Greetings from Angola, where its been incredibly hot over the last few weeks, and when the evening comes and the temperature falls to 25 degrees it feels cold!
We had sad news yesterday, hearing that little Yano died, Debbie had treated him daily for 4 months and completely healed his head of horrendously infected ringworm. He was a most polite little boy from an Adventist family who attended our school and even attended Sunday school in his village. He had been taken ill and his family hadn’t told us or even approached us for help. It has brought home to us the immense privilege and responsibility we have in presenting the Gospel weekly to yrs 5 and 6 children in the school. Our present yr 5 group of 60 children are perhaps one of the most Gospel ignorant groups we have ever had.
Carlos has had another problem to deal with in that he sent his son Zacarias into town on a motorbike to buy some meat for his father in law who arrived unexpectedly. Zacarias, who works for us after school, took his 15yr old sister Muvuma with him. Unfortunately they were involved in a car crash and his sister broke her leg and Zacarias has severe cuts and bruising. Muvuma is still in hospital as she has some wounds on her broken leg which they don’t want to cover with plaster until they have healed up, she is in a lot of pain as the leg isn’t being held stable. Zacarias came out of hospital the night of the accident and Debbie is treating his wounds each day. He spends the day on our veranda where we can care for him and see he’s fed and watered. Its just another problem for the family and our hearts go out to them as they seem to struggle from one problem to another.
The work on the school is coming to the end, decorating is being done and with the help of Justin and Joanne Ramsey, who spent two weeks with us at the beginning of February, big progress was made. A 40ft container full of new school furniture is on its way and should be arriving at the port in Luanda later this month. We would value prayer that this container plus another 20ft container with literature and vehicle parts will clear customs with little hassle and arrive here safely. Once the painting has been done (and we’re still waiting for sufficient paint to be available to paint the outside of the school) we will be ready for the grand opening, just about 2yrs after the old school was demolished and foundations were laid. Jonathan Singleton arrived last week for a 6 week visit and is currently erecting the water tower for the school showers and toilets and that will be another big task completed.
The good news re the school teachers is that the Head, Marcus, has recently been acknowledged by the Government as a Head teacher and they have adjusted his salary accordingly, as well as salaries of a few other teachers who should have been higher up the salary scale. This is good news and we are thankful to the Lord for this answer to prayer.
The work in the assembly continues with much to encourage us, Bigelo and Filipe are showing great ability and gift and we pray fro their preservation spiritually. Bible classes have restarted and as ever there are always those who want to join but we don’t have the time to meet all the need at once. We are thankful for Lenguela, Filipe and Bigelo who continue to share the burden of these classes with me. I am currently preparing meetings for studies in Genesis, we have recently received a large chart designed by Jonathan Black ‘Charting the Scriptures-Genesis’ in Portuguese but I am preparing the studies in Chokwe to reach a wider audience. We believe it will be a great help to many especially the younger believers here.
In just over a weeks time we will be really sorry to see Teofilo and his wife and family leave us here to return to Biula. Teofilo has been here 4 years doing a nurses course which Samuel Simonyi-Gindele placed him on and now that has come to an end, he leaves to put what he’s learnt in to practice. We will miss them immensely though, Teofilo has tremendous gift in teaching and preaching the gospel and has a lovely quiet and gentle manner. Both he and his wife have been a great help and example in hospitality and care for the youngsters in the assembly. Please pray for them as they resettle in Biula, our loss will be their gain.
As local gift is developing, and the elders becoming more grounded in the Scriptures we have tentatively made plans to visit local assemblies in the region once a month on a Sunday. This is expected of missionaries and due to the amount of assemblies in the region within a 40 minute drive there is no way we could possibly visit all in 5 years, but we have made some plans and in the will of the Lord we will be able to encourage some.
The Emmaus work in Saurimo continues to function well, as does the printing room. Please remember in prayer those responsible, Paula, Bigelo and Jaco, they are doing a tremendous work and its a great relief to me that I don’t have to been involved in the day to day running.
We are currently renovating two houses in the former leper village, one of those houses we will be giving to a young widow with 4 children who lost her husband in January, another 18 houses to go, but we are making progress.
We have enrolled a young man in the assembly on a nurses training course that runs for 4 years, we have done this with a view to him being of help to us in running the small medical post that we have that meets the basic needs of the population in the area. Another young man from the assembly we have managed to find him a welding apprenticeship with a brother in Saurimo, so we are hoping that works well for him and that he will learn a skill that can help him support his wife and children.
Debbie’s residence card is up for renewal in May so in the next few weeks we need to get the renewal process in to the department of immigration. Please pray that the process will be dealt with quickly and she will have the joy of receiving another 5 year term of residence in His will.
A big thank you for standing with us in prayer, we do so appreciate your fellowship with us in the work of the Gospel and realise daily how much we owe to those who remember us and the work so faithfully in prayer.
We would value your prayers as I tag along with Stephen Harper on a visit to Malawi for the 12th to the 27th of February
The purposes of this visit are to
• To help facilitate the distribution of Gospel literature in the country. In December one million tracts were printed and in 2 months the vast majority of these have been distributed. The local brothers responsible have been with us today requesting more printing as soon as possible.
• To investigate the replacement of a base for Stephen and Gail in the country. The landlord of their former home has terminated their lease and they need to find another suitable place to base their activities in the days ahead. This is particularly important for the housing of the regular distribution teams that come from the UK and elsewhere to assist in the MGO Seed Sowers distribution usually held in August.
• To further the work of the gospel in the prisons in the country. For two years now there has been an growing openness in the prisons of Malawi for the gospel. We have embarked on a large scale printing and distribution of Emmaus Bible Courses for the prisons. As we have become acquainted with practicalities of prison life in the country we have felt the need to support the gospel work by supply of hygiene packs and educational materials for the prisoners held in these dreadful conditions. For further information and to follow the present trip lease visit southernafricaliteraturetrust.com.
I have been in Ethiopia for a month so let me give you just a picture of life in Ethiopia. We had a very sad incident when one of our evangelist’s sons aged 17 committed suicide. He was top of his class and a very promising young man and he was involved in the work of the Lord and I have rarely see such an outburst of grief from the 3,000 that were at the funeral.
The first week we went down to Awassa where we met 42 believers from and strong Muslim area so it was felt we should meet in a neutral town. We had three day together as I and Mulugeta shared in the word of God.
The following week we visited two assemblies in the countryside where in each place they had a conference with good numbers then we went on to Chobi to give teaching at the Bible school and to be involved in the graduation of 11 evangelists. We also had a meeting with around 200 elders and gav teaching on the responsibility of an elder.
After about two weeks in the countryside we came back to Addis for a week. A brother called Dr Bassera from the assemblies in Poland and I shared in giving Sunday School teachers advice in how to reach children with the Gospel and that culminated in 20 of these students receiving a diploma for studying three years in how to reach children with the Gospel.
It is very hot here during the day so it is quite oppressive. We are putting another floor at the office so in the meantime I am living at a building site with all the dust etc. I thank God for good health and we value your prayers for th next two months[d.v]
Paul McCauley and David Williamson have written a book which is well worth buying and reading. It is the fruit of their experience of evangelism in the modern western society which is the UK. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
For over a year now a nomadic hunting tribe has attacked the villages around Luanza, torturing and killing hundreds. In July, after sending messages back and forward to them, we were able to go and meet them for the first time. They are aggressive and volatile, but sat quietly as we preached the gospel to them, gave them clothing and spoke to them about educating their children.
After months of negotiations, we were able to start a small and very basic school for them in a village they are currently inhabiting. We have rented a building and employed six Christian teachers who are now living with the tribe. So far, 70 children have asked for sponsorship, and most are attending each day. Due to the nature of the tribe, this may or may not be a long term work, but we feel it is the best way to get the gospel into the tribe, and to try and help build relationships with them. As well as being taught for the first time in their lives, these children are hearing the gospel on a daily basis, so please pray for fruit.
More lives have been lost this week on the 12 miles of road between Luanza and the school, and this is making it harder for the believers from the assembly to get out to oversee what is happening at the school. The six teachers are understandably fearful and would appreciate your prayers.
Dear praying friends,
It is with a real sense of joy and gratitude that we write this email to let you know that we have tonight heard from the Dr that the CT scan I had on Wednesday is completely clear and has shown absolutely nothing to cause concern. The Dr has told me it is ok to return to Angola and he will see me in January when we were planning to be home anyway. Maybe there will be an explanation for what it was or maybe there won’t - but for us it is sufficient to know that God has answered prayer.
We take this opportunity to thank you most sincerely for all the prayers that have gone up on ours and our family’s behalf, for the messages, phone calls and demonstrations of love and support which we have received. We give God the glory for His healing and faithfulness in answering prayer and it is with full and happy hearts we can tell you that we plan to fly back to Angola on the evening of Sunday 18th November, we will arrive in Camundambala on Tuesday 20th November from where we have had such humbling and touching messages tonight as they’ve heard the news that we can return. We will come home for Christmas as was planned, landing in Heathrow on Christmas Eve and plan to return to Angola again in early February DV.
With our united love and thanks,
Brian & Debbie
Just a brief note to thank you so much for your prayers since we last emailed, and to bring you up to date with things.
We arrived home last Thursday morning on a cloud of prayer and had an appointment with our local GP at 2pm that afternoon. He arranged an appointment with a specialist in the Infectious disease unit at Addenbrookes hospital for 9:20am the next day, and sent off the biopsy from Angola to the lab.
As a result of the appointment at Addenbrookes, a CT scan has been arranged for Wed 7th November. He also took lots of blood and this evening the consultant rang to say that the results show nothing abnormal, and that the CT scan is pivotal, from seeing the results of the scan he will decide wether a further biopsy is necessary or not. Blood tests in Saurimo and Lubango showed raised leukocytes and lymphocytes but blood taken here has shown no abnormalities.
It has been humbling to see how the Lord has helped as I am now free from night sweats for two weeks, my appetite has returned and I’m no longer losing weight. Little by little I feel that the fatigue is diminishing and my vision is improving slowly as I don’t now feel that I have to mechanically focus all the time. Also no further glands or nodes are evidently appearing so we are encouraged by that.
We are absolutely sure that the improvements are due to the prayers of the Lords people, and we continue to look to the Lord for complete healing that will enable us to resume our service for Him in Angola soon.
Thank you again for your prayers and expressions of support at this time and please pray that we may have patience in waiting for appointments and diagnosis.
Brian & Debbie
Please continue to pray for Brian Howden and his family. They are leaving Saurimo Wednesday morning to go to Luanda. Flight to UK leaves Luanda 22.10 Wednesday 24th Oct, arriving LHR 9.40am Thursday 25 October. DV.
Trusting the Lord to help Brian and Debbie get back home and into the NHS care.
We would like to ask you to please pray about the following health issue that has arisen.
After three weeks of extreme fatigue when at times it has almost been impossible to put one foot in front of another, rapid loss of weight, night sweats where pillows have been literally soaked, and raised lymph nodes in the groin we took the big decision to charter Missionary Aviation Fellowship (Canada) to come from Lubango four hours flying time away. We decided to call MAF because Brian was took weak to make the triangular flight to Lubango via Luanda, and the small plane was a quicker and more direct option.
Brian has had a consultation with Dr Steve Foster at the CEML Hospital in Lubango, where he underwent a thorough investigation and had a biopsy on some raised lymph nodes in the groin. The doctor will be sending the biopsy to Luanda for tests which normally take up to 6 weeks to come back but he has requested that this be treated urgently so we are hoping for a quicker response.
The doctor said on looking at the gland that he removed that it was highly unusual and he suspects something worrying is going on in the body which needs further investigation.
We are totally numb with this news and Brian had to share this news with Debbie by phone as she remained in Camundambala, Brian is now back with Debbie at Camundambala having chartered the MAF plan to return this lunchtime.
Please pray that the biopsy will prove to be clear and that this is just some random infection that will pass, and that the Lord will put his hand on Brian and remove whatever it is that is causing such extreme symptoms in his body. We know He is able in His will.
In the meantime we have Mark Johnston and Steve Wilson arriving on Wednesday 17thand then Matt Coe and Huw Collings arriving on Friday 19th to make one big push in getting the new Primary School almost finished. We have been so looking forward to their fellowship. We feel that the Lord has permitted their visas to be granted and that the work they are going to do is a huge step forward in the school building.
We are currently looking at returning home for investigations and treatment in the next week or so.
So many of you have stood by us faithfully over the last 25 years and we would especially appreciate it if you could bring this matter before the Lord, that in His will complete healing will be given. We have been through so many trials here and believe that things in the assembly have turned the corner and that there is so much more blessing to be seen yet, we feel that we have so much more to give to the Lord in His will here at Camundambala.
We have recently returned from a 2month trip to Uganda. Our first as a family of 3!
Much of our time was working within the local assembly at Nansana. Paul had the opportunity to give Old Testament overview teaching on a weekly basis as well as ministering & Gospel preaching on Sundays & some opportunities in the open air. Currently the assembly are meeting in an elders home but we have started to look into purchasing land to build a hall in the Nansana area. This will require a lot of our time and we need a great deal of wisdom in dealing with this.
Sadly only about a month into our trip the political situation in Uganda took a negative turn. The arrest & apparent torture of the main political opposition leader, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu caused widespread anger leading to many riots to which the government responded with a rather heavy handed approach. This had a significant effect on our movements for a couple of weeks & unfortunately caused us to cancel some outreach plans. We did have some good opportunities within schools though and believe that the Lord blessed in salvation. Paul also travelled 4hours into the bush to visit a prison, which was quite an eye opener! a UK size prison cell would be home to approx 30-50prisoners depending on demand. Many of these men have been on remand for as much as 18months, potentially innocent men locked up for long periods of time without any legal assistance. We enjoyed our time there and shared the gospel via translator then left each prisoner with soap, a tooth brush and a Johns gospel.
Our trusty Land Cruiser, prior to our arrival, had a complete overhaul hoping that she would very reliable for our trip. Sadly this wasn't the case and over the 2month period we broke down 5 times! During a trip to a tea plantation to look for small villages the Land Cruisers temperature gauge wasn't working and the combination of a heavy load and steep inclines for long periods of time caused the engine to overheat quite significantly. This caused considerable damage to the engine and radiator and meant the vehicle was off the road for about a week. Heavy rain caused the electrics to go haywire one evening leaving us stranded on the side of the road again!
On a more positive note the Lord opened the door to bring hopebytheroadside to Uganda and we were delighted to start an advertising campaign within Uganda. We currently have a 12meter x 8 meter billboard on the main road leading to the international airport which is situated directly outside the UN base and another 2 smaller billboards on the road linking central and eastern Uganda. We have plans for 2 more on the Uganda/Kenya border. Please pray for this work.
Charlotte took it all in her stride, being only 9months old she was oblivious to the challenges facing us and kept excellent health throughout the trip. We are thankful to God that a brief health scare for Rachel with symptoms similar to Malaria, meant a day getting tests in a hospital in Kampala but it was just a virus and cleared up within 3days.
Certainly Uganda was quite challenging this trip but we are so thankful to the Lord for his guidance & protection. It was also a great comfort to know that during difficult days we had many friends & family at home who were praying for us.
Paul hopes to return to Uganda in December for a youth camp and as a family we plan to be in Uganda again early 2019. Please keep Uganda in your prayers
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Sao Joaquim da Barra where I was well looked after by Uncle James Crawford and his daughter Margaret. Margaret did all the driving and one day we travelled to Sacramento where we enjoyed a lovely time with Chrissie McSorley. We visited the orphanage that Chrissie looked after and now it is being renovated and will be run by the local council. We finished the day speaking at a fairly new assembly at Igarapava.
The rest of the week was involved in four assemblies in Franca where Uncle James did the translation. We had a special night on the Friday when the local council In Sao Joaquim honoured Uncle James for his help to the town an especially in his radio program over many years.
Our last meetings were in Guara and Ribeirao Preto were very well attended and the following day I was takrn to Descalvado where my cousin Janeta Waterson lives. I was able to visit their three children Janice, Bill, Anita and their husbands and wife. I visited four of the assemblies but I had no preaching engagement in their area.
I was then taken to Andrew and Alison Renshaw’s in Piracicaba where there are five thriving assemblies. I had a wonderful time in the assembly where the Renshaws worship having a number of meetings with them and I enjoyed real warm fellowship. I was able to visit a full time worker who works in the Amazon among the Indians. He had a serious accident on kneecap and it will be some time before he will be able to return to his field of service. I also visited the widow of Loiz Suaraez who was a highly respected full time worker.
I am now in Sao Paulo for my last week and I am staying with my cousin Anna, the oldest daughter of Willie and Leila Maxwell. Thank you for your prayers and notes of encouragement. [photo is of the Guara assembly]
Update on the situation regarding Carlos: Thank you to all who have prayed. The family have made a massive financial claim on Carlos which they know he will never be able to pay. Problem is that if any money is handed over it is basically admitting guilt and the situation will only repeat itself with every sickness/death in the family. Please continue to pray that the Lord will work in the hearts of the family concerned and that these unreasonable demands will stop.
I have been in Brazil for the past two weeks. I came mainly to see Uncle James Crawford who is 93 and has been in Brazil for over 65 years. I also have a number of cousins here and it has been good to catch up with them and their children.
My visit commenced in Rio De Janeiro where I was met by Walter Alexander. The first day was taken up with seeing what was once the capitol and I had a visit to Christ the Redeemer statue from which you got an excellent view of Rio. Sadly there is a lot of gang warfare in shanty towns in Rio where the very poor live.
On my second day I was taken to a town about 130kms from Rio in a place called UMEAS and I visited an old people’s home with about 38 residents and it doubles up as a camp site. We went there with a brother who is a builder and whose father donated the land for this work.
The next day Walter and I travelled to Vitoria where he and Elizabeth now live. Their son Stephen and his wife and family live in Vitoria as Walter & Elizabeth need a bit of medical care. I was there for three days and visited three assemblies speaking at each of them.
I then flew to Uberaba where Willie and Leila Maxwell spent a lot of time and I was welcomed by their daughter Leila and I sent a lovely time with Leila and family. One of her sons Alexandre is a full time worker and I was taken to Uberlandia on one of the nights where we had a lovely meal with Jim & Carmen Jardine before going on to one of the meetings in Uberlandia. Jim doesn’t keep well but he reminded me that the last time we met was at Newcastle. The meeting was a pack out with the brethren bringing in extra chairs.
The following night was in Uberaba where Alexandre has commenced a new work and that night there were so many that some were sitting out on the street and we had a very profitable time with them
I then travelled to Sao Joaquim da Barra where I was greeted by Uncle James and Margaret and my uncle has arranged meetings every night apart from one night so he is keeping me busy! It has been good to see the country where my relatives have spent so much of their time. I will be here for another three weeks and I value your prayers as I will visit cousins later on. The first photo is Alexandre is on the left and the second is the old people’s home.
Please pray for one of our elders, Carlos...his brothers wife having been ill for the last three months died. Her family have accused him and his siblings of killing her with witchcraft and have beaten him badly. They are demanding payment for the death, if money isn’t paid then they will take a life. D-Day is Sunday, please pray that the unreasonable demands of the grieving family stop and common sense will prevail. Carlos is one of the most meek and humble men I know out here, and he is the only one of his family who is a Christian. He has a wife and 9 children.
What a week we’ve had at Camundambala. An 11 yr old daughter of a couple in fellowship was struck by lightning as she returned from the river, just metres from safety of the house. Along with her 5 friends she was thrown to the floor, but she was the only one who never got up. We took her to hospital but she was obviously dead before they carried her to the Land Rover. We buried her last Sunday. This Sunday we had the joy of seeing 11 young people of the assembly buried in baptism in the river. All of them have come through the Primary School where they have heard the Gospel, attended Sunday School and made professions of faith. We have seen their lives change and some are the children of the first believers who attended bible class back in 1996 which is a special joy to us. Please continue to pray for the Lords work here.
Looking forward to another day in Edinburgh with the Gospel for Scotland team. 8,000 people attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo show each night in August at Edinburgh castle. Many are from other countries. Yesterday was hard to describe. Over 30 Christians working together, most of them “young” and yet open and brave in their witness for the Lord Jesus. The weather was poor yet 12,500 John 3:16 bags were given out in the Royal Mile area of Edinburgh. The bags were everywhere you looked. If you can’t be with us today then please pray for the good seed of the Word of God as it saturates the centre of Edinburgh again today.
I leave for Brazil on the 15th of August to visit my uncle James Crawford who is 93 and who has served in Brazil for over 65 years. I hope to see the Alexanders and the Renshaws and my cousins some of whom I haven’t seen for a long time. No doubt I will be kept busy but I value your prayers that I will keep well during my visit and I will be a help to the believers I contact
Please pray for annual Holiday Kids Club at Hope Hall, Bridge of Weir.
For the past four years we have come to the city of Moses Lake for a two week event that includes a Vacation Bible School each morning for two hours, a separate Teen program in the mornings and afternoons, and then gospel meetings each evening. We use a 40x80 tent for the activities and live in caravans and tents in the nearby park. God has blessed the work and provided consistent positive feedback from a number that have come. This year so far there are four teens (16-18) that have told us of their having a clear understanding of the gospel and a confidence before God that their sins have been dealt with by the Lord Jesus at the cross. Each day we have close to 100 teens and kids that come for the VBS, and then the teens remain for the gospel and are accompanied by a number of other adults.
Myself and Tom Hoy share in the preaching at night, and I take responsibility for the Teen Class in the mornings. We have a team of 16 younger workers helping during the two weeks, ages 18 to 30, and do a book study with them early mornings too. Having them with us really makes the two weeks worthwhile
Pray that we would have wisdom to know how to maintain the contacts that are made, and know how God would have us proceed in the future.