São Tomé and Príncipe is an island nation in the Gulf of Guinea off the western coast of Central Africa. It is a Portuguese-speaking nation. In 2018, the Free Methodist Church in Portugal sent Moisés and Jacione Souza as missionaries. There are now two Free Methodist churches in São Tomé.
My husband, Camilo, and I are currently serving in Spain, but in June of this year, we traveled to São Tomé and Príncipe. Upon arriving in the country, we could feel the hot, humid weather welcoming us to the island. We were hosted by the Souza family: Moisés, Jacione, and their two girls, Filipa and Giovanna. The Souzas are doing excellent work. During our stay, they shared their story of God’s calling from Portugal to São Tomé. The call came from the words of Acts 16:9 – “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” It was beautiful to see how they know the community and are helping them in their needs, both spiritual and physical. Moisés walks through the streets greeting the people. He salutes everyone he knows, shows them a thumbs up and says, ”fish,” meaning good.
As the Southern Europe regional director, Camilo shared the Word of God in two different worship services. He also had the opportunity to get to know the leaders and help Moisés with church registration issues. We listened to Moisés explain his vision for the country and plans for future ministries. The Souzas hope to find a place to use as a community center, developing a preschool, childcare facility, adult education program, plus music and computer classes. They also plan to start a seminary to prepare national leaders and pastors. Their passion and excitement were evident. We all prayed together for God’s direction and provisions.
I led a Bible study for 72 children who attend the FMC in Uba Flor. We used puppets and illustrations to teach about Zacchaeus and his encounter with Jesus (Luke 19). Because I am a dentist by profession, after the Bible study, I taught the children about the importance of brushing their teeth and demonstrated how to brush correctly. We gave a toothbrush and toothpaste to each of them. They had so much fun doing this! We also taught a dental hygiene class to 30 children at the Agua Viva FMC, our newest church plant.
What a blessing it was to share God’s love from Europe to Africa!