They strengthened their hands for the good work! (Nehemiah 2:18)
Posted by Icel Rodriguez on 11/13/12
Much has been done in almost ten years of partnership with East Angola, from rebuilding schools and churches to restoring lives and offering hope for the future.
Quessua, as we saw it in 2003 for the first time, was the epitome of despair and desolation. Once considered the heart of Methodism in Angola, this mission station had been destroyed during the war, every piece of it. Almost ten years later several buildings have been reconstructed with support from United Methodist churches in Florida, as well as the Angolan government. Here are some examples:
|Sanctuary before and after reconstruction||New Dinning room for boys' Boarding House|
|Quessua High School before and after reconstruction||Quessua Seminary before and after reconstruction|
When last month I visited Quessua as part of a team of 8 volunteers from Florida, we started rebuilding a partially destroyed boys’ dorm that the leadership of the East Angola Conference had identified as a priority. Currently forty five boys live cramped in a small four-bedroom dorm.
|Florida volunteer Wayne Slockbower working together with the boys.|
Quessua is for Angolans what Jerusalem was for the Israelites in times of Nehemiah. Therefore, when the news went out that the reconstruction of the dorm had began, people started showing up "to strengthen their hands for the good work": the children and youth of the Boarding House, the adults that were educated in Quessua before the war, the volunteers from Florida, the Cuban missionaries on site, and the leadership of the East Angola conference. On a Saturday morning more than 500 students of the High School showed up to help. I happened to overhear one of the students say: “There are landmines in this area,” which reminded me of the three landmines that we found when my family and I lived in Quessua. However, not even fear deterred these brave ones from completing the job.
|More than 500 High School students came to help.|
While some were working on the dorm, the UMW from Angola and Florida were "strengthening their hands for the good work" of starting a sewing class for the community. We were also able to better living conditions for the missionaries and acquire generators for them and the boys of the Boarding House, who had been without electricity for almost two months.
In the spirit, many of you were also "strengthening your hands for the good work," as you give sacrificially to support the ministry of the Garcias in East Angola, the feeding program of the Boarding House, and scholarships for Quessua students, among many other things.
During this trip, we saw hands from every corner of Angola and Florida being strengthened for the good work. As a result, we witnessed how life is emerging from dry bones. This is the fruit of intercessory prayers, actions of faith, and sacrificial giving both in Angola and in Florida. What a wonderful testimony of the unifying and transforming power of Jesus Christ!
Click here to see more pictures of the work done.