OUR STORY – Chapter F2




One day, as I opened a tap in the garden, the powerful jet of water through the hosepipe caused it to behave rather like an agitated snake, slithering all over, pointing this way and that until I could put my foot on it and pin it down. In the process everything in the area got wet, even my clothes and glasses, but once I had the nozzle firmly in my hand, I could direct the water to wash the mud off the car and then water the garden.

I thought this was a picture of a Christian organisation blessed by zeal for promoting the Kingdom of God but without visionary leadership; its thrust lacks direction, it wastes its resources and is ineffective. When our hearts are dedicated to God the blessed Holy Spirit will flow through us powerfully, but we need to direct our ministry according to His guidance. We do not only need His power but also His wisdom in everything we do.

That was why we were always training leaders at every level within the Mission. In so doing one sometimes has to stir the food in the pot and move people from their comfort zones. This is what happened to the Muiambo’s. Having finished his training, Nelson had to take over the Mission office for, apart from Carlos, he was the only one who had some knowledge of using a computer. He did very well and also obtained his driver’s licences, both for the Ford pickup and the motorbike. Come 2012, however, we had to move him and Tina from the “civilized” Chinhacanine, right out into the bush at Matitze and bring the Baloi’s to Chin for training. Baloi was delighted for being afforded the opportunity of receiving computer and driving school training free of charge. He was a mature Christian and would, in due course, be able to take over Carlos’s responsibilities if need be.

We were still receiving assistance from various supporters in South Africa for which we were so grateful for it alleviated the burden resting on Baloi’s shoulders. During February, Fanie and his secretary went down to Chin in his vintage Landy and painted the walls of the community room, Baloi’s house, the offices and some of the internal walls of the flat. They also put up a beautiful ceramic wall ornament hanging of a dove and cross made by Stephanie.

From our base at Philippolis, Martie and I were still continually monitoring the spiritual work that was being done. Every discipleship class teacher had to keep a record of classes held and the names and number of attendants. The following figures were submitted for Jan-Feb 2012:

Number of discipleship districts : 6

Number of classes held weekly : 32

Total number of students taught weekly :447

As said before, training comprised teaching the students the Word of God, assisting them to walk with God and training them to work for God.

At Tomanine, another 32 students received certificates for successfully completing their Old Testament discipleship training course. One of them was an old man of 70 plus years, called Ruben Ussico who testified as follows:

“I thank God for my salvation. I did not know anything about the God of the Bible. I only knew and served unknown gods. To honour them we used to tie the horns of cattle and other symbols to tree trunks with skins of goats and cats. We thought we were pleasing our ancestors. To these gods we gave our children, and our beer which they could not drink, so we drank it ourselves. I offered many offerings to these gods but I never had peace in my life.

However, now I thank God, though I’m in the old age, I got encouraged when we learned about Abraham who also became a child of God in his old age just like me. God told Abraham to leave his country, relatives and his father’s house and to go where He would direct him. I’m also in that process. I have not yet arrived in the heavenly land of promise; that is why I’m still studying. I was just a churchgoer, but I was not a born again Christian. Now I have taken that step and I have also stopped smoking and drinking beer. I thank my teacher Titus Chauque and the Rivoni teachings that brought light to my life.”

In the mission field, funds always seem to be in short supply. By the end of April we wanted to deploy the two couples that had completed their training, but to do so, we had to build two additional houses, one in each of the new districts. We challenged our supporters to assist us in this matter, pointing out that when Solomon built a temple in Jerusalem, such a wealth of contributions were received that the whole structure could be covered in gold. That building was later totally destroyed when the people of Israel were taken into exile. The temples we were building by means of the discipleship classes, were the lives of human beings and would stand for all eternity. Surely that was sufficient reason to invest even more generously in this cause.

Another two of our board members who paid a visit to Chinhacanine, Willem and Maureen Raubenheimer, wrote to me saying that they were so impressed by:

  • The spiritual depth, maturity and total commitment of both the leadership and staff.

  • Their organizational and management skills.

  • The unity within the team.

  • Their long term vision for Mozambique.

  • Their knowledge of the Word.

  • Their overflowing love for our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • The excellence of the work: “Our hearts were touched and we have great respect and expectation for the work of the Mission. We feel privileged to be part of this amazing work in the remote region of Chinhacanine”.

At Chicualacuala, some 537 kilometres from Maputo and right on the border with Zimbabwe, where we had posted Americo and Lucy Uthui, who had just completed their training, the first fruits were also now reaped in that 42 students having a clear testimony of salvation completed their course on the Old Testament on 24 April (2012). Even the Administrator of the district attended the “graduation” meeting. There at Chicuala, a man called Paul Chauke, aged 91, found the Lord and completed his course successfully – just in time to catch the train to Glory Land!

At Mapai, some hundred kilometres south of Chicualacuala where Adalberto and Juvencia Mathusse had been posted, 20 students now “graduated”. What was remarkable about this group, was that most of them were men, of whom many were elders and pastors of local churches.

Hoyo-Hoyo, 110 km from Chinhacanine where Martie and I had ministered some seven years before at which time I fell ill with malaria and had to rush back to South Africa, had in the meantime been visited once a week by one of our teachers from Matitse, travelling the 40 km either by bicycle or public transport. This class also now yielded its harvest, namely 12 students that had successfully completed their first-year course. Money and effort well invested! Praise the Lord!

The next step of faith was to be the erection of a house for Andre and Camellia Canhane, a couple that had recently completed their training. We did not have the funds for this project but the Lord told me to do as the priests did when the River Jordan had to be crossed. They took up the Ark and walked towards the river as if they were going to walk right across the water and when their feet touched the water, the river opened up before them. So what we did was to buy cement with the funds we had available and put Andre and Osvaldo to work by manufacturing cement bricks. Once they had completed this job, the Lord supplied the materials as well as a qualified builder to assist them to build the house and, before the end of the year, Andre and Camellia could move in.

At this time Carlos started to present our third year discipleship course for the first time. This comprised the letters of the New Testament from Romans through to Revelation. I was hoping to find suitable existing material for the lectures, but some of what was available was too superficial, and the rest went into too much detail, so I would have to compile suitable lectures myself. Although it drains one’s energy and takes up a lot of time, it is a tremendous spiritual blessing for it compels one to reflect deeply on the contents of the letters Paul wrote to the churches he had established, also giving a deeper insight into the complexities and weaknesses of human nature. Completing all those lectures within a period of twelve months, seemed to be an insurmountable mountain range before me.

Training news from further afield, was that new fields of service were continually opening up; invitations that we had to consider. Some two months earlier, a reporter from the Mozambican radio network recorded the proceedings and had interviews with a couple of students at one of our “graduation” ceremonies held at Chicualacuala, which he subsequently broadcast. A community leader, Arone Chauque from a town called Matuba, tuned in and later on commented as follows:

I was not interested in tuning in to this program, thinking that it was just so much political propaganda, but listening to the recordings made at Rivoni’s two big ‘graduations’ at Mapai and Chicualacuala, I was convinced that this ministry was from God, and I therefore encouraged the whole community to come and study the Word of God here. I will also join the class if time allows me. We as Government authorities can only be convinced if what you teach is what you do, then if it’s like that, we will depend on (trust) you”.

A certain couple, Ezequiel and Felicidade Zunguene, was trained by us for two years, completing courses on the Old Testament, the Gospels and the Book of Acts. We then appointed Ezequiel as a part-time teacher of our discipleship courses.

While being thus engaged, he felt the Lord calling him into full-time ministry. They were members of a well known reformed, evangelical denomination that had its own theological seminary and was quite strict on doctrine. Ezequiel decided to enquire what he was to do and travelled all the way to their seminary.

On hearing his testimony, the principal of the institution submitted him to some tests and found that his knowledge of the Word, as well as his application of Biblical truths, were sufficient for him to be allowed into the ministry and ordained him as minister. He then returned to his congregation where the board of elders appointed him as their pastor. This congregation was close to our headquarters at Chinhacanine and Ezequiel was now, in addition to his pastoral work, running a discipleship course for a group of 13 of his leaders under our supervision. In this way the Lord was enabling us not only to be a blessing to individuals, but also to strengthen the local churches.

A question we often have to answer is whether people that have such strong roots in ancestral worship, do actually make a clean break when they accept the Lord Jesus as their Saviour. The answer is: “Yes they do, for the Truth, when heard and believed, sets you free.” Let me, as an example, refer to Fenias Zunguene, pastor of a local church and teacher of one of the discipleship classes, but before doing so, let me explain certain of the ancestral worship practices.

When covering up a grave, cuttings of plants are to be stuck into the ground and water poured over it all while everybody is looking on. This is done to honour the ancestral spirits, thereby supposedly ensuring sufficient rain for their crops. After the funeral, either the witchdoctor, or a Zionist prophet is to be consulted as to the desires of the spirit of the deceased person. In addition to the instructions received, the spouse of the deceased is to be dressed in black for a period of one year, as a sign of being spiritually and physically unclean. At the end of that period, the person is to be washed in the blood of an animal. In the case of a woman, she also has to sleep with a man for three nights to be cleansed.

When Fenias’s wife died, the whole community buzzed in expectation of what he was going to do, because both he and his wife had not only been students, but also teachers in our classes. He was under tremendous pressure from the numerous relatives but during the following days of mourning, he stood up and, to the consternation of the unbelievers and relief and joy of the Christians, boldly declared that he would follow none of those heathen practices, for he had received the Truth that had set him free. In so doing, he displayed the same undaunted spirit as Elijah on Mount Carmel and Gideon when he chopped down the “sacred” tree of baal.

By the end of June (2012), our student numbers had risen to 503.

By the end of August the house at Ndindiza was completed. (Ndindiza is some 140 km east of Chinhacanine.)

No matter how fast we endeavoured to expand, the need for more classes and teachers was continually confronting us. Our district superintendent Americo wrote from Chicualacuala (on the border with Zimbabwe): “The challenge which I am facing is that I receive invitations from very distant places, to where there is no means of transport. Recently we opened a new class at Hoxaribye, a distance of more than 60km south-east of Chicualacuala. My former student, Anana Chichongwe is taking it.”

Adalberto Matusse, stationed at Mapai, bordering on the Limpopo National Park, wrote: “People are continually begging us to teach them like those at Cumbane and Madulu. These places are far away to reach, 30 to 40 km away from Mapai town.”

In Mozambique, distances like 30 to 40 km do pose a challenge, for to reach such villages, one has to travel through deep sand by bicycle. When it rains, one often has to shoulder one’s bicycle and make a long detour by foot to bypass a marsh or find a place to cross a river. Our three co-workers at Matitse, for instance, when travelling to some outposts like Ngatsha, have to cross the Limpopo when in flood by rowing boat, then cycle the 50km on the other side of the river to reach their destination. Having presented the class, counselled the members and sometimes also their relatives, they sleep over for the night then return home the next day and, on arrival, take another class.

Adalberto, also wrote: “The work is progressing and growing day by day, and we are now having a total number of 4 classes, 3 of which I am taking and one conducted by Amos Chauke, one of my former students. The most thrilling thing is to see the determination of the church leaders we are teaching, becoming good role models to their churches.”

Nelson Muiambo reported from Mabalane: “There is good progress at Mabalane. People are continually inviting us to teach them, especially those across the Limpopo. We had 4 Old Testament classes and now we have 6 of them, plus 3 second year classes on the four Gospels and the book of Acts, which gives us a total number of 9 classes, and we are very proud of this progress.”

Titus Chauke stationed at Tomanine reported: ”I’m very happy and satisfied with my second year GA class at Chivonguene. All 20 students are consistent and persistent, and now they are persuading me to open an Old Testament class there at Chivonguene which is a long way from here and I may have to appoint an assistant to take it.”

Gloria Simango of Manjange (our only female, but effervescent, superintendent) said: “I’m very proud of my class at Nkumba. I started with 18 female students, but now there are more than 24, and 6 of them are males. This is the very first time for me to have 6 male students in my class. Up till now I only graduated one male student at Manjange. These men are very inspirational to the female students. Glory to God.”

Assuredly, our work was not in vain, we were not beating the air, we were not running aimlessly but were effective in the ministry that God had assigned to us.

Examn time for some second year course students.

At Philippolis things were also moving. Our first discipleship class was planted on 11 August 2011, germinated slowly, grew gradually, blossomed eventually and, after a year’s faithful tending, watering and pruning, yielded some fruit. God’s promise contained in Isaiah 55:11, is true to this day: “ ..so shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” The students’ Bible knowledge was tested by means of written and oral exams and their lives observed over a period of time. The leaves of camouflage had been parted and the fruit of the Spirit scrutinised and now we could rejoice to see a few healthy fruits in the basket.

In this regard, one of our students testified as follows: “Some time ago, we belonged to a congregation of a well known denomination. The local pastor, however, did not minister under the grace of God. He applied the Law without mercy. If someone had even slightly deviated from God’s way, he would say to him ‘Get out; put your jacket over your shoulder and get out of here.’ He was no blessing to us. We often returned home from church more upset than on going there. This caused us to join a congregation at a neighbouring town. When it was founded, the leaders were really on fire for God. Later on however, the pastor said he had had a dream that he was to buy and wear a certain cloak. He did so and nowadays he pours water on it and has the members pass through underneath to receive an anointing. We seldom go there and they seldom come over here. Locally three elders from another congregation once came to pray for us after their Sunday morning service. As they entered our home, I could smell that they had been drinking. After praying for us, two of them left and one remained behind. I said to him: ‘Where have you been after your church service, before you came to us? Are you not ashamed before God, drinking and praying together?’ He replied:’Two of my children have died because of AIDS. One of your children also died for the same reason. Are you still following God?’ I replied “Nów you are giving me courage; nów you are setting my heart on fire. I will serve the Lord even more earnestly. I will serve him with all my heart till the very last moment of my life.’ This is how things are with us on the spiritual level and that is why we appreciate these discipleship classes so much. The very first night while listening to the Word that was brought to us, I smiled and said: ‘This is now the old, old Gospel we heard as young people.’ We have been blessed so much. Some evenings, on going there, we felt spiritually low and tired, but right away our hearts were revived. And so here I am now, me and my wife, ready to take a class next year as the Lord enables us.”

Another student, a woman in her fifties, expressed her gratitude for the discipleship classes, saying: “On listening to the lectures, it was as if I heard the Word of God for the first time. Recently I related at our Sunday morning service the whole story of Joseph and the lessons we learned from it. The people were so blessed.” She hardly missed a class during all of the 12 months of training, achieved 89 % in her Bible knowledge exam and was also ready and eager to take a class of her own the following year, while, at the same time, attending our second-year course.

On Christmas Eve (2012) we made a huge “Jesus Reigns” banner, affixed a couple of balloons to a pickup and took to the streets, accompanied by a number of our discipleship course students as well as our two grandchildren who were visiting us. We did this in the late afternoon. By that time most of the people were at home, sitting around in small groups, listening to music or playing games. We sang joyous songs proclaiming the birth of our Lord. What touched my heart was that the people roaming in the streets or sitting around their homes, seemed to be like sheep without a shepherd, like children in want of bread. The memory of those enquiring faces is still haunting me.

The first fruits of a crop are always very special and this is what we reaped at Philippolis when our first group of students received well earned certificates for successfully completing their discipleship course on the Old Testament after a year’s faithful attendance and hard study. The following is one of the testimonies brought that night:

Whenever I attended a funeral and looked on as the coffin was lowered into the grave, fear gripped my heart because I knew the day would come when I too would have to travel that road and what would happen to me afterwards?”

In the course of the year, at our discipleship course, we repeatedly explained the way of salvation and once told how Noah and the animals only had to step into the ark to be saved. The student who had this fear of death was one of those that responded by entrusting herself to the Lord Jesus Christ and afterwards testified:

Now my fear of death is replaced by joy. I have become enthralled by the Word and read chapters ahead of what we are dealing with in class. At our church meetings and also when attending funerals, I now always have something fresh from Scripture to share with others. This has been a great year of my life.”

In Mozambique too, the year closed on a joyous note as, apart from those that took exams earlier in the year, 168 students passed their exams during November. Of these, 122 had done the course on the Old Testament and 46 on the Gospels and the Book of Acts. They had now become real disciples of our Lord, understanding His heart and mind, able to testify to his sanctifying and sustaining grace in their lives and some of them able to conduct discipleship classes of their own.

Our 9 full-time and 14 part-time teachers/trainers had worked very hard and we commended them for their devotion and the effort they put in to achieve these results.

How grateful we would have been if our Mission’s income could have increased to a point where we would have been able to have raised their monthly allowances, for they found it hard to make ends meet.


Our year-end function was also attended by two of our board members, namely, Francois du Plessis and Willem Raubenheimer. Willem was accompanied by a friend who was interested in the Mission’s activities.

The function also had a sad side to it in that we had to bid br. Carlos Mauelele farewell. He would be taking up the responsibilities of moderator for his church denomination. He had been serving the Mission for many years and rendered valuable services as vice-director since April 2011 when Martie and I relocated to South Africa. We entrusted him to the Lord, praying that the Lord would bless him in his new ministry and enable him to lead his church to greater heights.

During December (2012) we were so privileged to have two of our grand children, Francois (17) and Monique (18) with us for 14 days during the holidays. (The previous year we had them with us for four weeks visiting one holiday resort after another.) This time my brother and his wife put their home at Oudtshoorn at our disposal for 7 days from where we travelled to Heroldsbaai, Hartenbos and Mosselbaai on 5 different days. What a wonderful time we had: swimming, playing darts, putt-putt and other ball games and one day “Oupie” (Grand father) cycled 85 kilometres on a dirt road with Francois, chatting and fellowshipping all the way.

What blessed us most of all, were the times that we worshipped the Lord in song while travelling to and from the coast and the Bible studies on the life of Joseph who, when he was abducted as a teenager and facing tremendous challenges, overcame them all by God’s power, and rose to the throne of Egypt at the age of 30. We were touched by their eagerness to receive teaching, teaching they could take home and apply to their lives. (At their age I was so rebellious and did so many things that I am ashamed of today.) Francois was asking one sensible question after the other and Monique testified to how they were singing the Gospel songs in their minds while playing on the beach.

Francois would be matriculating the next year and Monique had enrolled in the University at Potchefstroom to be trained as teacher, for she had the desire to develop the lives of children.

At our age, it was, apart from the ministry in which we stood, so important to us to see our children and grandchildren devoting their lives entirely to the Lord and we were indeed fortunate to see this happening. Shortly afterwards our other two grandchildren, Iwan and Janko (aged 9 and 7 respectively) were baptized to express their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. What a privilege for grandparents to be able to instruct their children in God’s ways, pray for them and then stand back and see the work the Holy Spirit does in their lives!



Have you enjoyed reading this page, or do you disagree with what was said or do you have questions? Please share with us whatever is on your mind by using the “REPLY” window provided below.