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On November 1, 2017 Joanna Griffin and I went with Ken Koome to visit UMC Zeferino Zacarias Campos about 45 miles from Malanje. We were met by the congregation singing outside the small church. Pastor Tome Lucas Lucala, the pastor, invited us in and everyone shared who they were and how much the church means to them. There were beautiful hymns sung and even a sermon. It was the beginning of the rainy season and it started pouring rain. The roof was tin and the sound was thunderous. Rain started dripping through the many holes in the roof and Pastor Lucas grabbed a plastic tub to catch the water near the pulpit. We all moved our plastic chairs around as the rain kept dripping.
The members shared how hard they are working to support their pastor. All are subsistence farmers so have very little. Since they have few funds they have laid aside land specifically for “the pastor’s kitchen”. Collectively they have 2 cows and 6 chickens and want to use them for the benefit of their church. I thought this was wonderful because they clearly loved their pastor and church and were giving all they could to benefit them. It gave me a renewed appreciation for the pastors the Yellowstone Conference supports.
On the way back to Quessua Mission Ken told us the road we were traveling on is called “The Great North Road”. It stretches all across the African continent from Cape Town to Cairo. We also learned that Zeferino Campos was the first church that Reverend Andre Cassule was called to pastor. He and his family lived in Malanje, so Reverend Cassule would walk the 45 miles every week so he could preach. When he saw there were no chairs he took it upon himself to carry plastic chairs with him. He did this every week until there were enough chairs for everyone to sit on.
It is this kind of determination and loving spirit that gives me hope for all the people in the East Angolan Conference. If they can do all this with so little resources, how can we, who have so much, not support this important ministry?