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MOZAMBIQUE: Into the Lion's Den

When a group of pastors met with Front-Line Workers in Pemba, Mozambique, their grief was palpable as they recalled the suffering they had experienced at the hands of Islamic insurgents.

A pastor from Mocimboa da Praia recalled how the Islamists had surrounded the city, trapping everyone inside, and then begun killing indiscriminately. Those who tried to flee by car were burned alive in their vehicles. “We felt like chickens going into a lion’s den,” the pastor said. “I saw mountains of dead bodies everywhere.”

One of the pastors was separated from his family during an Islamist attack, and he hasn’t seen his two children, ages 4 and 7, since; he doesn’t know if they survived the attack. When he returned to the village to look for his children, he saw many decapitated and dismembered bodies. His church building had been destroyed.

As each pastor told stories of suffering from his church and village, the other pastors at the table bowed their heads and began to pray. Then, one of the pastors began to sing. As the others joined in, their time of shared sorrow was transformed into a time of worship, reflecting the pastors’ hope in Christ. Amid their suffering, the pastors have seen God at work. “Because of all that’s happened,” one of the pastors said, “the people fled here to one place, where they can hear the Word of God. When we go back, we will see many, many, many new churches being planted. So many Muslims are saying, ‘We want to follow Jesus because only Christians have brought love.’”

Another pastor said, “The sharing of the Gospel just doesn’t have any difficulty now. When people do evil, it actually helps us remember we are different. God has called us to be different, and it is an opportunity to set ourselves apart.”

As they finished their time together, a Front-Line Worker asked the pastors one last question: “Do you think more people will go to heaven as a result of these attacks?” The pastors responded unanimously with a resounding “Yes!”

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