Tshambe, Manuel and Bessie
Rev. Manuel Tshambe was a literature worker in Maputo when, on August 28, 1975, the Missionary Director in Mozambique, Rev. Armand Doll, was imprisoned. His cassette tape recorders were thought to be illegal radio equipment and he was accused of being an American Counter Intelligence agent. The next day a second Nazarene missionary, Rev. Hugh Friberg, was arrested for distributing Christian literature.
Manuel Tshambe was working in the literature office and he tells of his own experience: “On Sunday August 31, 1975, God made it very clear to me that I was to be arrested. So the following morning during family devotions I committed my wife and children to the Lord. The military authorities came to the office that day and closed it.” Tshambe did not get home that day. He and his colleague Mr. Noah Chilenge were taken to prison. Their families brought food for them. Several men were led to the Lord through their witnessing in prison. Chilenge was soon released but Tshambe was kept for several months.
Tshambe was born at Musengi in Manjacaze, and during the camp meeting at Tavane about 1948, he gave his heart to Jesus. God called him to the ministry of the gospel while he was a typographic compositor in Maputo in 1960, and he was sanctified while attending the Pilgrim Bible Institute in Natal in 1963. Ordained in 1977, he was pastor at Matola and teacher in the Bible College Extension School in 1987. Tshambe was Superintendent of the Maputo District when it became a regular District in 1992 and presently continues in that capacity.
Rev. Tshambe reported that in February 1991 a fifteen-year-old girl from one of the Matola churches was shot and killed by terrorists. A man from the Montanha Janeiro Church was also killed at about that time.
Manuel Tshambe’s wife, Rev. Bessie Luiza (Mucavele) Tshambe (1945-), was born at Tavane Mission and was the daughter of Rev. Timoteo Mucavele. She was saved in 1958 during a church revival at Tavane and was sanctified that same year. They were married in 1969. She was called to the ministry in 1982.
Bessie Tshambe was pastor of the Boane Church as it was getting started. Two events took place that helped it become established in the area. A woman in the community brewed liquor and sold it. She was a drunkard herself and was incredibly strong. When she was drunk it took six men to control her, three on each of her arms. One day she came to the altar in a service and was converted. From that day she never touched alcoholic drink and has become a faithful and active Christian with a wonderful testimony.
The second event was a wedding. A young couple were married in the Boane Church. Such a thing was unknown in the community where common law marriages were the norm. This caused a great stir especially as the pastor was a lady, Bessie Tshambe. The local authorities were so impressed that they granted a building site at the bride’s home. It was at Antigos Combatentes a two-hour walk away.
Rev. Bessie Tshambe was ordained in 1991 by General Superintendent Jerald D. Johnson, the first woman to be ordained by the Church of the Nazarene in Mozambique. She is presently pastor of Maputo Central, the largest congregation of the Church of the Nazarene in all of Africa.
In the great overcrowded, poverty-stricken city of about two million people with shanties everywhere, the Maputo Central Church has been growing by leaps and bounds. The first building was a corrugated iron structure holding five hundred. They then outgrew a sanctuary holding a thousand. Now a third has been built - the largest church building in Maputo City. It seats 2,000 people and 4,500 attended the dedication in 1990. Through cottage meetings, ten daughter churches were started. Mavalane, one of them, has also started five and another one, Infulene, has itself started six daughter churches.
Meanwhile, far to the North, work had been started in the Tete Province of Northwestern Mozambique in Central Africa. Rev. Henry “Shakoka” and Mrs. Lucy Best of the International Holiness Mission began working at Plus Ultra, near Furancungo in 1932. Rev. Henry and Mrs. Gladys Pope came in 1934 and served there for the following eighteen years. This was the only Protestant Mission that had permission to work in this region of Mozambique. This work merged with the Church of the Nazarene in 1952. Here too Living Stones were being laid.
Paul S. Dayhoff
Oscar Stockwell, letter (16 September 1975); Belarmino Mandlate, interview, tape recording, (NTC, Muldersdrift, 1993); Rev. Manuel Tshambe, letter (1997).
Trans African (Florida, Transvaal, South Africa: Africa Nazarene Publications, July-August 1991), 12.
Frank Howie, The Mozambique Story, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1993), 52-55; Trans African (July-August 1990), 12.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Living Stones In Africa: Pioneers of the Church of the Nazarene, revised edition, copyright © 1999, by Paul S. Dayhoff. All rights reserved.