Republic of Mozambique
August 18-19

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Area 799,380 The Zambezi and 24 other rivers divide the 2,800 km-long land and make north-south travel difficult.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 19,680,456 +2.51% 25 per sq. km.
2010 23,116,593 +1.50% 29 per sq. km.
2025 30,611,842 +1.96% 38 per sq. km.

At the height of the war in 1992 nearly 40% of the population were refugees – internally 4 million and in surrounding lands 1.8m. Deaths in the war mounted to more than one million. The high incidence of AIDS is likely to reduce projected population growth.

Capital Maputo 2.2m. Other major cities: Beira 700,000; Nampula 600,000. Urbanites 28%.


Bantu peoples 97.7%.

Northern peoples 54.3%. Makhuwa(5) 6.8 mill.; Lomwe 2m; Chwabo 730,000; Makonde(2) 600,000; Yao 450,000; Swahili (and related Mwani, Makwe, Koti and Nathembo) 150,000.

Central peoples 19.2%. Sena-Podzo 1.1m; Shona (Ndau, Tewe, Manyika, Tavara) 1,030,000; Nyungwe 700,000; Marenje 500,000; Maravi (Nyanja, Chewa) 450,000.

Southern peoples 24.2%. Tsonga-Changana 1.9m; Tswa 1.1m; Chopi-Tonga 800,000; Ronga 600,000; Swazi-Zulu 140,000.

Other 2.3%. Euro-African 300,000; Portuguese 60,000; South Asian 25,000.

Literacy 40% (official); 20% (functional). Official language Portuguese – spoken as first language by 6.8%; understood by 30%. All languages 39. Languages with Scriptures 9Bi 5NT 9por 12w.i.p.


One of the world's poorest countries – the result of centuries of colonial neglect, application of Marxist economic theories and 30 years of intense guerrilla warfare. Climatic extremes of flooding and droughts have further impoverished the population. Fertile agricultural land and large mineral wealth were under-utilized, and most rural areas became a depopulated no-man's-land. Road and rail links are few and barely usable. Heavily dependent on foreign aid. After peace came in 1995 improvements were excellent – until the setback caused by the massive damage of the cyclone in 2000. HDI 0.341; 169th/174. Public debt 225% of GNP. Income/person $140 (0.5% of USA).


A Portuguese colony for 470 years. Independent in 1975 as a Marxist-Leninist state after a long and bitter war for independence. The anti-government movement, Renamo, subsequently spread rural devastation to most of the country in an exceptionally brutal guerrilla war. The war and international pressure encouraged the Frelimo government to end the flirtation with Marxism in 1988 and to institute a multi-party democracy and a market economy in 1990. A peace accord in 1992 was fully implemented in 1995. A functioning democracy and now (surprisingly) a member of the British Commonwealth.


Government policy between 1975 and 1982 was the exclusive propagation of Marxism, 'all-out war on the churches' and 'destruction of religious superstitions.' Since 1988 there has been religious freedom.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 57.65 11,345,783 +4.0%
Traditional ethnic 22.00 4,329,700 -0.9%
Muslim 18.10 3,562,163 +3.0%
non-Religious/other 2.20 432,970 -0.1%
Hindu 0.05 9,840 +2.5%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 48 8.34 1,641 +8.1%
Independent 506 22.41 4,410 +12.3%
Anglican 1 0.51 100 +3.3%
Catholic 1 20.83 4,100 +8.2%
Orthodox 1 0.00 1 +1.5%
Marginal 1 0.53 105 +1.8%
Unaffiliated   5.03 989 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 290 2,500,000 4,100,000
Indigenous/Indep [100] I 6,280 565,217 1,300,000
Assemblies of God P 880 150,000 295,000
United Baptist P 1,206 70,478 250,000
Evang Assemblies of God P 873 96,000 240,000
Seventh-day Adventist P 821 144,568 240,000
Assemb. of God, African I 360 90,000 220,000
Jehovah's Witnesses M 691 31,000 104,922
Anglican A 206 34,965 100,000
Presbyterian P 750 42,918 100,000
Ch of the Nazarene P 450 45,000 85,000
New Alliance (Brethren) I 200 20,000 50,000
United Methodist P 1,000 17,000 45,000
Baptist Convention P 52 18,572 40,000
Full Gospel Ch of God P 120 10,182 30,000
Reformed Ch in M P 130 14,000 28,000
Free Methodist P 200 10,000 17,000
Church of God (Anderson) P 150 7,000 14,000
Evangelical P 16 800 2,000
Other denoms [443]   10,870 1,533,600 3,095,000
Total Christians [561]   25,545 5,401,300 10,356,400

Trans-bloc Groupings pop.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 13.5 2,650 +10.6 %
Charismatic 8.4 1,647 +10.7%


884 +10.5%

Missionaries from Mozambique
P,I,A 32 in 8 agencies: Mozambique 27.

Missionaries to Mozambique
P,I,A 491 in 75 agencies from 26 countries: USA 125, South Africa 113, Brazil 60, UK 27.

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Answers to Prayer

1 Peace since 1995 after 30 years of war and genuine efforts by politicians to maintain that peace.

2 The fastest church growth of any Black African country in the 1990s. Hitherto Mozambique had some of the largest unevangelized areas and peoples in the region. The total Christian population more than doubled between 1988 and 2000.

Challenges for Prayer

1 Mozambique emerged broken and wounded from colonialism and three decades of civil war. In 1995 it was reckoned to be the world's poorest nation. The government has worked hard to open up the economy, lay true democratic foundations, grant religious freedom and bind up the wounds of the past. Turn these major challenges it faces into prayer:

a) Continuing natural disasters – much of the infrastructure of the more developed south was destroyed in the cyclone and flooding of 2000.

b) The danger of regional disaffection – the more heavily populated north feels neglected.

c) The growing calamity of AIDS with nearly 14% known to be HIV+ and 310,000 AIDS orphans. Medical services are rudimentary for the vast majority.

2 Mozambique has had religious freedom for the first time in its history. The Catholic monopoly under Portuguese rule was only breached in the southern third of Mozambique. Protestant ministries were restricted or forbidden. Sporadic but severe persecution of evangelical believers occurred. Under Marxism all Christians suffered. Missionaries were expelled, Christian leaders intimidated and imprisoned, and many churches and institutions seized or destroyed. Discriminatory legislation was passed to limit Christian gatherings to recognized church buildings. Then began the growth. At independence in 1975, Evangelicals were 3.7% of the population. By 2000 this was nearly 12%. The Evangelical Alliance of Mozambique was formed in 1993. Pray that this growth may be maintained and the believers become a wholesome leaven in a society that is morally bankrupt and where life is cheap and short.

3 Intense suffering created spiritual hunger and congregations of indigenous Christians mushroomed all over the country. The flooding disasters of 2000 and 2001 stimulated much Christian assistance and churches were planted in refugee camps. Illiteracy, lack of Scriptures, legalism, syncretism and lack of understanding of biblical repentance, faith and the new birth is widespread. Yet the desire for teaching and help, wisely and tactfully given, is immense. Many of the leaders are self-appointed and looking for international links, finances and aid rather than spiritual input. AIM in Beira, and many others in Maputo and elsewhere, have developed mobile and TEE training for leaders of these groups. Pray that this massive movement might become Bible-based and mature.

4 The Catholic Church, long associated with colonial repression, suffered particularly severely after independence. Huge defections, widespread nominalism and lack of Africanization with a dearth of indigenous clergy led to a big drop in numbers. During the 1990s Catholics began to grow again. Renewal movements among Catholics elsewhere have had little impact here.

5 Training of church leadership is an urgent priority. Most congregations are led by men and women with little or no education, and very few by those with theological training of any kind, nor are there funds or adequate facilities to provide it. The government insists that each group provide adequate training for their leaders. Pray for:

a) Seminaries and Bible colleges, which have increased in number. The Christian Council of Mozambique run Ricatla Seminary. There are more evangelical seminaries in Maputo – The Evangelical Theological Seminary, also the Union Baptist, Nazarene, and PAoC Colleges. The Reformed Seminary is in Tete. The Evangelical AoG have two Bible schools. However, there is little training available in the northern half of the country.

b) Non-formal training which has proved successful – TEE (United Baptists, AEF) and correspondence courses (Emmaus Bible School of the Brethren and Global Literature Lifeline based in Zimbabwe).

6 Mozambique's unreached peoples are still numerous and large, but there are few without a witness or an indigenous Christian presence. Much of existing outreach is through Mozambican missionaries and pastors. The challenges:

a) The Makhuwa. Some 30-60% are Muslim, 10% Catholic and maybe 10,000 are Evangelicals (AoG, CoN, United Baptists and others), but the more Muslim areas towards the coast are less evangelized.

b) The coastal Swahili-related peoples have long been Muslim. Only a handful of Mwani believers are known. SIL is translating the NT, and AIM has a church-planting ministry.

c) The Makonde in the north-east are part Muslim, part animist. Only Catholic and Assemblies of God, African churches are known to exist. There were about 30 evangelical congregations in 2000.

d) The Yao of Niassa Province along the shores of Lake Malawi are 96% Muslim. Only about 2% are Christian of any kind (mainly Anglican, Catholic and Assemblies of God, African). Both radio (FEBA) and the JESUS film have made an impact.

e) The peoples of the Zambezi valley – especially the Sena, Kunda, Podzo, Nyungwe, Chwabo, Lolo, Kokola, Manyawa, Marenje and Takwane.

7 Sections of the population that are less evangelized:

a) The cities. War, famine and poverty have filled Beira and Maputo with refugees. Violence and crime are widespread. AIDS is a major problem.

b) The Northern Provinces of Cabo Delgado and Niassa are the least evangelized.

c) The Muslim population has grown since independence, but is largely confined to the north and the coastal provinces. The Yao and Swahili-related peoples are Muslim and the Makonde and Makua largely Muslim. Until recently there was little outreach to Muslims and committed workers are still few.

d) Students. There are only three University-level institutions with 7,000 students. ABEMO(IFES) has unique witness and discipleship opportunities among them.

8 Expatriate missionaries were expelled in 1975/76, but since 1982 doors have opened once more. Conditions are often harsh, travel difficult, the cities violent and disease common, so the loss-rate has been high. Pray for perseverance in learning Portuguese and local languages, health, safety and fruitfulness. Much evangelism has been done in short term efforts but few converts become disciples. Mozambique is still a pioneer field and more missionaries are needed for this task. The greatest need is for all levels of leadership training, initiating youth and children's work, aid programmes, involvement in medical needs – especially in AIDS-related ministries. Major mission agencies: SIL (40), YWAM (39), AIM (37), CCCI (21), SIM (19), AoG (17), IMB-SBC (13) and SdA (10).

9 Bible translation and distribution. The Bible Society has a bookshop and 3 depots and great freedom to operate, but lack of Bibles, foreign currency and means of distribution limit this ministry. Projects for new translations or revisions have also been hampered. The government changed its language policy in 1982 to actively encourage the use of local languages, but a nation-wide policy on orthography is needed or in progress. SIL has workers who promote the study of Mozambican languages. Bible translation is needed in at least 10 and possibly 15 languages – especially in Makua, Mwani and Sena. A number of other languages with inadequate New Testaments require new translations. Pray for the 10 translation projects in progress by SIL and others, one being the Lomwe Old Testament (SIM, UBS).

10 Christian help ministries for prayer:

a) Literature is easily imported but in short supply. Distribution and high costs are major problems, and Christian bookstores are limited in number and in range of stock. People are eager for literature. CLC has a bookstore in Maputo, and are initiating Book Aid for importing second-hand Christian books from Brazil. Agencies outside the country have done much to send in good evangelistic literature (All Nations Gospel Publishers, South Africa; Global Literature Lifeline, Zimbabwe; Open Doors; SGM; Frontline Fellowship) and the gospel broadsheet CEDO (WEC). SU has started work in Mozambique with the aim of providing good Bible reading aids.

b) Radio has been used of God in church-planting and teaching. There is a Christian FM station in Maputo. Both TWR and FEBA have studios in the country – TWR also using innovative 'container' studios in the north. TWR-Swaziland and Johannesburg broadcast 19 hours a week in Portuguese and 7 other languages; FEBA-Seychelles a further 16 hours in Portuguese, Makonde, Sena and Swahili.

c) The JESUS film has been used among refugees and in some areas in Mozambique, but only 5% of the population have seen it in one of the 10 language editions available. A further 12 language versions are in production. Pray for the resources and strategies to make more effective use of it.

d) GRN have prepared messages in 23 of Mozambique's languages.

e) Development programmes by Christian agencies are welcomed by the government. ACRIS, a Christian medical association formed in 1991, is taking over administration of some hospitals and clinics and providing Christian medical personnel. WVI and others have been supplying basic needs to many. MAF and AirServ International have several planes involved in these programmes, but flying conditions are tricky. Pray that these efforts may strengthen believers and stimulate evangelism.

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