This is the Angola Mission Team's Quarterly newsletter, featuring articles by Danny Reese and Teague Meyer, a link to an article about Nathan and Umoyo, and Prayer Requests.
Angola Team
Seedtime & Harvest 
Field Notes from Angola 
Cornelius teaches in Lossambo

Seeing Renewal First-Hand:

A Glimpse of What God is Doing Through the Initial Cell of Renovo

By: Danny Reese

A few months ago we launched the first of what will hopefully be many home-based groups dedicated to growth in Christ. We call the gatherings Renovo, evoking images of rebirth, renewal, re-creation. This, indeed, is our prayer for the people of Huambo – that the creator God will create anew the lives that have been destroyed by sin. Nothing, though, could prepare us for seeing this renewal first-hand! God astounds us by his work. Allow us to share with you a glimpse into what he is doing.

He started by bringing to us four families, each in their own ways broken, and each in their own ways searching for the God who heals. God has bonded these families together with our team into a tight-knit group of mutual encouragement, growth, service, and prayer. In a society where each person is expected to make his or her own way in life and where repeated betrayals engender distrust even among close relatives, Renovo is a breath of fresh air to those searching for something better.  As one woman put it, “I’m so tired of walking through life alone, I can’t do it anymore. I need this group.” Several members have expressed the same sentiments in other words.

One of Renovo’s stated core values is transparency – a rarity in this society and a requisite for true community. God has surprised us in this too; Renovo members have opened up their lives far more deeply and quickly than we expected. In addition to our Sunday gatherings, men and women meet separately during the week for accountability, prayer, and encouragement. These mid-week meetings have become safe-havens for confessions of adultery, self-esteem struggles, sensitive medical matters, admissions of addictions, financial fears, tears over torn marriages, and more. When a public holiday threatened to disrupt our weekly routine, the Renovo men were adamant: “We cannot skip even one Tuesday morning prayer time. That time is sacred!” So the transparency and prayers continue unabated.

God has been working especially through the daily habits Renovo inculcates. Daily prayer and Scripture meditation are foundational, and interpersonal patterns of interaction with other disciples are sustaining. But perhaps the habit that has been most rewarding has been daily family devotional time. In obedience to Deuteronomy 6:6–7, parents are taking responsibility for the spiritual growth of their children – yet they find themselves growing too. As one father said, “Leading my family is a new experience for me, and the responsibility makes me want to live as an example they can follow.” Increasingly, God is showing us the importance of the family in his redemptive work.

Community, transparency, daily habits; all are tools in God’s hands for renewing the broken. And he is. We watch amazed as a man who for decades refused to darken the doors of a church, and who struggles deeply with self-esteem, steps forward to lead the Sunday Renovo gathering in two hours of Bible study and devotion. We rejoice as an unbelieving husband who has often ridiculed his wife’s faith tentatively begins to participate in Renovo activities. A couple who have always distrusted each other’s finances begin to share their resources with each other.

Growth on every side, yet one hurdle still looms. Many individuals in Renovo have not yet had the courage to dedicate their lives to Christ, being baptized into his death and rising to live a life of undivided faith. God has allowed them to sample his kingdom and its smorgasbord of delights. Please join us in prayer for the members of Renovo, that having tasted the goodness of the Lord they will decide to take their seat permanently at his banquet table. Pray that having tested the waters they will take the plunge with joy, washing away the old and putting on the new. Pray that their commitment to Christ will be contagious as Renovo cells begin (soon!) to multiply, spreading throughout Huambo with the good news of renewal in Christ.

He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Amen, come Lord Jesus!

 

All Africa Missionary Retreat:

A time of physical rest, emotional support, recreation, and spiritual renewal in Cape Town.

By: Teague Meyer

We have been in Angola for nearly five years now. We find that our families are very much at home here among dear friends, church family, favorite picnic spots, and somewhat predictable routines. But life in Angola can be wearisome and we regularly need a retreat. We laugh because camping just across the border in Namibia has more amenities (i.e. hot showers any time of day and reliable Wi-Fi) than we have had at home!
 
About every 2-3 years since the 1980s, missionaries from our fellowship have traveled from various settings in Africa to retreat together for a time of physical rest, emotional support, recreation, and spiritual renewal. This year, the Angola team's very own Robert Meyer (with little to no help from me, his wife) coordinated the All Africa Missionary Retreat (AAMR) in Cape Town, South Africa, held at the beautiful Vineyard Hotel in Newlands. Monte Cox, Harding University's Dean of the College of Bible and Ministry and former AAMR coordinator (when he was a missionary in Kenya), challenged and encouraged us with lessons on being "In Step With the Spirit." He was accompanied by his wife, Beth, who through conversations filled with empathy and encouragement, ministered to us as well. To top it all off, eight members from our supporting congregation, the Central Church of Christ in Little Rock, AR, served us by providing child care, leading worship, and imparting encouragement in all its forms (through prayer and conversation, as well as through M&Ms and pedicures).
 
Eighty adults along with their 23 kids (thanks to Central for service to us through child care!) attended the conference. It is difficult to describe the camaraderie that I feel when I am with my fellow Africa missionaries, many of whom I met for the first time at the retreat. The retreat fulfilled its purpose once more, facilitating a meeting between followers of Christ who share a burden for African missions and allowing space for God to speak to us personally and unite us in purpose.
 
To emphasize what a blessing the AAMR is, here is my Facebook post from after the retreat: "We'll be at the border in about 45 minutes. We are carrying extremely valuable things back with us, but customs can't charge us for them. Treasured memories fill our hearts and a renewed awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirit fills our being and flows from us like rivers of living water (John 7:38). Thankful for the opportunity to commune with members of our church family in Little Rock and all over the continent of Africa at the All Africa Missionary Retreat."

Angola Mission Team

The Angola Team:

Nathan & Umoyo Holland
 
Robert, Teague, Efesson, & Biruk Meyer

Danny, Katie, Eliana, Sophia, & Samuel Reese

Jordan Yarbrough

 

Planting Churches
Nurturing Growth
Harvesting a Nation

The Hollands in Namibia

Click the link below to read a short article from the Christian Chronicle about how the Hollands are using their time in Namibia: 

Spotlight: Working and waiting in Windhoek 

Pray for Us

Prayer Requests:

Pray for Renovo, the cell church initiative among the middle class in Huambo. Please take the time to read the first Newsletter article, praising God with us for the renewal we are witnessing and lifting up the members of Renovo who have tasted the goodness of God but have yet to commit their lives to Christ. 

Pray for our interns, Erin, Macy, and Mapel. They arrive this week and will be with us for the next 7 weeks! Pray that God will use this experience to enhance their view of his mission and their role in it. 

Pray for César and the other leaders in the São Luis congregation, (John, José, Troquanto, Adelaide, Nanda, and Margarida).

Pray for the Angolan people. That they would become disciples of Jesus Christ.

Pray for the Angolan Christians. That God would use them to reach the nation of Angola in a powerful way.
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