Gloria Malunga Mazula is simply described as ‘one of our church’s beautiful ones’. She has a lovely sense of humour and is also the Mothers Union District President in Mozambique and a lay minister. She is 62 years old and was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, in 1952. Her mother (Felicia) and father (Victor) came from Messumba, but Victor was a migrant miner. Unusually, he took his family with him (something that Gloria later also did with her husband when he moved for employment) in Bulawayo, where the family stayed until 1960 when they returned to Mozambique to Metangula and Gloria started school in Messumba in 1961. Felicia was a member of MU and the family knew Berta Welo’s family in Messumba (Berta’s grandmother was the MU President there). Victor died in 1975 and Felicia in 2007 in Messumba. Unusually, Felicia never remarried nor had children with someone else.
Gloria had three siblings, all of whom were raised as Anglicans like their parents, baptised, confirmed and married in the church. Gloria has had 8 children and lost one as an adult. She now has 25 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. In the war years in 1965, Gloria’s entire family went to the ‘mato’ (when the Portuguese attacked Messumba) and that area of Lakeshore. They stayed there for four years, sleeping rough and the girls were ‘employed’ by the Frelimo soldiers to fetch and prepare food from the villages for them– for this, Gloria now receives a pension of 8,000 mts per month, but she doesn’t offer any details of what she saw or did in those years with Frelimo. Gloria returned to school for a year, finishing 4th Grade before marrying Manuel Mazula when she was 17 in Messumba. Manuel and Gloria have now been married for 45 years: both are keen members of our church and Mazula was churchwarden in Massengere. He was a teacher of pre-primary, working in several remote places: Mandimba, Mitande, Massangulo, Catore. He took Gloria and his family with him to these places and ended up teaching at Escola Herois in Lichinga, retiring in 2005. He also worked for a couple years at Kuchijinji with the diocese of Niassa.
The Mazulas returned to Lichinga in 1999, and joined Massengere church in 2000, when Gloria became an MU member. She has been the District President for 6 years now.
Being transformed as a Christian, for Gloria means ‘having to do with what the church is, that is, what the people who make up the church are. The church learns from its singing and teaching, from knowing how to respond and worship together.’ She says ‘we need to encourage people to know their Bible and participate – people only want to go and play, or go to their fields.’ She includes many Muslims in her social circle and she prays for and with them: ‘there is friendship and no difference between us.’
Gloria’s spiritual life: Gloria describes her prayer life in almost Ignatian terms – on waking and going to bed, she goes through an Examen. She says she feels closer to God when in personal prayer, and lists several ways that she considers God’s response: how she spends money, her faith is worked out in how she passes her time, she prays for her family (which includes the grandchildren) daily to study well and be treated well by their parents, prays for travellers and the sick and hungry daily, enjoys having a regular Bible study time (the Bible is the only book she owns), and prays specifically for other’s needs. She has no worries about extemporaneous prayers, praying anywhere and before meals. The most important activities for strengthening her faith are her regular personal prayer times, Sunday worship, and seeing spiritual development in others.
What a wonderful example of a women serving you and wanting to know your more day by day. Bless Gloria and her family as they serve you in their church in Mozambique.