Cyclone Idai: Mozambique needs your prayer

Cyclone Idai:

Mozambique needs your prayer

On Thursday 14 March, Cyclone Idai hit the city of Beira, Mozambique. Please join us in prayer for those affected.

Beira suffered high winds, heavy rains and flooding and 90 per cent of the city may have been affected. Hundreds of people have lost their lives. BMS World Mission has made contact with local partners and is in the process of assisting relief responses. Please pray for Mozambique at this time.

The destruction

Debris from the cyclone is piled shoulder-high beside roadways that have been covered by sand blown in by heavy winds. Buildings have lost their roofs, and trees are uprooted.

Flooding from burst riverbanks and heavy rain pose a threat to the safety of survivors. The outbreak of waterborne diseases is a concern, due to the disruption of water supplies, as is the lack of shelter, food and clothing. Cases of cholera and diarrhoea continue to rise.

The aftermath

President Filipe Nyusi announced that search and rescue operations to find survivors from the cyclone had come to an end. As of 30 March 2019 it has been reported that 501 people died as a result of the cyclone.

Devastation is extensive, with around 100,000 houses identified by the authorities as having been destroyed. Efforts are now concentrated on rebuilding infrastructure and helping those affected.

A vector graphic map shows where Beira is located in Mozambique.
Beira was at the centre of the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai.
Debris is piled up on a sandy road.
Debris from Cyclone Idai is piled shoulder-high, and roadways are covered in sand.

The intervention

BMS is assessing the best way to assist in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. “We are supporting the Baptist Convention of Mozambique (CBM)’s relief response by strengthening capacity support and lending our help to its relief programme,” says Rachel Conway-Doel, BMS Relief Facilitator.

Rachel was able to attend meetings with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) on 30 March 2019. She said of the meetings, “It is encouraging to hear of all the work that is being done — but much more is needed.”

BMS will continue to consult with CBM on how British Christians can best support the Mozambican Church in its response. Thank you for all your generous giving and faithful prayers as we do so.

Updates on personnel

“We were getting messages from a friend saying that her windows had broken. Water was coming into the lounge and kitchen and she was worried. We also got a message from a friend who thought that the roofing on her daughter’s bedroom had come off,” says Liz Vilela in her latest blog post, describing the cyclone.

A tree is uprooted from the ground, breaking the pavement,
Trees were uprooted by strong winds.

We have been in touch with our mission personnel on the ground:

  • Carlos Tique Jone is in Beira assessing damage to buildings. “I praise the Lord that I am alive,” he told BMS.
  • Jane Edwards has flown into Maputo instead of home to Beira.
  • Sergio and Liz Vilela are safe. Sergio has returned to Beira to assist relief efforts.
  • Annet and Damien Ttendo-Miller are currently in Uganda.
  • Mark, Susanna, and Lizzie Barrell are at their home in Maputo.

Please pray especially for our local workers in and around Beira. BMS has been in touch with:

  • Pr Moises, General Secretary
  • Anibel
  • Carlos
  • Fernando and Lidia, Association of Mozambican Christian Lawyers (AMAC)
  • Staff at the AMAC office
A terracotta church building against a blue sky that has lost its roof.
Liz and Sergio Vilela's church is the Igreja Baptista do Aeropuerto in Beira. It lost its roof and suffered damages in the storm.

Pray for Mozambique

  1. Pray for all those in Beira, including BMS World Mission worker Carlos Tique Jone and his family. Pray that those who need help would receive it soon and that God would use his people to bring relief and help even now.
  2. Pray for those who have lost family members and homes. Pray that God would bring them the help they need and that we who have not been affected can find ways to be useful and merciful to them.
  3. Pray for God to strengthen those helping and comfort those traumatised.
  4. Pray for all BMS mission personnel and local workers, that they will be safe and be used by God in the lives of their community at this very difficult time.
  5. Pray for the relief response following this tragedy. Pray that Beira will recover quickly.
  6. Pray for a compassionate, sustainable and God-inspired response from the international community, including our community of churches.

Thank you for your love for Mozambique. Please keep praying for the people of Beira and for our partners there. If you would like to do something more, you can help our Mozambican partners on the ground with relief and recovery work by giving now.

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From the frontline: stories to inspire you

From the frontline:

stories to inspire you

From giving critical medical aid at night, to helping a rural community grow crops, our mission workers have had a very busy, challenging and blessed start to the year. We thought it was time to share some of their news with you.

The surgeons in Chad who came to the rescue after dark

Andrea and Mark Hotchkin in traditional Chadian dress in front of a sand coloured wall
Andrea and Mark Hotchkin dedicate every day to helping others in Chad, no matter where they are in the country.

We’ll paint a picture for you. One day you’re in a fancy hotel in Chad’s capital city, N’Djamena attending a Ministry of Health meeting. Then just a few days later you’re hours from the nearest town, it’s late and you’ve spent the day driving from village to village assessing healthcare provision. Word reaches you that two local people are seriously unwell and no-one has made any effort to get help.
This is what happened recently in the lives of BMS World Mission surgeons, Andrea and Mark Hotchkin. If you didn’t already know how amazing they are, you certainly will when you read their latest blog.

Giving hope for a better future

A woman dressed in black stands behind a table covered in neatly arranged clothing
You’ll probably never meet Shama, but thanks to your support for BMS you’ve helped her and her family.

Consider this: you have five children, your husband is unable to find work and one of your children has tuberculosis. You have to spend every day not knowing how long you have to make the small amount of income you do have last. This is the life that Shama has known in Delhi. But thanks to your support for BMS workers James and Ruth Neve, Shama and others have been given hope of a new life-changing income. To find out how, read the Neves’ latest blog by hitting the button below.

A night of praying with women in pain

Evening street scene in Bangkok with neon lights
The light of Christ is being received in Bangkok’s red-light district, helped by BMS worker Ashleigh Gibb.

In the red-light district of Bangkok, women are learning they are children of God and that he loves them. BMS worker Ashleigh Gibb writes in her latest blog about a special event at a hotel where women who work in some of Bangkok’s bars gathered for a meal and prayer. Please read Ashleigh’s blog, and please continue to pray for her and the people she meets in one of the world’s darkest places.

‘The seeds we received are a gift from God’

Carlos Tique stands in front of a house and some green foliage
By supporting BMS worker Carlos Jone, you’re helping people in Chassimba, Mozambique not only fight hunger, but also earn their own money.

There’s a rural village in Mozambique called Chassimba, where your faithful support for BMS work is transforming lives. Men and women are not only being given seeds to grow crops, they’re learning how to take care of them better. And with increased production comes an income. BMS worker Carlos Jone visited Chassimba recently, and shares in his latest prayer letter the beautiful response he received from villagers.

News in brief from around the world

  • In Guinea, BMS worker Ben*, along with a professional football coach, visited football training sessions to strengthen links with non-Christians. Ben has also started to meet with a prison group as he continues to show God’s love among the marginalised.
  • In France, the BMS Action Team has been helping at a refugee centre for women, supporting youth work, forging friendships and developing their language skills. Check out all their news on their blogs page.
  • In Peru, BMS worker Laura-Lee Lovering has been kept busy through attending the Peruvian Baptist Assembly (her seventh!), catching up with BMS short-term volunteer Becky Richards, and meeting Action Teamers.
  • In Mozambique, BMS worker Sergio Vilela has put in a lot of miles (around 3,000 in two weeks) meeting people through our partnership with the Mozambican Baptist Convention. Meanwhile, fellow BMS worker, and Sergio’s wife, Liz Vilela has been doing great work with child protection training, which she touches on in her latest prayer letter. Please check it out and pray for the Vilelas!
Want your church to support life-changing mission work?

Your church can get behind our mission work by becoming a Church Partner. It’s ever so easy to join and gives your church the chance to focus on a region or ministry, or on specific people.

We’d love to talk to you, so please don’t hesitate to contact Jo in the Church Partners team with any questions. Call her today on 01235 517600 or email her at churchrelations@bmsworldmission.org

If your church isn’t in Church Partners, talk to your minister today. Get involved, be inspired, express your heart for mission!

These stories are just a snapshot of what our mission workers and partners have been up to. In countries like Uganda, Kosovo, Bangladesh, Nepal, Ukraine, Albania, Lebanon and India, your support is being felt through training, nourishment, heating, education and much more. We thank you today for all that you do for BMS, for your giving and prayer, and your encouragement. Thanks to you, God is meeting the needs of people like you and me around the world. We praise God today for your support and give thanks for our incredible mission workers.

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*Names changed for security reasons.

Buffalo, corn, radishes and chillies: a recipe for success

Buffalo, corn, radishes and chillies:

a recipe for success

A widow is able to provide for her three daughters. People in Afghanistan are eating vegetables in their village for the first time. Ugandan farmers can fund school fees and medical bills. Agricultural training is transforming lives, and it’s all down to your support for BMS World Mission.

In countries facing political instability and natural disasters, it’s hard for people in rural areas who survive by farming to make a living and support their families. But BMS-supported agricultural training is changing that. By donating cattle, training farmers to grow chillies and bananas, and helping women rear buffalo, men and women can earn a living long into the future. Because of you, BMS workers are with these communities every step of the way, helping them improve their quality of life.

Here’s what you are doing to help farmers and families to thrive.

1. Mozambique: cattle and corn

In the rural village of Chassimba in Mozambique, men and women are learning how to better grow corn. Overseen by BMS worker Carlos Jone, this training is transforming lives in the community.

A man surrounded by bricks in heaps.
John was able to make bricks by selling his crop.
Corn filled to the brim in a barn.
Amelia has enough corn to provide for the needs of her family.

John and Amelia are two of the people who gained skills in growing corn. John used the money he made from selling his crop to produce bricks, which he used to build his new house. Amelia, a widow, managed to grow so much corn that she filled her barn to the brim. Now she has enough to support her family for the rest of the year. Amelia’s also now involved in growing vegetables with other farmers in the village, and is earning enough to support her three children through school.

We’ve also donated cattle to the village, and these are being used to teach ploughing – helping many more people provide for their families.

“Thank you for your supporting farmers in Chassimba,” says BMS worker Carlos. “You’re fighting hunger and food insecurity, and the results are visible – there are no longer hunger problems in the community.”

This thank you dance from the villagers in Chassimba is for you.

2. Afghanistan: lettuces and radishes

Villagers in Afghanistan are growing vegetables never grown in their area before.

At high altitude in the mountains of Afghanistan, growing vegetables presents unique challenges, and in some places they’re not even grown or eaten at all.

You’re helping to change that. With your support, people are learning about the nutritional benefits of vegetables and how to grow them.

In one village, agricultural experts set up a demonstration garden on the land of a man called Almas*, where other villagers could learn and experiment in growing vegetables. Almas’ uncle came to visit, and when he saw the garden, he couldn’t believe his eyes. He said, “I am 66 years old, and have never seen vegetables grown here; these people are just telling you stories!”

Some time passed, and Almas’ uncle came to visit again. Dinner was served, with plates of fresh radishes and lettuce being presented, all of which had been grown locally. Almas turned to his uncle and said, “Thanks be to God that now at the age of 66 you have tasted vegetables grown here in this village!” Now, when Almas’ son harvests vegetables from the garden, the uncle comes and takes some of them to his own home.

More and more people in remote mountain villages are now living healthier lives through growing vegetables. And it’s all down to you.

You’re fighting hunger and food insecurity

3. Nepal: buffalo and goats

Goma’s buffalo died in the 2015 earthquakes, and she had to completely rebuild her house. She and her husband had used the animals to support their two daughters through school. Life was now looking very precarious.

Thankfully, Goma managed to get hold of three buffalo and some goats, and she got a place on BMS-supported livestock training, to learn how to better look after her animals. She learnt about animal health and shed management, and now she’s able to get more from her cattle than she ever did before.

Goma collects around 20 litres of milk from the buffalo every day, and then sells it at a local collection centre. She and her husband are able to continue supporting their two daughters, who are studying in Kathmandu, and provide for themselves, too.

A woman wearing a red dress standing next to three buffalo.
Goma can now provide for her two daughters by selling buffalo milk.

4. Uganda: bananas and chillies

Chillies being dried in the Ugandan sun.
These chillies are being dried before being transported to the wholesalers in Kampala.

In Gulu, Uganda, BMS workers have trained 100 families to start farming chillies and bananas. Each household received in-depth training, including land preparation and how to plant the bananas and chillies. Once they were ready, the farmers used their new skills and knowledge to grow the crops.

And they were hugely successful. All the bananas are being sold in local markets in Gulu. And the dried chillies are now being bought by a wholesaler in the capital city, Kampala, that exports them all over the world.

This is having an amazing impact in the lives of these families. One of the challenges for many farmers in the area was not being able to pay for big medical bills, or having to pull their children out of school if fees were put up. But now, this is no longer the case.

Namazzi* benefited from growing bananas. Because the banana harvest is continual, Namazzi is able to take her bananas and sell them at a local market throughout the year. The new income acts as pocket money for the family each week, so they can make sure there is enough food in the house, as well as covering small medical bills.

A man planting a banana tree while surrounded by people watching.
People in Gulu are learning how to plant and grow bananas.

These are just a few examples of the transformations you’re making possible through your giving. You’re helping farmers learn new skills, provide for their families, and live healthier lives. Thank you.

*Names changed to protect identities.

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