"Why East Angola?"

August 02, 2023
Rev. Jared Stine at the Quessua Mission Church
Pastor Stine preached at the Quessua UMC in July 2023. Seen here with District Superintendent Rogerio Bartolomeu.

2023 August Newsletter 

Rev. Jared Stine

I’ve been home from the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission trip to East Angola for about two weeks, but I’m still reflecting on my experience. Despite all the differences between the people of my community in northwest Montana and Angola – 8500 miles apart - I continue to be drawn to the similarities and the pieces of life we all carry in common. We both live in quite rural settings where farming is central to families and communities. We both experience challenges when it comes to healthcare, transportation, and climate change. Both cultures share the scars and century-long tragedies of slavery and oppression. Generations of the church in both places have nurtured faithful and loving disciples that continue to be in ministry to their neighbors. 

Some may ask, “Why Angola?” as in, why does our United Methodist conference maintain a covenant commitment to another UMC conference when our own churches struggle, and our own communities still have needs and challenges? The answer I’ve discovered is, “Why NOT Angola?” When Bishop Brown was invited by Bishop Quipungo to help Angola rebuild the UMC in Angola in 2002, it was an opportunity to stretch ourselves as disciples, to reconcile the history of slavery between the U.S. and Angola, and help people rebuild their lives and churches after oppression, colonialization, and civil war, a war that was sponsored in part by the United States.

As a worldwide church that spans millions of members across continents, we know that we are better disciples when we work together for God’s kingdom. Relationship with God and neighbor is how the Spirit helps us grow in faith and grace. I’ve now had the chance to witness that in person in East Angola. The UMC has about 200 missionaries in active service around the world, and the work of our missionary friends Ken Koome and Kutela Katembo makes a positive impact on the lives of our Angolan siblings. Our offering plate giving multiples because of the connections in our denomination. Those funds help support the worldwide ministry of the UMC. I’m proud to be a part of the UMC and the work of the church that is supported because of the connection we share. Despite the challenges facing our denomination, and the cynicism and division that are rampant in our culture, the good work of the UMC is worth our time, energy, and resources.  

Interested in a trip to the East Angola Conference with a future mission team? Our conference hopes to send a team again next year. Let me know and I can answer your questions and connect you to the right people.

Summer blessings,

Pastor Jared Stine

Columbia Falls UMC, MT