André Maholo Chaia was born in the district of Regulo Dambuza (Nyavatshwani) at Chikholo where he grew up and repented. After several years his church joined with the Church of the Nazarene at Banze in the area of Chief Nguluze, and André moved from Chikholo to Banze where Pastor Yohani Mungoi served the congregation. This church had been founded in 1925 by Pastor David Cuco during a great revival that swept across the southern regions of Mozambique as many mine workers returned home from South Africa testifying to the power of the gospel to save from sin.
In 1929 Chaia married Miss Lucia Mabunda Matsinhe. God blessed their home throughout many difficulties. They had thirteen children but five of them died due to poor living conditions. One of their problems was that Lucia had been demon-possessed and the demons continued to trouble her. Through their prayer and faith this problem was overcome. Chaia was a man of faith and he believed that the power of the gospel was greater than that of demons and evil spirits.
When Pastor Yohani Mungoi died in 1936, André Chaia served as leader of the congregation until Pastor André Matsambani Simbine (c. 1890-1988) arrived later that same year. In 1972 Pastor Francisco Chambule (d. 1988) followed Simbine as pastor at Banze. He was working at Stilfontein Mines in South Africa and had accepted the call to the responsibility of guiding the Banze congregation. He did good work until his tragic death in 1988 at the hands of terrorists. He was killed while on a pastoral visit at a homestead.
In 1936 Chaia went to Joni (Johannesburg) to work in the mines. He did not work continually though, as he served the Lord as a leader in the church organization there. In 1948, while leading services at Rand Leases he came down with a sickness which plagued him the rest of his life. As a result, he returned home to help at Banze in 1949.
In 1950 Chaia was asked to pastor the church at Chikavani. He was excited to be able to respond tonce again o God’s calling to pastor. He was elected as zone leader under the guidance of Rev. João Muchave, the district superintendent.
Pastor Chaia was a great leader with good administrative qualities. He believed in educating young people in the church. He used to say, “The future belongs to our children, therefore we need to pray for them until they respond to the Lord.” When his grandson, Fillipe Banze, was unable to continue school, Chaia paid all of his boarding school fees and prayed that he would dedicate his life to God. He eventually did this and enrolled as a student at Swaziland Nazarene Bible College in 1988. In 1996 he returned to the college to begin studies toward a Th.B. degree.
In 1954 the Mavengane District asked Chaia to pastor at Chan’wane but he was unable to because of the living conditions there, so he returned to his home at Chicavane. He had a bad bout with his sickness in 1957 and the congregation sent him to Chicumbane Hospital where Dr. Bush was able to help him.
In 1961 Chaia enrolled in the Bible College for a Christian Workers’ Course and then returned to Chicavane. In 1964 he and Rev. Simeao Manhique were chosen to pastor the churches in Joni (Johannesburg, South Africa). Back home in 1966 Chaia wanted to serve the Lord and preach but his sickness became worse. His children often came from Johannesburg to visit him and were shocked by his appearance. He told them, “I know that I will soon move from this world when my house fails.” He would testify with the words of the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 5:1, “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in Heaven, not built by human hands.”
In 1983 Pastor André Chaia became extremely thin and his condition deteriorated badly. He was sent to the hospital in Xai-Xai and then to Manjacaze Hospital but he did not improve. They sent for his son, Rev. Nehemias Chaia in Johannesburg. Finally he was sent home from the hospital and on August 15, 1983, he breathed his last. He died victoriously with faith in God. At morning prayers he liked to sing, “We Praise Thee Our God,” and in the evenings he would sing, “Never Fear.” He placed Jesus Christ first in his life.
His son, Nehemias Chaia, reported, “We children continually examined his life discreetly. Did Father trust God fully? Did he visit the divining doctors or attend their meetings for searching out sorcerers? Did he secretly drink liquor? We found nothing like any of those things in his life. His faith was certain.”
Paul S. Dayhoff
Mr Filipe Banze, report at Swaziland Nazarene Bible College, July 1998.
Rev. Nehemias A. Chaia, “The Parent of a Preacher Has Slept,” Mutwalisi (The Herald), Shangaan/Tsonga magazine of the Church of the Nazarene in Mozambique and South Africa (Florida, Transvaal, South Africa: Nazarene Publishing House, May 1984), 4-5.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Africa Nazarene Mosaic: Inspiring Accounts of Living Faith, first edition, (Florida, Gauteng, South Africa: Africa Nazarene Publications, 2002), copyright © 2001, by Paul S. Dayhoff. All rights reserved.