Mozambique Pastor Grieves Loss of One Son, Searches for Missing Wife and Other Son following Insurgent Attack
A local church pastor in Mozambique is grieving the death of one of his sons and is searching for his wife and another son, who are still missing after an insurgent group attacked their village in April.
The pastor, who asked to be unnamed for his protection, told Christianity Today that his story is like many others in the Mozambique area.
Innocent families have been fleeing the area as insurgents have burned entire villages and killed, captured and recruited area residents. They have been accused of enslaving people and committing sexual crimes.
The United Nations says thousands of people have been killed in the violence, and some 800,000 people have been displaced because of the ongoing fighting.
“The north of Mozambique, especially Cabo Delgado province … is being affected by Islamic insurgents, who at some stage claim to be linked with Islamic State,” said Faith and Development Coordinator for World Vision Mozambique Mauricio Magunhe.
“For the Christians living in that area, it’s very important to have the word of God so that it can renew their faith and hope in such a time of turbulence. The word of God can be used in efforts for peacebuilding in that area, as well as in the country as a whole,” he said. “If we work together as Mozambican citizens and as leaders from different religions, it is possible to educate our people not to adapt that kind of situations that bring a lot of destruction and pain for our people.”
In nearby villages, some pastors and other believers have set up makeshift camps and partnered with ministries, missionaries and other Christian organizations to help provide food, supplies and other needs to the people in the area.
Their work also includes praying with people, preaching and providing solar-powered audio Bibles.
“When we first arrived, our arms were crossed—we were sad and angry,” said another pastor whose family is still missing. He also asked that his name not be printed. “But because we serve, we’re strong. Because we serve, we’re happy. In a time of difficulty or in a time of ease, we will serve the Lord.”
Christians account for about half the population in the country, but the populations are smaller in northern provinces where the insurgency has made attacks.
Mozambique recently jumped to 45 on persecution watchdog Open Doors’ World Watch List of nations where Christians face persecution.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Oliver Strewe
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.