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Westerholm/Mozambique Update

Northwest Church supports Chad and Amy Westerholm in their ministry of church planting among the Makua-Metto people of Mozambique. Conflict to the north of them is causing large numbers of people to flee the fighting and seek refuge in the safer communities where the Westerholms and their mission team have been planting and discipling churches. NWChurch was able to provide a gift to help with food distribution. The Mission's Team set aside $500 and was matched from our Benevolence Team for a total of $1,000 to help with food for their needs. 

Amy Westerholm sent this report on how they and the churches they serve are welcoming the refugees and ministering to their needs—including with support from the Northwest Church:
“We have been in prayer and continue to ask the Lord for wisdom on how He wants us to reach out to refugees and how to empower and inspire the churches to reach out.  

Learning the Refugees’ Culture and History: 
So far we invited two missionaries and two Christians from their churches who were displaced from the North who work with the people group most impacted by the insurgency/are members of the people group most impacted by the insurgency, the Mwani. They came and did a day-long seminar for about 40 leaders from churches in Montepuez and surrounding villages where large numbers of refugees are resettling.  

They discussed the history of the Mwani and how as a people group they have been very closed and resistant to the gospel but now they are hurting and in need and are coming to us and it’s such an opportunity for God’s kingdom.  They shared about sharing the gospel with them and about special concerns as they are strong adherents of another major religion. It was very inspiring! The most touching part was hearing all of the attendees splitting up in small groups and praying for the refugees for God to move and to use us to reach these people.
 
Assessing Needs and Building Relationships: 
Following that we hosted a seminar about how to do a needs assessment for refugees. This was also very well attended.  We are encouraging churches to pray and ask God to show them several refugee families in their community that they can reach out to, invest in and walk beside and support.  Our hope is eventually as God establishes these relationships, we can find out more about needs and support these families through the relationships with church members.
 
Future Food Distribution: 
We will also be doing a more general distribution of food when the hunger time grows more severe in areas where there is the greatest need.  At this point there is an estimated 500,000 people who have been displaced, so many in need and the hunger time is coming.
 
Trauma Counseling: 
We are also hosting a week long seminar in December teaching a couple of members from each of the churches who have been participating in refugee outreach how to do trauma counseling.  In Pemba some of our missionary friends there who are farther along in conducting needs assessments have found that just sharing about the traumatic things that they have been through is one of the greatest needs for the refugees.  So, this training will equip people in the churches to listen and respond well and assist other church members in also learning to interact with the refugees and support them in their healing process.
 
We will continue to send more information on details of the distributions, seminars, etc.  It has been slow going so far but we really felt strongly that we want to equip the church to connect with the refugees in their communities, form relationships, meet their needs and share Christ and then give resources needed through the church. I think God is definitely casting a vision for how His love can be shared during this time and opening all of our hearts toward these hurting and displaced people. “


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