Since the beginning of the year, I have developed some exciting relationships with the neighborhood children. Most children in Angola are free to wander during the days, especially the boys, since girls have the responsibility to look after younger siblings. During the school holidays, I saw five boys walking on homemade stilts outside of our yard and I invited them in to read a Bible story. Three months later I’m still reading stories and singing to eager faces. They’ve brought friends and family and onlookers have come and gone. I never know how many I’ll have each day, but I know I can count on the smiles of Mano, Nucho, Chico, Podi, and Lano. I don’t know where God will take these stories, but I pray for these boys and girls every day.
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In February, the men and Jordan undertook the grueling trip to Luena, in far eastern Angola. Our friend Stephen Kapaipi, who visited us in December, lives there with a group of Christians who are returned refugees from Zambia. They had tried to plant a church, but ran into difficulties and are quite discouraged. In addition to this group of Christians, there is a new dynamic ICA church plant. Our goal was to do some biblical training with both groups and brainstorm how the two groups could work together (they have very different worship styles).
The trip there was quite a task (see below), but the return trip was much smoother:
400K (250miles) starting from Kuito – 2 hours east on good roads
25 hours total trip
12 hours actual driving
5 flat tires (all on Nathan’s vehicle)
about 25 recoveries (getting unstuck) – Danny had to pull out the other Landcruiser most of these times
6 hours sleep in tents on the side of the road
Once they arrived, the men hit the ground running with a week of intense Bible teaching on the theme of the church. The church received the teaching very well, with great enthusiasm to follow Christ only. But actual change will be slow and challenging as they attempt to navigate cultural, governmental, and denominational pressures. We tried our best to encourage relations between the Christians from Zambia and the ICA church… with mixed results.
Our team’s next visit to Luena will be in June, while our family is on furlough.
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