Welding skills light torch for gospel in Mozambique

Mozambique—A Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief team recently returned from a week in Quelimane, Mozambique, where they taught welding to national pastors and left each with a startup welding kit.

Their goal was for the pastors to learn a trade that would help them support their families while they plant and pastor churches there.

The trip was similar to another trip on which disaster relief volunteers had provided training and equipment for well digging. From that trip, several churches were planted and many came to know Christ. The welding team is hoping for similar results. During the week they were there, 12 professed faith in Christ.

“We’re excited about these kinds of trips because we think it multiplies our work and the impact for the gospel,” Coy Webb, state Disaster Relief director, said.

“It’s also exciting to see pastors being given a way to learn a skill that will not only open doors to the gospel, but also feed their families,” he added. “We feel like it’s a way for us to help do the Great Commission we’ve been given.”

Matt Stickel, a Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer from Ohio, said, “The main goal was not the physical part. Those business owners are pastors. They live in the country, and they work in their fields most of the time.

“They don’t have a lot of free time to go out and plant churches noted Stickel, who has been on 13 overseas mission trips in the last seven years with disaster relief teams.

“This is giving them a business where they can move in town where the higher population is and start a church, earn income for their family, and be able to serve in a church that can’t afford to pay.”

The team of three Kentucky Disaster Relief volunteers with welding experience teamed up with a volunteer from Arizona who taught the business aspect. At the end of the week, they had taught welding skills to 33 and an additional 27 had learned business aspect. The welders received a certificate.

Teaching course material that would generally take a semester in a classroom outside under a tree to students who spoke little to no English in one week was much different than his normal teaching experience, Bill Johnson, DR volunteer from Liberty Missionary Baptist Church in Canonsburg, said.

“Not knowing really what to expect and trying to teach through an interpreter, we thought there would be a disconnect, but it was just the opposite. We connected from the very beginning with all of the men who were in our class,” Johnson said.

“We were concerned with trying to teach someone to weld in a week. That’s just not how it’s done,” he continued. “God just made a way for everything to happen in such a fluent manner. They picked up on what we were trying to teach.”

“It was just an amazing week, the way we could share with them not only about welding, but while we were interacting with them, sharing our testimonies and hearing their testimonies. Just the interaction was phenomenal,” added Johnson, who was on his first overseas mission trip.

During the week, the team put what they were teaching to good use, repairing gates for Quelimane Baptist Church.

In a thank-you note to the team, Pastor Joao Antonio Sulude said, “(W)hen we look at the two gates, they are signs of your presence and by them you will always be remembered here at the Baptist Church in Quelimane. Your example will be remembered and followed.”

“I am praying that the machines that have now gone out will continue to bring fruit into our cities for years to come,” John Dinah, IMB missionary in Mozambique, said. “Thank you Kentucky Baptists for your part in winning souls to Jesus in Mozambique and your continued partnership.” (WR)