Far From Typical
Mozambique has been tarnished by a 15-year civil war. This began only two years after the country gained independence from centuries of Portuguese rule in 1975. The controlling Communist system discouraged people from reading the Bible. The result was a whole generation growing up without knowing God. In fear of possible negative consequences, the older generation that did know Him feared of openly showing their faith.
The knowledge of God came close to being extinct; witchery, sorcery, spells and magic were encouraged, as they were associated with the traditional religions. With a population of nearly 25 million people, 60% practice a traditional religion; the majority are not Christian.
At first glance, you may think that Candida is a typical “Khegu” (a lady in Tsonga) in Mozambique. She is far from being typical, however. Having lived in the region of Macia, Candida didn’t know God. It was only after her husband ran off and married her best friend, that she found refuge in God. She became a Christian in 1995 and since, then has made it her mission to share the Gospel with all those she knows, even bringing 80 children to Christ in one year. This bold statement of faith, and the evident impact she was having did not please other religious sects. They rose up against her and got support from the local traditional council to prevent the report of her persecution reaching the police. In one incident, the opposing sect went to her house to beat her up. They only found her mother and a friend, so they beat them up instead.
This did not stop Candida from sharing the Gospel and leading others to Christ. By contrast, it made her more determined. She holds true to, “We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We often don’t know what to do, but we don’t give up.” 2 Corinthians 4:8 ERV.
Since 2006, Candida has partnered with Bible League in Mozambique, becoming an integral part of the Church Planter Training and Project Philip programs and teaching others to become pastors to help share the Word of God. She has been a part of planting five churches and is the Project Philip coordinator in three provinces. She runs eight groups in Xai Xai and continues her mission, despite having to fund herself.
Every day, Candida wakes at 4am and spends the first hour reading her Bible and praying. She then farms a small piece of land until 6.30am—this produces vegetables for her family, and some to sell in her shop. Following a quick breakfast, Candida completes her housework, which then allows her to dedicate her time from 10am to 9pm to working in her shop, which is a converted shipping container. She sells various household essentials and some staple food items, and a few lollies.
Bible League is doing groundbreaking work, partnering with many like Candida in the field and working to spread the Word of God. It has resulted in the planting of new churches in Mozambique, despite the opposition. The sad reality, though, is that 95% of Christians in Mozambique still do not have a Bible; equating to the need for more than 7 million Bibles. In rural towns, where an average income could be as little as $2 a day, owning a Bible is literally only a dream.
The ministry of Bible League New Zealand is able to plant God’s Word solely through the generous support of the Christian community.