The Lord's Work in Angola

Autumn 2022
Written by Brian & Debbie Howden - Angola

Life here goes on, challenging as ever for the average Angolan. Food prices are sky high, medicines are in short supply, and the main road from the capital to Saurimo is utterly horrendous, and that is without the rains, so goods and supplies will be scarce when the rains start falling next month. We are just days away from the general election when many expect the main opposition party to win. Still, that expectation is based on hope as it's hard to see anything happen, but another government win.

People are desperate for change; for 40 yrs, things for the most are unchanged, no jobs, no medicines, no electricity, no fuel, no water. Just to carry on as your parents and your grandparents and knowing that your children have no better future ahead of them. The frustration of the younger generation is enormous. One fears what the situation will be like when the government announces that they have been voted back in by a free and fair election. We expect to deal with many depressed and downhearted young people next week. We would value prayer that things will remain calm. Election day is the 24th of August.

Life here in the assembly has been rough over the last few months, with many reminders that the work here is replicating the situations that we read of in the NT during the early years of the Church. Adultery, jealousy, and fighting (literally) are some of the cases we are facing at present. I'm currently doing five sessions on the Christian walk from the book of Ephesians, seeking to encourage the believers to walk worthy of their calling and not to walk as they once did when in their sins. Western clothing, mobile phones etc, all give the appearance of progress, but the reality is that we are still in the days of infant Gospel work here and the traditional Chokwe lifestyle and Chokwe responses to life's circumstances have still to be won over by the power of the Gospel. The government have recently installed six solar-powered street lights which switch on when someone moves past, great excitement in the village. Still, I pity the houses near where they have been installed as the children of the village will be playing there till very late at night until the novelty wears off! But oh, how this village still needs the light of the Gospel! Unfortunately, one of the brothers who is responsible for evangelism in the village is one of those who has been fighting, so that hasn't been a very good light shining before men! It's disappointing for those believers here who are trying to walk as children of light and us, so please continue to stand with us in prayer that the power of the Gospel will genuinely transform lives.

430,000 tracts being sorted for distribution.

During this dry season, our team of faithful workers have been busy putting in the foundations of the new hall and building a new house for one of the key workers here. We have had three mud-brick houses built in the village for some needy folk and given roofing sheets to 20 families enabling them to face the coming wet season with a little more hope. We continue to support 24 elderly folk with monthly food distribution, and this month, we have taken on another elderly lady whose husband died recently and has no means of support. All these things and much more can only be done through the kindness of the Lord's people who seek to reach out and help those who, by no fault of their own, are so desperately poor and unable to improve their lives.

The new academic year starts next month, and we are trying to replace some of the teachers at the school. Unfortunately, our head teacher is not very forceful and lets things drift, so we have had to take a more active role in looking for good teachers to join the school instead of just accepting who the government sends us. We were promised by the director of Municipal education that two teachers we asked to be assigned to the school would be placed here. That will be good, as one of them is from Camundambala and the other has a good reputation. We have also taken on two others who, although not salaried by the government, will work as "co-operators", and although we will have to be responsible for their salaries, we will try to get the government to take this responsibility on in the future. Our deputy head, Mavunda, continues to be an excellent worker, and he needs prayer that he will remain well, and we are working closely with him to try and get good new teachers in to replace three that have left and two who are off sick.

We are so thankful for Paula and Bigel, who work well together in the Emmaus work in town. Together with Jacob in the printing work, they are a good team and take on many of the literature work responsibilities. They quietly work away and don't complain if two weeks go by without me popping to see them. The literature sales pay their salaries, so while we have literature coming into the country provided by Angolan Literature Fund, this work is self sustaining. We are still reeling at the cost of importing literature into Angola, as it has skyrocketed into double digits of thousands of pounds, and we can't pass this cost onto the folk who are buying the literature as it would make it unaffordable; consequently, ALF is bearing the brunt of that. We are delighted that the delivery of 12,000 Portuguese bibles arrived safely, which will go a long way in meeting the insatiable desire for Portuguese bibles here. We are constantly being asked for large print bibles, so hopefully, we can put an order for these shortly with Crawford Brown in Brazil, who does a tremendous job for us in sourcing and sending so much of our literature. We need a reprint of the Chokwe bible, so that should be done soon too. Currently, the trustees are getting quotes for this.

We learnt recently that Juan Palacios and his wife, who are doctors in Luena just 4 hrs away from us, will shortly be leaving Angola to return to Argentina because of family responsibilities there. That will leave us without medical help and with Sam Simonyi-Gindele indefinitely in Canada, again due to family responsibilities. We would appreciate your prayers that we might be kept well and healthy.

Please remember in prayer

  • The assembly at Camundambala
  • That peace will prevail as a result of the elections on 24th August
  • For the spread of the Gospel in this dark land.
  • For the school and the task of finding good teachers.
  • For the importation of two containers with materials for the new hall.
  • For us that we might remain fit and well.

We trust this gives you a little insight into life here at the moment. Thank you again for your prayers and continued interest in the work of the Lord here.

Autumn 2022
Written by Brian & Debbie Howden - Angola