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 to BMS Disaster Recovery now.

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Fighting domestic abuse in Mozambique

Fighting domestic abuse in Mozambique

You are helping bring access to justice in one of the poorest nations in the world, by supporting BMS World Mission and giving poor people the empowerment of knowledge.

You can’t report a crime if you don’t know you’re a victim. And that’s often the case for people in Mozambique. In a country with a tumultuous past, it’s not unusual for many people not to understand the law. Not to know your rights. But BMS workers and partners in Mozambique are changing that.

BMS lawyer Mark Barrell is working with the Association of Mozambican Christian Lawyers (AMAC). “The aim of AMAC is to provide access to justice to the most poor and vulnerable people,” says Mark. And in a country with only around 2,000 lawyers in a population of 30 million, AMAC’s work couldn’t be more necessary. The lawyers from AMAC work hard to provide advice, education and sometimes legal representation to those who need it.

A group of Mozambican lawyers.
The staff at the Association of Mozambican Christian Lawyers are committed to bringing justice to people who need it most.

“We support many different people in different circumstances,” says Mark. “But often the people we help will be women, whose status in Mozambican society can be very low.” AMAC regularly works with women who have been left by their husbands or partners and who don’t have the means to support their children. Women whose husbands have passed away and whose families are trying to take their homes. Women who are regularly subjected to domestic abuse. Women like Isabel*.

Isabel was abused by her husband. But she didn’t understand what domestic abuse was, or that it is illegal. Fortunately, AMAC was there to help.

AMAC regularly partners with local churches to hold education sessions where local people can learn about issues ranging from domestic abuse and inheritance to employment law. Isabel attended a session on domestic violence and was taught about what is defined as abuse, and why it’s wrong. Isabel spoke to a lawyer on the AMAC team, who quickly realised that she was a victim of domestic abuse. She was taken to the police station that same day to report the crime.

“Often it can be difficult to get the police to take any action,” says Mark. “But on this particular occasion the person they saw launched an investigation very quickly, and it was soon referred to the local court.”

Just a few months later, Isabel’s husband was brought before a judge. The court placed a restriction on him, and he was told that he could face imprisonment if Isabel reported any further abuse.

With the help of the AMAC lawyers, many vulnerable people have been helped out of difficult situations.

There are so many more people just like Isabel in Mozambique who need AMAC’s support. Please pray for this vital work, so that more people can live without fear. Pray for:

1. Mark and Susanna Barrell, as they continue serving with BMS in Mozambique.

2. The work of AMAC, that it will continue to bring support to the most vulnerable people in Mozambique, and the wonderful Mozambican Christians who are partnering with BMS to make a difference.

3. Victims of abuse like Isabel in Mozambique and across the world, that they might know hope, justice and fullness of life.

4. For Mozambique as a country, that its people will be able to learn more about correct legal practices and learn their rights.

*Name changed

If AMAC hadn’t been there, there’s no telling how long Isabel would have continued to suffer. But now Isabel can live without fear, and also in the encouragement of knowing that AMAC will keep helping other people like her. And that they are determined to keep bringing access to justice to those who need it.

Please pray that AMAC is able to carry out their vision, and bring help to the people who need it.

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The frontline is everywhere

The frontline is everywhere:

nine encounters with the realities of mission

Our mission workers are doing inspiring things in incredible countries around the world. And their blogs definitely show that! We’ve picked nine that we’d love for you to read today.

1. When a rock the size of a sofa tumbles towards you

Ever hit a pothole or been held up by roadworks? It won’t seem so annoying after you’ve read what BMS World Mission teacher trainer Annie Brown went through in Nepal. Thick mud, monsoon-flooded roads and steep hillsides were challenging enough. But then came the landslide.

2. The French church that needs your prayers

BMS mission worker Christine Kling gives a sermon in France
Christine Kling is taking on scepticism and a secular nation as she shares the truth of God’s love.

Church planting in secular France is very hard, and often lonely. But BMS pastor Christine Kling is giving all she’s got to try and help people get to know Christ, and God is with her. Please read Christine’s latest blog in which she shares some of the amazing opportunities she has to share the gospel, and please keep her church in your prayers.

3. How a sewing machine can spark dancing and hope for a better life

Sara’s husband is unemployed, just as her four adult sons are. Many others in her neighbourhood in Maputo, Mozambique, struggle to find work too. Your support for BMS worker Susanna Barrell means something is being done to help not only Sara, but others who want to learn a new skill to bring in money.

4. The day dozens of soldiers showed up at a hospital in the desert

BMS pharmacist Claire Bedford at Guinebor II Hospital as soldiers walked the grounds
The day when soldiers turned up at Guinebor II Hospital to do some gardening, captured by BMS pharmacist Claire Bedford.

It was turning out to be a relaxing Saturday for BMS pharmacist Claire Bedford at Guinebor II Hospital in Chad. She’d chilled out with a friend over lunch, watched a film and arrived home before dark. And then her phone rang. Claire’s weekend of peace and rest was no more… the military were on their way for an important visit. It was a memorable affair. We’ll let Claire complete the story.

5. Bringing a whole lot of joy to some amazing mothers

Songs, games, gifts, and a lot of smiling. What a great celebration of mothers this was in the village of Wang Daeng, northern Thailand. BMS workers Helen and Wit Boondeekhun will explain the rest.

6. Home assignment in numbers: ten facts from the Judkins family

BMS church planters Claire-Lise and David Judkins
BMS church planters Claire-Lise and David Judkins travelled over 5,000 miles during their recent UK visit.

Did BMS church planters Claire-Lise and David Judkins visit your church over the summer? Aren’t they great?! Even if you didn’t get to hear about their work in France, we think this set of important, interesting, and slightly quirky facts will give you a taste of their time visiting churches in the UK was for them and their four children. Check it out!

7. 'Jesus means everything to me’

What beautiful words these are, spoken by a woman at a baptism in Tirana, Albania, and included in a blog by BMS workers Annie and Dan Dupree. Through Tek Ura (a BMS-founded NGO), the Duprees are helping to provide health, social inclusion and education ministries in one of the poorest and most marginalised communities in Europe.

8. A sermon in the jungle, an exhilarating boat ride… and dolphins

As family trips go, the one taken by the Mahon family into the Peruvian jungle is certainly unforgettable. Find out what Baptist ministers Dave and Michele, and their three children Jonathan, Ruth and Phoebe, experienced when they left the city behind them and went up the mighty Nanay River, heading for the village of Santa Rita.

9. ‘These poor people work literally until they drop’

Two female tea pickers in Bangladesh
It is a very hard life being a tea-picker in Bangladesh.

Your tea of choice may well have been produced ethically. But it’s not the case for all the tea on the market, as BMS workers Louise and Phil Proctor document in their powerful blog post about the backbreaking work many tea-pickers in Bangladesh endure.

Thank you for your incredible support for our mission workers. Of course, there are so many other blogs that we could have included above. We do our very best to feature as many as we can on our Facebook page, where you can also keep-up-to date with the latest BMS news, stories and prayer requests.

Please check the page out today and share this story as another way to show your support for the Christians you’re partnering with around the world. They inspire us every day, as do you.

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