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Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Future of Angola

We only have one more month left in Angola. Our time here is coming to an emotional end, with exciting adventures to come. We will miss the beautiful relationships that we've made, and the amazing tropical climate with it's luxuriously underpopulated beaches. We will miss being used by God in such a tangible way. 

  We are excited about our new adventure ahead in Portland, Oregon. If you are wondering how missionaries just decide to go back to America and enter the rush of the working world with all of it's taxes and insurances, luncheons and golfing. We are wondering the same thing. What will it be like? I know this will sound arrogant, but here, we are important people that get things done when no one else can. We have means of changing lives, that others do not. We have the education that people here only hear about. (all of this by the Grace of God, not by our own powers)  In the U.S., we will blend in, and be regular Janes and Joes. Being a "light" to the world will be a little more challenging in some ways. I do fear settling back into the norms of life, with all of it's commercialism and keeping up with the Jones. You, my readers, know exactly what I'm talking about.
But one important thing that I've learned here is that being a missionary is not defined by having churches support you financially , or by being in another country in the name of Jesus. Being a missionary is depending on God for all your needs, for emotional stability, for the love and means to reach out to other people and love them like God Himself. Being a missionary means waking up in the morning and dedicating that day to the Lord, every encounter, every moment with our family, every frustrating endeavor. We will remain "missionaries" in Portland and encourage you to also be a missionary where you are. Go out and love somebody in the name of Jesus. It may be cheesy, but is that not what we are here for???
Here are some pictures from our latest cataract surgery outreach in Angola.

Cautery with Fire
Teaching Angolans
Making lasting friends

As we leave, we want to continue to help develop Angolan leaders. One major issue that we see with the developing world is a lack of education.  We know so many good young people with no means of higher education. In order to help them receive an education we have decided to start a scholarship fund. The Committee that will help choose our students has now been established. And our project leader is also the pastor of our local church. This year we have already sent three students to University. 

First is Paulo, he is enrolled in nursing school, and off to a good start. He is a regular member in our church, but when we met him, he was always just in the corner and kept to himself. We found out that his father has nearly nothing. Absolutely no means to send him to school, not to mention his 7 brothers and sisters! So ever since he was chosen for the scholarship, he seems so much more confident and outgoing. He is so proud that he has a promising future.
Next is Levi, one of our pastors 9 kids. He also had given up an an education for financial reasons, at least for the next few years. We chose him because he already had a clear vision of what he wants with his life. He would like to work in the oil industry, a promising field here in Angola.

Our final student for the year is Maria, I know her because her father is in our blind association. He was sharing one day about his stresses in life and that his wonderful daughter will not get to study because he has no means to pay for school. When I met her, I saw a capable young woman with a passion for psychology and a desire to study in the field. She started studying in February thanks to the scholarship fund.
All of our students are expected to keep good grades and will continue to receive the scholarship for 4 years, as that is how long the courses will take.

Philip is a student applying for the scholarship in the coming year. He suffered polio as a young child. Soon after his father left him and his mother and then his mother died. He has been "adopted" by the church leadership. Him and anther young man live on the church property. Because of the church leaders he is in school right now and nicely clothed and taken care of, but next year he would like to go to University. John and I have personally committed to get him through school. He works the sound board at our church and is always very respectful and faithful.
Lastly, I'll tell you about Cumi, a faithful leader in our church. He loves practicing his English with us, and is hoping to go to College next year. We have letters coming in now from students applying for the Scholarship. Exciting and intimidating. John and I will at least be able to have one student a year on our own. But if any of you out there are interested in joining us we will be putting 95 percent of the givings straight to the students and the other 5 will go to the Angolan leader of the project for his time and dedication to this scholarship. I will be posting pictures of hopeful recipients, so those giving can either choose a specific student to help, or just give to the whole scholarship.
One last important note, We are actually collecting old laptops for these students. If any of you have working laptops sitting around your house gathering dust, please make a point of getting it to Nebraska in the next two weeks. John will be able to take them back for these students. Amazingly enough, computers are a must in higher education, because books and resources are limited, the professors give out reading assignments on pin-drives. We have given two laptops and hope to collect many more! If you are at all interested, just e-mail and I will send you the address where we will be able to pick it up as John will be returning to Angola as he ties up loose ends with the hospital for the month of June.
Thanks again for reading, I hope you have been challenged.
With Love From Angola,