This Church is part of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa.
Pilgrimage to Awesome Places
29 July to 9 August 1999
A visit to Beira and Chimoio, stopping at special places connected with Berta's last memento of here life on earth was something not taken lightly by me, the children, and the rest of the family; we realized it would be emotionally demanding. What we did not realize was that it would be both celebratory and a commissioning exercise.
July 29 - Thursday
Stopping at Zandamela at Chambone, where she had stepped for the last time and had evensong; at Muxungwe (actually Zove the exact place) where the accident happened; at Nhamatanda, where the wounded had been given first aid, Beira, where her body was taken to the same hospital where the wounded were and the Church where the service was held before being flown to Maputo, could not be avoided at the first visit after the accident. The family decided to take a group of five, three from the Sengulane family and two from the Zandamela family (Bertha's side) to accompany me and the children to do this. The Clergy chose five of their number who were joined by three others. Other relatives and friends joined such as Dr Eduardo Mulembwe and wife, Guilherme Mavila and wife, President of the Parliament and Minister of Labour, Victor Zacarias, whose wife, Leonor, wrote and taught three moving songs for the occasion, Marta Mabumo, the Bishop's Secretary, Titos Macie, Administrator of the Christian Council, the Revd & Mrs Harold Wenger from MCC and three of their colleagues from Marracuene and Cambine, some driving others flying and driving back to Muxungwe-Zove not only to see but also to mark vividly the exact spot of the accident.
People came also from Chimoio, Beira and the area itself. Prayers were held at Marracuene, Zandamela and Cambine in preparation for the event at Muxungwe-Zove.
Plans were taking advantage of the trip, we made for the partnership with MCC which will gain human form with the placing of a couple to work at Chambone.
The group coming by car from Maputo spent the night in various places of Inhambane Province, to meet at Save Bridge the following day and travel together to Muxungwe.
1- ZANDAMELA - WHAT AN AWESOME PLACE
Our pilgrimage had to include Zandamela because, among other reasons:
- On her way to Beira, Berta stopped there, prayed with me aloud in the Church which has a rare beauty through her suggestions to a large degree and that is the place where she had her last photograph taken;
- As it is our home village and my mother and sister live there, it is a good place to stop, chat and pray. My father's grave also is there.
- Berta was buried there and her grave is regarded with a sense of gratitude to God for the gift which she has been and for the hope of resurrection.
Whenever I have been there lately, a sense of awe is overwhelming and God has always a reassuring message.
July 30 - Friday
2- MUXUNGWE - ZOVE, WHAT AN AWESOME PLACE
It was just before 11.00 a.m. when we reached the place which has mobilized so much solidarity and prayer - Muxungwe. People had arrived from Beira and Chimoio and were singing choruses and praying and talking. About 100 people were present and not the 10 to 15 we thought would make it when we first conceived the trip as a family.
After opening prayer by the Dean, Fr Isaias of Beira introduced those who had come from Beira, Chimoio and Muxungwe. Fr Carlos introduced the others. We were all invited to make the place more like a home or a place who has an owner. Plants were planted, flowers were laid and certain spots were clearly marked. Stones which were brought from Khulula where Berta had started a garden were arranged cruciformly on the exact place where the body had been, each of those present or those being represented setting one stone. After that a memorial/celebratory service was held, led by the Dean, Fr Carlos, at the end of which various speakers made it clear that God had a special plan for that place, even if he made use of a painful reality which is death, to summon so many wills for the purpose of creating more comfortable conditions for some people. The local people asked that because that place has more than 3500 the health post should be exactly there Zove and that the Church could start without delay. What a relief to find out that the place itself was in need of both the Gospel and health services and people were eager to receive both. The number present which was growing made one realize that one was standing on holy ground and dealing with God's own people. We were at an awesome place--Zove. This was to be confirmed 10 days later when on our way back to Maputo, our unannounced presence/stop at the spot, was greeted by about 25 people who had gathered to clean the place, to water the plants we had planted on 30 July and to make it more attractive. They have claimed the place their own because of what happened there to an unknown lady but now their friend and benefactor. They repeated the urgency of the planting of the Church. Yes, this is an awesome place, God is speaking clearly and convincingly and we had better hear and obey.
Nhamatanda, three hours away to the north, was our next station to express gratitude to the hospital staff who gave first assistance to the wounded in November. Everyone was delighted to see the two boys who had been injured, now full of energy and looking happy.
Saturday - 31st of July
3 - BEIRA - WHAT AN AWESOME PLACE
Among many, these are some of the factors which make Beira a very special place with spiritual realities:
- 1998 marks 100 years of Anglican presence in Beira. Indeed, a plaque in stone marking this event is one of the pieces broken at the scene of the accident. This was to be unveiled during the visit.
- 100 years of Christian presence, however small the number of Anglican it may have among its membership cannot be ignored. Beira seems to be the second oldest congregation. It is awesome to know that for 100 years, God's word has been part of Beira sounds and life.
- About 200 Mothers' Union had been filling streets and houses of Beira for their Annual meeting last November. This was the first time that this August meeting was being held in Beira. The prayers, the singing, the uniform and the organized presence of the M. U. Is an impressive thing to behold.
- The hospital where the wounded, Berta's body and indeed the unhurt people were looked after, the Church where for the last time we touched Berta's body and where thousands of people started a wonderful wave of solidarity with the family and the Church, all these are situated in Beira. Beira is an awesome place.
A visit to the hospital to both express our gratitude but also to see some of the realities of the hospital, took part of the morning, before heading to Mafambisse, a new and promising congregation, struggling to make its impact with the Gospel and where people were baptized and confirmed. It is about 50 km west of Beira. On the way back we stopped at Munhava, a Church dedicated in 1977 which needs urgent restoration. Two of our seminarians are from this congregation.
At St George's, evensong was held not only for our Anglican members but also our ecumenical friends, both of Roman Catholic and Protestant persuasion and the undertaker. It was in the context of this gathering that the family expressed its gratitude for the solidarity of those residing in Beira.
Except for a meeting on Monday the 2nd with the people connected with court who helped to transport the injured, this service marked the end of the events aimed at thanking the people of Sofala for their support in connection with the sudden death of our beloved Berta who now rests peacefully in God's hands with the Saints.
Sunday - 1st August
The celebrations of the centenary of the Congregation of St George in Beira were resumed on Sunday after being suspended in November because of the accident. A plaque marking the occasion was unveiled by the Governor of Sofala who attended the service held on the grounds of the Church. The building is small for a normal congregation on Sundays, more so with visitors on a special occasion. People were baptized and confirmed and the concept of twothousandizing was shared and it proved to be relevant for all sectors represented: the Church, the press, health services, government officials, education and others.
If the response heard there will continue to warm the hears of people, the birthday person, Jesus Christ, will indeed be placed at the centre of some important events in the year 2000, many people will twothousandize.
4 - CAIA/SENA -- WHAT AN AWESOME PLACE
Dean Carlos, Fr Isaias, Miguel Nhamizinga who founded the congregations, Teofilo and Crisostomo came along for this important visit which started on Tuesday the 3rd of August. We drove from Beira to Sena, on a journey which lasted for 14 hours. We were received with jubilation and request for teaching/evangelism. After prayer and some teaching, while some of us slept, others sung for a long time during the night.
The following days were filled with visits to the following places after celebrating, baptizing, confirming and blessing weddings in Sena (the Church of the Epiphany):
Macualo - St Monica's;
Khalanato - the Church of the Good Samaritano
Bishop Sengulane is the President of Mozambique's Committee of Peace & Reconciliation. Turning swords into ploughshares is a top priority. He calls on churches to help young soldiers - some drafted when still children - become productive members of society.
From this dreaming emerged the programme of collecting weapons and exchanging them for farming and household tools. Grassroots support has been strong. The arms turned in have come from ordinary people. The government also supports this programme and has supplied military specialists to help out.
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