Andy's Blog

Mozambique Part 2

Paul and I have now spent almost a week in Nampula experiencing life at Ebenezer. Every part of life here is affected by the movement of a tiny insect which has the power of life and death over the population. From mosquito nets to the daily anti-malaria tablet and insect repellent, the mosquito influences everything. At any one time, a significant percentage of the work-force is suffering from malaria, dramatically reducing productivity. 

For the pasty white Englishmen, it feels like an imposition, another challenge on top of the already considerable pile of challenges of living here. However, it has been a joy to see the Greigs and the Rowells taking life in the tropics in their stride and building business and church here. 

Their kids are thriving too and making an impact on the lives of those involved with Ebenezer. Tali, who’s currently studying for her GCSEs in Mozambique, wrote this for us:

“For me personally, the best bit about life here at the moment is teaching one man to read. I’ve been teaching him since June of last year, and he has gone from writing his first ever letter to being able to read (albeit very slowly) normal texts and sentences. That is very exciting, because when a person can read it opens up a whole world of opportunities that were never available before and particularly here, where job opportunities are limited and low income, being able to read could make the world of difference for him and his family.’

Me and Paul with the Greig and Rowell Families

Me and Paul with the Greig and Rowell Families

Standing on  Owerya Rock , meaning a uthority

Standing on Owerya Rock, meaning authority

We’ve also had the opportunity to join a meeting at the church on the farm. After a massive rainstorm the previous night the meeting was moved from the wet sands of the school playground to the drier veranda. We spent time worshipping and prayed for those affected by the cyclone that swept through Beira elsewhere in Mozambique. We also spent time looking at the Hebrews 11 heroes, led by a lady from the church who the previous night had her house flooded and whose husband was currently sick with malaria – we couldn’t help but think that this was “by faith” in action!

We also had the privilege of spending an evening with Scott Marques, who oversees many churches across southern Africa which are part of the Newfrontiers family.  Scott also helped to found Ebenezer. We’ve been very encouraged so far by our visit and are looking forward to developing a stronger relationship between Ebenezer and City Church in the future.  

Mozambique Part 1

On the 21st March, Paul Wood and I are travelling via South Africa, to Nampula in Mozambique. We’ll be visiting two families from City Church who live and serve in an exciting project based just outside Nampula. The project brings together business, training, discipleship and church planting on a huge scale. 

‘Ebenezer Mozambique’, a training wing of the project, describes itself as: ‘a Christian faith-based leadership training centre for young school leavers and has a strong emphasis on mentorship, agriculture, business and family. We are based in Rapale, near the city of Nampula, in northern Mozambique.’

Southern African countries are among the poorest in the world, with more than half the populations living in extreme poverty  – (on $1 a day). It’s easy to assume that the solutions to some of these huge problems are found in universities, government organisations or international charities. Whilst there is no doubt that these have vital contributions to make to these troubling, pressing issues, there is also no doubt that the church is and should be part of the solution. 

Ebenezer Mozambique aims to provide holistic training to young people in a mentoring environment, helping to equip them with agricultural and business proficiency, alongside teaching necessary life skills. Their vision is that young men and women are joyfully productive in rural Africa, sustaining themselves and their families, and bringing transformational leadership to their rural communities. 

We’re excited to be visiting Darryl and Joy Greig, Chris and Annelie Rowell and their families, who are currently passionately involved in these projects. Please be praying for us as we go, that God will use us, teach us, and keep us safe and healthy. 

We’ll be posting some pictures and videos of our trip soon for you to keep up to date with all we are doing.

Helping Bristol Believe

Helping Bristol Believe

Everything we do at City Church is to help people believe in Jesus. Jesus offered a wide invitation for people to come to know him, saying, ‘let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink’ (John 7:37). We want to make believing in Jesus seem like a reasonable thing to do, through all that we do. There are three aspects to how we will work out our vision to help Bristol believe: reaching, restoring and resourcing.

Believing for Buildings

Last week it was a huge privilege to meet with Terry Virgo, the father of the Newfrontiers family, along with 20 other pastors from across a wider group of Newfrontiers churches. Terry continues to travel the world, sharing the good news of Jesus and helping leaders to build healthy churches – it was amazing to hear what was on his heart.

For the past five years, I have enjoyed meeting with this group of leaders once a year; to stand with one another through joys and challenges of leading. It’s a great opportunity to hear the diverse and often fascinating stories of the churches they lead. I’m always drawn to stories of God’s incredible provision and, in many instances, this has related to church buildings.

I’ve followed the journey of Hope Church Ipswich, as God provided them with a 5-screen cinema in the town centre. It’s also been an honour to stand with Hope Church Worcester, as they have recently bought and begun to renovate a city centre site in the heart of Worcester. It’s so encouraging to see God providing a home for His Church all over the nation.

At leader’s meetings, there is always lots of space to pray and prophecy over one-another. During our last time together, two pastors made a b-line for me! They both had similar impressions of what God wanted to say to me, and to us as a church: that God has buildings for us which will help us serve the city, and that this is part of our inheritance as a church. It was wonderful to hear God speak directly into our context here in Bristol. Interestingly, a recent Sunday visitor at City Church spoke to Ben after our Cotham meeting, saying he also felt God wanted us to have a building in the city which would help us connect with people.

We need to pray these prophetic words into being! When God speaks, it’s important that we do what we can to line ourselves up with what He says. Therefore, as we look for our own building for City Church to call home, we have set up a building fund in preparation for when the right building comes along. If you’d like to contribute towards this, please head over to our giving page for more information.

We’re excited and expectant for God to provide a space for us to reach out to the community, to work with the disadvantaged in the city, and ultimately to make Jesus known across the whole of Bristol.