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Christian Leader Murdered in Mozambique

Saturday, September 1, 2001 | Tag Cloud Tags:

Christian Leader Murdered in Mozambique
A top leader of Timothy Training Institute in Mozambique was murdered Sunday in a robbery in Maputo.

Antonio Manuel Chilaule had just returned to his parked vehicle after participating in a church service in Maputo when gunmen who demanded keys to the vehicle accosted him. Chilaule turned over the keys, but because he saw the faces of his assailants they shot and killed him on the spot. An assistant, Mrs. Mafalda Cossa, who accompanied him also was mortally wounded and died later in a Maputo hospital.

Chilaule, 52, was the director of the work in southern Mozambique for Timothy Training Institute. Mrs. Cossa, 45, was a tutor for the program.

Indigenous missionaries founded TTI in 1986 in South Africa. Johan Gous was among them and became the work's chief executive officer until he joined Christian Aid, an agency assisting indigenous missions worldwide, last month. TTI's main objective is to train Africans who have not had previous formal training. The institute offers extension courses throughout many countries of Africa; a trained tutor conducts each course.

"Chilaule was well known throughout Mozambique, right up to the top, to President Joaquim Chissano himself," said Gous, now Africa Director for Christian Aid in Charlottesville, Va. Chilaule left a widow, Maria, and five children ranging from college age down to seven years old.

The training TTI conducts is adapted to the African environment and culture.

"For example," Gous said, "in these lands of great poverty we teach them to work hard, till their own fields, grow their own crops, and not steal."

Ironically, Chilaule was killed in a robbery.

Other principles of leadership are taught based on Titus and 1 Timothy 3.

"The wonder of it all," Gous said, "is that every week every trainee goes home and preaches the same message to his own congregation. So 2000 people being trained at any one time in several countries would go home and preach the same Biblical teaching to 300,000 parishioners the next Sunday. In this way the training is multiplied according to 2 Timothy 2:2, thus deriving the name of TTI."

Since it began TTI has trained over 8,000 African independent church ministers who are bringing the gospel message to approximately 1.5 million people every Sunday. TTI works in seven countries in the southern part of the continent; its materials are used by other agencies in another five African countries.

When asked how the death of their key man in Mozambique would affect the work, Gous replied, "The work will go on. It may be slowed a bit while everyone gets over the loss and regroups, but a new director will be found among the ranks of the senior tutors and eventually be brought to full function as director."

Gous said that an additional severe setback was the loss of the mission vehicle, an Isuzu 280B 4WD pickup overhauled and reconditioned just two weeks ago. "They are very expensive to buy in Mozambique," Gous said, "and if you buy one for a reasonable price in South Africa, you face a 100% duty charge to bring it across the border. Registering it in South Africa would require the vehicle to be out of the country at least five days every month after the first three months."

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