Sabbath, June 30, 2007

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, pray¬ing in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20, 21.

The Republic of Angola – located in southwest Africa and bordered by Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and the Atlantic Ocean – was once a Portuguese colony. The country abounds in natural resources such as oil and diamonds.

After becoming independent from Portugal in 1975, the country plunged into civil war. The Movimiento Popular de Liberacion de Angola (MPLA) (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) came into power, although still opposed by other parties. In 1994 a peace agreement established a national government. The war broke out again in 1998, ending with UN intervention in 1999 and the resumption of power by the MPLA.

Angola’s economy fluctuates because of its wars. Although Angola is rich in natural resources, its income per capita is one of the lowest in the world. Agriculture supports 85% of the population. Despite the 1994 peace agreement, however, violence continues; and millions of minefields prevent many farmers from returning to their fields.

The history of our church in Angola is very interesting: all the brothers and sisters (except four) in the city of Lubango were members of another denomination. Moved by the Holy Spirit and Providence, they came to the firm conviction that the altar at which they were worshiping was not the one erected by God.

After they left their former church, they thought their trials were over; but the Lord wanted to further purify their faith, increase their knowledge, and help them practice more patience.

They spent some time in prayer and study, while meeting under the trees, until one of the leaders of our church invited them for a talk. Once convinced where the truth is found, they became a part of the people of God in 2001. New members were baptized that year, and others were added when Pastor Daniel García visited in 2002.

In December 2002, the field of Angola was reorganized by Pastor García. We are thankful to the Lord that during 2002–2004, the work in Angola spread out to four more provinces.

In Luanda, the capital city, the work started in 1993 and continues to develop. In that city, we have two churches and three organized groups. The believers gather in small tents or under arbors in the courtyard of a brother’s house. In this city the church has a plot of land, but because of the lack of means they have not been able to build a chapel. Thanks to the Lord, the work in Angola is now registered by the government. (Registration was not possible in the past.)

During my three-month stay in this country, I saw the eagerness of our people to know more about God’s Word and their wish to work for the progress of God’s cause.

Now there is a good opportunity for the work to develop in Angola. We notice an awakening of people in the whole country. Many desire to find a reason for their existence, a hope to satisfy the thirst of their souls. After almost thirty years of civil war – in which the people of Angola suffered the cruel reality of starvation and sickness and the cruelty of their fellowmen – the country has become a vast and fruitful missionary field.

The economic situation of our work in Angola, however, is not strong enough to cover the basic needs. There are no headquarters, the only property in the whole country is just one church building, and there is no literature for missionary work. The price of printing and photocopying is also very high (just one page costs between US $0.20 and $0.25). Without basic material for missionary work, it is very difficult for our brethren to evangelize effectively. Therefore, I fervently appeal to our brothers and sisters to give a generous offering to the cause in Angola, a sacrifice of love so that many souls can be reached for the glory of God.

–Daniel Valverde Contreras
Regional Representative for Portuguese Africa