Benedita Nhambiu: Why I choose to be United Methodist
Why I choose to be a Methodist? Initially there was no other alternative. Both my parents were Methodists and in Chicuque, the small missionary village where I was born, being Methodist was what one would be, if not unchurched.
While still an infant, my parents had to move to another country where there was no Methodist congregation close to where we lived. Because of that, I was baptized in a Presbyterian church and had my first Christian Education classes, Bible Vacation Schooling and Sunday Schooling in that Church. By then, church was that building and that particular congregation we attended.
When we came back home, being already a preteen, I was surprised to hear about “conferences” of all sorts. It took me a while to understand what was going on: it was so confusing! The fact that the pastors seemed to be rotating yearly from one congregation to other was not helping as well. But the most interesting thing was that everyone could be involved in church work: Men and women, youth and adults served in different commissions and committees, task forces and all of the like. They performed all sort of tasks, from catering to preaching and, no one was too good to perform any task. That was too much fun!
While still a teen, I started participating in church activities and in conferences. I have worn a variety of hats, mainly in youth groups, as did most youths of my times. Life seemed to follow its natural course in an orderly and predictable manner.
Suddenly everything seemed to change: the much awaited Independence from colonial rule had arrived! It brought so many changes that even church structure was affected! Being Christian became somehow politically incorrect as religion was declared “people’s opium”. Only fools and desperate were supposed to attend the church. Those were hard times for Mozambican Christians: many gave up adhering to more trendy status. That was a crossroads point! This situation prevailed for almost a decade affecting a whole generation. In our church most pastors are either older or younger than me because during those years very few people of my age had the opportunity to hear the call to ministry.
I have chosen to stay with the United Methodist Church: I felt there was still room for revival and that the Spirit that once warmed Wesley‘s heart was still at work.
Three decades later I thank God for this blessed decision. I have even more opportunities to serve in my church at all levels and I am proud to belong to this glorious denomination, for the honor and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This why I choose to be United Methodist!
Ms. Nhambiu serves as the secretary of the Africa Central Conference, and is a member of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters. She has held leadership positions at the local, district and conference and general church levels. She is a member of the Mozambique South Annual Conference.