Hot off the press! Check out our Spring 2013 newsletter (click here)!
The story of the Melanie Center is touching to say the least, and its transformation is reaching far and wide in Biera, Mozambique. Alberto Manane lived in a suburb of Biera, and recently heard about the center’s impact. Alberto was a leader in his community, and was a well known witchdoctor. He previously led large gatherings from the entire region in an attempt to invoke spirits for rain. He confesses that while practicing witchcraft, “I never had peace” – entire nights at times with no sleep.
Exhausted, Alberto began searching for answers and began studying the Bible 3 years ago. The truth finally materialized for Alberto when he heard about the absolute impact the Melanie Center was having. The love of God materialized in orphans being cared for and entire communities reaching out of famine.
Everything clicked for Alberto. He made a decision to follow Jesus, burned all of his witchcraft tools, and was baptized. Alberto simply can’t stop talking about the decision he has made. He finally is feeling the peace he was searching for “Now I can sleep!” His transformation has shocked the local community, and many have made decisions of their own to follow Jesus.
Love materialized. It’s life changing, and it’s message even spans across continents to our e-mail inboxes. Your support of the Melanie Center is making these discoveries possible. Thank you friends.
Jer 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Global Team Member
While in Maputo, Mozambique, we had the privilege of a personal tour from Pastor Levi, one of the seminary students we supported through ISTEM. It was a thrill to see where Levi attended classes and studied, and to see his appreciation for the opportunity at education. He took us all around Maputo that day on an absolute whirlwind tour.
Towards the end of the day, we visited a large church complex (of which we had no present affiliation). We toured the sanctuary, the seminary classrooms, the on-site high school, and were now headed to the one-level dormitories that housed the seminary students. We exchanged our normal brief cordialities with a few students – the language barrier was difficult at times. To our surprise though, one of the seminary students, Juliao, spoke impeccable English! It was a thrill to converse freely with a true Mozambican seminary student – and he was full of life (see pic below and you’ll know what I mean)! One thing we all remember from our conversation was Juliao’s vision of a “new way to minister to the poor”. He talked about 1) taking the time to sit with people and truly understand what their needs are, 2) finding a way to meet those needs, and 3) out of love, share the story of Christ with them. What a thrill it was to share with Juliao how his vision is being embodied through The Melanie Center.
Today, we’re absolutely thrilled to share a new chapter in their story: The Melanie Center has partnered with The World Food Program and is receiving over 10 TONS of food each year (!) for the local community. With this remarkable partnership, more than 200 local families who had previously struggled are receiving the food they desperately need. We’re thrilled as well that our recent church plant, led by Pastor Jacinto, has also received a commitment from the World Food Program to support 25 families in their community. The most crucial need of the poor is food – and The Melanie Center is meeting that need. Because of this – the small church on the Melanie Center is absolutely overflowing. In fact, they’re having to split the service by age to handle the amount of people!
Juliao’s vision – embodied. Show someone that you truly care about them by listening, understanding their true need, and meeting them in it. That is true love and an easy-to-grasp example of what Christ did for us.
Friends – thank you again for your support – it’s making an absolutely amazing impact.
When you read the above sentence, you may be thinking many different things – but you may not thinking about a kitchen sink!
During our visit to the Melanie Center Orphanage, we took a walk around the back of the property where we came upon the well. It was a shallow hole in the ground, and to retrieve water from it, you would use a long stick with a yellow bucket tied to the end of it. Dallas, Matt and I looked at each other and I think we had the same thought in our mind. We need to do something about this.
It started with installing a filter system specifically for drinking water. The look on their faces was priceless when a bucket filled with dirty well water trickled down through the filter and came out crystal clean in the bucket below. Shock, Joy, and Thankfulness all in one facial expression.
The improvement continued as we looked to tackle the big task of installing a plumbing system at the Orphanage. We hired a local plumber to install a pump which would pull the water from the well and move it to an elevated storage tank. The plumber then fed a line of for the water to move down from the tank and into the kitchen.
This is where life completely changed for John, Maria, and the rest of the Melanie Center Orphanage. They had clean running water – their own kitchen sink! To express their absolute joy, our dear friends in Mozambique sent us a seven page document recounting their thankfulness with multiple pictures of the sink. It turns out the women who worked at the Orphanage use to walk miles looking for clean water, so you can imagine their joy when clean water came pouring out of a faucet!
Friends, it’s because of your support, “life has completely changed” and you have brought those in need “so much joy”. From deep in our hearts and theirs, thank you.
We can’t wait to share more stories like these, and are excited to announce that our first quarterly newsletter is in the works! Our newsletter will include an introduction to our new church plant (!), updates on success of Opportunity International, highlights of new children at the Melanie Center, and more.
We can’t thank God enough for all of you, and look forward to sharing the epic story that you’re a part of in Mozambique, Africa.
…A rather alarming silence, since I knew there were around 75 kids and 50 adults from the local community at the center. I was in the Dining Hall at the north end of the property, and just a few short moments ago, I was hearing the laughter of children playing, the un-interpreted conversation of adults chatting, dialogue of the cooks preparing the meal just outside the open doorway, etc.. Why the silence, why all of the sudden!? I scanned the faces of our team members, and could tell they shared my sudden confused reaction. We stopped mid-discussion and walked outside, and what we saw was a true thing of beauty: All 75 Kids were enjoying a hot meal.
These beautiful ones, created in God’s image, were absolutely thrilled at the rare opportunity to have a square meal in front of them that they gave their undivided attention to eating. Their faces showed excitement, appreciation, concentration, and a bit of surprise over the experience they were having. Their parents seemed equally as shocked, and absolutely oozed with appreciation over the moment. Each of our team members walked directly in front of the mass of children sitting Indian-style – we were shaken by the beauty of this moment. I think the same thought was in all of our minds – “THIS is true religion”.
Friends, the Melanie Center does just this on a normal basis – they go directly to the heart of the matter and meet the needs of community – then relate that met-need with the message of the gospel. I want to take the opportunity to sincerely thank you for taking part in “true religion”. Whether you have given with a one-time gift in the past, or if you are one of our dear friends who made a commitment to contribute monthly to the Melanie Center in 2011 – your donations have and will make a significant impact, and our commitment in 2011 is to share that impact – word by word, detail by detail – with you. We’ll also be sending out frequent e-mails with updates as we receive them.
One short administrative note – if you contributed to this ministry in 2010 via JustGive.com, please use your e-mail receipt from JustGive for tax write-off purposes. 2011 donations through JustGive.com will be included in your year-end giving statement from Life Covenant Church – mailed out in January of each year.
From deep in our hearts – Thank you again friends for heeding the call and journeying with us to display God’s love to the country of Mozambique, Africa.
Hello World!!! The Life For Moz Blog is now Launched!
I hope there will be many great stories to come of how God is working in this beautiful country. I can’t wait until I get to go back to work more with our brothers and sisters in Christ over there. Enjoy the posts to come. This is just the beginning!