Originally from the mountains and valleys of Papua New Guinea where most people do subsistence farming or collect, dry and sell coffee beans for a living, Lansipe has maintained a firm stance throughout her 14 years serving in Africa: “If I can do missions, you can do missions.”
Lansipe learned about OM when its ship Doulos visited Papua New Guinea. She then attended the OM orientation by faith, confident that somehow the funds would come together for her to go to the mission field. She raised half of the funds she needed to cover flight costs and a few months of living expenses by selling small things such as fried dough balls, fresh produce and peanuts. The day before she was due to fly out, Lansipe received the rest of the needed funds from one-time donations.
It didn’t happen overnight, but Lansipe continued telling her church about missions and urging them to get involved.
When a few Christians decided to regularly support her, they planted a garden with the idea of the profits going towards missions. “They put the vegetables on a big tube and paddled down the river to the main highway to sell, so that was the money they sent to me,” said Lansipe. “It wasn’t easy; they really struggled. Sometimes they paddled down, and when they bumped a rock the tube turned over. It’s a big river, dirty, and all the produce would go down, and they would just cry, walk back home and start doing the garden again.”
Gradually others saw that they, too, could contribute to missions through what they knew or what they had. “I always told them it’s for our good. You will see the hand of God,” Lansipe said.
When Lansipe visited the village in 2015, the community was eager to show her the progress that had been made in the years she had been away. Roads and telephone network now connected the village to others, and students from the village were attending university. “They cried, the whole group cried, and they told me: ‘You know, because we supported you, this is what we see now in our village. Other villages called us ‘back pages’, but now we have highly trained people. We prayed, and we cried for missions, and we gave, and this is the blessings that we get, that God gave us in return.’”
“Thank God for opening their minds to see as God sees. That’s why I’m back in Mozambique,” Lansipe smiled. “They are standing at my back.”
Slowly but surely individuals and churches are seeing the importance of missions and have begun sending missionaries of their own.
Mobilising the Mozambican church
Lansipe first arrived in South Africa in 2004 to do Missions Discipleship Training (MDT) before serving with OM in Angola for three years to literally help build the base up. In 2008, she returned to Papua New Guinea to continue mobilising the local church and working with OM in Papua New Guinea, which is when she learnt about OM in Mozambique and knew she needed to go there next.
Lansipe found many cultural similarities between Mozambique and Papua New Guinea — particularly the mindset that local Christians and churches should be receiving foreign missionaries instead of sending out their own and that they are too poor to give to missions, she said. Challenging these mindsets has become a passion of Lansipe’s as she urges students at Mozambique’s MDT — as well as local churches — that they need to step up and get involved in spreading the good news.
“Coming from a background similar to theirs, it’s not the funds that comes from outside,” explained Lansipe. “It’s inside, it’s your own people.…There is a command from the Lord that you have to go; no matter if you are in a first world country, second world, third world.…And if God calls you [to go], that’s your calling, and He will provide. And you have to tell your own people back home. If they don’t believe you, you have to keep on talking and talking and talking until it gets stuck in their head.”
A local team member told Lansipe that missions had never been clarified to them and that is why it is hard to get the local church involved in missions. “I told [him]: ‘To you it’s difficult, but to God it’s not difficult, you can do it. It’s only giving more awareness to the church, that’s all.’”
“It’s not people from the city; it’s people right from the village [who can support missions],” said Lansipe. “…I always tell [Mozambicans] ‘I don’t want to hear this word ‘poor’. You are not poor. If you were poor, you wouldn’t wear these nice clothes. Why buying all these nice clothes? No, you have enough. Then this 15 Metical (0.25 USD), or 100 (1.67 USD), give it into missions, and you will see.’”
Lansipe smiled. “I want to see [the Mozambican church], for the first time, to raise support and send one [missionary], and they will see what God is going to do.”