Church of the Nazarene Africa leaders recently visited several communities devastated by Tropical Cyclone Idai and found something they were not expecting: joy and trust.
The storm made landfall in March, bringing heavy rain and causing severe flooding in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Many churches in the storm’s path were destroyed, and more than 2,000 Nazarene church members’ homes were destroyed or damaged.
Regional Director Dany Gomis and other leaders began their visit in the Tica community.
“As we approached the area, I heard beautiful voices singing and dancing to the Lord,” Gomis said. “In their language, they sang, ‘Stand firm in Jesus.’ These people had experienced so much loss, yet the church they were standing in had already been rebuilt since the storm. I couldn’t believe the joy and hope that flowed through their voices.”
The group moved on to the Lamego, Gondola, Inchope, and Jasse communities.
“In each of these places, I saw people who were filled with hope and expectation,” Gomis said. “They welcomed us with open arms, happily sharing with us what little they had. Although the people in these communities had every reason to be angry or doubtful, they knew that God was with them through the storm.”
The leaders ended their trip at Ebenezer da Beira Church, a church turned relief center that distributed food, clothing, and supplies to those who had lost everything in Cyclone Idai.
“I met one man who … proudly pointed to his clothes, saying, ‘These were given to me by the church,’” Gomis said. “Each person I met was so thankful for the way that the church supported and stood by them in the midst of this disaster.”
As the visit ended, Gomis left thankful.
“The people there have given me a new sense of excitement for life,” he said. “In each place we visited, the people naturally and joyfully gave us gifts. In the midst of their tragedy, they never ceased to be generous and hospitable. The victims of Cyclone Idai have taught me to never take a day for granted and to trust that God is working in every moment.”
Thanks to donations from Nazarenes around the world, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries was able to open nine distribution centers and provide food and household items to over 1,800 families.
“I am proud of the way that the Church has come around these people and provided for them in their time of need, and I am thankful for a God that is present in every circumstance,” Gomis said.
For a video report, click here.