I am one of Lansdowne Church’s mission associates, living and working in Beira, Mozambique. Within the country of Mozambique, BMS is working in four different ministries: church, education, development and justice. I personally work in the justice ministry, alongside the Mozambican Association of Christian Lawyers, AMAC for short. AMAC has Beira (central), Maputo (South) and has recently opened an office in Nampula (North).
AMAC seeks to promote access to justice for the needy, vulnerable and marginalised people of Mozambican society, particularly children, women, prisoners and deprived persons, sharing with them the love and compassion of Christ. Our key verse is Isaiah 1:17: “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow”.
We do this in three main ways:
- Legal aid. We provide free services of legal advice and legal representation for those who need the services of a lawyer but lack the funds to pay for one. We take cases on a range of issues, from family to criminal to employment. Most of our clients come into the office to see us, but we have also been doing mobile justice clinics in busy markets to reach people there. Naturally these have stopped for a while in the current situation (although we are still seeing clients in the office), but we hope to resume them once restrictions have lifted.
- Legal educations. We do trainings in churches, communities and schools to educate people about their rights under the law as many people in Mozambique don’t know their rights. We have also trained pastors and community leaders who are often involved in informal conflict resolution here, so they can make decisions in accordance with the law. Again, our face to face legal educations are not continuing in the current situation although we do have a weekly slot on a community radio station so are continuing to reach people through that.
- We support Christian lawyers, legal professionals and law students in serving Christ in the profession. The aim of this side of our work is to build up Christian lawyers in their own faith, and show them a Biblical model of justice, so that they can be lights for Christ and work with integrity among their own colleagues.
I am also an active member of a local Baptist church here in Beira. I take part in and sometimes lead activities with the women’s group – mainly Bible studies and visits in the community. I also sometimes lead the Sunday services and the Bible studies every week just before the service. Church services have for the moment been cancelled; at this time, I am keeping in touch with the ladies from church by phone.
I was planning to come back for home assignment this summer, which has been cancelled. I do hope to be able to come back and see you later in the year. In the meantime, though, I have enjoyed “seeing” many of you and being part of various online meetings with Lansdowne.