On April 10 we saw the sights, heard the sounds and smelled the smells of Mozambique for the first time. We had traveled seven hours by car from the AFM South Africa office in Dundee to Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. Maputo has a population of 1.2 million people, and it seems like half of them are on the streets at any time. The two-lane road often has five or six lanes of cars pushing through intersections and around stopped buses. People use their car horns like turn signals. How are we going to learn to drive comfortably in this chaos?
Because the city lacks parking, vehicles park on the sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk in the streets. We weaved around women carrying bowls of fruit on their heads, boys washing parked cars, and merchants pushing two-wheeled carts loaded with wares. As we walked, our noses were filled with the smells of fish from the market, fried food from the restaurants, urine drying on walls, and oily smoke from vehicles.
Soon we were spotted by the street vendors, and a circle of men surrounded us, shouting to get our attention. Dozens of vendors thrust handfuls of wooden carvings, paintings, handbags or trinkets in front of our faces all at once. Each vendor claimed that we needed to buy from them. One would claim we were their first customer of the day, so they would give us a deep discount. Another would beg us to buy from them so they could have food to eat. We told them, “No, no, no. We are not interested.” But they didn’t listen. They followed us down the street, dodging cars, lowering their prices as we walked. They would not take no for an answer. Finally, we gave in and purchased a few carvings because of their persistence.
What would missionary work look like if we promoted the gospel in such a persistent manner?