In 1998 Kapasseni Chief Francisco Semente asked Joseph and Perpetua to help with four priority areas: a school for the children's future, a well for clean water, basic healthcare, and a church for spiritual support (Christianity has a long history there). Kapasseni-born Joseph is now answering the Chief's request.
Following studies at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario, Joseph was ordained at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Victoria, British Columbia. Joseph was called by Lutheran Church Canada in June 2006 to serve in Mozambique as a mission Pastor to the village of Kapasseni and surrounding areas. Joseph is uniquely suited for working in the Kapasseni area, as he knows the people, their customs, and the language, and is a respected member of the community.
In August 2006 Joseph began leading worship services in Kapasseni, Sena, Mbueze and Murrema. The four areas keep him very busy. Much of his time is spent ministering to the poor and afflicted and the many dying from AIDS, especially in Sena. Often those people are outcasts, considered cursed by their families and communities, and there is a great need for them to hear about God's love for them.
Training Local Leaders
Rev. Alfazema needed more help in the field, but it would be difficult to bring in people from outside the region or country as they would not know the local dialect. It was important to find locals who would want to serve their churches and be able to communicate effectively in their own laguage. Eight local men asked to be trained as pastors, and it will be more effective to train the local people to work in their own communities as they know the people and the language.
A plan was discussed with the Lutheran Church of Brazil, as they have textbooks and training materials in Portuguese (the official language of Mozambique). They agreed to work with these first participants and provide the books and materials needed to get started with training. Pastor Carlos Winterle, a mission pastor from Brazil who is posted in Africa, was invited to help support the work of Pastor Joseph Alfazema by coordinating the TEE Program (Theological Education by Extension). The program is offered by the Seminário Concórdia of Brazil and supporting partners have come together to share in the training of local people to minister to the people. These partners include the Kapasseni Project, LCMS World Missions and St. Thomas Congregation in Capetown, South Africa.
The first 2 week training session with Pastor Winterle took place in July 2010. See the report on our mission work in the Dec 2010 newsletter.
The second training session took place in July 2011.
The third training session took place in July 2012.
Mission Work Update 2010 by Rev. Joseph Alfazema
It has been very encouraging to see so many people come to services, sing in the choirs and attend youth activities in the nine communities that I serve. I have nine laymen working with me, one in each community and they have asked for further education to become pastors.
We have been constructing three church buildings. The church in Murrema is finished and is now being used. The church in Sena is a bit larger and is also completed. It looks so beautiful and the people came and planted trees and flowers around the outside of the building. The communities have helped in the construction. The last church in Chemba is nearing completion.
Mission Work Update 2011 by Rev. Joseph Alfazema
The laymen in training have been working hard, and we meet monthly to go through lessons and have a time of fellowship. We are all looking forward to seeing Pastor Carlos Winterle in July for another two week Theological Education by Extension (TEE) training session.
I will continue to mentor these students and we have been preparing for when I return to Canada. My health will not allow me to stay in Mozambique much longer so we plan to leave in September and return to live in Edmonton, where I can rest and seek medical attention.
The students and I will be able to meet via Skype, and they are learning to use computers and email. We would like this wonderful education program to continue for several more years. Once the students have completed the course, they will be ordained as pastors.
It has been a blessing to work in my original homeland and to be able to minister and mentor the people in Sena, Kapasseni, Murraca, Chemba, Mpango, Mbueza, Zondane, Samboneta and other rural areas of Sofala Province. There is still a lot of work to do but the ground work has been laid for these students to be trained as shepherds for the flocks in their own communities. Keep these students in your prayers and thank you for your support in this training program.
Joseph's work as a mission Pastor, through Lutheran Church Canada, is supported through gifts made to the Kapasseni project for that purpose. Donations to the mission work are used to provide Joseph with a small salary, funds for supplies and transportation, and help with school costs for the Alfazema children.
If you wish to support Joseph's mission, please clearly mark your donation "Mission Work". All other donations to the Kapasseni Project are used for the education, health, and development work.
The Kapasseni Project Committee of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Victoria
is grateful for the support of the Lutheran Church Canada, its congregations
and many friends of the Kapasseni Project.