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Bible Class

Brian and Debbie Howden

Stephen Grant

We arrived home from our latest visit to Angola on Sunday and want to thank all those who carried us through every day in prayer, and who faithfully remember the work of the Gospel in Angola.

We are grateful to the Lord for His preservation during the driving of 2000Km of dangerous roads to and from Saurimo. Accidents and overturned lorries are commonplace and you have to be 100% switched on for every metre travelled on the journey, and still have your wits about you to cope with the traffic police and immigration officials who pounce at the many controls.

The dry season is coming to an end and still no repairs have been done on the roads so one can only imagine what the wet season will do and the consequent result on travel and the logistics of bringing supplies into Saurimo.

The 6am meetings at Camundambala were well attended again, but as many of our young people are studying in Saurimo they obviously couldn’t get to the meetings. We went through the first epistle of John and trust that it met some of the need that we perceive exists in the assembly. I am arranging to have some Bible studies specifically for a number of the older men in the assembly, three of whom are elders. It is blatantly apparent that as you sit and listen to them preach “the Gospel” they haven’t a clue, and you can’t help but wonder if they are saved if they are basing their hope for eternity on the message that they preach! A lot of grace and patience is going to be needed, as these men can scarcely read with comprehension.

This was followed the next week with further Bible teaching meetings at 6am for a week at Camucundu. Again there was incredible attendance each morning. It was the cold season so quite chilly every morning but that didn’t deter folk from coming out for an hours Bible teaching. We completed the first epistle to Timothy having started it during our May visit. On the following Sunday afternoon three men in their mid twenties travelled out to Camundambala to express their thanks for the teaching and told me that they had decided to dedicate their lives to serve the Lord. The Lord Himself knows their hearts but I felt that was an encouragement for me.

Lots of practical work was completed during the day, in the house Debbie made good progress in getting another room finished and usable. Outside we completed the installation of windows in the new Hall and built rainwater gulley’s to preserve the foundations from being worn away by the tropical rain. During the next visit it would be good to get the hall painted inside and out, burglar bars put on the windows and then the folk can start using it despite the floor not finished.

One of the most moving scenes I saw this visit was when I distributed 100 old used zinc roofing sheets amongst some of the poorest and needy believers in the village. These roofing sheets were taken off buildings that were being repaired and we didn’t need them so Ruth Hadley suggested we distribute them. I gave each person 10 sheets and you thought I had given them gold! I took my camera to record their joy but couldn’t bring myself to get it out of my pocket as it seemed to be so intrusive and inappropriate in a scene of such utter poverty. To see these barefooted-elderly folk with none of this world’s goods stand outside their mud huts and clap for joy in receiving 10 old used zinc-roofing sheets was a humbling sight. Those of us who are used to seeing that level of poverty can quite easily become so hardened that it doesn’t affect us as it should.

A couple of Saturday mornings were spent in rearranging the Bible store room where we have stored the 20,000 Chokwe Bibles, we restacked the store in order to make more space for a consignment of 6000 Portuguese Bibles we hope to receive in the next couple of months. We were thankful for the help of several young men from the assembly in doing this. It was also good to see so much literature provided by the Angolan Literature Fund available and on display in the Emmaus office in Saurimo. I think it would be fair to say we have never had such choice of literature on this level before so we have much to praise the Lord for in this.

On our return journey to Luanda we had to take one of the high-speed duplicators back with us in the hope that someone could fix it. I had tried my utmost but to no avail and so we “borrowed” a mattress from the house and did our best to wrap the machine up in it to preserve it from the pounding that the potholed roads give to anything that travels in a Land Rover. It was a slow journey and the heat was brutal but I think we managed to get it there without further damage being inflicted on it. In the meantime the printing work in Saurimo remains precarious with just one other machine working.

We trust this gives you a little insight into the work, and thank you again for every prayer uttered on our behalf before the throne. There is much to praise the Lord for and yet the enormity of the never-ending challenges causes us to be constant in prayer. The work is huge and it is a massive privilege to be able to a small part in it and we never take for granted the part you play in it through prayer.

D.V our next visit is planned for 9th Oct – 12th Nov 2015.