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Angolan delegates thank Florida delegation for conference’s support

Angolan delegates thank Florida delegation for conference’s support

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Angolan delegates thank Florida delegation for conference’s support

May 1, 2008     News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0842}

An e-Review Feature
By Erik J. Alsgaard**

FORT WORTH, Texas — Members of the Florida Conference delegation to the 2008 General Conference met with two members of the East Angola delegation during a breakfast meeting May 1.

The Rev. Carlos Tchihuto, left, and Ana Ingles, right, speak with the aid of a translator, center, to the Florida Conference delegation to the 2008 General Conference at a breakfast meeting May 1 in Fort Worth. Tchihuto and Ingles thanked the conference for their support of ministry and mission in East Angola. Photo by Erik Alsgaard. Photo #08-0827.

The Rev. Carlos Tchihuto, district superintendent, and Ana Ingles, who leads the Women’s Division in East Angola, came to thank the Florida Conference for its partnership and support in the last few years.

In February 2003, after a three-person team from the Florida Conference visited Angola, a partnership between the East Angola Conference and the Florida Conference was launched. The United Methodist Council of Bishops asked the Florida Conference to turn its attention to East Angola after the Florida Conference completed the Bishop Cornelius L. and Dorothye Henderson Secondary School in Mozambique.

Each year the Florida Conference raises money for projects in the East Angola Conference through offerings collected at each annual conference event. Churches have been invited, as part of the annual conference special offering, to support the ministry and partnership in East Angola.

A focus of the conference’s partnership efforts has been helping rebuild Quéssua, an area that was once a thriving missionary and spiritual center of the United Methodist Church in Angola. Many of the area’s buildings were destroyed during the country’s 27-year civil war. The complex included Quéssua United Methodist Church, a school for boys and girls, residences for missionaries and school and hospital administrators, dormitories for students and a hospital, college, school of domestic sciences and theological seminary.

Tchihuto told delegates that, thanks to the relationship, buildings have been rebuilt and ministry is beginning to grow.

“The orphanage and the church have been rebuilt,” Tchihuto told the delegates through a translator. “We have 50 students at the school of theology and more than 2,800 students attending our high school. Just two years ago, we only had 300 students.”

The church, he said, is doing well, and now has two pastors, one Angolan and one American.

One area of support offered by the Florida Conference goes to assist with small projects that make large impacts. Farming and farming technologies are central among them, Tchihuto said.

“One of the best ways churches in Florida can help is by contributing to these small farming projects,” he said. “That way, we can develop more farms.”

Ingles, also speaking through a translator, said in her country, farms are small, many no more than 30 feet by 30 feet, and just barely big enough to support a family.

“All the work is done by hand,” she said. “We need help with agricultural practices and help to make our farms bigger.”

The Quéssua complex was a thriving spiritual and missionary center for The United Methodist Church in Angola before the country's civil war, but it also provided education for many Angolans. Many of Angola's leaders are considered “sons of Quéssua” because they were educated at the United Methodist schools. Today, the United Methodist church and School of Theology at Quéssua have been rebuilt, thanks in part to funds from Florida United Methodists through offerings collected during annual conference events. File photo #07-0571. Photo by Armando Rodriquez. Originally accompanied e-Review Florida UMNS #0659/April 19, 2007.

Making farms larger, she said, requires mechanical assistance. The cost is prohibitive, however. Renting a tractor costs $150 per day, she said, a price that is not affordable.

Both Ingles and Tchihuto would like assistance to rebuild and expand health care. Currently, small clinics dot the landscape, most suffering from lack of adequate supplies and technologies. Building hospitals is of primary importance, they said.

In Florida, the Rev. Armando Rodriguez and his wife, Icel, a staff member of the Florida Conference in mission and justice ministries, are preparing to serve as missionaries in Angola in the summer of 2009. Armando will be teaching at the seminary, and Icel will be working with sustainable development and promoting church-to-church relationships between churches in Angola and Florida. Their 20-year old daughter, Amanda, will also be joining them, taking a year off from school to help teach English and communications and mentor orphans. Individuals who would like more information on their ministry or to have the couple visit before they depart should e-mail Icel at

In addition, Tim and Carol Crawford, missionaries with the General Board of Global Ministries, have been in East Angola since 2007. Carol is teaching as part of the faculty of the School of Theology in Quéssua, and Tim works to establish a food production program for the secondary school, seminary and clinic participants. Both are Advance Specials of The United Methodist Church: Tim – Advance #09898-Z; Carol – Advance #09899-Z.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference.