American Board Mission: Gogoi Mission

Gogoi Mission

Portuguese East Africa


The Gogoi (Gogoya) Mission was founded by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (the “American Board Mission” – or “American Board”) in 1920.  Although located 35 miles across the boarder in Mozambique (formerly Portuguese East Africa), it was an outstation of Mount Selinda and mail was posted there (and can therefore be considered a Southern Rhodesian mission).

Even after the founding of the Mount Silinda and Chikore missions, the American Board continued looking east towards Portuguese East Africa.  Repeated efforts to establish a mission in Biera were unsuccessful. The American Board next turned its attention to using Mt. Silinda as a springboard for opening a sub-mission station across the boarder – an area “full of people speaking practically the same language as that used at Mt. Silinda.”

After several years of planning, the American Board finally received permission from The Mozambique Company (“Companhia de Moçambique”) in 1916 to rent a farm at Gogoi (Gogoya), about 35 miles across the boarder.  A year later, J.P. Dysart  and Dr. Lawrence settled on the land and began the process of developing the farm to secure a farming claim, which they were able to do in Dysart’s name by 1920.

Nurse Gertrude Merrill joined Dr. Lawrence at the mission beginning in 1922.  But the American Board’s efforts continued to meet with resistance from the Portuguese, which actively opposed Protestant mission development in the Catholic country.

By 1934, it was clear that “Gogoi was not the answer to the evangelization of the territory.” It was largely inaccessible, not recognized as a mission and too closely connected to the Mt. Silinda mission in Southern Rhodesia.  Even with the partnership of the Catholic Swiss Mission and assistance of Fr. Pierre Loze, a retired prominent Swiss missionary, the station at Gogoi all but shut down in 1935 and was finally closed in 1942 by the Portuguese in response to the Ross report of 1925 and in an attempt to reduce the number of American backed missions in Mozambique.