Update on work in schools
In August of last year Cámica was walking through a very poor area of Beira known as Munhava Matope (The word “matope” literally means “mud”). She was with two members of our team, Maria and Joaquim, and they were on their way to visit a church to introduce Sunday school material. The area is full of very poor homes and has a considerable number of social problems. It is close to the large fuel storage tanks in the city port, and the city rubbish tip is close by.
As they were walking to the church a boy ran up who was very excited, and pointing to Joaquim he said, “This is the man who tells us about Jesus!” For in this same area there is a primary school that we have been working in for a number of years. Some time back we helped enlarge the school with the building of two new classrooms that enabled more children from this poor area to attend. The school has also been included in our program for teaching Christian morals, and we have enjoyed a very good relationship with this school for some considerable time. In the earlier years of doing our Christian morals program in schools Pastor Cazança used to do the lessons here. Now that he has been teaching in other schools Joaquim has the responsibility here and has continued the very good work that Pastor Cazança did.
In March of last year, the school suffered considerable damaged from Cyclone Idai, as did many of the other schools in the area. As a result, some of the roofs were blown off the classrooms. In order for lessons to continue, UNICEF and Save the Children mounted two tents where lessons are held for children from the classrooms that suffered the worse damage. It is in those tents that Joaquim has been doing the work of teaching Christian morals. The excited reaction of that child, when he saw Joaquim with Cámica and Maria, is typical of the children in this area, and they greatly appreciate the lessons on Christian morals we teach.
As we start the new academic year Cámica is now looking to start a new program in schools known as Peace Clubs. These clubs are based on Christian principals, like our Christian morals program. The idea behind the clubs is that, when there is a conflict between the students, such as an aggressive argument, there is a small group of volunteers drawn from the students who can help resolve the conflict in a peaceful way. The aim is that, as the children grow up, if they should find themselves in the conflicts that adults are often caught up in, including armed conflicts, that they can help resolve the issues peacefully from what they learnt in the Peace Clubs at schools. The opportunities to share the Gospel through such clubs are many. Jesus Himself spoke on peace; one example being His sermon on the monte; “Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9 kjv).
Cámica is very familiar with the Peace Clubs program for she translated the material, which is for all age groups, and for two years running interpreted at a conference in Johannesburg where the program was introduced into other African countries. Helping Cámica and our team with this program is a young lady from Beira called Marta who shares the same vision. Marta was involved in the preparation of the material and also been at the same conferences in Johannesburg.
So, we thank you all for your continued support which has enabled us to reach the very exciting point that we are now at in regards to the schools work. We are also very grateful to the charity, Chosen Children from Toronto in Canada, for their support for this work. The first phase of the introduction of the Peach Clubs is to train a small group of volunteers. It is anticipated that by April we can start to implement the Peace Clubs, including in secondary schools. Until then, we continue with the very fruitful program that we have been using in the schools for some years. Who knows, maybe other excited children will be coming running up to us to talk excitedly about how they too have been learning about Jesus at their school.
Chris & M. do Carmo