Pastors’ Seminars in Mozambique & Mauritius
By Dr. Frank R. Parrish
This July 2015, the World MAP ministry team conducted seminars in Mozambique and Mauritius. Having never been to these countries, I was surprised at how familiar they seemed.
Of course, the languages, food, customs, weather, dress, traffic patterns, the “feel” of the cities and country, etc., were quite different from other places I have been – sometimes radically so.
So what made them familiar? I realized it was the warmth, the love, the open-hearted and enthusiastic embrace of church leaders as they received us into their fellowship. One cannot escape the overwhelming connection of family when spending time with other believers; and a sense of belonging to each other in a profound way that goes far beyond names, language or culture.
Sharing the eternal Word of God and the presence of His Spirit makes the bond even stronger. Then, when bringing greetings from their fellow pastors in other countries and reminding them that are a part of God’s global Kingdom family, the pastors’ hallelujahs and cheers cause my heart to swell even more!
Truly, all Christ-followers “of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” have been made one by the eternal work of The One (John 17:20-23; 2Cor 12:12,13; Gal 3:28; Eph 4:1-6; et al).
We arrived in South Africa with longtime World MAP friends, Paul and Sharon Adams, whose connections and generous invitation opened the doors in Mozambique and Mauritius. Also on the ministry team were Pastors Stanley and Sandra Moodley of South Africa.
To get to the seminar in Mozambique, our team of seven people (and luggage) loaded into a small van. After rising at 3:00 a.m. and praying together, we embarked on what should have been a fairly easy 8-hour drive. However, the trip ended up being 17 hours of bouncing along rutted terrain while enjoying very close fellowship!
All travel weariness quickly faded, however, as we saw the eager faces and received the warm welcomes from more than 300 pastors who had come together for this event.
The pastors spoke Portuguese, so we quickly learned to say “Gloria a Deus!” (Glory to God). It was awesome to worship with them in three languages – Portuguese, English and their tribal language. And one thing proved true: No matter the language, when God’s people worship Him in spirit and truth, they experience the power and presence of His Spirit. And we certainly did!
HE IS WITH US
The pastors in Mozambique were hungry for God and His Word, and the ministry team brought strong and effective teachings. I taught on authentic discipleship, a foundational study enthusiastically embraced by pastors that also confirmed God’s strategy in these days for both conducting ministry and fulfilling the Great Commission.
Spending three days with pastors in worship, teaching, fellowship and communion is life changing. I wish you could hear them express how much it means to them that we SEE them, we love them, we believe in them, and that we come to teach and encourage them. Then giving them their very own Portuguese Shepherd’s Staff, with many years’ worth of ministry helps, makes this an unforgettable moment for each one.
ON TO MAURITIUS
After driving back to South Africa, our team flew 700 miles east of Madagascar to the island of Mauritius. With a population of only 1.3 million, the independent Pentecostal churches are having a tremendous impact. Just a few years ago, they were being persecuted by an unfriendly Hindu-dominated government. But the pastors and leaders of these churches would be the first to proclaim that nothing can stop the Gospel of Jesus Christ!