‘We thank God because we are alive’

Other Manual Translations: Português Español

Church members at Malanga United Methodist Church joined sister churches in the ecumenical Mozambique Christian Council for a Solidarity Worship Service March 22 to provide support to survivors of Cyclone Idai.

Under the leadership of the Rev. Arlindo Muduma Francisco, director of ecumenical affairs for the council, people gathered to pray and donate money and goods to assist their brothers and sisters affected by the heavy storms in the central region of Mozambique, mainly in the cities of Beira, Chimoio, Tete and the surrounding villages.

The death toll from Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in Beira on March 14, rose to 750 people across Southern Africa, with more than 446 reported dead in Mozambique, according to Celso Correia, the country’s Minister of Land and Environment.

The Rev. Eurico Gustavo, a United Methodist communicator based in Beira, said recovery efforts are beginning in the hard-hit city.

One of the main roads that connects Beira with the rest of the country has been temporarily rebuilt to make transporting people and goods easier.

“Material things are destroyed and we lost even our dear ones, but we thank God because we are alive and we’ll carry on,” Gustavo said by phone.

Mozambique Area Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala, who was in the North Conference and unable to attend the solidarity service, issued a statement on the disaster and relief efforts.

How to help

Give to the work of UMCOR by texting UMCOR to 91999.

To make a donation to UMCOR’s International Disaster Response, use Advance #982450

“I thank all people of goodwill within and outside the country who hold Mozambique in their prayers and thoughts. I know there are many, also, who have contacted me inquiring on what kind of support they could provide to assist those affected. I have informed them that we, basically, need everything from shelter, food, clothes, school and hospital buildings and their supplies. We need to rebuild or build new parsonages and chapels. Many things have been destroyed,” she said.

“I lament that we lost many fellow Mozambicans. …  I hold all Mozambican people and especially those directly affected in my prayers of consolation.”

The bishop also expressed gratitude for the support of churches and the United Methodist Committee on Relief, which issued a $10,000 grant last week for emergency short-term funding to meet basic human needs in Mozambique. UMCOR also allocated $10,000 grants for Zimbabwe and Malawi, which were affected by the storms.

Respeito Chirrinze, UMCOR’s disaster management coordinator in Mozambique, has visited Beira and is coordinating with other non-governmental organizations on follow-up response, according to Laurie W. Felder, UMCOR’s director of international disaster response.

She said Chirrinze also is working to distribute the grant money, noting that the biggest needs he is seeing right now are for aquatabs to purify water, mosquito nets and temporary shelters for those who have been displaced.

During opening remarks at the solidarity service in Maputo, the Rev. Felicidade Chirinda thanked those who have responded with prayers and donations.

“As a body of Christ, we understand that when one member suffers, we all suffer. I encourage you to always remember those who are suffering in your prayers and generosity,” she said.

Chirinda is the chair of the ecumenical body and the first clergywoman to hold the council’s highest position since it was created in 1948.

“We have come here to worship God and at the same time to pray and seek guidance on what, as a church, we can do to help our brothers and sisters,” she said.

All donations made at the service — money, clothes, shoes, school supplies and food — were handed over to officials with the National Institute for Disaster Management. Fatima Fernanda, the group’s delegate in Maputo, gave a brief update to the congregants.

“As of today, 344,811 people are directly affected” by the disaster in Mozambique, she said, noting that additional rain worsened the damage caused by the storms and cyclone. She said 2,867 classrooms have been destroyed, with more than 86,000 students affected.

The Rev. Joao Damiao Elias Muhale, a United Methodist and secretary general of the Mozambique Christian Council, said the group not only preaches the Gospel through words, but also through deeds.

“This solidarity service campaign is part of our call and duty as a Christian institution who are compelled to follow Jesus’ teaching of love, care for the neighbor and the least of these, especially those in danger and in need.”

Sambo is a UMNS correspondent in Mozambique. News media contact: Vicki Brown, news editor, [email protected] or 615-742-5469. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Disaster Relief
Typhoon Odette caused massive damage to Surigao City in the northern part of Mindanao in the Philippines in December 2021. With many homes destroyed, people continue sheltering in local churches, day care centers, municipal buildings, schools and sports facilities. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Coast Guard via Wikipedia.

Filipino churches step up after super typhoon

Church leaders and groups are reaching out to survivors after a deadly December storm killed more than 400, destroyed homes and damaged crops in the Philippines.
Disaster Relief
The sanctuary of Dresden First United Methodist Church in Dresden, Tenn., lies in rubble except for the organ pipes and a cross and several exterior walls. Church member Jarrett Snider went to the church after a massive storm system swept through the area on Dec. 10-11 and documented the damage to the building and grounds. Photo by Jarrett Snider via Facebook.

United Methodists respond after devastating twisters

United Methodist churches are dealing with death and devastation caused by the tornadoes that clobbered Kentucky, Tennessee and other states overnight on Dec. 10.
Mission and Ministry
Amber Payne reads a story to children at Dodson Chapel Childcare at Hermitage (Tenn.) United Methodist Church. Hermitage United Methodist Church provided a facility at their satellite campus after a tornado destroyed the nearby Dodson Chapel United Methodist Church in March 2020. The new center opened Sept. 13. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Tornado destroys church, but not its ministry

Though a tornado destroyed Dodson Chapel United Methodist Church in 2020, its child care ministry lives on at nearby Hermitage United Methodist Church.