Update from Malawi and Mozambique by Brother Randy:
I left KC Saturday evening and arrived in Tete, Mozambique Monday night. On Tuesday we hit the ground running. With four local pastors we began assessment of the houses destroyed by the flash flood. Traveling by motorbike, and mostly on foot, we first visited the four Tete suburbs (Matema, Rovubwe. Chingodzi and Chissomo) where the Restoration branches are located.
The homes of 35 church families in this area were completely destroyed. We visited each, taking photos as we went, arriving at the last house just as it was getting dark. The young couple that had lived there were not able to meet us as they were at the hospital giving birth to their first baby. The Betsaida Restoration Branch building that was rebuilt after the deadly flash flood in 2019, was also demolished.
It took well into the night on Wednesday to get all of the things purchased, including 25 kgs of rice, 10 kgs of beans, 1 kg of salt, 2 kgs of brown sugar, 2 liters of cooking oil, 2 bars of bath soap, 4 bars of laundry soap, 2 plastic cups, 2 particular bowls, 4 metal spoons, 2 aluminum cooking pots with lids, 2 bed mats (tiny bamboo shoots, 4′ long woven together; the only thing between them and the floor), 2 blankets, and 1 mosquito net to outfit the 92 families whose homes are flooded. Everything was taken to the Matema branch where everyone gathered on Thursday. One by one each family was called to come inside and receive these most basic of necessities. There was an amazing crew of men including all of the priesthood as well as the un-ordained from the four branches. They labored long in the blistering heat and were full of joy as they served their brothers and sisters. It was a blessing to represent the generosity of the Saints who donated to this cause that was so gratefully and joyously received by those in Mozambique.
After everything was distributed, we went to see the couple we had missed the day before. They were staying in a little hut behind the wife’s sister’s house. While there, the baby’s mother, Terezinha, asked me to name the baby. This was both humbling and an honor, as they would normally have waited to name him until they brought him to church to be blessed. I pondered and prayed for a bit and ended up choosing Nephi. The mother smiled as she repeated the name and was kind enough to let me choose his second name as well. I chose Anthony after my youngest son, so in Portuguese he will be known as Nifataya Antonio Rodrigue.
On Friday 35 families received $300 each to help rebuild their homes. It takes $500 to cover the cost of building a new home, but we had yet to visit the suffering saints in Malawi. Some of the saints will be able to salvage brick, roofing tin and lumber from their destroyed homes. In those cases the $300 might prove enough to cover the cost of rebuilding.
Saturday morning we made the long trek to Zobue, Mozambique where I was able to cross to Mwanza. Malawi. The Saints here are even more devastated than those in Mozambique. We met with some of the priesthood from the 3 branches in the Mwanza area Saturday evening to formulate a plan to help 72 of our church families who were flooded out or had their homes literally blown down. When we finish here it is on to the Blantyre RB in Kateya to help 36 families whose homes were flooded. Sadly, we cannot presently help all those who lost homes. Even though we will have disbursed some $39,000 in relief, the need is greater than our current resources. Here we will have to limit our help to 35 families – 10 of the most needy from each of Mwanza RB, Nsakambewa RB, Blantyre RB and 5 families from the Golden RB.
Our brothers and sisters here are in awe of the loving, compassionate response from their fellow Saints in the USA. I have been blessed to see the tears, the joy and the love in the countenance of these beautiful faces that want so badly to tell you how much they love you for what you have done for them.
I am onward in the quest to bring relief, but wanted to send an update on progress thus far. If there are those who still desire to donate, you can send funds to JCRB, 411 E. 23rd Street S, Suite C, Independence, MO 64055. Be sure to write “disaster relief” on the memo line.