Archive for September, 2012

Women’s Study Building Camaraderie

Our women friends here have been really excited about starting a group to learn home skills, cooking, and health. So we combined a Bible study with a hands-on activity on Sunday afternoons.

Jordan or I will tell a Bible story and then we talk about it and ask questions. The women really feel comfortable now to ask questions, express doubts, tell what they’ve learned, and apply it to their lives. Last week we studied Abraham and the women consistently talked of God’s faithfulness in fulfilling his promises and our need for patience and trust. Rita talked about how many people know this story, but they may need to hear this lesson of encouragement again. We should look for people who might be going through a hard time so that we can share this story of God’s faithfulness.

A few weeks ago, Ruth taught us how to make Pastries of Dreams. We mixed and rolled and laughed and scribbled out the recipe and then enjoyed the tuna and cheese filled fried dough. Yummy, yummy. See recipe below.

Pray for these women as they learn more about the God they love and as they try to find ways to share with their community.

 

Recipe – Pasteis dos Sonhos, Pastries of Dreams

Dough:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 T. curry powder
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. milk

Twixt (pinch) the butter into the flour with your fingers. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well with your hands (You’ll probably need to add just a bit more flour to get a nice dough to form.) (Step 1). When you have a nice dough, rub a bit of butter on the outside and knead in a few times. Roll out 1/4-1/3 inch thick on a floured surface (Step 2).

Filling:

  • 1 can tuna (in oil, or drain and then add a bit of olive oil)
  • about 3 T. onion
  • thinly sliced cheese (use a mild cheese, like edam, mozzarella, or gouda)

Mix the tuna and onion together. Place a slice of cheese (1.5 to 2 inches square) about 3 inches from the edge of the dough and then top with a heaped T. of filling (Step 3). Fold the dough over the filling (Step 4) and then cut around it with a glass (your folded edge should form one side) (Step 5). Crimp the edges with the tines of a fork to close (Step 6).

Fry the pastries several at a time in hot oil, each side for about 30 seconds or until golden brown. They will puff up very nicely. Put on paper towel to dry and cool. Makes 10 large pastries. Enjoy!

Step 1 - Mix well with hands
Step 2 - Roll out the dough
Step 3 - Place the filling on top of the cheese
Step 4 - Fold the dough over the filling
Step 5 - Cut out with a glass
Step 6 - Crimp edges with a fork
Enjoy!

Learning from Uncle Cornelius

In the last post we introduced you to Cornelius and the young church in Kuito. A few weeks ago, Danny had the privilege of driving with Cornelius to Kuito to visit the growing church plant there.  The church meets in the home of Simão, whom Cornelius led to Christ years ago in Zambia. Cornelius now lives in Luanda, but makes the 9 hour trip to Huambo every weekend to church plant.  He is willing to sacrifice much to fulfill his part in God’s mission.  His motto: “Here I am, send me!”

Here is Danny’s description:

The two-hour drive flew by as we shared thoughts, dreams, and prayers about church planting.  I soaked up Cornelius’s God-given wisdom as he shared his experiences planting 7 congregations.  So our spirits were high when we arrived just after dusk to a warm welcome in the quiet new neighborhood of Vila Graça.  The night air was cold, so we gathered close to the small charcoal fire.  And there in the semi-darkness we encouraged each other, worshiped in song, prayed together, told Bible stories, answered questions, and read from Scripture.  Slowly our circle grew; by the end of the evening, 11 men and 8 women were sharing in the fellowship of the Word.  By 10:30 we were exhausted but thoroughly encouraged. After a stale bread roll and a bit of weak coffee, Cornelius and I crawled into our sleeping bags in the small tent.

The next morning Cornelius led worship service.  Twenty-six people attended to hear more from the Word, and Cornelius made sure that almost every individual left with a job to do. Three men were given the task of evangelizing in the neighborhood; two others were to make a church program; two women were put in charge of the offering.  And my job?  Finding Bibles that the young church can use.  They are currently trying to share 2 Bibles and 3 New Testaments among them.  They are hungry for the Word.

Please pray for Cornelius, Simão, and the young body of believers in Kuito!

You can also be a part of putting Bibles in the hands of these young Christians. See our Bibles for Angolans program: For $10 you can buy a Bible for an Angolan Christian. We will send you the name of the person who receives this Bible so that you may pray for him/her. We will also include your name in a card with the Bible so that he/she may pray for you. (We’re just now getting this program up and running so there might be some short delay.)

Thank you for being a part of bringing God’s word to Angola!

Cornelius and the church in Kuito
Cornelius and the church in Kuito

Church planting phase off to a God-led start

As our year of focused cultural learning and relationship building (Phase 1) comes to an end, our team is transitioning into Phase 2 – local church planting.  Our goals for this time:

To gain experience in church planting by working alongside Angolan Christians in at least three church plants around Huambo, using a variety of strategies.

God is paving the way, bringing this vision into reality. Let me share with you the overview of what’s currently going on in Huambo, most of it just starting in the last 2 or 3 months.

God has brought two church planters to work in Huambo. We are working alongside these men, learning from and encouraging them. We visit in these neighborhoods mid-week and Sunday, teach, and are building children’s programs.

  • One is Francisco, whom ICA sent to Huambo to church plant. He has started a small church in the Kapango neighborhood, very close to our house.
  • The second church planter is Cornelius, uncle of our friend Charles, who worked for many years as a church planter in Zambia. He is currently working in two areas:
  • Lossambo is a semi-urban neighborhood a short distance outside of Huambo. Three people have been baptized there, including Felix, who will be getting married shortly and shows great zeal to truly become a follower of Jesus.
  • Cornelius is also working in the nearby province of Kuito, building a church in a new neighborhood in the home of Simão, a mature Christian whom Cornelius led to Christ in Zambia. The people in this neighborhood are hungry for the fellowship of believers and meet most Sundays without any outside encouragement.

Felix being baptized
Felix being baptized

In addition to these three young churches, there are three Bible studies meeting weekly, two of which could be the seeds of new churches. We initiated these groups alongside an Angolan Christian and continue to participate and encourage. We are mentoring the leaders and members in groups of 2 or 3.

  • Mango now leads the Bible study that meets in his home. Many of you will remember this study from our furlough reports. One of the new participants is Osires, whose sharp mind and desire to know more add life to each study.
  • A young man named Chivela is leading another Bible study on the far side of town. He thinks as an evangelist and church planter. His cousin Daisy and her husband, who just had their first baby, host the Bible study.
  • The third Bible study is a women’s group that is a place of encouragement (and evangelism) for women of the previous groups. We tell and discuss a Bible story orally and then also have a time of learning a skill – such as cooking, crafts, or first aid. Jordan has done a great job getting this off the ground with two Angolan women, Lola and Bemba, also taking the lead.

Bible study at Mango's house
Bible study at Mango's house

Furlough time – Sharing stories

Our family just completed our first furlough. There are many words I could use to describe it – blessed, relaxing, family, friendship, but most of all – busy. Some days it felt like every minute was scheduled. We did take time out for us, but we had to schedule it in!

It was relaxing to be able to just throw the dishes or clothes into the machine and forget it. We had wonderful visits with family – with two family reunions and opportunities to see family throughout furlough. Eliana and Sophia thoroughly enjoyed their grandparents and cousins. We had many wonderful conversations with friends over breakfast, dinner, and coffee.

But the blessing of furlough for me was the opportunity to invite people into our story and be invited into theirs. We were amazed at the questions and interest everyone had in our lives and ministry here. And we were encouraged to hear the journeys that God has been taking our friends and families on, in the US and around the world.

Thank you everyone for sharing your story with us!

We are back in Angola now and I can’t believe it’s our second term already. God has been working – He’s been gathering church planters, Christians, and non-believers together for His purposes. Stay tuned for some exciting updates.

Prayer points:

  • Pray for Felix, who was baptized recently and will be getting married Sept. 1.
  • The Meyers are in Zambia at the Africans Claiming Africa conference. Pray for safe travels and good conversation.
  • Pray for health as the dry season creates lots of dust and water is in short supply.
  • We are still missing one bag from our grueling return trip.
  • After arriving, we discovered that our car needed a complete engine rebuilding. We will probably need to sell this vehicle.

Reese Cousins
Reese Cousins
Cooking hot dogs with Bapaw
Cooking hot dogs with Bapaw

Celebrating One Year in Angola

July 9, 2012

In July, our team celebrated living in Angola for one year! We took some time a few weeks ago for a team retreat of reflection on our first year here and refocusing our efforts. Let me share some of what God has done this year.

Our goals for the first year were to build the relationships and knowledge that we needed in order to be effective church planters. This year has looked nothing like what we first envisioned, yet looking back, we are amazed at what God has accomplished. Our relationships with ICA (the churches that invited us) are very strong. Our time in the city of Huambo was limited and filled with home repairs, yet already we’ve seen the start of local church planting – there are 3 Bible studies starting up led by local Christians that we are mentoring (we’ll tell you more about this in a future email).

Our team retreat was also a time to revisit our mission statement and core values. Our mission statement is: Planting Churches, Nurturing Growth, Harvesting a Nation, and God is already bringing that to fruition – 3 Bible study groups starting, opportunities for mentoring and formal training, and we’ve covered the country corner to corner!

Despite the difficulties of this first year, we feel God’s blessings and protection so clearly on our heath, relationships, and work. God has been growing us and teaching us to pray and rely on your prayers. Thank you for joining us!

One Year
One Year in Angola