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Missouri United Methodists surpass Mozambique house-building goal

Teams celebrate construction of 82 houses with Habitat for Humanity

MASSACA, Mozambique (August 6, 2008)—Teams of volunteers from the Missouri Conference of The United Methodist Church and its Volunteers in Mission program have surpassed their goal of building 75 homes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Mozambique in three years. Various teams—made up of a total of 40 to 50 people—have built 82 homes in Massaca and Chimoio since 2006.

The final team dedicated 16 houses, which they completed during a two-week period, concluding July 24 in the Massaca community near the capital city of Maputo.

“There are more than 900 United Methodist churches in Missouri, many who are partnered with United Methodist churches in Mozambique for a number of ministries, so building Habitat for Humanity homes together was a natural match,” said the Rev. Mark Dumas, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Jefferson City, Mo. “The Catholic Church is also building homes, and a local group of businesses are digging latrines and installing outhouses for improved water conditions,” he said.

“When we were presented with the needs of orphans who live in a world that doesn’t make it easy for them, our hearts went out to them,” said Dumas. “We realized that we had forgotten the least ones.”

Many of those occupying the new homes are some of the nation’s most vulnerable groups—widows, orphans and single mothers and grandmothers who are caring for children left behind. “It was a lofty goal,” said Dumas, “but when we saw how quickly houses went up last year, we said, ‘Of course we can do this.’”

Dumas said he was pleased that Habitat for Humanity helped the teams find building materials available in the area so the people could maintain their thatch homes built on circular concrete slabs.

“This has been a remarkable example of how churches around the world, which have already built relationships together, can partner with Habitat for Humanity to make a huge difference in communities where the need is so great,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO Habitat for Humanity International. “We are grateful for the compassion and commitment of the United Methodist churches in Missouri.”

About the Missouri Conference of The United Methodist Church
More than 900 churches make up the Missouri Conference of The United Methodist Church, which seeks to support growing, fruitful, vibrant congregations that are changing lives through Jesus Christ.

Habitat for Humanity Mozambique
Formed in 2000, Habitat for Humanity Mozambique has worked with poor communities, local volunteers and international teams to build hundreds of houses in Maputo Province and in the provinces of Manica and Gaza.

Originally, houses were made of cement blocks, but the program changed its technique in the last few years to adopt local materials and methods to lower costs, increase efficiency and community involvement and begin reaching the poorest families in each community as rapidly as possible.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built nearly 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.5 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.