The Woodrows’ ministry began in 1990 when they were sent to serve Mozambique in medical evangelism. At that time, Mozambique was a communist country torn by civil war, was the poorest nation on earth, was regarded as having the highest level of human suffering in the world, and was closed to missionary activity. Yet Grace Missions was allowed to enter this closed country when Charles accepted a contract from the communist government to work as a surgeon in one of their poorly equipped and under-staffed hospitals.
Since 1990, God has wrought many changes in Mozambique. The 17-year civil war ended in 1992 and the country has enjoyed almost uninterrupted peace since then. In 1995, the nation adopted a democratic constitution that granted freedom of religion to the people for the first time in many decades and embraced a free market economy that has transformed the financial situation of the country. As these changes evolved, the Woodrows were in an excellent position to take advantage of the new opportunities. Through the years, their ministry has flourished along three main fronts: medical/ evangelistic, church planting, and strengthening of existing Evangelical churches through literature distribution and training conferences and seminars.
In the medical evangelistic work, Grace Missions has been authorized to build and operate a mission hospital in Nampula, the second largest city in Mozambique and the commercial center of the most densely populated region of the country. The main hospital building has been completed at a cost of one million dollars and will begin operating once additional missionary doctors have been recruited.
In church planting, Grace Missions has a small but sound work underway that dates back to 1993. The twenty church members are committed to Christ and to Biblical Christianity, and they strive to grow in grace and truth.
To help other Evangelical churches, GraceMissions has operated a Christian bookstore since 2003, selling books at half their replacement cost in order to make them affordable to Mozambican Christians. Since 2000, Grace Missions has partnered with Editora Fiel to host annual training conferences in Nampula for church leaders from all parts of the country. Attendance at these conferences usually runs around 300-330. Since 2005, Grace Missions has offered intensive training seminars in systematic theology, and in the past two years has supported an indigenous ministry called Mission Ekklesia that shares Grace Mission’s goals for the Mozambican church.
Ekklesia offers regular training seminars, free book distribution to church leaders who meet monthly to discuss what they are reading, and a theological journal with articles by sound Mozambican brothers alongside classic writings from the Puritans and Reformation Fathers.