Voices from the Field

Sustainability on the Farm and in the Church: Rev. Chilundo Tells Her Story

Sustainability on the Farm and in the Church: Rev. Chilundo Tells Her Story
Rev. Adelina Chilundo

I never dreamed of becoming a pastor, I wanted to be an agriculturalist. When invited to attend a theology course in Cambine-Inhambane, I refused, citing a lack of interest. My pastor insisted but I persisted! So other scholars went to Cambine without me.

I left Xinavane in Gaza province and came to Maputo the capital city to follow my dream of being an agriculturalist. There were no slots available for my courses during the day, so I studied by night with working adults.

When I turned 19 and was in the ninth grade, my father could no longer afford to pay for my studies. A family invited me to live with them as a maid, and in return promised to pay for me to continue studying at night. Five months later, I was no longer in school and had no salary.

I was innocent and wanted to get married just so that I could get out of poverty. I thought to myself, ‘I am not studying, I am not working, I have no means of funding my studies, I might as well get married.’ My husband came along while I lived with my sister and said, ‘Why don’t we start a family?’ I agreed and we’ve been together since 1993.

Overcoming the Fear of Studying Theology

My husband got a job as a driver in the United Seminary of Ricatla, an ecumenical theological institution in Maputo. He encouraged me to continue studying. I resumed the night classes and completed ninth and tenth grades. By then, we had three children. However, I was putting my life at risk because the travel was dangerous. There was no transport that late at night from the school back home, so I stopped my studies again.

We had a shop, so I decided to manage the shop and our little farm. One day, the dean of the seminary came shopping for household items and asked me why I was no longer studying theology. I said that I had no interest in becoming a pastor.

“Even if you don’t become a pastor,” he said, “you will have the knowledge and who knows how you can best use it? Go home, talk to your husband. If he agrees, you can register and study as an external student.” I promised to think about it.

I got home, told my husband what had happened and shared that I feared I was incapable of studying theology. I’d heard that there is so much work and so much reading. Also, I was tired of studying. He encouraged me to enroll. I did and excelled academically which prompted donors from Missouri to commit to paying for my tuition.

A Vision of Hope

Soon after seminary, I was assigned to four parishes in a five-year period before being awarded a scholarship to Africa University in Zimbabwe where I completed my bachelor’s degree. Since my return, I’ve been assigned various parishes and I started working as the executive secretary for United Methodist Women since 2020.

My vision for the church is to see the church be sustainable. My life has changed since joining team Mozambique. Because of the international United Methodist Women’s Training for Transformation, I am now able to make plans of action. I am constantly rediscovering myself because of this training. Also, I am usually shy, but this training forces me to get up and speak. I can have confidence in my conversations with colleagues.

In my free time I like to return to the farm and garden. I have pigs and a small farm because it is sustainable.

Rev. Chilundo is the Executive Secretary of the United Methodist Women Mozambique South Annual Conference.  She shared her story with Angelina Mbulo, the Mozambique Pilot Country Team local journalist.

At 45, Rev. Adelina Chilundo and her husband Pedro Roberto are grandparents. They live in Marracuene and have four children ages 26, 24, 21 and12. At some point she would like to pursue a master’s degree in church and society.

Posted or updated: 12/3/2021 12:00:00 AM