At our base here in Matola Rio there is never a dull moment, with forty-two children ranging from the ages of four to eighteen each day brings its own excitement and challenges.
After five years of working with Iris ministries, Corrie was taking a huge step of faith when she moved into the city of Maputo. Whilst pursuing what was next in God’s plan for her and her daughter, she sought to follow her passion in caring for children suffering from HIV and AIDs, and soon found herself working in a care centre for infants. It was whilst working here and visiting local hospitals that she first met Luís Jeremias.
HIV still affects a terrifying 11% of the population in Mozambique and, if left untreated, can be devastating to the lives of children and families alike. Luís Jeremias’ HIV had been left untreated and progressed to a severe level of AIDs. As a practicing witchdoctor, his mother had chosen to refuse medical treatment, using only traditional medicines in their place. Aged just 11, he was in a critical condition, with a deteriorating immune system he was unable to walk or care for himself. He spent the following weeks in hospital, where Corrie and her team visited him regularly. Miraculously, after a period of treatment, Luís Jeremias grew a little stronger, strong enough to return home. But that home was no longer a suitable place for the eleven year old boy, and with a little coercion from Corrie, the infants’ home agreed to allow Luís Jeremias to live with them. This enabled them to provide the around the clock care and attention he needed.
Things went well here, and although Luís Jeremias was not getting any stronger, his condition had stabilized. But God had more challenges in store, and it was at this time that Corrie once again felt called into something new. Through Iris Ministries she was able to establish our centre here in Matola Rio.
In the beginning Corrie, her daughter Helenia, by now just five years old, and Luís Jeremias lived in a rented building in the area. Unfortunately, the AIDs virus enabled an infection to reach Luís Jeremias’ brain and his condition worsened severely. On the 4th of January 2006 the AIDs virus took his life. Without Luís Jeremias, Iris Matola Rio would never have began, and the children here today would not have benefited.
Iris Matola Rio began nine years ago, but not in the building that you see today. No, Iris Matola Rio began in a renovated chicken coop! High windows and confined spaces. As an established centre, the number of children that she was reaching began to grow and (unsurprisingly) they began to feel a little cooped up, it was time to spread their wings, fly the nest… flee the coop (sorry) and buy their first building. It is here that you will find us today.
With our own building we were able to take on more children, and with more children, came more staff. Our beloved Mozambican staff are an integral tour centre here, each educator and team member brings a unique aspect to our family. In fact, our onsite church began thanks to the musical talents of Vovo Cumbane, a care taker here at the time. He would bring his guitar and spend time singing and worshipping with the children, he planted the seed that would grow to attract the local community through our doors. As the church grew, our once huge new building was bursting at the seams. This was fantastic, but a tad too cosy. Once again, through our fantastic supporters and the Lord’s provision, we were able expand our ministry with a small house for Corrie and Helenia, (where you are likely to stay if you would like to visit us) and our very own church building!
We continue to see God’s love and provision today. A little over a year ago we were able to open a boy’s dorm building which houses 14 teenage boys. Here they have two bedrooms and an area for relaxation… they even have their own kettle!
OUR CURRENT OUTREACH
Children’s Home – Primarily, we are a children’s home; providing food, care, shelter and a loving family environment for each of the children that come to stay with us. We currently have forty two children in our family, ranging from the age of four, to eighteen.
Church – Our church meets in three different local communities, one is in our centre, the second is in Jonasse and the third in Patricia Lumumba . Every second Sunday all three congregations meet together here at the base, where we worship and share in God’s word. Evangelism is a big part of our weekly routine and each Friday we visit families in the areas in which each of our churches are based.
Preschool- With the provision of our new church building came the opportunity open our doors to the wider community. Each morning we hold a preschool which 67 children attend. Three fantastic teachers run the sessions, leading the children in songs and activities all morning long.
Work in the local community – we offer milk powder and basic food supplies for the poorest family, and sometimes a free meal after the service, alongside transport where it is needed throughout the week.
PRAYERS FOR THE FUTURE
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
– Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)
This verse has been significant to us from the very beginning, we have seen many examples of God’s great provision over the years and we continue to seek him in our plans and works for the future.
Whilst we are strong believers in close fellowship, we have to admit that we are once again pushing our full capacity; we are hoping to be able to also build a new girl’s dorm room in the near future.