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Standing on the shoulders of giants

James

Busy weekend! It began a long time ago, last Sunday morning. We were all up, packed, ready and alert for 9:00a.m at the start of the breaking of bread service. This was fantastic. We sang hymns to which we knew the tune yet had no idea what we were singing except for the occasional phrase we could guess. We then enjoyed the superb choir at the gospel service immediately afterwards who had written and arranged their own songs and harmonies.

Then we set out on our adventure for Bula and Luma, two mission stations 5 hours out from Camundanbala (our residence) across the savannah and through the jungle on a road destroyed by 20 years of civil war. It was equivalent to travelling through a warzone, with craters, burnt out trucks, abandoned tanks (photo opportunity) and landmines covering the fields to the side. It was a long, long journey which we powered on through. We briefly stopped at a market (a small village at the side of the road selling goods) to buy pineapples and Jamie-Tiago- spotted an axe he fancied which he bought on the way back. We also stopped at probably the most epic waterfall, certainly I have seen in my entire life. It was effectively a mini Victoria Falls in Angola.

We arrived in Bula at sundown (about six) and began the fun of setting up our mosquito nets and beds before tea time. This was quite a challenge. We then had a great tea of baked beans on toast and headed quickly to bed. Just before bed time Jack –Casanova- (with help from Tiago) took pride in his fire which he made in the fire place in the house we were staying. Before some of you get funny ideas of luxury where we stayed, bear in mind it had no ceiling and one room (which Stu B, Stu W and I stayed in) had a missing window.

At sunrise some of us made the meeting where dad -insert nickname here- gave ministry from Malachi. I won’t mention any names of who didn’t make the meeting, Tiago, Casanova and the Translator. Then after breakfast we were given a tour of the mission station at Bula. This was a poorer station than Camundanbala with a smaller school (only three classrooms with government teachers who only occasionally turn up) and a hospital that is a shell of what it once was. Don’t get ill in Angola. The station is really in need of a permanent missionary to man the station. Ruth can only visit so often.

We then set of for Luma, another hour away through real jungle, after handing out footballs to the local kids and a trip to the river to help fill up water buckets. The road we travelled on this time was built by two missionaries, one from Luma and one from Bula who met in the middle. After our jungle trek we arrived in Luma the next mission station. Hundreds of children raced the car along and greeted us as we arrived. We then made a decision to camp outside under African skies with only our beds and nets, more on how that turned out soon.

Jonathan, who we now call superman for the sheer amount of skills he processes (plumber, builder, joiner, he can do anything), took us down to the RAM (Hydraulic Pump) to see if he could fix it. This pump is ingenious; it pumps water up a hill over literally 1.5km to the village with no electricity just by using water pressure and gravity. When working properly it is entirely self sufficient. Enough physics. We then began a trek through a swamp following the pipe back to the village checking for leaks. We identified three areas which Jonathan repaired with his tool kit. We were back for tea time and then set up our nets for bed. We spent the night under African skies. The sky was beautiful, just as God made it, we saw the arm of the milky way and Sirius the dog star, the brightest star in our sky besides the sun. Half the group loved the experience whereas half the group complained about a little cold weather and swore never to repeat it ever again. My only complaint was that we saw no lions from the area.

The next morning we all attended the meeting at sunrise, all alive, all awake, none eaten or lost. Luma is a real spiritual centre in the area, it has no missionary stationed at the area now but is still a strong church and was a real boost. Dad ministered again this time from Colossians 3 regarding rules for holy living and how this is only possible with Christ within us and with a heavenly view on things. The fellowship there thanked us very kindly for visiting them and gave us a gift of fruits and lunch (pasta soup), they were very gracious hosts. We then visited the old mission house there which was blown up during the war and collected the old bell from the area to be used for the school in Camundanbala. After a prayer from the elders for our safety we were off. Then followed the 5 and a half hour journey back from which we are still recovering.

Sorry for the length of blog this time but we did do a lot. Once again thanks for your prayers and for reading, it means a lot to each of us. Remember and read tomorrow night for the last EVER blog!!! Good Night

Gareth A (Insert Nickname Here)