Angola


Winter 2014
Written by Samuel Simonyi-Gindele - Angola
sg@chameleonsolutions.ca

August, 2014. L-R back: Zachary, Samuel, Elizabeth, Ethan. L-R front, Jesse, Abigail, Seth.

 

The last number of months have been incredibly busy and have included what we hope is our final move and settling in at Biula. During June and July, Samuel was occupied with helping in medical clinics in the Saurimo area, three times a week, daily Portuguese study, and making trips with supplies to Biula where Jonathan Singleton and helpers were able to build a water tower, plumb running water into our house, expand the existing bathroom, install a shower and expand a small office that we will use as a bedroom. We are deeply grateful for the hard work of Jonathan and Matthew Jenkins, from England, and all they accomplished in six weeks to make the house more livable for our family. I was able to finish up the school year with the children, start a new academic year and begin to pack up and prepare for our move from Camandumbala to Biula.

The first two weeks of August we were blessed to take a break in Zambia, hosted by Mark and Pam Ronald at Sakeji School and then moving on to the Orchard Getaway at Kalene Mission that is managed by Bruce and Marilyn Poidevin. This was a much needed time of rest and refreshment for our family and we were encouraged by the kindness of good friends and the fellowship we enjoyed there. We arrived back at Camandumbala to 10,000+ people camped on the mission for a conference marking the 130th anniversary of missionary F. S. Arnot's arrival in Angola. The conference was five days long and one session was six hours in duration! It was definitely an educational experience for Samuel to listen to the various messages, all in Portuguese; some Bible teaching, some history of the assembly work in Angola, and some on the growth of Islam in this country. There is a definite push in areas of Angola towards church hierarchy and a forsaking of assembly autonomy and this message came through at the conference in many subtle and not so subtle ways.

Camandumbala Conference

On September 4th we made the move as a family to Biula. It has been an intense five weeks since then! The living conditions here are very basic and the most challenging that we have ever experienced. Abigail, Samuel, and I are still sleeping in a tent as we are trying to sort out a final bedroom. Samuel and our older boys have done a great deal of work so we now have hot water in the house and they have chiseled channels in the walls so the house can be rewired properly when we get the help of an electrician. For me the days are full with schooling five children and getting everyone fed three times a day with limited kitchen facilities. Samuel's days are occupied from sun-up with everything from keeping the ram pump pumping water from the river to our tank, to doing laundry to help me in the twin tub washer, to chasing pigs away from our house (a huge nuisance and health problem), to nailing up ceiling board and preparing messages in Portuguese. He has deliberately refrained from making a commitment to starting work in the medical clinic here as the priority is to have us all sleeping in the house before the rains come in earnest. Simply living and "surviving" takes a great deal of time and effort at this point. Then there is the huge amount of energy needed (especially for Samuel who is in frequent contact with people and sorting out of issues) in getting to know our neighbours and trying to navigate the Chokwe language, culture, and manner which are so foreign to our way of thinking, and even very different to what we grew used to in Zambia. Simply put, it is called "culture shock" and it is very real! Veteran missionary, Ruth Hadley, advises us that it will take about two years before we feel at home here and the people take us into their hearts!

When we first arrived in Angola some of our children were beginning to so show signs of stress as a result of the unsettledness and many moves. We are so thankful to the Lord that they have settled well at Biula and are flourishing here. This setting really could not be more ideal for a family that is mostly boys! They have found friends who are proving to be good company and, not being able to rely on English at all, they are picking up a mix of Portuguese and Chokwe. Our older boys, who are 14 and 13 years old, are willing workers and have been a tremendous help to Samuel with the physical work here as there simply is no one else to help.

As a family we have been reading through the book of Daniel and have been impressed with this remarkable man - taken to a culture and circumstances radically different from all he had ever known - who "trusted in His God." Pray that trust in "our God" would grow as we seek to make a home and face the daily challenges of life in Angola. Pray that we would have wisdom and understanding and an attitude of humility as we get to know the Chokwe people in the community and local church and begin to learn their language and culture. Please continue to pray for our family, particularly for safety and for the growth and development and blessing of our five children.

Winter 2014
Written by Samuel Simonyi-Gindele - Angola
sg@chameleonsolutions.ca