Camundambala, ANGOLA


Spring 2020
Written by Brian and Debbie Howden - ANGOLA
AngolaBD@aol.com


Brian and Debbie Howden

Camundambala Assembly

With so many things going on, it is easy to lose focus that the whole purpose of our presence in Angola is to preach the Gospel and teach theScriptures. It's always good to start by recording how the Lord is at work locally. We would value prayer for two young men in the assembly who have been a wonderful encouragement to us. Filipe and Bigel have been in bible class for five years now and are like sponges, soaking up Bible truth. They have a real heart to study the Scriptures and to teach others. We are thankful to the Lord for what He is doing in their lives.

It's the first time that we have worked with second-generation believers - both their fathers were in our first Bible classes in the late 90's - and it's wonderful to see these two young men are proving to be a real blessing to the assembly. Their influence and example amongst the many young people we have is noticeable. They are both recently married, so please pray that the Lord will preserve them and continue to use them for His glory. The consecutive Bible studies continue every week. I am responsible for five groups, and there are three other groups led by local brothers. In total, there are approximately 80 believers receiving weekly bible teaching, besides what they receive in the local assembly gatherings. It is remarkable to see how those that are genuinely saved respond to Bible truths; there is an immediate response as the seed falls into good ground. We have had our disappointments - some aren't progressing as well as hoped, and several have dropped away. One young man, who dropped out of bible class 4 years ago, recently came to see me and said that he realizes that he went wrong and can see that those who kept studying the Scriptures have grown spiritually so that he feels left behind. He has since rejoined us and is starting to get his priorities straight in his life, which is encouraging. His name is Chiseque Pedro.

In December, we had a week's teaching, morning and afternoon, for young people in the assembly who are engaged or anticipating marriage. The studies were a revelation to them as we covered areas such as roles, finances, responsibilities, and behaviour. It was touching to receive messages of thanks from a number of them after the studies were concluded.

Day to day
Life is always full and varied, with maintenance work on the various properties, ongoing repairs to leper houses, overseeing the logistics of the primary school, and maintenance and repairs of the Land Rovers and generators. We are so thankful that we have a team of young men who work with us daily and who take a lot of the responsibilities off our shoulders for the hands-on work. It provides regular employment for six young men, and at times many others are called in when required. The Emmaus and printing work continues to function well, this requires only minimal supervision, and we are very grateful for the three believers that handle this work so effectively day today.

Debbie is frequently called upon to treat the many ailments that afflict people's lives, and we are indebted to Sam at Buila for his patience and help over WhatsApp when something difficult crops up. Every week numerous folk are helped for the treatment of malaria alongside other ailments and infections on the veranda of our home.

Politically, things are calm, but people are becoming poorer. It is getting almost reminiscent of war times. Rice has more than tripled in price in a month, and prices are soaring everywhere. During the war years, the World Food Programme sent in food for the people, and doctors and nurses with medicines. Now there is a shortage of all of these things, and the people are in desperate need. We try to do what we can locally with the widows and very poor, but it's easy to feel swamped. Sometimes we need to be emotionally switched off, but the Lord was never like that - He was constantly moved with compassion as He saw the multitudes.


Assembly Young People

One of the young men from the Assembly wanted work, so we organized for him to spend a year with a welder in town as an apprentice. He has now learned how to weld, so we were able to provide him with a generator/welding machine and tools to help him start earning for himself. He now does the welding repairs we have on the mission station. So there are ways to help folk earn a living and when we can we do a bit to help in this way.

Points for Prayer:

  • Please pray for the Lord's continued blessing on the assembly at Camundambala.
  • Pray for the spread of the Gospel in the village of Camundambala.
  • Pray for the weekly Bible study groups and continued growth and development.
  • Pray for daily health and strength for ourselves and those who work closely with us.
  • Pray that we might have the wisdom to see and meet real needs.

We anticipate returning to Angola on Thursday, February 6th, DV. Phil Ramsey from Helions Bumpstead and Matt Coe from Bury St Edmunds have received their visas, and we are looking forward to travelling back to Angola with them and enjoying their help in practical work and fellowship for two weeks. Please remember their wives and families who remain at home. We are deeply grateful for the sacrifices that they are prepared to make for the work in Angola. It is good for transparency and accountability that visitors come and see for themselves, so we are looking forward to their visit. Two trustees from the Angolan Literature Fund are planning to visit us in April, so that will be good too.

Its been wonderful spending precious times with the family over the recent weeks, little Zachary has grown and now it's time to say goodbye to the family again. We plan to revisit the UK again for a month in August DV, and although our hearts and lives are with the work the Lord has entrusted us to do in Angola, it is always such a wrench leaving loved ones behind. We miss them terribly while away.

Go therefore and make disciples

Supplies

You may have heard that changes are happening at Medical Missionary News. We would value prayer as to how we should react to this, as every aspect of our service for the Lord depends very much on the supplies that we get from the UK and Brazil. We have done our utmost to source supplies within Angola, but are hampered by infrequent supplies, high costs, poor quality, and significant time wasted on searching in Luanda for things which are not available. Portuguese Bibles are almost impossible to find in the capital.

Good stewardship of funds entrusted to us demands that we buy good quality products at reasonable prices. Even with transport and import costs, it is still better to buy in the UK and ship in containers (we usually receive 3 per year). Some people also kindly send us new clothing, supplies for the Primary School, and toiletries for the needy. Please be aware that MMN will not be receiving goods after the 31st March at the Wickford warehouse. At the time of writing, we are not able to give you the new MMN address to which small boxes should be sent to. We will provide this as soon as we know. There will be another warehouse for larger bulky items, and it is from this warehouse that a secular company will load and ship the container for Angola. This is the situation short to medium term, and we would value much prayer that every aspect of our service for the Lord will be able to continue unhindered.

Literature work We are looking forward to receiving almost 2000 Portuguese Scofield study bibles from Brazil very shortly, we know these will be snapped up eagerly as all study bibles are. We are anticipating 8000 texts, only Portuguese Bibles, too, which will be wonderful to have. Angola is hungry for the Scriptures, and in a year, we have moved 14,000 Portuguese Bibles besides the constant requirement for Chokwe Bibles. We never seem to have enough Bibles to meet the demand, but it is a good problem to have! Nevertheless, we are profoundly grateful for the Angolan Literature Fund that provides these Bibles and other literature for which so many folks are delighted to have available.

Spring 2020
Written by Brian and Debbie Howden - ANGOLA
AngolaBD@aol.com