We have thoroughly appreciated being with these people and meeting all of them and their leaders.
It has been so heart-warming to meet their founder Paulino João Foi and his wife Sophie who established this group in 1983 and is now the Chairman of their Council.
The day began early with checking out of the hotel at 7:45 a.m. and going to the church hall which they call the “Temple.” There is a change in plans in that we went first to another another congregation called "Boa Esperança" (Good Hope) where they operate a primary school with 550 children. 50 of the children are church kids. We walked through the classrooms and visited with the headmaster and teachers. Their annual school calendar respects all the Holy Days and the Feast of Tabernacles. The school is run by the Church as an alternative to the government schools which are overcrowded.
We met Carlos Calieta who is the headmaster and director. He also teaches contemporary history. He showed us around all the classrooms and then the church hall in the same courtyard.
The parents have to pay for the schooling of their children which runs about $33 a month which is 1000 kwanza’s a month. The exchange rate formula for dollars is: knock off the last two zeros and divide by 3!
Workers at school get paid about $80 a month and some are not fully certified. The Church in Luanda overall operates three schools in Luanda. Two are called “Living Waters” and the third that we were at now is “Good Hope.” The school started the year with an enrollment of 700, but because of dropouts (parents not able to pay), the number dropped to 550. The other “Living Waters” church is call Compao which has 335 children of which 25 are church kids. The school at Vidral has 150 children. The schools are applying of a new registration with the government and will change its name to something like “Stepping Forward.
There is only one laptop in the school for listing students and data about them.
After touring the school which was only 15 minutes by car from Vidral we went into my session on the Code of Ethics for the ministry which was specifically requested by them. 101 people were present. 75 men and 26 women.
Ministers came from all over the provinces. A big percentage of the attendees for this session were ministers and pastors. It was open to others, too.
After this session the church prepared a lunch for us at their “home office.” It was very delicious. Then we held a board and council meeting to discuss outstanding business and matters relating to both of our groups.
We gave $400 to Fernando Macai for drought relief and food for the town of Onjiba in the Cunene province. There has been three years of drought and no rain last year. This is the same geographical zone that our drought in Zambia and Zimbabwe is found.
The church youth in Vidral has an outreach also to help out with this drought with an organization they formed.
There are 45 members living in the drought zone, but they are helping others than members, too. They said "members," but then said that that involved 220 people with children.
Some of the members of the board and representative of the provinces are as follows:
* Rufino Chiopa – local board, evangelist (equivalent to Mark Welch in UCG)
*Augusto from Huambo – Secretary
*Paulino Kafuka from Bie – General Counsel
So we had board members and a council of elders ….a bit unclear to me how it worked.
They talked about the different challenges facing them. They thanked us again for helping. They do want the spiritual support with literature very much
They talked about printing the Boa Nova magazine locally. They now receive 500 copies directly from us, but if they printed it locally, they could print 5000 for the same price.
There was a discussion of credentialing their ministers and how this would work with UCG.
There were a few other requests and hints for help.
They are also building a new school in Luanda and took us out there to see what they have done. It is a plot of ground 60 x 60 meters. They have built the wall around the property. The government gave them the land for free, but they have 5 years to build the school. They have three years to finish this.
The country is poor. It is amazing how there was money to fight a 27 year war using revenue from oil in the north and diamonds in south, but to do something in peacetime is so hard.
It was starting to get dark and we had to go to the airport for our flight to Germany and home. What a whirlwind! It will take some time to sort through all this. But, we were so heartened by all we saw and heard.
Off the airport for the 10 pm flight to Germany!