Lino is intense. His eyes are wide and lit up, his hands are waving and gesturing. He turns and shifts excitedly. He can’t be quieted. He knows what he’s talking about, and he sounds like it. He speaks with authority, and I am listening, taking down every detail. I hit him with every question I can think of, and he answers me transparently, effortlessly. He has been raised from the dead, and I want to know all about it.
Pastor Lino Andrade is one of our more than one thousand pastors in Mozambique. His mud hut church is in the town of Gondola in the central province of Manica, not far from Chimoio where we have had major conferences. He has just begun a three-month Bible school term with us at our Zimpeto center in southern Mozambique. Today he testified in church, and now I am with him face-to-face, getting every bit of information I can.
This morning he declared earnestly to all our children, staff and Bible school students that life after death is real, the supernatural world is real, angels are real, and the power of Jesus is real. He should know. He is one of about ten people in our churches who have been brought from death back to life by the Author of life, and we want to tell everyone!
Lino is a widower, and he stays with his daughter in her little house in Gondola. Not long before coming down for Bible school, he got seriously sick. He couldn’t eat or sleep. He was in great pain. Too poor for medical attention, he didn’t know what was wrong. Over the course of a month he kept deteriorating until he died. Instead of burying him, his daughter called for Pastor Joni, also in Gondola, who came with four other church leaders to pray. For three hours Lino’s eyes were rolled back into his head, and his body began to smell of decay. But Jesus has used Joni to raise the dead before, and Joni was determined.
Lino was released from his body and given a vision of what might be. He watched his own funeral procession, and could see others lowering his own casket into the ground. He watched them put flowers on his grave. Two bright angels with wings came to him. He was shown things that have not yet been explained to him. But in the vision Lino refused to accept his own death. And then he heard God tell him that he was not going to heaven yet, but that he had many more years to live. In his spirit he could hear Joni praying loudly and fervently.
After a few hours he returned to his body and awoke in bed, but was very weak and nauseous from his own smell. Satan did not get his way, and Lino was not buried. Lino gradually got his strength back and his body normalized as everyone around looked after him. His church and all who knew him are incredibly encouraged. Lino himself is now strong and bold, always eager to minister.
Lino is an example of what happens when the poor, sick and desperate get close to Jesus. They want Him. They know they need Him, all the time and in every way. And if He can raise the dead, He can certainly take care of hunger, poverty and every other problem and affliction. We didn’t come to Africa just to feed some children and give out a few clothes. We came to bring the wretched and forgotten close to Him, in the worst of circumstances. And we came to see what He can do when He draws close to them in return. Everything changes. All things are possible. The Word is true. Our Jesus can save to the uttermost. And all of us, all over the world, have hope who trust in Him.
Jesus has encouraged us in many ways recently. One lady’s lungs were completely restored after she nearly died of advanced pneumonia. A man living in a shack near the dump, paralyzed from the waist down for two years, immediately rose to his feet and walked after baptism and prayer. A lady who for twenty-one years was totally blind in one eye and very blurry in the other can see clearly out of both. So many wanted to testify last Sunday in church along with Pastor Lino that we had to ask them to stop and continue later. Two young men from the dump are now in our Bible school. Many of our pastors are receiving visions. One of our strongest preachers is Chico, a fourteen-year-old child-pastor up north who leads many to Jesus at evangelistic meetings for children. We are very excited about our primary school for our orphaned and abandoned children. Jesus has given us very dedicated Mozambican teachers, and they have poured their energy and hearts into these most disadvantaged of students. Our facilities are so bare and basic, and the government has in the past given us such a hard time. Our fifth and seventh grade classes had to take national exams, and ninety-five percent of our students passed, giving our school the highest score in the country. Average is seventy percent. Jesus loves to take “the least of the these” and bring them to the head!
Famine is spreading across Malawi where we have hundreds of new churches. Last year’s floods wiped out maize and garden crops, and then came Malawi’s worst drought in twenty years. Villagers are trying to survive on corn husks, berries, leaves and whatever else they can find in the bush that might be edible. In southern Malawi they are walking for days in the heat to the Mozambican border trying to find food. The situation has become drastic, yet the government and major aid organizations have no immediate solutions. Imported maize is too limited and much too expensive. I am getting frequent, desperate calls for more help. We must put this burden on Jesus, yet remain sensitive and obedient to Him. May Jesus form His Body, in Malawi and around the world, until He is pleased with us, and can glorify Himself however He likes through us.
Much love and appreciation in Jesus,