13 Jul 2010

New Meeting Room and Office

We've moved to the W.B. Lewis Business Centre on 24 Aberdeen Avenue in Pinawa!
The new meeting room is large enough for gatherings of 20 or more.

We have plenty of storage now!

And an inviting and light filled office space ...

Come and check out room S.14 at the Lewis Centre.

Mission and Service Letters from Mozambique

Mission and Service Letters from Mozambique Letter 240 21 May 2010

God delivers the needy when they call.... -Psalm 72.12

That’s good news, but in order to call, the needy require a voice. And preferably a listening human ear as well as God’s. Otherwise, they’re without any say or social power. God calls us to do what we can to strengthen the voice of the weakest and most marginalized, because those most needy are often least able to articulate their needs in a way and forum that can influence those with power to help them. One recent project of the Christian Council of Mozambique is called Listening to Poverty. In four provinces including Zambezia CCM calls public meetings, invites the articulate poor to testify, invites government officials to listen and respond, videotapes the proceedings, and delivers the edited tape direct to the President and Prime Minister of Mozambique, to let them hear their neediest citizens call out, testifying for themselves.

A hearing took place recently in Quelimane. First, a team of 5 CCM youth spent a day interviewing 30 people in the poorer bairros of Quelimane, gathering their views and experience of daily life in their neighbourhood. You see a photo of one of the interviewers, Sonia, with one of her subjects in the yard of his family’s house ( www.stpaulsunitedchurch.com ). On the second day; three of the most eager and articulate came to speak at the public meeting, on the plaza of a public school in another of Quelimane’s many poor bairros. You see one speaker, amid the project’s video cameraman, the camera of MTV Mozambique’s national television network, and the microphone of national Radio Mozambique. About 150 people turned up, teachers, journalists, civil servants, religious and community leaders, and many urban poor themselves to support their speaker neighbours. A neighbourhood dance troupe with drummers danced two original numbers about lives of poverty in Quelimane. The provincial governor showed up to listen and then to speak in response. So did the official representative of Quelimane’s mayor.

The speakers talked of the lack of street-lights and police, that lets gangs of unemployed youth armed with machetes roam the city’s night’s shadows robbing citizens at will.

They spoke of the lack of drainage, the standing water that blocks roads and breeds malarial mosquitoes.

They spoke of the lack of employment–one speaker told how he rides his bicycle as a taxi like hundreds of other men in Quelimane, earning 5 meticais (15 cents) per ride in the city, for 10 minutes or more pedalling hard with a passenger, then waiting who knows how long till the next fare, earning not enough in a day to feed a family and keep a bicycle maintained after the beating it takes on Quelimane’s bad roads. Another sells charcoal, buying a 50-kilo sack and selling it in small piles on the street for as little as 1 metical (3 cents), to people too poor to buy any more at once, just enough to cook their day’s one meal. Her way to try to feed her family.

And so the governor and everyone present heard compelling personal stories that lie behind poverty statistics, from the people who best can tell them, because they live them. Graca Machel, widow of Mozambique’s founding president, wife of Nelson Mandela, Mozambique’s most influential lady, already has an appointment to present the final product to the President and Prime Minister, from the needy who are calling. May God deliver them.

In mission and service, Karen and Bill Butt