Annet couldn’t get a visa to enter Britain – please help her

Our mission worker couldn’t get a visa to enter Britain – please help her today

Annet Ttendo Miller should be in the UK right now, telling people about the brilliant work God is doing in Mozambique through BMS World Mission. She’s not here because her visa application was turned down, which is why we need you and your entire church to pray for her.

It was meant to be so special. BMS lawyer Annet would finally meet her father-in-law, and he would get to hold his granddaughter for the first time. All that Annet needed was a visa to enter Britain.

She didn’t want to move here, or stay a long time, she just wanted to come with her British husband – BMS worker Damien – and their daughter, Patience. She wanted to visit in-laws, her friends and colleagues at BMS, and to tell people about God’s work in Mozambique. And then she’d go back home and continue fighting for the oppressed; for women who have been abused, for the vulnerable without a voice.

A man in a multicoloured shirt stands next to a woman in a blouse, holding a baby
Annet and Damien Miller were all set to visit Britain with their daughter, Patience, when they were told Annet’s visa application had been turned down.

But the Millers’ visit hasn’t happened as Annet’s visa application was turned down. A new application will be submitted, so today we’re asking you to pray for Annet, Damien, and Patience, because we believe in a God that listens.

• Pray that God will make a way for the Millers to visit the UK. Pray that Annet and Patience will get to meet Damien’s father, and that churches will hear about the vital legal work being done in Mozambique.

• Pray that Annet and Damien would have a strong sense of God’s presence during this stressful time. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to be with them at work and at home.

• Pray thanks for what God is doing through Annet and Damien at the Association of Mozambican Christian Lawyers (AMAC). Please pray for more people to hear about the association, and that they ask for help.

The time when Annet was pregnant and told to leave Britain

Annet moved from her native Uganda to Mozambique in 2012 to lead the launch of the BMS-supported legal ministry, AMAC. She married Damien in 2015 and they had hoped for Patience to have been born in Britain.

When they arrived in June 2016 for a visit, Annet was pregnant and had a five-year visitor visa to the UK. She was allowed into the country, but only after being detained for hours, and having had her visa cancelled because it was suspected she would misuse NHS funds.

Allowed to stay in UK for just a few weeks, Annet and Damien had to fly to Uganda, seeking the care every expectant mother deserves. Patience Michelle Miller arrived early in Kampala, premature, but healthy, a blessing from God during a difficult time.

A woman with a grey jacket and black top stands in a garden smiling and with her hands crossed
Annet Ttendo Miller is working to help the oppressed in Mozambique. Please join us in praying for her today.

Hear more about the life-transforming work Annet and Damien are involved in

You may have already watched the video above. What we were all anticipating was for more stories about AMAC’s work to be shared by Annet and Damien in the UK.

“It is a huge disappointment for them, and us, that their visit has been postponed,” says BMS Regional Leader Mark Greenwood.
“They are doing priceless work in Mozambique. Our prayer is that you will hear them tell you all about it in the UK, in your church.”

God called Annet and Damien to Mozambique because he has a heart for justice. They stand alongside person after person who is alone and needs support. Now it’s our turn to support them with prayer.

Please share this article with your friends. We want the Millers to feel lifted up in prayer from churches across the world, not just for their visa and family situation, but for God to use their lives for his kingdom.

If you’re praying for the Millers Click here
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Justice in Africa: God’s heart for the poor

Justice in Africa:

God's heart for the poor

Mob justice. Corruption. Exorbitant court fees. These are just some of the problems that people in Mozambique and Uganda face when trying to access justice. But thanks to you, BMS World Mission is doing something about it.

Christian lawyers in Africa are standing up for the poor and marginalised. They’re helping people like Sarah in Uganda, a widow who fell into legal trouble after her husband died. Whether it’s through legal representation, mediation or legal education, BMS-supported lawyers are helping the oppressed find justice.

Watch the video above to find out how your support is helping Christian lawyers in Mozambique and Uganda stand up for those who need it.

Support our legal work. Give today.
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Justice League

Christian Lawyers are speaking up for the poor and oppressed in Mozambique.

In a small church, with an orange sand floor and iron-sheeted walls, the attention of 25 people is focused unwaveringly on a tall woman in her mid-fifties. An experienced Mozambican lawyer, speaking to them in their own language about their rights. One minute everyone is roaring with laughter, the next they’re silent. Lidia commands respect. She’s teaching them about gender based violence. About what Scripture says. What the law says. Giving them biblical keys to unlock answers. Is it okay to beat your partner? No. Is it okay to force a teenager to marry? No. People are answering. Nodding. Understanding. Some of them are visibly moved.

After the session, which lasts all morning, nine people come forward to ask Lidia questions. That’s Saturday, and on Tuesday morning two people arrive at the Christian lawyers’ office in Maputo to get advice about the family issues and domestic violence they’re experiencing. They’ve discovered that help exists.

The BMS-supported legal team in Beira.

This is what the Association of Mozambican Christian Lawyers (AMAC) is all about. Teaching people the law. Speaking up for the poor and needy. Defending the abused and oppressed. Christian lawyers coming together, in one of the least developed countries in the world, to share God’s heart for justice and see the vulnerable realise their rights.

Through your gifts, prayers and support, BMS World Mission has been walking with AMAC every step of the way. The association was born, in part, out of our legal work in Uganda with the Ugandan Christian Lawyers’ Fraternity; and over the last six years, we’ve seen AMAC grow from a dream into an established organisation educating churches, schools and communities on their rights and providing legal aid for some of the country’s most marginalised people. A small number of Christian lawyers – from Mozambique, Uganda and the UK – are demonstrating that the law is good, that much of it comes from the Bible, and that it’s for everyone. They’re gathering members and momentum. And they’re just getting started.

People with no money believe that there is no justice in the world

The challenges facing many Mozambicans are huge and varied, so the BMS-supported justice league has a lot of work to do.

For the poor and vulnerable here, the law is literally a foreign language. It is written in Portuguese and almost 50 per cent of the population, like many in the church Lidia was visiting, don’t speak it fluently. An added problem is that the laws, although good, are relatively new (with Mozambique only obtaining independence in 1975, and then suffering through civil war from 1977 to 1992) so they have not had long to become established.

Widespread poverty and a lack of opportunity mean that countless people are suffering injustices without even knowing there are laws in place to protect them. The justice system is simply inaccessible.

“People with no money believe that there is no justice in the world,” says Gervasio, a BMS-supported lawyer in Beira. Our team is working to show them that’s not true.

Legal education saved Aida* from a loveless, forced marriage. She was 16 when her parents demanded she marry a 40-year-old man or face a severe beating. Her sister, a preschool teacher, attended an AMAC legal education session and had one of her friends ask about child marriage. AMAC explained that it is illegal in Mozambique for anyone under the age of 18 to get married, and it is also illegal to beat a child.

Equipped with this knowledge, a group from the training went with Aida’s sister to her parents’ house and confronted them, explaining what they had learnt about the law. The parents confessed they hadn’t known it was wrong.

Luis Generoso, Executive Director of AMAC.

They were sorry and relented. That was a year ago. Now, Aida is living with her sister and is part of a church. She is free from fear of violence and forced marriage, and is thankful to the Christians who helped her.

Education is helping people trapped in abusive marriages too, by changing the minds of their pastors. In Mozambique, pastors are often called upon to mediate cases between church members, but many believe that when it comes to marriage, reunion is always the answer – even in the case of extreme domestic violence. This is changing. One pastor who was strongly against ever condoning separation when he first met with AMAC, stood up at the end of the legal education in his church and told his congregation: ‘if your partner hits you once, come to me. If it happens again, go to the police and I will support you.’

Lawyer Kathy Russell.

“A lot of change can be made through education,” says Kathy, a lawyer who has just finished four years of service with BMS in Mozambique.

“We’re empowering the Church to take justice seriously and to act.”

Not all injustice is obvious. Working in churches and communities, the BMS-supported legal teams based in Beira and Maputo regularly meet people who are unregistered citizens or who believe they are married when legally they are not. These legal misunderstanding can have big ramifications. By explaining simply how to register a baby (or in many cases an adult) or get married legally, AMAC is helping people learn when they are outside of the law and what to do about it.

On the outskirts of Beira, eight couples recently got married. Through AMAC training, these men and women discovered they weren’t legally husbands and wives. Now they have the protection marriage can bring – the women will no longer lose their homes and security as well as their partners if their husbands die. It’s all very biblical. Disputes over land. Widows and orphans.

All our legal education is focused on empowering the most vulnerable in society. AMAC runs sessions with rural, untrained pastors and with city street boys; with teenagers in schools and with preschool teachers working with disadvantaged children. Our lawyers have even started working with a deaf church, where the congregation struggles to understand or be understood by the community and is very vulnerable to abuse and injustice.

As well as teaching people about their rights, BMS-supported legal workers are advocating for the voiceless. We’re representing imprisoned street children to see that they get a fair trial and don’t remain in custody indefinitely. We’re helping single mothers to receive the child maintenance they’re entitled to. And we’re supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Inspired to give? Click Here
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We’re empowering the Church to take justice seriously and to act

Tiago* sits on a pew in First Baptist Church in Beira and quietly tells a story. A grown man raped his 12-year-old niece. It took nearly four years to get the culprit convicted. The man got two years for his crime – impersonating a police officer to scare a child into following him to an isolated place, sexually assaulting her and then running away. He is appealing his sentence.

The injustice is brutal. While Tiago’s niece still suffers, her attacker has never been imprisoned and despite being convicted, he will remain free until his appeal is heard and denied. “Here in Mozambique, rape is a crime. Yet the accused person was never arrested,” says Tiago. “It’s very difficult for [my niece] to forget what happened. It’s never left her mind.”

The AMAC team has been walking alongside Tiago’s niece since he brought the case to them. No-one is happy with the outcome, but Tiago has hope that some justice will be done. “Without doubt, AMAC should continue,” he says.

“They assist people without charge. They walk with the client step by step. They gave us good treatment, provided psychological assistance and accompanied us in court.”

Annet, our legal team leader in Mozambique, has been helping to support Tiago’s niece. She has more reason than most to empathise, having herself survived sexual violence as a child – an experience that motivated her to become a lawyer in the first place. “Justice is at the heart of God. It’s a mission from God himself,” she says. “If Mozambican lawyers can understand why it’s important for them as Christians to do justice for the poor, they will transform many lives.”

And Mozambican lawyers are doing just that.

But they need your support. There aren’t many lawyers here, let alone Christian lawyers willing to give up the lucrative career they’ve studied hard for to pursue justice for the vulnerable.

Annet, BMS legal team leader in Mozambique.

And yet those who have captured the vision are holding fast to AMAC’s mandate: “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1: 17).

Your gifts, your prayers and your partnership are vital. “Without BMS support, maybe we can’t survive,” says Luis Generoso, AMAC’s Executive Director and one of its founding members.

And it’s so important that AMAC survives, and thrives.

Antonio, Kathy, Leonardo and Lidia, four members of the AMAC team in Maputo, changing lives through the law.

“If you don’t have justice, you feel like you are not valuable,” says Marie Josee, a BMS-supported lawyer in Maputo. “We exist and manage to do this work because of BMS. I want you to know that the money and the efforts you are giving are not in vain.”

In a small church, with an orange sand floor and iron-sheeted walls, the attention of 25 people is focused unwaveringly on a tall woman in her mid-fifties. She’s telling them about their rights. Telling them that the Bible and the law say that they have value. She’s handing them a set of keys. Giving them a way to unlock some of the doors they’ve been trapped behind.

She’s opening their minds. And the knowledge she is giving them is setting captives free.

 

*Names changed

This article appears in the new issue of Engage, the BMS magazine. Subscribe today by hitting the button on the right to read more about how your gifts are transforming lives around the world.

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Learn to do right; seek justice.

Real people are suffering injustices and abuse every day in Mozambique. We want to stop this, and you really can help us.

Invest in our justice mission in Africa. Commit to regularly praying for and giving to the work you have just read about by becoming a BMS 24:7 Justice Partner. For more information click here or phone 01235 517628.

Meet the inspiring Mozambican Christians you’re supporting

This is BMS:

Meet the inspiring Mozambican Christians you're supporting

The work of BMS World Mission has many different faces. This is what we look like in Beira, Mozambique.

Jeremias, Felizarda and Gervasio are transforming lives. They’re bringing justice to abused women, teaching teenage girls their rights, and working with a deaf community to educate them on laws they’ve never been able to hear.

And they’re doing it because you give to and pray for BMS.

We’d love you to meet the local Christians you’ve been supporting in Beira. Get to know them by watching this video:

Please share this video with your church to introduce them to some of the inspiring people they support when they give to BMS.

Jeremias, Felizarda and Gervasio are so thankful for your support. It’s enabling them to use their skills, training and passion to share God’s heart for justice with some of the most vulnerable people in their city and beyond.

And we are so pleased to be able to support them. They are three of the 194 dedicated local workers we partner with in Mozambique and around the world. Amazing Christians using their gifts for God’s mission in their home countries, supported by you.

Click Here if you’re praying for Jeremias, Felizarda and Gervasio
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Felizarda teaches school children, communities and churches about their rights. You support her work.
Felizarda teaches school children, communities and churches about their rights. You support her work.

“I want to thank all of you who are supporting me with this work with [the Association of Mozambican Christian Lawyers] here,” says Felizarda. “You are blessing us to bless other people.

“So thank you for everything you have done and will do in the future.”

Please pray for Felizarda, Jeremias and Gervasio, asking God to strengthen and equip them as they continue working to bring justice to people in Mozambique. Pray too for the rest of the team at the Association of Mozambican Christian Lawyers, which includes Annet Ttendo Miller, Damien Miller, Jane Edwards and Kathy Russell.

Become a 24:7 Justice Partner

Our God is a God of justice.

You can play an important role in our justice work in Mozambique when you sign up to become a 24:7 Justice Partner. Support Jeremias, Felizarda, Gervasio and the rest of our legal team by committing to regular prayer and giving today.

Click here to partner with our justice ministries.

The BMS team working for justice in Beira, Mozambique.
The BMS team working for justice in Beira, Mozambique.