Luanda For Christ
After 25 years of civil strife, the country of Angola is now
ripe for a harvest. As a follow-up to Dr Paul Ratsara’s call to intentional urban evangelism earlier this year, “Luanda for Christ” was launched in the presence of more than 20 000 Adventists. More than 4510 series of evangelistic meetings were conducted in the city of Luanda, Angola since February 2013 by local Pastors, visiting Evangelists from Brazil and dedicated lay-people. As a result, a combined baptism of 17 000 precious souls was realized. “Angola Para Christo” is an initiative of the Southern Africa Indian Ocean Division (SID) to reach every major city with the life-changing truth about God’s grace through Jesus Christ.
At the orientation meeting of the 4th group of preachers in Luanda (12 September 2013), Dr Gilberto Araujo, Vice President and Chairman of the SID Urban Evangelism committee, in his devotional message, spoke of God’s assurance of a successful mission. Araujo issued a passionate call to more than 50 preachers to unreservedly trust the Lord because He is the one who secures the success of our mission because it is His mission… . Further, He reiterated the reasons why the church in the Southern Africa Indian Ocean region chose to impact Luanda with the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many were amazed to learn that their presence in Luanda was in fact in response to an invitation of the Governor of Luanda. During the visit of Elder Ted Wilson (President, World SDA Church) to Angola in April, 2011, he was moved by the appeal of the Governor (Jose Maria dos Santos) of Luanda to “help the big city of Luanda.” And what better way to help than to bring Jesus into the city, so that everyone can experience the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ. During 40 years of independence and civil war, after 400 years of slavery, the church was isolated but still grew inspite of very little organizational intervention. Since 2003, Angola has been considered one of the young nations of the world, as a free nation. “We have chosen Angola as a way to tell the church in Angola, ‘you are important and we love you and what we could not do in 40 years … we are here to do now.’”
The meeting was characterized by intense prayer (Epaphras moments), led by Pastor Paminus Machamire (Vice-president, SID). In an exciting turn of events two Soccer teams – Atletico Sport Aviacao (ASA) e Futebol Clube (Bravos do Maquis), who were scheduled to play their soccer match on 21 September 2013 have agreed to change a scheduled soccer match, from Sabbath to Friday so that the gospel can be preached on Sabbath in the Stadium. Pastor Passmore Mulambo, Personal Ministries Director, SID, was asked why is this series of evangelistic meetings called a “reaping campaign”. He responded: “alot of sowing has already been done. More than 50 000 small groups, conducted by laymembers, have been meeting since February 2013, in preparation for this reaping campaign.”
The Ministry Partners of Angola para Christo (ASI North America, Lightbearers International, MARANATHA, South American Division [Novo Tempo, Unions and Conferences], Remnant Publications, et al) have contributed more than US$ 2-3 million in resources and other materials for this initiative. The blessings of Luanda for Christ has presented another challenge and need to build more and bigger churches to accommodate the new members. The Southern Africa Indian Ocean Division is grateful to its Partners . MARANATHA, for the first time, is building eight 1000 seater churches in Angola to accommodate the newly baptized members besides building [on average] 5 churches per week to facilitate the explosive church growth in Angola.
The city of Luanda, with a population of more than 5 million people, hosts 148 SDA churches. “As a people we greatly need to humble our hearts before God, pleading His forgiveness for our neglect to fulfill the gospel commission. We have made large centers in a few places, leaving unworked many important cities. Let us now take up the work appointed us, and proclaim the message that is to arouse men and women to a sense of their danger. If every Seventh-day Adventist had done the work laid upon him, the number of believers would now be much larger than it is” Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 25.
Leaders estimate that
52,000 small groups are meeting throughout the country, with 10,000 evangelistic
campaigns planned for the year. So far 17,000 people have been baptized, with
many more baptisms expected after the next round of revival meetings.
Lay people have been working with pastors using various outreach methods including health-related
activities, handing out leaflets (with youth involvement), establishing a
school of evangelism, conducting revival weeks of prayer, grading Voice of
Prophecy Discover Bible Lessons, conducting small group campaigns, and establishing
home-based small groups. Many lay-driven ministries, including Light Bearers,
Remnant Publications, and Maranatha Voluneers, along with the General
Conference have provided funding.
“Though many factors are involved in this growth, we consider the use of small groups
as one of the most effective,” says Dr. Gilberto Araujo, Vice President and
Chairman of the Southern Africa Indian Ocean Division (SID) Urban Evangelism
The SID remains committed to reaching out into all cultures and territories with the
good news of salvation found in Jesus Christ.
All members are encouraged to recognize the calling of God in their
lives, wherever they are, to share the Gospel.
Dr. Paul Charles is the Communication Director for the Southern Africa Indian Ocean Division.