It was July 12th, 2013 at 1:30am, 10 kilometers outside of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The eight member Vanguard missions team was sound asleep when they were suddenly awoken by a loud, obnoxious alarm. “We started hearing lots of banging on doors and yelling”, Senior Korynn Whitaker explains. “At first, I thought it was a tsunami warning.”
At this time, fellow team member Alex McClure and Vanguard alumnus Brian Stevens stepped out the front door to see what was happening. Assuming the worst, Alex sprinted to the Pastor’s house to get help, while Brian stayed behind with the women. Korynn ran to the window next to Vanguard aluma, Christine Stevens, to get a vantage point on the compound. Within seconds, they saw a mob of men, armed with guns and machetes, sprinting towards their bamboo house. Immediately, Brian locked the front door and shut it behind him, leaving himself in front of the house, unarmed.
Korynn ran to the back room where the rest of the team was hiding. She told them what she had seen and together, they prayed for God’s protection. “We didn’t know what they were here for.” Outside, the mob had reached the front door and were yelling at Brian to open it for them. In an effort to deter them, Brian replied by saying that he had no key. Mid-prayer, Korynn heard two gun shots at the door, followed by silence. The girls in the back room breathed slowly, not knowing if Brian was alive, or if any of them would make it through the night. Korynn recalls, “It was such a tangible realization that we might die. But there was a stillness that told me that even if we did, we knew where we would go.”
Using their machetes, the mob began to raze the front door. Christine joined the girls in the back room, locking the thin door behind her. The gang burst through front door and began kicking in the second, where, on the other side the women were kneeling to pray. The door flew open, the lights flipped on and six men rushed in.
One of the men approached Korynn, who was standing by the door, and extended his hands towards her. Despite the potential motive of the man, Korynn recalls “some sense of fear held them back.” The man patted her down, searching for money. With haste, the rest of the men flipped over beds while shouting in Portuguese. After pocketing 3 phones, 2 digital cameras, and some fake wedding rings, the men bounded into the night, leaving the women unharmed.
Moments later, Brian entered the house, untouched. Shortly after, Alex returned to the house safely. In tears, the team embraced one another. While several hundred dollars worth of video and sound equipment had been stolen from the local pastor Jesse Braga’s house, no one had been injured. “It was the Lord’s protection” Korynn says “because realistically we should have been killed.”
God’s covering had kept the team safe and his grace continued into the following week as they launched Som Do Céu, meaning Sound of Heaven. The interdenominational event, hosted in the capital, is a collaborative project which purposes to present the gospel in a way that the people can relate to. Despite the loss of the stolen sound equipment, the day was a success. “It was a huge testament to good vs. evil” Korynn says “Because whatever Satan tries to throw at us, God’s going to come back bigger and stronger.”