If you were a resident at the Boarding House in Quéssua, Malange, you would be happy about many recent improvements to living conditions there: new paved road, new dining room and kitchen, new liquid gas-fueled stove and, to top it off, electricity from the city. Surely life at Quéssua has greatly improved since the re-opening of the Boarding House in 2008.
However, students in Quéssua still face many challenges. Not the least among them is the limited space in the dormitory. Currently there are about 50 students crammed into a two-bedroom dorm, with only two bathrooms. This explains why, at the request of missionaries Leo and Cleyvi Garcia, students are rallying to support the reconstruction of a much larger dormitory that was destroyed during the civil war. Work is gaining speed as fundraising finally is reaching its goal.
“The boys are cutting the grass around, and chopping the trees that were growing towards the inside, of the previously abandoned facility”—reports missionary Leo García. At the same time, Leo himself purchased all the parts for the metal roof and transported them to Quéssua in a rented truck. “Having learned to bargain as all Angolans do, I went from store to store asking for the best available prices,” Leo explained in an e-mail. By procuring construction materials on his own, he is shaving $2,085.00 off the initial $16,000 estimated total cost of the roof project. This is a most welcome effort in our tight financial situation. Indeed, Florida churches such as Cypress Lake UMC, North Naples UMC and others have made generous contributions to this project. However, since the reconstruction of the roof is only the first stage, we need to save every dollar we can for future steps. This is why volunteer work of interns and missionaries alike is so critical.
Speaking of voluntary work, Florida United Methodist churches continue to give essential contributions. Mr. Wayne Slockbower, member of Cypress Lake UMC in Fort Myers, has spent close to a month in two different occasions starting the repair-work at the Quéssua dormitory. In addition, a team from First UMC in Homestead is leaving for Quéssua on July 24, 2013. Mrs. Sandi Goodman, a veteran of voluntary trips to Angola and leader of this team, says that their main goal is also to work on the reconstruction of the dormitory. Provided that the roof is finished by the time they arrive, Sandi and her team will work dressing the walls with new stucco. This will leave the building ready for the next stage, namely, the installation of windows, doors, and bathroom facilities.
Another joyful news coming out of East Angola is the help being given by the Association of Alums and Old Friends of Quéssua. Before civil war destroyed the mission station, population in Quéssua reached 1200 students. Many of them are now high-ranking employees in the government, including military generals and ministers at the national level. They have organized themselves into this Association, which is diligently raising funds and helping with the logistics of every team that visits Angola. They are in constant contact with the East Angola/Florida Partnership Committee. We in Florida are very grateful for their contributions.
The United Methodist churches of East Angola and Florida are working together for the construction of the Kingdom of God. Our gratitude goes to every single individual and local church giving a helpful hand through prayers, donations and volunteer work, so that we can more effectively proclaim the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Rev. Armando J. Rodriguez, Jr.
Chairperson of the East Angola/Florida Partnership Committee
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