The province itself is about the size of England and has never had a Bible school before, partially due to the fact that the largest tribe living there, the Yawo, are almost exclusively Muslim. However, a small revival has occurred over the last few years amongst the Yawo and the first generation of churches has been planted.
The churches need much prayer and the guidance of the Spirit to equip them to share the good news in their local context. These new believers also need pastors, who can support them with sound biblical knowledge and lead them into a deeper understanding of Christ.
This is where the Instituto Teológico de Lichinga comes into play. The Bible school's primary aim will be to support the needs of the new churches so that they are empowered to reach the rest of the province for Christ. Those leading the Bible school would love to create a culture of discipleship and to meet people where they are at. They will consciously take the local culture into account so that God’s word is taught in a manner the people understand.
As well as being mainly Muslim, the province of Niassa, Mozambique, is a traditional culture steeped in animism and ancestor worship. People spend what little money they have on potions from traditional healers, asking for deliverance from evil ancestral spirits tormenting the family. They are often imprisoned by fear.
One traditional healer sought to justify his work saying “When God created the world the Holy Spirit was hovering above the earth. This spirit was the first ancestor spirit created by God, so it is only good and pleasing to God that we worship our ancestors.” But the Bible is clear: “the truth will set you free.”
INTEL will teach the good news of the kingdom to people bound by fear, so that local churches will be strengthened and the province reached for Christ.
Our students come to us with very little education, at best, five to seven years of primary education. They can read and write, but have never learnt how to learn. We are working hard on a curriculum which will use appropriate teaching methods to facilitate their learning and help them understand. Pray for wisdom in this.
Pray for guidance in the choice of topics to be taught as we think through what a pastor needs to know, who will mainly serve in an oral animistic or Muslim culture amongst farmers with little or no education.
Pray for the development of relationships among pastors and churches in Niassa.
Pray for a successful opening of the school in February 2019 and for a good number of students for the first year.