Wow, the End of 2014 was packed with so many amazing things that it’s hard to know where to begin! We've had: major breakthroughs in a number of our projects, doors flung wide open in ways we never would have guessed, clarification of our vision, and small victories in some of our biggest battles. Partnering with the Creator in transformation is never boring! Read on to hear more.
Jon and some members of the Peniel media team whom he has been mentoring.
Refining the Vision
We’ve always known the vision of Equip Mozambique should be to equip the Mozambicans; find those with purpose and support them in whatever way they want to change their culture. We originally thought we would be doing that through the creation of a college, and this project is still in the works; however, it has become clear that it will take many years to complete. The education system is so systematically flawed that we will need to spend many months just sitting down with the teachers and discussing what a godly school would look like in this culture. The last thing we want to do is take an American system and place it in Mozambique; yes the school would work and people would attend it, but we wouldn’t truly be confronting the things that need the most change. The other major roadblock has been unemployment; it’s around 20% even for college graduates. It has become clear to us that the best impact we can have here in the short-term is in job creation and entrepreneurship training rather than education for a degree that may or may not help in securing employment.
While we are still looking at education for the long-term good of the culture, several opportunities have opened up to help with job creation. Jon taught a seminar class on doing business using the principles of the Kingdom of God, and he has been visiting companies and sitting down with their directors. He's been talking to them, learning about the business culture, and giving them ideas on how to grow and develop their businesses to hire more employees. We are currently working on an analysis of the city and identifying strategic opportunities for honest businessmen. The church is very excited about our work so far and the business owners are going to be meeting together to discuss their plans, something that is rarely done in here, where it’s more common to hide all your best ideas instead of work with others.
Equip Mozambique is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so all donations are eligible for tax-exemption.
We hope to raise up entrepreneurs who can succeed at enterprises a bit bigger than selling used shoes in a muddy market.
As of December 31, we are officially registered as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization! Our non-profit status comes after tons of paperwork, much prayer and a long wait. It's a big answer to our prayers! Since our non-profit status came before the end of the year, we will be sending out receipts to everyone who gave us donations in 2014, and of course, we will continue to send out receipts for all donations made in 2015.
We've had some major breakthroughs with our Bible website project. We are in the process of securing the domain name biblia.co.mz, but more importantly we have found the content for the site! There is an organization called Faith Comes By Hearing that already has audio Bible recordings in most of Mozambique’s main languages. At first we were worried we would run into copyright issues with using other people’s work, but we got an e-mail from them this week giving us full permission to use everything they have—free of charge! Jon has much of the Bible website coded, but is still looking for some programming help, so if you know anyone who could contribute some time to this, please let us know! (The site uses the web languages of PHP and MySQL using the Joomla CMS – knowledge of 2 of 3 of them will do). We are always looking for ways to involve people who want to make an impact even if they can’t physically travel here.
However, for those who CAN physically travel here…
We have been in contact with two teams that may come later this year, one to create some video documentaries and one to help build a Christian recording studio. We are quite excited about these projects as they fit perfectly with our vision. The short time that these teams may be here would empower the Mozambican Christians to do so much more than they could alone, and once the projects get started, they won’t need continuing support from outside of the country to grow. Let us know if you would like to visit as well to help with a project! While we can only accommodate a few people in our apartment, our church is in the process of constructing a new building that will have guest rooms able to accommodate larger teams, so later this year we hope to be able to take on even more visitors! There will be many opportunities for you to partner with us in 2015, whether from the States or as a visitor here in Beira. Please contact us if you're interested.
Wrapping up Christmas presents for beggars with the kids
We wanted to celebrate Christmas this year by being a blessing to others. So, on Christmas Eve, Kyran and Jariel helped wrap up some little presents they had picked out at the store, and everyone spent the morning cooking beans, rice, and chicken. We put the food in take-out boxes, loaded everything up in a chopella, and drove to a part of town where there are a lot of beggars and disabled people. We handed the food out to a bunch of blind people that we encountered, and Kyran and Jariel distributed their presents to their children. It’s easy to say ‘Christmas is more about giving than receiving’, but we wanted to put those words into action and show love to people who don’t have the dignity or privilege of food, shelter and possessions. Carla read Jesus’ words from Matthew 25; ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me’. She explained to the kids that, since Christmas is the time when we celebrate Jesus’ birthday, we were going to give Him presents by passing out gifts to other people, after which they walked around the house exclaiming, ‘happy birthday, Jesus!’ Even though they’re both so young, it was good to see their understanding that Christmas isn’t just about getting presents.
The Reinagel family Christmas photo! Janie with Anna, our house helper.
The ‘temporary’ house where we’ve been staying while we looked for another one actually came available for rent. We really like the neighborhood, and the house was better than anything else we’d found in the same price range. So we decided to stay! We were able to hire a sweet widow from church, Anna, to help with housework, which was occupying most of Carla and Janie’s time. Anna was praying for a job to feed and educate her children, so we’re glad that we’re able to bless her in this way. Now all of us are freed up so that we can focus on more ministry, so it's a win-win all around!
Thank you so much for sharing in our journey through your prayers and support!
For "Faith Comes By Hearing"'s audio Bible generosity.
For receiving our tax-exempt status.
That we found an affordable place to live--and we didn't even have to move! That was definitely an answered prayer from our last newsletter!
That the immigration office has extended our 30-day visas TWICE now while we have run into a few roadblocks in getting our residency status. At first we were told that would be impossible...it's a good thing we serve a God greater than impossibilities!
Peniel has been in a legal struggle for more than a year over a piece of land where they want to construct a new building to accommodate the church's rapid growth. Last week they FINALLY won the court case and they'll be able to start building soon!
For partnership with businessmen and specialists who will, we hope, be able to make a big impact on their culture.
That the teams who would like to come help will be able to--that all their finances would come in and there wouldn't be any other hindrances.
We needed some documents sent from the States to continue our residency process, and they're not here yet even though they should have arrived by now. Please pray they'll get here soon!
Thanks for reading, please remember us in your prayers!