Sunday, November 10, 2013

Escalating Violence in Mozambique

Dear Friends and Family,

Some of you have asked us for an update on the escalating violence here in Mozambique, specifically where we live in the Sofala Province of Central Mozambique (On the map we live about 30 miles from the city of Beira).  We feel very secure in the knowledge that we are exactly where the Lord wants us.  The following is from (websites listed below).

Antonio Castigo watched four men armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles grab a woman by the hair and bundle her into a car after she dropped her kids off at the Portuguese school in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo.

The abduction was one of at least 15 kidnappings for ransom last month that has combined with worsening violence between the army and a militia loyal to the opposition Mozambique National Resistance party, or Renamo, to shake the southeast African nation.

“People are very afraid; many are taking their families out of the country,” she said. “People are scared of contacting the police, because the police are involved.”

The growing sense of lawlessness caused by one-off kidnappings in cities and armed clashes between the army and Renamo in the countryside marks a sharp turnaround for Mozambique.

The worsening violence between Renamo and the army prompted Rio Tinto Plc last month to advise dependents of foreign staff to temporarily leave the country.

The Canadian government late yesterday advised against non-essential travel in the provinces of Nampula and Sofala, the scenes of recent clashes between Renamo and the army, and called for a “high degree of caution due to violent crime, including a recent significant increase in cases of kidnappings.”

The Mozambique National Resistance Army, the opposition group known as Renamo, accused the government of planning to kill its leader, Afonso Dhlakama.

The government on Oct. 21 attacked the main base of Renamo in the central Sofala province and there have been a series of clashes since then. A military official, who asked not to be identified because an announcement hasn’t been made, has said that 58 people, including 17 soldiers, died in a battle at Maringue in the province on Oct. 28.

“Since last week a large quantity of weapons was moved to Sofala to start a big military raid in Gorongosa and Maringue mountains to chase and kill President Dhlakama,” Fernando Mazanga, a spokesman for Renamo, said at a press conference in the country today.

Renamo, once backed by the white-minority governments of Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe, and South Africa, fought a 17-year civil war against the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, or Frelimo, until signing a peace agreement in Rome in 1992. Renamo last month said the peace agreement had ended after its base was attacked.

The attack followed earlier clashes that disrupted public transport in Sofala and the movement of coal by rail to the coast from mines owned by Rio Tinto Plc (RIO) and Vale SA. (VALE5)

Four soldiers were killed and 19 injured in an attack by Renamo militia today in the Vunduzi region of Sofala, Lusa, a Portuguese news agency, reported, citing people from the region.

State-owned Televisao de Mocambique and privately owned Soico Telvisao reported that there had been two separate attacks including an ambush of military vehicles. The television stations showed footage of bodies and soldiers being admitted to Beira Central Hospital.

Some of the injured are in a critical state although most are stable, Cesar Macome, director of the hospital, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Renamo also rejected a call by Mozambican President Armando Guebuza for talks in Maputo, the capital, on Nov. 8, because it had been communicated via the media and attacks on the opposition group haven’t stopped. “That invitation is simply a joke,” Mazanga said. “That is poisoned candy or political propaganda.” Dhlakama is currently in hiding.

Below is the US Embassy in Mozambique’s warning to US citizens.

Over the past week, there have been several violent clashes between Government of Mozambique (GRM) security forces and armed Renamo elements in the central province of Sofala.  These clashes culminated in GRM forces occupying Renamo’s main camp in Satunjira and displacing Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama.  The GRM has increased its security presence throughout central Sofala, and specifically within key towns and villages along the EN1 and EN6 in the region.  Moreover, Renamo’s spokesperson stated publicly that Dhlakama “no longer controls the response of his forces” and indicated that there could be unauthorized retaliations. 

Due to increased violence in the region, and the current possibility of reprisal attacks, the U.S. Embassy has reiterated its internal standing guidance that travel along the EN1 and EN6 in Sofala Province is prohibited for its employees except under exceptional circumstances.  U.S. citizens should avoid driving outside the urban areas of central Mozambique. 

Our plan is to stay close to home as we watch and see how things progress here.  It is impossible for us to stay off the EN6 since this is the only road that we can use to drive out of our center.  We plan on holding all of our seminars here at our center for the near future.  We will also be concentrating on our new 8,000 square foot church sanctuary building project. 

Thanks for your prayers!



Monday, September 16, 2013

Bad News, Good News – Romans 8:28 in action!

The forests of Gorongosa in Sofala, Central Mozambique, house the Renamo rebel party headquarters.  These days are tenuous, as negotiations are not going well with the current Ferlimo party in office.  But this is the place three of our on fire pastors felt led to go this weekend, conducting a seminar on Marriage and Foundations I, two of our discipleship books.  Soldiers escort traffic in convoys on the National Hwy due to random guerilla shooting of innocent citizens in busses and cars passing by, but these pastors were insistent.  We prayed together last week and sent them on their way with Bibles, discipleship books, and audio Bibles for the illiterate.  Today they returned with stories of miracles and amazing reports!  

(left to right) Lorena, Brian, Pastor Wilson

Sacrificially bringing goats and chickens to share, these subsistent farmers eagerly came to hear the Word of God.  Believers from five churches gathered, many walking up to 50k (31 miles) to get there.  One pastor had severe malaria.  Another had a stomach problem (no diagnostics in the bush).  Jesus healed them both!  Our pastors showed us a video of them dancing in the front of the church on their second day!  

Some of the believers who gathered

 Because political tension is high in this area, a radio station crew man came to investigate what their “real” objective was with this seminar (if they had a political agenda or not).  Satisfied, he decided to record the entire seminar and broadcast it today for their entire district!  “I’m getting calls from many churches in that area today, saying they also want seminars because they heard the broadcast on the radio,” reports Pastor Wilson after returning last night.  So “bad” is turning into “good” as the Word of God fills this area full of turmoil.  

More believers - proudly holding their booklets

Romans 8:28,  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

News from Mozambique

News from Mozambique
Written by Lorena Wood

Sometimes living is Mozambique is sobering.  Life is fragile in a country where malaria is rampant and medicine is nonexistent or scarce.  In the last two weeks, our center hosted over 100 pastors and their wives for conferences in the city.  They came from far distances, villages with no electricity, running water, or medical care.  While they were here, ten of them were diagnosed with malaria.  They contracted it before arriving, as malaria has an incubation period of 10 to 24 days.  The fortunate part is that we have two missionary doctors from Argentina and a nurse from Uruguay as part of our medical team!  If they had not come to the conferences, some of them would probably not be alive today!  

Our medical team from left to right, Dr Roberto from Argentina, Katarina who is a nurse from Uruguay, and Dr Roberto’s wife – Dr. Laura

Two of these ten were babies.  One had a severe case of cerebral malaria and would have died in one day, had we not put her on an IV immediately.  All of them are on medication and recovering now.  We are deeply grateful to Tanya Smith and her team, who came in July with donations to supply us with medicine, a microscope for doing accurate malaria tests, and hundreds of mosquito nets for our area.  (Tanya is Cali’s mom, who was our missionary co-worker here in Dondo that died of malaria last January.)

One of the babies recovering from Malaria

Our first conference was about deliverance.  Zito, after attending the seminar, says, “I have never felt so free or had so much hunger for the Word of God!  Before I felt so bound by legalism and oppression from my past generations of ancestor worship.  Now I feel so different!”  In a culture of extensive witchcraft, ancestor worship, and excessive legalism, this conference helped so many pastors and their wives.  They are now carrying what they learned back to their districts, eager to teach their many churches.  Our desire is to see every pastor equipped to deal with the enemy and his many strongholds.   Everyone was so happy they came.  We are looking forward to reports of good fruit from our churches!  

During this conference, I stayed behind and discipled the ladies who brought babies with them.  They weren’t supposed to come with children, as the conference was held in a rented theater in the city.   But it turned out to be such a blessing.   Only two out of the ten ladies could read.  God gave me new ideas of how to teach them – unexpected, but exciting!  We made up songs, dances, and skits about the main points and key verses!  At night, when everyone else returned from the conference, they performed for the large group.  Their husbands were especially delighted to see their wives learning so much.  After teaching them the importance of reading the Bible regularly, they complained how they can’t read and don’t even own a Bible.  So I gave them all a solar powered audio Bible after they promised to use it at least once a week with a group of their own.  Of course when the other ladies came back from the conference, they all wanted one too!  

Pictured above, pastors’ wives receiving their solar powered audio Bibles

I was happy to give them out, as these ladies are key pastors’ wives from our province’s 13 districts.  Up till now, women’s ministries have not existed here.  Most of the women haven’t gone to Bible school and most do not read.  But they are eager to learn.  We’re looking forward to seeing what God does with these ladies’ listening groups now that they have audio Bibles in their heart language and a recorded Bible school with 215 lessons from Genesis to Revelations on them!  

Thank you for your remembering us in your prayers.  We so appreciate them.  “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord (Zech 4:6).”  

Lorena reaching out to a classroom full of kids


The Wood Family

Support Address: Calvary Chapel Foothill Ranch, 26882 Vista Terrace, Lake Forest, CA 92630 (949) 768-4190.  Please make checks out to the church with a note in the memo of the check, “The Wood Family”.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Praise and More Praise

Medical Success
Thank you for all your prayers.  Everything turned out perfect for Lorena and Nate.  Lorena’s dental procedure went great – no problems.  Nate’s toe didn’t need to be operated on after all.  In America we saw a doctor that said he would need surgery.  But after your prayers and the time came for his appointment in South Africa, his podiatrist said he could just take care of it in his office!  Nate is fine now.

We were able to get all the solar Bibles across the border with no problems!  The border patrol just waved us through even though half or our truck was filled with boxes of solar Bibles and chargers!

In our last prayer letter we mentioned the vision of us pumping out water from a water pump.  The water (Word of God) gushed out and watered the entire land.  Well we didn’t know God would start fulfilling this so soon in such a dramatic way.  First, we’re given more solar Bibles, and get them safely across the border.  Next, we found a great price on printed Bibles in the capital city of Maputo.  So we were able to buy 1,000 Bibles, filling our truck to the brim!  The churches, which often have only one Bible, are so excited!

Praise:  More Missionaries Soon To Join Us!
Another praise report is that help has come and more is coming!  Ben Collier has joined us for the summer, for those of you that know him.  He just finished Bible school and is enthusiastically teaching the spiritually hungry Mozambicans.  We’ve lined up his schedule with weekly strategic groups of church leaders, youth groups, and even a Bible class at a local elementary school!  Everyone wants him and loves him! 

More help is coming in July!  This is awesome because we need more help with our pre-school, widows program, children’s ministry training for all our churches, and training and starting more discipleship centers.  We are excited that a single lady is coming with a gift of administration!  In October a family is joining us.   And by next April or May, another family plans to join our team!  Thank you all for your prayers in this area!  We are very excited to see all the prophecies and visions fulfilled that God has given us this year.

Political Unrest – please pray!
There have been some clashes between the two political parties here in Mozambique.  Several people have been killed, an ammunitions storage facility has been raided here in our city of Dondo by the rebel Renamo party, killing six soldiers.   Some civilian vehicles and busses have been attacked on the road, some burned.  Pray for this situation to be resolved quickly.  Both parties are involved in peace talks, but so far aren’t going well.  These are the same two political parties that fought in Mozambique’s civil war for 16 years, ending in 1992.  Please pray that these peace talks are effective and produce lasting peace.

Many Blessings,

The Wood Family

Support Address: Calvary Chapel Foothill Ranch, 26882 Vista Terrace, Lake Forest, CA 92630 (949) 768-4190.  Please make checks out to the church with a note in the memo of the check, “The Wood Family”.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Trip To America

Dear Family and Friends,

Trip to America!  What a blessing it is for us to be able to visit America again!  We have yet to meet our new beautiful Granddaughter Fallon (pictured below)!

We were invited to teach our language and culture courses at the new Harvest Mission’s Training School in Florida.  After praying, we felt led by the Lord to make this trip and teach at the school (Lorena and I teaching Harvest School classes in the tent.  We also enjoyed worship time at the beach - pictured below).

We will be in Southern California for ten days, March 12th – the 22nd.  If you live in the So. Cal. Area, Lisa and Skip Krantz will be hosting a get-together for us on March 16th in Laguna Niguel.  Contact them at for more information.  Hope to see as many of you as possible!

We are blessed to report that just in the last four weeks another 150 new listening groups started!  We call them “mini Bible schools”.  These “mini Bible schools” have a course that starts in Genesis and goes through Revelation.  There is also a course on “Marriage and Family” and the “Sermon on the Mount”.  All of these courses come preprogrammed on an audio MP3 type player that can be charged in the sun.  These pastors pictured above are receiving their new programmed Bible school.  After completing their training at our center, they and now ready to host their own listening groups.

Pictured above, a remote church gathers local leaders in the bush for training in our course, “Foundations of the Faith.”
Please pray for more resources – we especially need more workers to expand and multiply through these solar powered audio “Bible schools”!  Visiting, training, distributing, encouraging, and following up on these Centers is not easy in this vast country of dirt roads and bad or non-existent phone connections.  We are still amazingly blessed to have a reliable truck though!  It has faithfully taken Brian thousands of miles as he’s gone district to district conducting training and graduations.  Please pray for reinforcements.   There is so much potential here – everyone is so hungry for the Word of God!
Click on this link to see a 3 min. video on our recent Children’s Ministry Training Camp at our Dondo training center.

Love to you all,
Brian, Lorena, Caleb, and Nathanael