Mozambique is a country with strong Islamic roots, where people gather at the mosque to pray five times daily. Finding Christian leaders is uncommon. It is in this environment that Rodger Schmidt sees hopeful opportunity. Schmidt journeys alongside the next generation of Christian leaders in Mozambique through the International Internship Mission, imparting the practices of soul care, leadership development, ministry and sustainability. “In living as Jesus did the church of Jesus Christ naturally emerges,” explains Schmidt.
For three years, eight single college-aged men devote their lives to one on one mentoring with Schmidt. They learn about their own hearts, use the Word of God as a mirror when engaging with the world around them, experience hands on ministry, and sustain themselves as they share the gospel of Christ. Schmidt describes the community as one in which everybody is a learner and a teacher.
Since April of 2008, MozOvos, a functioning egg farm, allows the interns to be self-sustaining in ministry, while at the same time providing the community with quality and affordable eggs. Additionally, MozOvos employs local residents to work the farm, several of whom have become Christ followers in the process. The International Internship program and the MozOvos egg farm work together and are essential to the greater visionary purpose of long term sustainability and the mobilization of these young men as Christian leaders living a life of mission.
Central to both the internship program and the egg farm is the vital aspect of living life in missional community. Preparing meals together, eating together, conversing together, working together, worshiping together, studying together—participating not just observing, this is fundamental for missional community. It is an environment where outside participants wrestle with the language and culture, growing together as a family of believers. Schmidt remarks that the people of Mozambique have told him repeatedly, “We come, we listen to the gospel, because you entered into our lives.”
Entering lives. Living as Jesus did. Schmidt’s ministry is marked by these two phrases that are expressed as he lives in community, grows, learns, influences, teaches and participates in life in Mozambique. Schmidt leads out of a model of mentoring, with roots established in his time at Denver Seminary where he received the benefit of others pouring into his own life. Additionally his years at seminary equipped hi m with powerful critical thinking skills, giving him the insight to ask the appropriate questions for doing ministry in Mozambique.
As International Internship in Mission continues on it will certainly continue to evolve. What will remain consistent is Schmidt’s model of ministry—to live as Jesus did—with the people of Mozambique.