Mission. While reminiscing about Mozambique’s picturesque coastline and distant mountainous ranges, Sarah Fisher reflects on a journey of evangelistic discovery.
The Smithton local recently returned from three months in the south-east African country where she studied with renowned ministry, Iris Global.
Founded by missionaries Heidi and Rolland Baker in 1980, Iris Global has established several mission schools worldwide including the Pemba-based Harvest School of Missions.
Based in the capital city of the Mozambican province, Cabo Delgado, and with a population of approximately 140,000 people, Sarah described Pemba to have an enriched culture despite overwhelming poverty.
Attending the Harvest School of Missions four days a week, the 18-year-old heard from all walks of life about their experiences with the Lord and His Son, while Fridays were spent volunteering on remote farms.
Predominantly growing sweet potatoes, onions and papaya, Sarah says farming was a difficult practice.
“Harvesting took a long time, it was all manual work and in the heat it was quite challenging,” she said.
“It was nice to work alongside the Mozambicans, get to know them and build relationships.”
Living on campus, Sarah shared a mud hut with six fellow students but considered herself lucky as others lived with up to 10 people.
“There was one kitchen between 30 people and one bucket shower,” she said.
The daily menu didn’t vary a great deal either, including stale bread for breakfast and rice or beans for lunch and tea.
In her downtime, Sarah and fellow missionaries would hitchhike into town to wander through fruit markets, eat street food and explore their surroundings.
Sundays were spent at church; a very different experience to western practices.
“People from all over the village would come,” Sarah recalled.
“There was a lot of dancing, it was very vibrant, there was so much joy!”
In her final 10 days, Sarah joined a small group on an outreach program in South Africa.
“To see the contrast of the big cities of Africa then the villages where they had nothing but a tarp over their head . . . it was very confronting. In one village the church was a tent,” she said.
“It was quite sad to see how some of the kids [in poorer villages] were treated, they were so angry because they’d just been so neglected.
“It was awesome just to hang out with them, paint their faces and give them that love.”
Sarah recalls meeting a young girl with a rotting orange.
“All that she had was this orange and nothing else to eat, but she gave it to me.”
Sarah describes that memory as a heartbreaking moment, accepting spoiled fruit from a starving child so as not to offend.
“We split the orange and shared it together.”
Of the lesson that most resonates with Sarah, she says: “Love looks like different things.”
Now at home enjoying the luxuries of a running shower, Sarah says the experience gave her further insight into life below the poverty line.
“I think I’ll miss the people the most, both the Mozambicans and others I met along the way.
“I’m just looking forward to the next chapter.”