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A first-timer in Mozambique

Sunday School children in Mozambique

Sunday School children in Mozambique

When my father (Trevor Radbourne) asked me whether I'd like to accompany him on his visit to Mozambique this summer, I agreed immediately and then headed quietly to the atlas to find out where in Africa Mozambique actually was! This was my first time to Malawi or Mozambique, but the struggle the passport officer had in finding space in both David Rennison and my father's passports reassured me that I was accompanying a couple of well-seasoned travellers.

Speaking French in Lichinga

In Lichinga, our brothers Adamson and Bernard came with us as translators for David and Dad: Adamson to translate from English into Chichewa and Bernard to translate from Chichewa into Portuguese. However some confusion had meant that there was no one who would be able to translate for me when I was teaching the children. A moment of discouragement quickly subsided as I found that the families at both Lichinga and Nampula were all refugees from the Congo and spoke French. The most remarkable thing was that without prior knowledge of this, I'd actually packed a French Bible and dictionary with me just in case. Truly the Lord was working with us to make our trip a success.

Niassa Bible School

The last part of our trip was taken up with a Bible School in the Niassa province of Mozambique. This was truly a wonderful experience: we were made so welcome, and the brothers and sisters really looked after us. Living in a rural area, they are suffering with the food shortages from the drought, but there were no disgruntled looks, just warm smiles and endless handshakes. They would sit for hours on the floor, hardly moving, listening intently as David and Dad gave studies.

Brother Adamson was amazing and, after translating all morning, he missed most of his lunch-break to help me with a Bible story for the children. Then he returned inside to translate whilst I led the afternoon activities. The children particularly enjoyed the last sports afternoon, including a three-legged race using bandages from David's first aid box!

There were a number of moments when the culture difference stood out. When my father was trying to stress the importance of doing the daily Bible readings, he asked, "What makes the Bible different from other books?" expecting the answer to be that it is God's Word. But no, the answer came back, "Because it is the only book written on white paper!"

My trip to Mozambique was one of the most exhausting, but definitely the most rewarding and humbling experiences of my life. We have been blessed with a wonderful family, separated in so many countries of world, yet brought together by our one love and the one hope we share.

Debbie Radbourne
from the Bible Missionary, no. 167, January 2003

Information about Mozambique