Another week has come and gone and this one was the busiest one yet, due in part to the missions conference we had here at the church. More about that in a moment.
Riaan, Fipi and Lori continued the discipleship classes, teaching on things like relationship with God and surrendering rights. The students have been very consistent in showing up for class. They do their best to show up on time which for their culture is quite a challenge. The next week of classes will be the last, culminating in their baptism on Saturday. We have learned their names and are feeling a real connection with them by now. We will be sad to see the classes come to an end.
Wednesday was our day off and Christiane took us to a beautiful waterfall outside the city. We had a barbeque and enjoyed relaxing in a gorgeous setting. Most of us were able to overcome any reservations we had about the dirty water and various “creatures” in the water and actually ended up thoroughly loving the climb up the waterfall and playing in the water. It was a nice break in the middle of a busy week. Mary couldn’t get enough of the waterfall…she was definitely in her happy place.
Several of us witnessed an event on Tuesday that really impacted us. We were traveling to a nearby village and came up on a traffic accident immediately after it happened. There was a wounded policeman lying in the road. He had been thrown from a motorcycle. The other man on the motorcycle was also injured but he managed to run away and disappear. We jumped out of our car and went to check on the policeman who was bleeding and unconscious. We could see that he was breathing so we didn’t want to move him in case his neck was broken. So we stood next to him, while a crowd gathered, curious about what was going on. We prayed while we waited for an ambulance to arrive. We were quite shocked when the medics came. They hopped out and in a very light-hearted manner (one of the medics was actually laughing) tossed the unconscious policeman on a stretcher and threw him in the back of the van. It all took maybe 30 seconds. The medics and the crowd all seemed to have a very “oh well…another one down…who cares?” outlook on the situation. It highlighted for us the tragic disregard for life that so many have. Death has become too normal and the tragedy here on this continent has numbed many people into an attitude of passivity and inevitability.
It was something that we believe the Lord allowed us to witness as it gave us a real passion for sharing the things the Lord put on our hearts for the missions conference that began on Wednesday. Evelyn spoke the first evening and issued a challenge that ALL of us are to be involved in helping the world we live in. So many people dying and we as a church must be the ones to bring hope. Fipi spoke the next night about being a hero (complete with an impromptu drama on David and Goliath. And yes, 6’ 4” Malcolm was Goliath. Who would ever have seen THAT coming, right?). It was not only entertaining but it emphasized the message that Fipi had to share. There are many different spheres and we are not all called to be in the church. We are, however, all called to be salt and light in the sphere God calls us to whether that is education, media, business or even the family. On Friday evening Malcolm gave an inspiring message on fulfilling our destiny. Saturday morning, Lori spoke about the family being the first mission field and the importance of getting that right in order to have authority in other spheres. Christiane spoke Saturday evening on cross-cultural missions. On Sunday morning, Riaan led the final session and wow…what an incredible service! He was going to speak on making disciples but the Lord changed the whole topic during the service. Riaan spoke from his heart to his fellow Africans. The challenge he issued was to speak life over Africa, over Angola, over the people and especially over the children. There is too much death and the enemy has long had his way here. He led in several prayers of blessing over the people. What an incredibly powerful time. It was exciting for us as a team to witness the Lord using Riaan to challenge and inspire the church here.
It was also encouraging for us as a team to hear how blessed the band members from Benguela were at the missions conference. They had come to play and lead worship at the conference. They told one of the pastors here that their plan was to bless others but they went away feeling refreshed and encouraged and are still talking about the conference days later.
The painting project is very near completion. Malcolm did a stellar job of leading the project. Not an easy task when you have to improvise with all the supplies. The school looks great. We painted all afternoon on Saturday and into the evening until we had to stop for the evening session at the conference.
Gloria has been enjoying singing with several of the musicians here in the church. In her free time, she can usually be found near the keyboard singing and playing.
This next week is our last full week in Sumbe so we would appreciate your prayers for a strong finish! It will be hard to say goodbye to the wonderful people here. Several things for you to pray with us about:
Thank the Lord for restoring the health of the team.
Pray for the discipleship class who will be getting baptized on Saturday. This is the last full week of classes so we are asking the Lord to help us teach them important foundational truths.
Pray for Camila who will be teaching the youth every afternoon this week.
Pray for Christiane, Cleber and Camila who continue to give the rest of our team a voice. Translation is hard work and is exhausting so please pray for clear minds and stamina.
Pray for next Sunday’s service. It’s our last Sunday here and we will be leading a special service focused on building strong families. We really want the Lord to use us to bless and encourage the church here so they can impact their city and their nation in a powerful way.
Until next week…warm regards from Angola.