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Bible Class

Brian and Debbie Howden Update

Stephen Grant

Dear friends,
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.