Note from Editor:
There is a strong heartbeat to our Angola Partnership – did you know? A heartbeat, hands, arms, voices, willing hearts and minds taking part in ministry and mission. We may not all be able to be there. But we are grateful to those who are going on our behalf.
Here is the first of several journal entries from Charles Hebel, chair of the Angola Partnership Committee in California-Nevada Annual conference and a member of Palo Alto UMC. Charles just returned from West Angola where he provided English as a Second Language classes in the capitol of Angola. He will be returning to the Continent June 29 with Cal-Nevada UMVIM Director, Dr. Sue King for a three week tour that will include educational stops in South Africa and West Angola.
Dear Family and friends,
Greetings from Angola. It is bright and early in Luanda -- 8 AM already, and Mark Bateman and I have finished breakfast and are ready for work. Today, I am at the Methodist University about to help teach a class of ESL (English as a second language) to university students. The university is in a new five-story building still partly under construction and located in the Methodist compound where we are staying in the guest house near the waterfront in the city of Luanda. (`Compound´ means within a local security boundary.) Mark Bateman and our team leader, Tom Ryder, will be picking up construction materials today, so I have been temporarily deployed as an ESL assistant in which I lead a drill session in English at about our mid-elementary school level. That should be very interesting as it will give me a chance to meet students and talk with them in English for the 90 minute class period.
Yesterday (Sunday) we enjoyed a grand day. Our whole group of eleven people attended a church service in a nearby ´suburban´ town of Vianna at the edge of Luanda, a formerly agriculture area which is growing rapidly with many ´professional´people who work in the city. We were welcomed like royalty for a marvelous worship service which featured three choirs with much glorious singing (in the Methodist tradition) and lasted nearly three hours. The sermon for the morning (Pentecost) was presented by one of our group as guest preacher and with symultanious translation ran nearly 30 minutes with enthuastic response by the congregation. Afterwards, we enjoyed a fine dinner and were presented with a ´seminar´on about the rapidly growing congregation (30% growth rate year over year). In all, very impressive and heart warming.
In the afternoon we went out to the village of Cabala located on the Kwanza river about 50 km south of Luanda. The village has about 750 to 1000 residents most of whom are subsistence farmers and quite poor. It is the scene of some construction of a new Methodist church (nearly finished) and plans by the Methodists for other construction. Indeed, Cabala is the site for which First UMC Palo Alto raised some $11,000 for a school library. However, Cabala is a story in itself which I will save for another message. Let it suffice for now to say that we enjoyed meeting the local people at the church, who were waiting to greet us. Afterward, we took lots of pictures and saw and heard much that we need to think over.