PALMETTO -- On one of the last days of his 16-day trip to Mozambique, Palmetto pastor J. Phillip Hamm said God allowed a miracle to happened, much like the ones in the Bible -- and something he will never forget.
Hamm and four men from Manatee County traveled to the African country in June, to a town named Nacala. Hamm does a mission trip each year, but this was his first time visiting Mozambique. He went there to assist missionary Brian Harrell.
Hamm said the fishermen in the town they visited had not caught fish in the past three months.
During their stay in the rural town, they exchanged stories with the fishermen. The fishermen told stories about their lives, and the missionaries talked about theirs and about Jesus.
"I got to go through and share the gospel with them," said Hamm.
But even through all the stories they shared, Hamm said, the fishermen still weren't catching fish.
Hamm said that the lead fisherman told him he decided to take a charm off his fishing net that a witch doctor had given him for good luck, a practice he said was normal in their culture.
"I took it off the net because I believe what you've been telling me about Jesus," Hamm said the fisherman told him.
And when the fisherman cast his net that day, it overflowed with fish.
Hamm said he believes God allowed the men to catch such a large amount of fish to show them He is their provider and that He loves them enough to supply their needs.
"God waited for all of that stuff to be gone," said Hamm. "They never caught that many fish at one time."
Renze Berg, a member at Hamm's church, First Baptist of Palmetto, traveled to Mozambique as well. He recalled all the commotion the fish caused.
"Everyone was excited. They pulled in over 700 fish," said Berg. "Fish that size shouldn't even be in that water."
He agrees the event was miraculous.
This was Berg's second mission trip with Hamm, and says he hopes to go again.
"I just have a heart for people and serving people," said Berg.
Hamm said he has committed to three years of working with missionary Harrell in his efforts to spread the word of Jesus Christ to the people of Mozambique.
"This was our first trip, but we are currently planning on returning once a year for the next three years," said Hamm.
Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.