Blessed Easter greetings, in the name of our risen savior!
Over the past two weeks, I and several others have been blessed to travel to Southern Africa, meet many of our colleagues, and visit some wonderful program sites where malaria work is being done in Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe. We also had the honor of meeting Mr. Domingos Mucavele, who runs the Lutheran Malaria Program in Mozambique. Through him, we got to know the great work that is being done in Mozambique. I wanted to share a Holy Week story with you, from our companions in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mozambique.
Pastor Antonio Artur has been serving Manica parish in Mozambique since January, and his first Holy Week was going to be a busy one. Manica parish is a multi-point congregation, and Pastor Antonio wanted to visit all of his flock during this holy time. Services were planned for Holy Thursday (in Chimoio), Good Friday, and Holy Saturday (in Macossa). Pastor Antonio would welcome many new church members through baptism. On Easter Sunday, Pastor Antonio was supposed to visit Nhamicungo, where the congregation was eagerly anticipating the first pastoral visit from their new pastor.
However, malaria created an obstacle to those Holy Week celebrations. On Palm Sunday, Pastor Antonio’s beloved granddaughter fell ill with malaria and was rushed to the hospital, where she was admitted and spent several nights being treated for malaria. Because of her precarious health, Pastor Antonio was unable to make his scheduled Holy Week journey and had to remain in Chimoio.
Malaria gets in the way. It disrupts lives and families, and in this case, entire congregations. As they celebrated Holy Week and Easter without their pastor, people of the Manica parish in Mozambique experienced the ripple effect of malaria.
Pastor Antonio’s granddaughter received excellent care in the hospital, and her malaria was treated; thanks be to God. On Easter Sunday, his family celebrated resurrection and new life, with a child who was made well again. Malaria continues to be a problem in Mozambique– and the Lutheran Malaria Program in Mozambique continues to educate, to control, to prevent, to save lives. Domingos Mucavele and Pastor Antonio work together, with many other volunteers in many other villages across Mozambique, to create the hope of new life– the hope of a future free from malaria.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mozambique (Igreja Evangelica Luterana em Mocambique) has a great Facebook page. Check them out here!