|Missouri Methodists surpass Mozambique goal|
Working with Habitat for Humanity Mozambique, United
Methodists from Missouri build a house July 16 in Massaca near the
capital city of Maputo.
UMNS photos by the Rev. Mark Dumas.
A UMNS Report
By Jennifer Lind*
Aug. 22, 2008
United Methodists in Missouri built 16 houses in Africa during eight
days in July to surpass their goal of building 75 houses in three years
through Habitat for Humanity Mozambique.
When all the dust had settled, the church's Missouri Annual (regional)
Conference and its Volunteers in Mission program had completed 82 houses
in the southeastern Africa nation since 2006.
An eight-member team from First United Methodist Church in Jefferson
City and Kingsway United Methodist Church in Springfield dedicated the
final houses July 24 in the community of Massaca, a former refugee camp
near the capital city of Maputo.
A team member mixes cement
for the foundation.
"It was a lofty goal, but when we saw how quickly houses went up last
year, we said, 'Of course we can do this,'" said the Rev. Mark Dumas,
pastor at the Jefferson City church.
The houses were built on circular concrete slabs using thatch and reed and other building materials native to the area.
Many occupying the new homes are some of the nation's most vulnerable
people—widows, orphans and single mothers and grandmothers caring for
children left behind by HIV/AIDS.
"When we were presented with the needs of orphans who live in a world
that doesn't make it easy for them, our hearts went out to them," said
Approximately 17 percent of Mozambique's population is living with
HIV/AIDS, which has left behind 1.5 million orphans, or 8 percent of the
"HIV—that's the biggest problem in Mozambique right now," said Andrew
Lind, manager of HFH Mozambique’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children
program. He lauded the churches' efforts for "creating a relationship
Missouri United Methodists have strong ties with churches and people in Mozambique.
"There are more than 900 United Methodist churches in Missouri, many who
are partnered with United Methodist churches in Mozambique for a number
of ministries, so building Habitat for Humanity homes together was a
natural match," Dumas said. "The Catholic Church is also building homes,
and a local group of businesses are digging latrines and installing
outhouses for improved water conditions."
Each home is built with reed and thatch
and other materials native to the area.
Formed in 2000, Habitat for Humanity Mozambique has worked with poor
communities, local volunteers and international teams to build hundreds
of houses in Maputo Province and the provinces of Manica and Gaza.
Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, thanked
United Methodists in Missouri for their compassion and commitment.
"This has been a remarkable example of how churches around the world,
which have already built relationships together, can partner with
Habitat for Humanity to make a huge difference in communities where the
need is so great," Reckford said.
On the Web: www.habitat.org.
*Lind is an intern at United Methodist Communications and a senior
religious studies major at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
News media contact: Marta Aldrich, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Habitat for Humanity Mozambique
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United Methodist Volunteers in Mission