From Terror to Truth

How your generosity is sending help, hope, and healing to people in the midst of a terrible crisis

 

By Jennifer Wolf

A six-year-old Mozambican girl frantically wrapped her 3-month-old sister around her back. She could not fight the men who had just killed her mother, but she could run.

Grabbing her younger brother by the hand, she fled with her siblings into the bush.

Christian workers Henry and Patricia* were visiting homes in “Beach Town,” in northeastern Mozambique, to share the gospel. As they were speaking with an elderly couple in front of their house, they were surprised when people of all ages began to file out—nearly 20 of them. This is where they met the young girl and her siblings and heard their story. After hiding for a few days, the children had been found and were taken to their grandparents, who were now caring for them along with all the others.

This was one of the couple’s first encounters with Mozambique’s internally displaced people (IDPs). Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes since violent attacks by an extremist group began in 2017. Henry and Patricia had been serving in Beach Town for several years and had opened a community center where they taught English, computer classes, and various trades. They helped with food distribution as the people began arriving.

“[Because of the attacks] the roads were closed to the provincial capital so we used Ambassador Aviation** to bring in teams as well as supplies for food giveaways,” Henry said. “One weekend in particular, they did several trips back and forth to bring all the supplies needed for this.”

In early 2020, the attacks were getting closer to Beach Town and another threat appeared—COVID-19. Patricia and Henry had to shut down the community center.

“We needed to leave town for a couple days to re-stock in the provincial capital and prepare for lockdown,” Patricia said.

An Ambassador Aviation (AA) airplane landed in Beach Town and soon Henry, Patricia, and their children were flying to the city of Pemba.

“Two days later we got a call from friends saying our town was under attack,” Henry said.

A mother with several children, including a newborn, are flown to safety in Mozambique. Photo by Dave LePoidevin.

This Current Crisis

The violent attacks continued to escalate until, on March 24 of this year, several days of fighting in the town of Palma caused thousands more to flee—some on foot, to the jungle; others by boat, to a southern town or a nearby island. Some fled to the border of Tanzania but were turned away. Many were traumatized by what they experienced and were exhausted, hungry, sick, or injured.

According to reports, there are approximately 700,000 IDPs in the Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado due to the insurgency. Over 50,000 were displaced in this latest attack on Palma.

In late March, Ambassador Aviation began evacuating those fleeing the violence and delivering relief supplies. The AA team carried medicine to Ibo Island and delivered food and relief items for another partner, VAMOZ (Voluntários Anónimos de Moçambique) that is also coordinating distribution to those in need.

On April 24, Ambassador Aviation made three flights to Ibo Island to deliver 2400 lbs. of medicine. Photo by Dave Holmes.

Job’s flight

Job is a Mozambican man who’s been on the receiving end of one of those flights. After he came to know the Lord a few years ago, his family kicked him out, saying he was an embarrassment.

After last year’s attack in Beach Town, Job’s wife was due to deliver a baby.

“Ambassador Aviation helped us get him and his family to the provincial capital as well,” Henry said.

The baby came into the world safely and Job rented a house there. Just a few weeks later, his extended family’s village was attacked. They all sought refuge at Job’s home, where two of his siblings and a sister-in-law came to know the love of Christ.

Ambassador Aviation, in partnership with MAF in Mozambique.

From fear to hope

When Henry and Patricia received the call about their town being under attack, they also learned their home and community center had been ransacked and robbed. While saddened by the news and concerned for their friends, they were also in awe of the timing of their flight out of Beach Town.

“That flight represents God’s sovereignty over us,” Patricia said. “He knew what the future held and he aligned everything for us to get out in time. Our family is safe and able to continue ministry to refugees now!”

Ambassador Aviation will continue to work with our partners on the ground—VAMOZ, Henry and Patricia, and others—to bring relief to the growing number of displaced people who are suffering at this time.

MAF partners are a key part of this, praying and supporting the important work of serving these precious people, like the little girl and her siblings—and many others.

“The Mozambicans live in great fear,” Patricia added. “They never know what is rumor or truth. So, if they don’t have the peace of the Father to hold on to, they give in to that fear. This is a great time to share the hope we have!”

 

*Names changed for security reasons.

**AA uses MAF aircraft and staff to conduct their operations that align with MAF ministry priorities.

 

This story appeared in the summer 2021 edition of FlightWatch. Read the full issue here:

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