As a young lad, Manuel J. used to go to church with his parents. They were devout Christians who wanted their children to grow in Christian values. “To them Christianity was the key to everything regardless of the fact that we were very poor,” Manuel recalls.
He also remembers some of the stories from the Bible he used to learn as a young boy in Sunday school. Although he had grown up in a Christian family, he had never allowed his heart to accept Jesus. To him it was an issue of hearing some history stories and quotes but nothing appealing but instead appalling in his ears. As he grew older, he started to become rebellious and started to refrain from attending church, which he and his friends viewed as backward and nugatory. Conflict with his parents started and it became friction and more friction everyday as the parents were trying to push him to attend church but to no avail.
As the parents gave up on him, this is the time his friends introduced him to marijuana which he was told was an herb of wisdom and excessive energy. “Marijuana became the food of my soul and I became so addicted that I couldn’t do anything without smoking marijuana,” Manual explained.
Commonly known as “suruma” in Mozambique, marijuana is becoming a severe cancer amongst many Mozambican youths. Talking to EHC recently, Police Chief of Operations in Beira’s Ponta-Gea Borough, Mr. Nharinge said, “The abuse of drugs amongst Mozambican juveniles is becoming relatively alarming and almost on daily basis the youths are arrested on several counts of heinous felonies. In the cells, some will be shivering as if they are almost dying due to drug addiction.
This calls for Christian organizations like Every Home for Christ to also invest in rehabilitation centers for drug addicts which is not a common thing here in Mozambique.”
It is believed that hoards of dangerous drugs, intoxicating substances, and many other contraband items are smuggled into Mozambique through our seaports that are seemingly porous.
As a victim of marijuana, Manuel became a stray young lad who diverged from the lessons he was taught by his parents and found himself struggling with a melee of evil thoughts and actions that were influenced by the drug he was using.
As a young man, he felt it was fashionable to also marry at a young age. At the age of 24, he found himself being a husband and a father of three. He was already selling his labor at the sugar-cane plantations and his day would be filled with so much hard work as you are paid according to the amount of work you will have done during that day.
Looking at the now 28, young man, you would think he is above 40, due to the rigorous activities that are gradually tearing his body down. One thing that had been eating him up was that he sometimes found himself in scary situations when he became so rude and cruel to his wife. “I love my wife, but sometimes I just get angry with her over trivial issues and I become so violent,” Manuel said with visibly wet eyes.
The time the EHC team visited his home, Manuel was out working at the sugar-cane estate. They shared the Gospel with his wife and she clearly told the team that even though she wanted to be a Christian she couldn’t because she was too scared to do that because of her husband’s behavior. “I can only be a Christian if my husband allows me to or if he also becomes a Christian, which I believe is something totally impossible,” Margarita said with a sad face.
The team prayed asking the LORD to do a miracle and allow that woman to have freedom of worshipping God. The team left some Scripture booklets with her and their contact number before they continued to move from home to home and village to village, person to person.
Manuel came back in the evening from work. That day he came back a little bit early and that surprised his wife, but she never wanted to inquire why he was home that early. Manuel later told the EHC team that it was because he usually passed through the home of one man in the village who peddles marijuana, but that day something just made him too weak to pass through there and he wanted to come home early to rest.
As he was taking his evening meal, he noticed some Scripture booklets on the table. He was curious to know what they were all about. He felt he needed to finish up his meal quickly and have time to read the booklets. As he washed his hands after the meal and his wife took away the plates, he quickly jumped in the Scripture booklets to read each one of them sentence by sentence, word by word.
In the villages, it is rare to have any new literature in the homes, because the people are very far from the city. This means that each time a Scripture booklet is left in a home, curiosity attracts hands and souls to it. People can’t resist reading a Scripture booklet or tract because they can’t have any other printed media in the village. This therefore becomes one of the greatest advantages that EHC should capitalize on. This therefore calls for a systematic saturation of the villages with scripture booklets and tracts.
“As I read the tracts, they rekindled my childhood memories and I became so much in love with my past and how my parents wanted me to hear the things of God,” Manuel explained. The reminiscence of his childhood that was decorated with Christianity was triggered by the Scripture booklets and it seems that childhood was so fantastic when he reflects about it in this day.
The Scripture booklets brought back memories and tears began trickling down Manuel’s eyes. This was worrisome to his wife, Margarita, who quickly asked him what was going on in his mind. She thought he had a bad day at work and she linked that to his earliness in coming back home that day.
“Where did you get these tracts?” Manuel asked. His wife took time to explain as she thought she was in trouble because of the tracts. “My parents wanted me to live a life for Jesus and these tracts have just reminded the passion and vision of my parents on my life. I want Jesus again in my life and I want you as well to have him and we will be a couple who believe in Christ and have our kids grow up in God’s hands,” Manuel said.
Upon hearing these words Margarita screamed and started to weep as she was so shocked and surprised that the prayer conducted in the afternoon had been answered so quickly. “Jesus, I am a sinner please don’t destroy me because I have seen you are here,” Margarita said...sounding so scared about what had just happened. She felt that the coming of Jesus into her home as a sinner would actually destroy her and she was so scared that night as she felt that Jesus was indeed in her house. She felt she really needed to bring the team the following day so that they pray for her home not to be destroyed by Jesus.
It is quite sad that many who have heard the Gospel before think that Jesus is just an inch away waiting to destroy sinners and send them to hell. They were not told about the Gospel of the Love that God has for the world. Many people see Jesus as just a policeman, policing their sins and waiting to punish them severely.
The EHC team came back the following day as Margarita has requested and they were equally shocked to know that Manuel had responded to the Gospel in a positive way that surpassed their expectations. Manuel and Margarita are now part of a Christ Group that is a stone-throw from their home.
-Submitted by EHC Mozambique’s National Director, Godfrey Bhodyera