Let’s take a look at another example of engaging on the edge with the Church by heading south into Mozambique in Southeast Africa. Kent and Jenny Schafer and Arnie and Rubenita Johnson formed the team that moved into the neighbourhood of Micaune to reach the Maindo people group. Since they live in the Portuguese-speaking part of Africa, the Ethnos global partner with whom they minister is called Visao Integral.
They began the process of assessing where best to go to reach the Maindo with the help of DJ Morrison who has worked in Africa for many years. Beyond that initial people group assessment, they made contact with local pastors from areas close to where the Maindo live and with a Maindo pastor who lives in Quelimane, which is the closest city to the Maindo work. Kent said, “Through our relationships with a different church in Quelimane, God allowed us (Schafers and Johnsons) to visit Micaune in May 2012 with our friend and her mother (who both live in Quelimane). This ended up being a big factor in our choice to move
Arnie commented on how they began to engage with the Church. After he joined the team, he understood the need to find out what the church was like in the city, to find out the level of the church’s maturity, and to figure out how best to challenge the church to be involved in cross-cultural outreach.
“In practice, we had much to learn, but we visited many churches and built relationships with people in the churches. We spent time listening to people’s testimonies and talking about what the gospel really is and what work is done in the mother tongue and in other minority language groups around. We also met with pastors and explained the process of [culture and language acquisition] and the importance of foundational Bible teaching. During this time, we also appealed to the churches to be praying for us. When we were about to move into the village, several churches had a special time of prayer to ask God’s blessing and care on us and the work.”
But that involvement didn’t end when they moved into the Maindo area. Arnie continued, “Once we moved into the village, we maintained our contact with the churches as we would come out for a rest or supply buying. When we visit, the churches ask us for updates on how we are doing, and they pray for us. We have had other opportunities to challenge the churches to think about sending missionaries.
“In some of our contact, the people in the churches have helped us in tremendous ways. We have been helped with finding housing in the city, shipping our supplies, having places to stay while traveling, and some logistics. When we are tired or in need of encouragement, it is these churches that minister to us.
“We (Ethnos/Visao Integral as a whole) are now beginning to transition into having training modules available to use both in the church for the benefit of its own ministry and to train candidates desiring to be sent from their own churches. This work is being coordinated
by the training team in another city in Mozambique, but we are part of challenging the churches to consider asking for training. The challenges are big, and we do not know how this is to be done, but God is great.”
The Maindo people group will be reached in the future through the efforts of the churches in Quelimane teaming up with the Schafers and Johnsons. What a blessing to have these churches ministering together with Ethnos/Visao Integral and being willing to push the edge farther out!