From the Superintendent's DESK
John Musgrave and I arrived in Luanda, Angola, early Saturday, November 25, in anticipation of the Huambo Provincial Special Meetings. We were greeted at the airport by District Superintendent Antonio Castilho and Board Member Oscar Ucuemande. We were also met by members of our team who had arrived earlier. These were District Superintendents Isaac Adigun of Western and Central Africa and Oniyas Gumbo of Southern and Eastern Africa. Together, we took a short flight to Huambo.
Inside the Huambo airport, we were greeted by a delegation of board members, provincial overseers, and management staff. They presented each of us with scarves and delegate passes to wear while traveling to and from church activities. Then we exited the airport to a joyous welcome of perhaps a hundred or more who were smiling, waving red balloons, and singing as a small brass band played.
That evening, our team attended a welcome service at the main church on the Angola campground property. As we entered the campground, we received another warm welcome: many were gathered along the main road waving and singing as we went by.
Inside, the service began with a trombone and trumpet quartet playing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Then the choir sang “He Is Exalted” and “Constantly Abiding.” The Sunday school departments each made presentations. These began with the youngest children marching in while singing “Welcome Our Pastors.” The presentation by the Junior Department included a song about the Rapture with the lyrics, “Very soon, I’ll be leaving to meet my Lord.” The older youth brought a “Greeting for the Superintendent General” and then closed the program by marching out while singing “The Welcome Song.”
The service continued with the announcements, during which time Brother Antonio presented our team. I took this opportunity to thank him for hosting us and to extend greetings from the Portland headquarters. In addition, I shared an exhortation focused on “Jesus, the Light of the World” and the responsibility of Christians to reflect that light. This included expressing appreciation to the congregation for shining the light of Jesus in Angola. The service concluded with the congregational song “Showers of Blessing,” a closing prayer, and time around the altars. Afterward, we toured two rooms in the Angola headquarters office building that have been recently added to accommodate guests.
On Sunday morning, our team returned to the campground tabernacle, which was filled to capacity, for a combined Sunday school class. It began with the orchestra playing “A Christian Home.” Then the congregation sang “Marching to Zion” in Umbundu. The lesson on “Eternal Life” was taught by Domingos Kambungo in Portuguese and interpreted into Umbundu and English. To begin, two people representing each language recited the key verse from John 10:27-28. Then the lesson was taken from Luke 16:19-31. The session closed with prayer.
The morning service began with the orchestra playing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” followed by Brother Antonio welcoming everyone to the special meetings. The service continued with the choir song “Hallelujah, Jesus Christ Is my Lord.” Following the congregational singing and opening prayer, the choir sang again: “God Is Great, God Is Good.” The Scripture reading was taken from Acts 3:6-11 and was read in Portuguese before being interpreted in Umbundu.
Before the message, a mixed quartet sang “Something Worth Living For” in Portuguese. The sermon was taken from Acts 3:1-5 and used the healing of the lame man to illustrate that God can and will exceed our expectations. There was a great response to the invitation to pray as the congregation sang the last song, “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior.”
In the evening, the service began with the orchestra playing “Are You Washed in the Blood?” The choir sang two specials: “Joy in Heaven” and “If Salvation Had Not Been Free.” The congregational singing was lively with such songs as “Look and Live.” During the testimony portion of the service, Brother Isaac shared how the Lord saved him.
Before the message, the choir sang “He was Wounded for Our Transgressions.” For the sermon, Brother John took his text from Matthew 28:18-20. He focused on the Lord’s promise to be with us always, “even unto the end of the world.” The main illustration of this promise was taken from Acts 12 where Peter was delivered from prison. A good altar service followed.
Brother John and I are scheduled to remain in Angola until Friday. Please keep these services and our trip in your prayers.