Adventists’ Aid Welcomed by
Fighting malaria, illiteracy, are among goals
n a November meeting with Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders and supporting ministry directors, Mozambique's president said he favors a partnership between the church's organizations and his country's government to fight poverty and strengthen the moral fabric of society.
Church leaders and country directors for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Maranatha Volunteers International -- both non-profit humanitarian organizations run by Adventists -- outlined the church's major projects in Mozambique for President Armando Guebuza during the November 14 meeting. Efforts include building churches, schools, literacy centers and providing communities with clean well water. (See Adventist Review, November 27, 2008, page 8.)
Mozambique's more than 500,000 Adventists are committed to active involvement in their communities, Gilberto Araujo, vice president of the Adventist Church in the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region, told Mr. Guebuza.
PRESIDENTIAL WELCOME: Armando Guebuza (right), president of Mozambique, with Gilberto Araujo (center), vice president for the Adventist Church's Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region. In a meeting last week, the leaders agreed to strengthen a partnership meant to improve the country's communities by providing churches, schools, literacy centers and wells. [photo: courtesy Maranatha Volunteers International]
Mr. Guebuza called for nationwide cooperation in the effort. "As you are building, digging wells and offering education, the people [of Mozambique] must also participate," he said.
The president also called on Adventists to continue teaching values and encouraging a more moral society.
A request to the president to waive customs duties for items shipped to Mozambique for Maranatha projects is still being considered, said Kyle Fiess, Maranatha's vice president for marketing and projects.
David Woods, Maranatha country director in Mozambique, explained that the organization's building projects hinge on community support -- Maranatha staff typically ask the local community to provide land for community centers and help with the building process.
Maranatha is currently building 1,001 community centers throughout Mozambique. While Adventist congregations will use the buildings for worship on Saturday, they will function as literacy centers, schools and medical clinics throughout the week.
A Mozambique government program to teach adult literacy classes is using 22 Maranatha-built centers. More than 430 adults participated in a graduation ceremony in October. Sponsors plan to expand the program to 100 community centers next year.
Several large schools are also part of the community improvement plan, which will help provide education opportunities for Mozambique's children.
ADRA has already invested US$15 million in the country, an effort that has helped more than 350,000 people. Over the past two years, Adventists have joined other religious, government and non-governmental groups in a coalition coordinated by ADRA to combat the spread of malaria.
-- Reported by Maranatha Volunteers International and Adventist News Network