Islamic animists who are faithful at their local mosques
MMuslims make up approximately 20% of the population of Mozambique. Mozambique is located along Africa’s southeastern coast; most of Muslims live in the north, near the Tanzanian border and along the coast.
The majority belong to the Makua Nahara tribe. They are poor, often illiterate, and many speak little or no Portuguese, which is Mozambique’s official language. Due to famine and disease, their average life expectancy is a mere 50 years. Some believers are providing medical help in this region where health care is lacking.
To be Nahara is to be Muslim. They proudly say, “We are Makua Naharas and we are Muslims. The other Makuas from the hinterland, a long way from the sea, drink alcohol and eat pork or snakes – but not us! We go to the mosque on Fridays!”
While the Naharas call themselves Muslims, in reality they practice a mix of Islam and animistic ancestral religions. The life of the Naharas is maintained by countering their fears with enchantments. “Grand-father Abdul died in the civil war in 1990, but he is still present. Even if we can’t see him! If he’s upset with us, he can cause trouble! That’s why we offer him cigarettes. We know he liked them so that’s bound to appease him!”
While there are several small churches in the region, a Makua Nahara is not likely to let his or her shadow darken the door of a church. “Those are only for the newcomers. They despise those of us who have been here forever.” This is one of the reasons why there are almost no Nahara churches among the 200,000 Makua Naharas. The few Nahara believers attend churches which are culturally and linguistically foreign to them.
But many believers with Muslim backgrounds from other regions are coming to visit the Naharas. The Naharas listen carefully as they tell what they have experience of Jesus and some are opening their hearts. Recently, some Naharas along the coast have become “Jesus Followers” and have been baptized. These believers are leading their families to faith in Jesus, but the ministry among the Naharas is still in its infancy.
- Pray that key people among the Makua Naharas would meet the living God through their contacts with believers (Acts 6:6 and 13:4-12).
- Pray the new believers would grow in their faith, learn God’s word and experience Jesus in everyday life, forming a strong group with a desire to follow Jesus (Acts 2:41-45) .
- Pray that believers who are reaching out would be protected during many dangerous journeys into the bush (2 Corinthians 11:25-27).
Listen to the Podcast – DAY 19 – Mozambique Naharas
Video: Pray for Mozambique [1:38]