It feels good to be back in Carrollton! The McGukins and I had a wonderful trip to Mozambique, but there is no place like home. Since my return, the week was spent decompressing,
re-acclimating, and reflecting. Many of you followed along with our journey through our e-mail updates, however, I want to share with you some of the things we gleaned from our trip.
Our IMB missionaries are tasked with a six-step process: Entry, Evangelism, Discipleship, Health Church Formation, Leadership Development, and Exit. The goal of any mission endeavor is to engage the indigenous population with the gospel and empower them to develop and duplicate a contextualized church. I am so grateful for the humility that Chris and Katie Nalls demonstrate in approaching this process. They were masterful as they helped us navigate the way in which Tabernacle may engage with the local congregations to further God’s Kingdom.
The primary purpose of our vision trip was to experience first-hand the ministry opportunities available for Tabernacle to support in the Tete Province of Mozambique. After being there for nearly two weeks, I can tell you that there is plenty to do and, most exciting, the fields are ripe for the harvest. Our plan for 2019 is to send two small teams to Mozambique to provide support for the Nalls family and to collaborate in ministry with the churches of the Tete Baptist Association. The scope of these trips would vary depending on personnel, but we specifically identified that we can be supportive in three main areas of the missionary task: entry, evangelism, and leadership development.
There is an opportunity for us to send over subject matter experts who can open doorways to build relationships for “entry” into the community. This could be an educator, businessperson, or other professionals who, because of their expertise, may create an opportunity for dialogue regarding those various subjects with local Mozambicans. These exchanges could open the door for local Christians to connect on a surface level so those relationships can go deeper toward gospel conversations. For instance, our stateside partner in these endeavors, First Baptist Church in Tifton, is considering sending some agricultural experts from their congregation to observe the planting season next fall. We would have to work with our local partners to find out what may be a need that we can provide for this entry area. God may be calling you to engage this opportunity depending on that need.
One thing that every person can do is evangelize. During our trip, we travelled to two rural villages, a suburban community, as well as an urban setting. Each day, we met folks at their homes, shared a gospel presentation that Chris translated, and then asked if they wanted to make a confession of faith. To our amazement – most of them did! They immediately repented and we connected them to the local pastor for discipleship. I would be untruthful if I did not tell you that I was pleasantly surprised. People were so hungry for the good news of Christ, receptive to our conversation, and clear in their desire to change. Eighteen people professed Jesus as Lord! I am more confident than ever that it is not only possible for you to share the gospel, but it is necessary in order for you to experience the abundant Christian life.
The final opportunity that we have identified is in the field of leadership development. The local association provides some opportunities for theological education, but these are often limited due to time constraints, work conflicts, and geographic distance. We will be seeking to collaborate with local leadership to help develop and facilitate more opportunities in this area.
Of course, I am only scratching the surface about the opportunity that has been presented to us in Mozambique. In the near future, we plan to formally present our experience to the congregation in order to provide evolving information about this developing Mission Partnership. God has opened several doors for us. In my next two articles, I'm writing about our overall mission strategy. I hope you read and listen with an open mind and enthusiastic heart. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!
Expecting His Best,
Stephen V. Allen