to eleven branches and eleven missions with more than 460 baptized members and twenty-nine priesthood. The Saints in Mozambique are very anxious to share the restoration gospel with our countrymen and God is blessing our efforts. He is also blessing us through the Conference of Branches who sends the Seventy and the Apostles to bring us this gospel and provides the funds for our transportation from our home branches, to do the great work of carrying the gospel into many parts of Mozambique. Thank you for your prayers and your support.
From Seventy Kingsley Zacharias ( Blantyre Restoration Branch)
I traveled 230 km (143 miles) from Blantyre, Malawi, to Tete City, Mozambique where I was joined by Elder Armando Charles, the Presiding Elder of the Chingodzi Restoration Branch in Tete City, for a trip to share the gospel and strengthen branches located in the mountains above Tete City. Our first destination, 100 km from Tete City, was Gurumba, where we were welcomed by Presiding Elder Manuel Baziwero, Priest Manuel Bonifacio, the Village Chief, and the saints of the Gurumba Bawe Restoration Branch. Bro. Baziwero was baptized at Kapirisongue in 2016 when I accompanied Apostles Rex Curtis and Randy Vick to these same mountains. The branch was organized in July 2019 when Elder Alberto Lourenco Luis, Presiding Elder of the Matema Restoration Branch in Tete City and Priest Manuel Kulinji, also of the Matema Restoration Branch, and I, visited Gurumba. On that visit, nearly 80 people were baptized and confirmed and Bro. Baziwero was ordained to the office of Elder and Bro. Bonafacio was ordained to the office of Priest and the Gurumba Bawe Restoration Branch was organized. On this trip, Bro. Armando and I conducted priesthood training and preached to the members of the branch and many visitors from the area.
From Gurumba we traveled to Mango, home of the Mango Restoration Branch, where our reception was quite different. The Mango Restoration Branch was also organized in July 2019 when Bro. Alberto, Bro. Manuel and I visited the village and baptized and confirmed 19 people and ordained Bro. Jamboulani Balieh to the office of Elder. On this visit, Bro. Armando and I, had hoped to have a baptism and confirmation service, but sadly, the village Chief refused to allow the branch to have any baptisms. So we spent our time with the saints (and those who had hoped to be baptized and confirmed), sharing the gospel and encouraging them to remain in the Lord as we wait for Zion.
From Mango, we traveled to Kapirsongue, where the Kapirisongue Restoration Mission was established with the baptism and confirmation of seven people in July 2016, when Bro. Rex, Bro. Randy and I visited my home village. There were no calls to the priesthood among the Kapirsongue saints at that time, but my brother, Bro. Pedro Zacarias and Bro. Labioni Levison were spoken to under the influence of the Spirit and told to prepare themselves. The saints in Kapirisongue were served by Priest Steven Moniasi of the nearby Nkhulunje Restoration Branch, in Nkhulunje Village. The saints in Kapirisongue continued to grow in the faith as they shared their newfound faith with their families, friends and neighbors. In July 2019, when Bro. Alberto, Bro. Manuel and I visited Kapirisongue, the Kapirisongue Restoration Branch was organized and Bro. Pedro was ordained to the office of Elder and Bro. Labioni was ordained to the office of Priest and 32 new members were baptized and confirmed. When Bro. Armando and I arrived on this trip to Kapirisongue, the village Chief demanded our “papers” documenting the church and our place as priesthood in the church. Even after showing the Chief our documents he refused to let us meet in one large group, so we held “night church” with smaller groups.
We then made the five mile trek, on foot, to Nkhulunje village to visit the saints there. The branch was organized in July 2016 when Bro. Rex, Bro. Randy and I baptized and confirmed 11 saints and ordained Bro. Steven to the office of Priest. In July 2019, Bro. Alberto, Bro. Manuel and I baptized and confirmed 67 new saints, and at that time Bro. Steven was ordained to the office of Elder and Bro. Edson Mateus was ordained to the office of Priest.
Again, as in Kapirisongue, the village Chief demanded we show our documents and after viewing the documents he still refused to let us hold services in the branch. Bro. Steven said the Chief had been pressuring him about this for some time.
The Chief told me to go to the district government office in Furancango, where we presented our documents to government officials. After reviewing our papers and determining that all was in order, we were granted approval for all of the Restoration branches in the district to hold normal and regular church services and to conduct the affairs of the branches as needed. This will allow the saints and the priesthood to worship, fellowship and labor freely as the work continues to grow in Mozambique.
Please continue to uphold all of our brothers and sisters there in prayer.