In Angola, we are supporting the Anglican Church as it shares the gospel amid many challenges
The following article is by the Revd Maria Domingos, whose ordination training was supported by USPG.
The Anglican Church in Angola has church growth as one of our main priorities. To assist in this vision we received training from the Province of Southern Africa.
Each diocese in Angola has undergone training in methods of church growth – a key feature of which has been to set up local groups of men and women to share the gospel.
This is a significant challenge that has required hard work and dedication, both on the part of local priests and local evangelism groups, often working in remote areas without transportation. But we have seen growth, with the creation of many new congregations.
In each place we work, we encounter many hardships. Malaria is rife throughout the country, but with a particularly high prevalence in Uige, Bie and Kwanza Norte. HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis are especially prevalent in Cunene and Lunda Sul. We also encounter poverty, children who are not receiving adequate parenting, and high incidences of cancer in women. The list goes on.
Amid these challenges, the church endeavours to maintain its focus on spreading the life-saving gospel, and we now have congregations in areas where the church did not exist before. There is hope.
Tackling malaria with mosquito nets
The Anglican Church has helped to transform the lives of communities in Mucaba, in the province of Uige. This is an area rife with malaria. But the church, with the support of overseas partners, launched a malaria project five years ago called Nets for Life.
We called this an integrated project, which means we tried not to focus on one particular issue – namely malaria – but took into account the whole of the lives of the people.
This is because we understand that malaria doesn’t happen in isolation but is often more prevalent when certain conditions prevail, such as poverty.
In setting up the project, the co-ordinators were particularly mindful of pregnant women and children under five years old, because these groups are more susceptible to the disease.
So, as well as providing nets to prevent bites from malaria-infected mosquitoes, the project encouraged women to be vaccinated and to consult a doctor during pregnancy, thus reducing the chances of miscarriage or the birth of a child infected with malaria.
To make this happen, church members became activists to bring awareness to communities. As a result, women are changing their attitudes and behaviour so that malaria is becoming less common.