Supporting Mozambique This Christmas // M.Note 12.11.2020

Gathering,

Recently, I had the opportunity to Zoom with Ezekiel Nhantumbo, my long-time friend and the coordinator for the Mozambique Initiative. He lives in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, but has traveled extensively all over the country and knows each village where we have funded wells for clean water. Few know the country like he does, and he gets to see all the celebrations and hardships of the people in Mozambique. Like everywhere, 2020 has been a year for his country. In this year alone, Mozambique has experienced violence in the north part of the country from ISIS-inspired insurgents, cyclone destruction in the middle part of the country, and resurgent political unrest. COVID tears through all regions both rural and urban while refugee camps are swelling as people flee their villages for safer ground. All of this happening in a country that already ranks as one of the poorest in sub-saharan Africa, meaning resources to deal with these challenges aren’t readily available. And in the midst of all of this, one of the greatest needs is safe, accessible, and clean water.
 
Ezekiel shared with me the ways in which The Gathering’s safe water projects are providing a literal life-line in the midst of a devastating year. We have funded reservoir tanks and wells in camps that are receiving refugees, in villages that have suffered from violence, and in rural regions that are unable to access the small amount of support that exists in the country. Clean water allows villages to protect themselves against diseases like COVID. Hygiene programs, hand-washing, and nutrition all depend on access to clean water. As villages rebuild after cyclones, one of the first things a village has to reestablish is a source for water. As Ezekiel told me, the work of The Gathering is more important this year than ever before. The need is great, and the impact that a well can make is critical to the lives of thousands of people.
 
That is why we are once again using 100% of our Christmas Eve offering to fund wells for clean water in Mozambique. This has now become a decade-old tradition at The Gathering. I am asking all of you to consider how we celebrate Christmas – and how we might change those celebrations to honor Christ more fully, and impact people in the way that he would want. Maybe this is a year we can spend less on gifts for family and friends, gifts that often do not make much of a difference (and certainly don’t change their life). We can give simpler gifts and focus on deepening our relationships with the people we love. We can then use some of the money and give a gift that truly matters, one that can change and save lives among the people of Mozambique. As Christmas Eve approaches, let’s once again allow God to use our celebration of Christmas as a way to provide healing and hope to our brothers and sisters in Mozambique.
 
This year, Christmas Eve will be online. I will miss seeing each of you, meeting your family, and singing Silent Night together. But, I am also more excited about this Christmas Eve worship than perhaps ever before. It will be an extraordinarily powerful time of worship for people of all ages. So, I hope you make plans to watch it and invite your friends and family to do so, as well. Even if you cannot be in the same house, make a plan to watch it together at the same time. All the details for Christmas Eve worship are at https://gatheringnow.org/christmas-eve.
 
This weekend in worship, I will be preaching about Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, and our need to offer more grace to some of the people in our lives. If you find yourself with less patience for people around you or are more critical of those you interact with – this message is for you. I will also show a short part of my interview with Ezekiel. The full interview is fascinating and inspiring (I’ll release the full interview next week). To check it out, follow my public page on Facebook or subscribe to The Gathering sermon podcast.
 
Have a great weekend, and I will see you Sunday live online at 8, 9, 10, or 11am and anytime after that OnDemand.
 
Peace,
 
Matt
 
P.S. I want to say thank you to those of you that give every week at The Gathering and who have made a commitment to give this next year. Your regular giving, especially as the end of the year approaches, is what allows us to give away our Christmas Eve offering. You can make a regular end of year gift or weekly offering here. If you didn’t fill out a card to commit to giving this next year, please do. It helps us plan our future ministry. You can fill out the card here.

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