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Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, appealed to church members worldwide to pray as a fierce cyclone bore down on Mozambique.

Cyclone Idai made landfall with winds of up to 105 miles per hour (165 kilometers per hour) late March 14 near Beira, a port of 500,000 people where the Adventist Church operates Mozambique Adventist University.

A team of church leaders led by Alberto Timm, associate director of the General Conference’s Ellen G. White Estate, were presenting an International Bible and Mission Conference at the university when the storm first struck earlier in the week.

“Pray for our church members in Mozambique, especially where our Adventist university is in Beira,” Wilson said on his Facebook page. “A large cyclone is bearing down on the area, and already damage has come to Mozambique Adventist University.”

He also called for prayers for those in Mozambique and Malawi already affected by the cyclone, which initially made landfall at midweek, blowing the roof off at least one university building and causing other damage, before heading out to sea.

On its first pass, Cyclone Idai killed at least 122 people in Mozambique and Malawi, The Weather Channel reported. The BBC said Mozambique was braced for the “worst-case scenario” as the cyclone gathered strength and returned on the night of March 14.

Hours before the cyclone returned, university president Heraldo V. Lopes surveyed the initial damage in a video published on Wilson’s Facebook page.

“This is the place where the roof came off,” he said in Portuguese, showing a brick building with no roof. “We are praying to God that nothing else happens to the university.”

The university previously was chosen to be one of the recipients of a Thirteenth Sabbath Offering collected on the last Sabbath of March 2019. The funds are to help expand the university’s popular school of nutrition.

After the first wave of the storm, the Bible conference has been suspended until further notice. Timm and other church leaders, including several from the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, have moved into a hotel in hope of avoiding storm surges, which were forecast to reach at least 20 feet (6 meters) high.

“They are staying on the second and third floors, hiding in the bathrooms, which are probably the safest place,” said Wilson, who has been in contact with Timm and his wife, Marly, who is in the United States.

He reiterated his appeal for prayers for Mozambique and Malawi, as well as South Africa and Zimbabwe, which also may bear the brunt of the cyclone.

“What a blessing to know we are going home to heaven soon where there will be no calamities,” he said. “Let’s engage in Total Member Involvement, helping people physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually through Christ’s power.”

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