Visa Problems Overcome, Florida Teams Visit in East Angola

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The Angola Blog

“I’ve prayed for years that God would send back missionaries to Angola. He has heard my cry!”

These were the words of “Senhor Salvador,” a long time Christian and former employee of the Quéssua Mission before the war.  When the first team to arrive in East Angola this year visited the village of “Mangas,” Salvador was there to worship with us.  He had worked alongside missionaries from the US and Canada for many, many years. When those missionaries were forced to leave Angola during the years of the independence war, Salvador, like many others, suffered greatly.  With his 94 years of age, he had tears in his eyes as he thanked God that missionaries are returning to Angola.

Americano, from the boy's Boarding House, intently paints a door

In the months of January and February the first two times arrived.   Comprised of 5 persons, including Rev. Beth Fogle-Miller, conference director of the Council on Ministries, the first team visited Jan. 13 - 19. They painted and renovated the boys’ Boarding House in Quéssua, and delivered over 200 pairs of reading glasses to neighbors of Quéssua and Malange. Sandy Goodman, one of the team members, donated over 40 mosquito nets. More importantly, our ties of friendship became stronger. Angolans see that they are loved and accompanied.  One highlight of the trip consisted of a meal that the missionary team served for the boys of the Boarding House. We had time to eat together, read letters sent by children in Florida, laugh, and share stories.  However, the boys would say that a highlight for them was receiving soccer balls the team brought!

The second team visited between February 10 and 20.  They were all members of Harvest UMC in Sarasota, 8 in total, including the Rev. Catherine Price, one of the two co-pastors of the church and Chairperson of the Board of Ordained Ministry.  Harvest UMC has a partnership with Malange Central UMC. Therefore, they spent most of the time at this church and at the adjacent girl’s Boarding House.  The work they did was outstanding: they painted the interior of the boarding house, and repaired its roof, doors and windows. They covered the

After a day's work, the first team gathers at the porch of Armando and Icel's home to share impressions

expenses for redoing the electric lines of the Boarding House, and hired another person to install bars on the windows.  They bought new bunk-beds, mattresses and more mosquito nets for the girls’ and boys’ dormitories (this latter in Quéssua).   On Saturday, Feb. 13, they conducted a VBS for the children of Malange Central. They gave a generous offering to this church, which includes money to purchase a motorcycle for the local pastor.  Their last day in Malange was a blast, because they took the girls to the Falls of Kalandula, near Malange. (See pictures of the falls at: The girls jumped into the waters of the river and took a refreshing and fun bath.

The Bishop of East Angola, Bishop Jose Quipungo, treated both teams to a delicious meal at a local hotel on their last night here.  The Bishop thanked them for their work and listened to their impressions about the United Methodist Church in the East Angola Conference. Both our teams appreciated the Bishop’s hospitality.

Bishop Quipungo and wife, Dr. Laurinda, took the second team to see the Rocks of Pungo N'dongo

It is very meaningful for Angolans to have our teams visiting. Beyond the material aid, Angolans see that they are not alone in their hard work.  Our teams also experience God in a palpable way: the faith and devotion for God that Angolans express in their worship services are very contagious. Our teams are bringing back to Florida the resilience and joy of Angolan United Methodists.

Our gratitude goes to Francisco Cautama, who visited Florida together with

Shelby Price, daughter of Reverends Steve and Catherine Price, plays soccer with boys at the Boarding House

Alcides Martins in 2005, for helping us with the paperwork for the visas in Luanda.  Many thanks also go to the staff at the Conference building in Lakeland, Florida, for facilitating the trips.  And to the 13 Floridians who have already come in the two teams: “you rock!”  Many thanks for sharing the best of you with the church in East Angola!
In Christ,

Icel and Armando Rodriguez.

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The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church

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Lakeland, FL 33815

(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011