On Oct. 30, I received a message through the Portuguese website from Mesac Catombela, with warm greetings to the United Church of God saying he was a baptized member of the Worldwide Church of God in Angola, in the local congregation of Huambo.
He said it was a surprise and an enormous joy to get to know about us, as we have the same beliefs, hope and calling. He then mentioned the Church in Angola is going through a rebirth as they survived a number of leadership conflicts and some have separated from the Church.
He asked for more details about us and our history due to our identical doctrinal belief and they wish to have a relationship with fellow Christians in the unity of the Body. I pointed him to the appropriate links on our Portuguese website which addressed all his questions. He also had a number of specific doctrinal and Christian living questions.
Various discussions have evolved since then and I was introduced to their home office leadership. On two successive mornings (Dec. 13 and Dec. 20, 2015) I had Skype video calls followed up with telephone calls with their leadership in Angola, Avelino Bumpa, pastor, and their radio voice; Rufino Mudendo, pastor, member of the Ministerial Board and general evangelist; and Felisberto Cassoma, deacon and Chairman of the Ministerial Board. The local Angolan Church is healthy and they appreciate every help we may provide of a spiritual nature. They also send their kind regards to the leadership and all the members of United Church of God.
The members of the Church in Angola were originally Catholic, and through Bible study they realized they needed to keep the Sabbath and formed the ‘Evangelical Church of the Apostles of the Seventh Day’ in Angola. They had limited biblical knowledge and needed to deepen their understanding regarding the gospel of the Kingdom of God. They found WCG in the early 1990’s and sent people to Namibia to contact WCG. At that time I translated their request and put them in contact with Pasadena. Their contacts with WCG developed through literature and visits. From there the teaching grew as the Church learned and taught the various local congregations of the truth. In some regions/congregations they were successful and grew in the truth, and in others they were not. In 2002 they were visited by two former WCG leaders and told that they did not need to keep the Sabbath and the Holy Days and the relationship floundered.
They kept the Feast in Luanda this past year (2015), and the festival attendance was approximately 2,500 people. They have 31 ordained elders. The approach they have taken in Angola to evangelize has been pushed down to the local congregations and the local pastor. Appointed leaders teach the members on a determined topic for two evenings a week and on a determined day they go out into the field in groups of two to evangelize. However, more recently in Luanda, pastor Avelino Bumpa has been preaching through a local radio station and has had good success.
They have convened a special meeting with all their elders to discuss what they have learned about us and to decide what relationship they would like to pursue with us. They asked for prayers in the success of this meeting and they said they are praying for us and our leadership. At this stage our cooperation is an informal one, helping them with spiritual content in whatever way as they ask. From the home office we have sent all 31 elders a full set of the 33 booklets in Portuguese (out of a total of 35 booklets in English), and 10 DVDs with four Portuguese sermons each, a total of 40 sermons). They have also been given printer ready material of those booklets and the latest Good News. I have also given them authority to quote or reprint any of our articles or booklets, as long as they honor and respect the editorial rights of the United Church of God. They will also be considering costs and the possibility of printing the Portuguese version of Beyond Today in Angola.
Let’s pray God will bless this exciting opportunity for us to work together serving our God the Father and our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, give us discernment to proceed according to His will, and protect us from Satan’s devices. God does wondrous works through the leadership of His Son, and it is not our doing. We are only too honored and privileged to be able to serve Christ and His work as He guides us.