Filimao Chambo is director of the Africa Region.* He was born at a Nazarene mission hospital and raised in Mozambique. After obtaining a degree from South Africa Nazarene Theological College, Chambo received his master's degree and a doctorate in Biblical Studies at the University of Johannesburg.
Chambo and his wife, Samantha, have a 10-year-old daughter, Tsakani, and a 6-year-old son, Emanuel.
Tell us about your parents:
My father, Manuel, now retired, was a pastor, superintendent of the Maputo District, and teacher at Seminario Nazareno em Mozambique. My mother, Bessie, pastors Maputo Central Church and will retire this year. She has been there for nearly 15 years and averages around 2,500 in Sunday worship. They have planted six churches since she has been pastor. I'm proud of her!
I have four brothers (two have passed away) and one sister.
Best thing about growing up in Mozambique?
It wasn't the best time to grow up there with the civil war, but it kept me, and everyone else, humble and dependent on each other. We didn't know what the next day would look like. I cherish those moments. The concept 'I have your back' was lived out each day.
Kent Brower in terms of Biblical theology. He pushes me to stay focused in academic areas.
Eugénio Duarte in terms of leadership. He brought me along in decision-making processes when he was Africa regional director. My father is there on a personal level mentoring and challenging me in my walk in holiness.
What's your greatest fear?
Any regrets in life?
I didn't spend enough time with my brother, Morgan, who passed away in 2009. He was killed in a car accident.
Just from all the things people say about Paris, I'd like to go there with my wife. (Maybe she influenced me too much with this.)
Hope for your children?
That they will be good, godly kids. Also, that I can give them the best education possible, and give them a solid base for whatever they choose to do in life.
How has being a regional director changed you?
It has forced me to be more careful in my decision making, and to watch my comments in thinking out loud (also in magazine interviews).
It's being totally dead to everything else, including pride and selfish desires. It's total consecration to God-a covenant to let God be Lord of one's life.
Where do you see the Africa Region in five years?
Energizing our passion for holiness and our identity as Nazarenes in the midst of all other religious groups. And then, rekindling our efforts to make Christlike disciples.
What's taking place on the region with education and resource development?
We are commissioning African theologians and Bible scholars to research and educate clergy and leadership on issues unique to the African context, such as tribalism. We are encouraging our professors and scholars to write books and articles related to these issues.
What are some things you're working on now?
Leadership development for district superintendents, pastors, and laity. In September (2010) we're having a district superintendent retreat focusing on leadership development. We're also planning PALCONS across the region.
What would readers be surprised to learn about you?
I'm shy. Also, although I fly frequently, I have a fear of heights.
If you weren't clergy, what vocation might you have developed?
An economist. I was studying for that.
So what changed your mind?
As I was studying business, I was negotiating with God saying I would support the work of the church as a layperson. After my first year of studies, I thought I would win that negotiation, but I didn't have peace. So I surrendered everything to God and followed His direction to study theology.
Share about Samantha:
She's more outgoing than I. She's not afraid of heights! Loves to be around people and investing in ministry with children, especially those who are disadvantaged. She's more of the minister at home since I travel frequently. She arranges our family studies and devotions.
I can go to her anytime to discuss anything and know she will challenge me to think outside the box. She has a great mind and sees the options and possibilities that I might have missed.
Where did you meet her?
In South Africa at the Nazarene Theological College, where I was studying. I intended to graduate and move home, but I decided to stay after my graduation. It was the best decision I made, to stay. And while waiting for her to finish her education, I taught in the extension or distance learning program and began work on my post-graduate studies.
Michael W. Smith. It drives my family crazy. They'll ask me to change the CDs in my car but now they bring their own and change mine.
What makes you laugh?
They're just comical. My son has a lot to say. He came from Sunday School after learning about the prodigal son and repeated what his teacher shared. Apparently the teacher exaggerated a bit to get the kids engaged, especially about the 'swine.' Emmanuel started laughing and said in his unique way: 'Why would the son eat the junk and not eat the pig? If I had been the son, I would have had pork sausage and bacon.' We didn't explain the background of the Jews and laws on pork.
Kent Brower. I love the dynamic insights he brings to holiness and the New Testament. I'm more of a biblical studies pastor and his focus on holiness, the Bible, and theology, are all helpful for me in keeping my balance on holiness concepts developed from the Bible.
Most annoying habit?
Too many to name.
What annoys you in others?
When I'm talking to someone, and I can see they're not with me| we're not connecting.
With what Bible character do you most identify?
Peter. There are times when I think I have everything under control and I feel I know what God wants in certain situations and how I can help God in those moments. But then those are the moments when I may feel rebuked, shaped, and called to a different direction.
How do you connect with God in a personal way?
Through reading the Bible, I also read books on specific subjects. Now, I'm reading about John Wesley's covenant relationships but with a focus on wanting to hear God speak to me about covenant relationships. Is it possible to have that in the 21st century?
Those kinds of hard questions sometimes lead me to a place where I want to be quiet, away from distractions, and hear God speak over specific issues I'm studying. Also, I enjoy being in a worship service and just listening for God, through the voices of others in song or sermon.
Holiness Today, July/August 2010
*In 2017, Filimao Chambo was elected as the 42nd General Superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene.