“Partners in God’s Mission”

August 16, 2023
2023 East Angola Mission Team
Front row, left to right: Cherie Mondragon, Kim Scurry, Janet Mulroy, Sue King, Laxmi VonHoffman, Kelly Jones, Jared Stine
East Angola Pastors
The Mountain Sky Conference supplements the salaries of around 115 pastors in the East Angola Conference. Because of your generous donations, they receive $50 per month.  The pastors that we met and listened to expressed their gratitude and prayed for the MSC's continued support.  They also shared their struggles, hopes, and dreams. Most of the pastors serve communities of faith in small villages and are dedicated to their congregations.  The team visited multiple villages and churches in the region, participating in worship, holding listening sessions, and sharing meals and communion.  We were always overwhelmed by the hospitality, joyful spirits, and expressions of God’s love at each church and community.  On many occasions, we were told our presence reinforced the relationship and offered hope to the pastors, their families, and their villages.  We heard specifically, “We know you haven’t forgotten us. Now there is hope for the future.”
Quessua Agricultural Mission
Before their civil war, the 3,000-acre Quessua Mission was a center of excellence as it accommodated the best agricultural demonstration farms, poultry and livestock breeding, schools, and a hospital.  After the war, Quessua was completely destroyed, but with the assistance of mission partners, infrastructure was rebuilt, and ministries began.
Today, that rebuilding effort at the Quessua farm continues, led by agriculturist Missionary Kutela Katembo.  Kutela continues to develop the farm at Quessua, repurposing buildings that were abandoned or heavily damaged in the war.  With support from the UMC, Kutela
            plants acres of trees: mango, papaya, avocado, banana, lemon, lime
            teaches home gardening techniques, and distributes seedlings to the villages to grow food   
            maintains and expands livestock: cows, pigs, chickens, goats, and tilapia
            is developing a new poultry facility to provide eggs as a source of protein
            grows peanuts to produce a high-calorie nutritional product for the malnourished.

The MSC Mission team did not simply tour the farm. They participated in planting seeds, seedling distribution, and cultivating garden plots and met children and people from the villages. The experience provided an understanding of the long-term vision for the Quessua farm and the immediate need to provide food in the villages.  Interacting with the farm workers and their families, also women who have home gardens and count on the seedlings to feed their families, revealed at a personal level experiencing a physical and spiritual connection were treasured sacred moments. 
Quessua Children’s Outreach
Several team members were especially interested in the children’s programs offered by the Quessua Church.  Every Saturday and Sunday, the church provides an enthusiastic church school program and serves lunch to approximately 500 children weekly. The MSC team also planned and provided two-afternoon children’s art programs for younger children and a science class for teenagers.  Ruthie Schaad commented that the children were excited that they had special time dedicated just for them.  Their creativity and eager interest were evident.  After witnessing a few boys in a village playing with a deflated soccer ball, money was donated, and the gift of soccer balls appeared in what was clearly a Holy Spirit moment.  GBGM Missionary Ken Koome is eager to start soccer teams in the villages. 
East Angola Hosts
Bishop Quipungo welcomed the team at the East Angola Conference office and shared his hospitality with us. Ken Koome, GBGM missionary, was our constant companion, guide, mentor, and chief morale officer.  And for those who remember, yes, Ken still has the truck that was purchased through donations from many of you, and loves country music, mostly Merle Haggard.  Ruthie and David Schaad, who are what I would call the guardians of Quessua, are mentors to the children and care for the facilities with deep love and passion for their work.  Salvadore shared the work being done at the hospital and gave an update on Malaria treatment and the “Imagine No Malaria” program. Baptiste, a pastor in West Angola, was our driver and friend.  Betty cooked meals for us when we arrived home, tired and hungry.  There were also translators, security workers, pastors and their families, farm workers, guides, conference staff, colleagues, and acquaintances who became dear friends. 
It's all about relationships…
Before I left on the mission trip, two wise people (Kathryn Witte and Dan Randall) told me, You are not there to fix things.  It’s all about the relationships”.  They wanted me to know that it is often tempting on mission trips to want to fix the problems we see, but that isn’t why we are there.  The theology of mission has changed over the years and now reflects mission as the very nature of God or mission Dei. To Participate in a mission is to participate in the movement of God’s love toward people since God is a fountain of sending love. (Bosch, 399-400) “Partners in God’s mission seek to hear God’s voice, to discover the signs of the moving of the Spirit through the world today, and to bear witness to God’s activity – overarching past, present, and future...” (David J. Bosch)
If you are interested in being a part of the next Mission Team to East Angola, please contact Janet Mulroy: jmulroy@mtnskyumc.org.  We will help you begin to discern the next steps in mission for you. 
Get Involved in Mission!
Email Kathryn Witte, Conference Secretary Global Ministries to initiate a covenant relationship with a pastor. kathrynwitte75@yahoo.com
Support East Angola’s Pastor salaries through The Advance # 3021453https://www.mtnskyumc.org/eastangolapastorsupport