Biography of a YWAMer
In rural Mozambique, many people believe that missions is for white people, for richer people, for more highly educated people. From their small training centre in the east of the country, Youth With A Mission in Marromeu aims to dispel these myths.
Through their training they impart a vision for missions to Mozambican Christians, instilling in them a belief that God wants and is able to use them to cultivate His Kingdom, regardless of their poverty, their education, or their cultural background, if only their hearts are willing.
Tiago is one of the students trained by YWAM whose life has been evidence of this.
Tiago arrived in Marromeu to begin his Discipleship Training School (DTS) with just a small duffle bag containing a few clothes. To get to the YWAM training centre, he had travelled for three days in a dugout canoe along the crocodile-infested Zambezi River. Tiago, a calm and quiet boy with a love of dancing and an infectious smile, came from Milambe, one of the small villages located on the Zambezi delta. He spoke very little Portuguese (the official language) and had received very little education, finding reading and writing difficult, but he was eager to learn and excited to begin the course.
Tiago’s dedication became obvious as the weeks and months passed. He was the first in the classroom each morning, and every day he practised his literacy by reading large portions of Scripture, far beyond what was required of him as part of the DTS. Despite his lack of formal education,
Tiago preached and taught extremely well in the practical phase of the DTS and demonstrated a good understanding of God’s word. He also lived what he believed; he was quick to serve others, helping with cleaning and repairs around the YWAM buildings with a rare enthusiasm. On many occasions he showed a compassionate and generous heart towards others.
After graduating with flying colours from DTS, Tiago had to decide what to do next. Like others on the course, he could return to his life as a fisherman in Milambe, he could continue his formal education, or he could follow the growing desire in his heart to dedicate his life to proclaiming and demonstrating the message of Jesus to others in his country.
Tiago had no money, no wealthy church to support him financially or spiritually in his endeavours, and no educational certificates or trade skills to put to use for God’s glory, but he believed he could be used by God nevertheless. He took a step of faith and joined YWAM Marromeu, where God gave him the desire to live and work in Luawe, one of the delta villages Tiago had visited as part of his DTS outreach.
Despite only being educated to the level of a ten year old, Tiago began to help at a school operated by YWAM in Luawe. This school was begun a few years earlier to offer a Christian-based education to children in the area who have no other access to schooling.
Since then, Tiago has been living and working among the Luawe community, teaching the children and demonstrating God’s love to them.
Hearing of the school in Luawe, the government has sent a teacher to work in the school with Tiago, but the difference in teaching methods and motivation are obvious, and it is evident that the students have a great love for Tiago and a respect for his authority that is based on more than qualifications. Even the Minister of Education in Marromeu has had to accept what a good job this young boy from the bush is doing; he agrees that the school in Luawe should be a model for others and has applauded the Christian values of the school, values that are demonstrated every day through the life of Tiago.
Now Tiago has begun to run a small business, selling used clothing, to provide for himself financially. He has attended several training courses to further equip him for further ministry. He still lives very simply and still enjoys singing and reading his Bible every day.