Yellowstone Legacy Conference has had a relationship with the East Angola Conference of the United Methodist Church since 2003. Five Volunteers in Mission teams have visited East Angola since 2003, to help rebuild their churches and communities, to learn how best to be in partnership and to get to know one another. The latest team was in Angola in November 2017.
Angola suffered through 40 years of warfare – first a war of independence from Portugal, and then a civil war between factions funded by outside interests. A lasting peace was achieved in 2002. Before the war began the Angolan Methodist Church was a vital presence in the country. There were over 200 churches, and Quessua was an important Methodist Mission compound where leaders in the church and communities were trained in pastoral leadership, home economics, agriculture and teaching. By the end of the war there were only 30 churches left and Quessua was left in ruins and surrounded by land mines.
Angolans have been rebuilding their churches, sometimes one row of bricks at a time. Most pastors in East Angolan are not paid a salary by their congregation but are paid ‘in kind’ – eggs, cassava, sweet potatoes, a chicken or rabbit. The East Angola Conference covers the poorest areas of Angola. Most of the churches are small and in rural villages.
We support our brothers and sisters in Christ as they rebuild their churches and ministries. We do that by supporting 66 pastors in 3 districts and 2 areas of evangelization (in a remote part of the country). Each pastor receives $50 a month in salary (increased from $40 in July 2015). This salary is vital to the lives and families of these pastors. This partnership offers hope to the pastors, their families, and their villages.
The East Angola Conference covers some of the poorest areas of Angola which were devastated during the war. Most of the churches are in villages where people are small scale farmers. People grow cassava, sweet potatoes, onions, cabbage and peanuts. They raise goats, cows, pigs and chickens. Angola once had the ability to feed itself and export goods--and it will again. Slowly the country is rebuilding and people will again be more self sufficient.
Most of the 66 pastors that are supported through this partnership live in small villages where they may not only be the pastor, but are also the teacher in the school (which in some villages is also the church), the local counselor and advisor. Pastors have been instrumental in helping reconcile opposing factions in villages and the bush after almost twenty seven years of civil war. They have the opportunity to be an important voice in addressing issues of poverty, HIV, and malaria. They make the love of God take on flesh in remote areas of Africa.