Biula, Angola

Spring 2017
Written by Samuel & Elizabeth Simonyi-Gindele - Angola

"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" Ps. 27:14

It is hard to believe that 2016 has come to an end. Are you "waiting for the Lord" as the verse at the top of this newsletter commands? These words of scripture have become very meaningful to us, and at this time of year, it is something to ponder as we look back on the birth of the Lord Jesus, "Emmanuel," God with us. We think of all the waiting that took place before He came. The Bible tells us that God's plan to send His Son into the world was conceived before the world was created.

Brian Howden, Lenguela, myself, and Sergio.

Let me bring you up to date with some of our news and activity since we last wrote in May of last year. I began monthly clinics in Luma Cassai in June, an old mission about 60 kilometres from Biula where there is a small clinic. It has been different from Biula, the people there come from small, isolated villages in the bush, often not being able to pay the token fees we charge, with evidence of much more basic health needs. From Left to Right The Samuel & Elizabeth Simonyi-Gindele family with Tobias & Carola Schemmp, German missionary friends who have left Angola. Christians there are industrious and have gone out of their way to make us welcome, help with preaching the gospel, and feeding us. However, it will be hard to reach there during the rainy season, as the road turns into a quagmire and is only passable if it has a day or two to dry out. I have made trips there by motorbike but can only bring very limited medical supplies on those trips.

The Biula clinic has been encouraging. The nurse has taken to preaching the gospel before Wednesday clinics when I can't be present without extra encouragement from me, so we take heart from his initiative. In the last few months, I had to make a number of trips to Luanda and Zambia, so this was a blessing to see that the work can stand on its own. The government is unable to pay anyone presently, so we have taken on supporting the nurse and traditional birth attendant as they have shown a will to work and serve their community.

From Left to Right The Samuel & Elizabeth
Simonyi-Gindele family with Tobias & Carola
Schemmp, German missionary friends who have left Angola.

Concerning spiritual outreaches, the weekly Saturday morning Bible studies have continued, and while I often don't see consistent attendance by the young men I hope to reach, there is always a good group of interested ladies. Most of them can't read so they don't benefit from the Chokwe/Portuguese notes I make for each lesson, but we pray that the Holy Spirit is writing the truth on their hearts.

I have attended two conferences, one in Chilombo in August, shared with Samuel Kapanji, a commended Zambian worker. It was a busy time with ten sessions in less than a week, but our whole family enjoyed the warm fellowship with the believers. The first time I attended a conference there was in 2006, I bicycled to it, and stayed in a small tent. Now the Masahas have a house with solar lights, and even a shower (though cold water only)! The second conference was last week with Brian Howden in Camandumbala, just outside of Saurimo. I had been at that conference last in 2011, and at that time could speak neither Portuguese or Chokwe. So this time it was a treat to be able to give one message in Chokwe, the other in Portuguese. And even better to enjoy Brian's rich ministry and see the fruit of God's labour through him, his wife Debbie, and Ruth Hadley in that area, with keen young people drinking in the teaching and a local Angolan brother giving a powerful message on the person of Christ. I had three men from Biula with me, so we pray that they may have been encouraged and strengthened by what they saw and heard.

Progress continues slowly in Chokwe. I can understand more that is said but still have far to go to fluency. It was an inspiration to see Brian's freedom in teaching in the audience's heart language.

We spoke in our last newsletter of an addition to our house. It is mostly complete, thanks to a local Portuguese contractor and a visit from a Brass Tacks team. Now we are looking forward to welcoming a New Zealand brother, Phillip Wilson, to finish up the last bit, and help with some other projects like getting running water to the clinic. He arrives next week, God willing. The extra room in the house has made a huge difference to our family life, the children now all have room for a desk to study at and we have another bedroom. Elizabeth will hopefully soon have a kitchen after six months without one.

Abigail is heading off to Sakeji school in Zambia next month. Please pray for her and Elizabeth, especially, as they both are dreading the parting. It is abundantly clear that it is the best decision for Abigail, but that doesn't make it easy. The four older boys continue doing well at homeschool for which we are thankful.

We have lost missionary colleagues. We received sudden, unexpected news that German missionaries in our neighbouring city, Luena, had to leave permanently at the beginning of November. They are good friends and were a great practical help to us, and so we miss them greatly. As well, Joel and Kaleigh Griffin are presently in the process of leaving Biula to move to Luau, a small city about 7 hours drive from here. It has been a painful parting as well. We are reminded again that "many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand" (Pr 19:21), so we let go our plans and "wait on the Lord" to see His purpose.

Please pray for Angola, there are so many physical and spiritual needs here, but there is a strong sense of encroaching darkness and spiritual opposition that makes life and witness here a daily challenge. We enjoyed a holiday in Zambia in September, but we already feel the need for another break!

Spring 2017
Written by Samuel & Elizabeth Simonyi-Gindele - Angola