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Luz Mission

Photo courtesy of Agostinho de Assunção Paulino.

Luz Mission, Angola

By Agostinho de Assunção Paulino

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Agostinho de Assunção Paulino, B.A. in Theology (University of Montemorelo, Mexico), is currently the president of the Angola East Mission and is pursuing the Master's Degree program in evangelism with a specialty in mission at UNASP Enginheiro Coelho, Brazil. He is married to Hulda José Sabino Caquim Paulino. They have five children.

First Published: February 3, 2021

Luz Mission is one of the pioneering Seventh-day Adventist mission stations established in the northeastern part of the country of Angola.

The Establishment of Luz Mission

Geographically, Luz Mission is located in the eastern part of Angola, in the Lunda South Provincial, right in the heart of the Quioca or Tchokwe ethnic group. It is located at 160 kilometers north of the city of Vila-Luso in the area of civil district of Dala. It’s about 42 kilometers from the Dala Administrative Post to the mission. This distance takes you to the Mualengue Village, whose leader bears the same name.1

Prior to the opening of Luz Mission, W. H. Anderson visited the area in search of a suitable site to set up an Adventist ministry. After facing much difficulty in crossing “fording streams and swimming rivers,” Anderson “found a place where there were a large number of natives and where the surroundings were conducive to the health and convenience of the missionary.”2

In August 1925, O. O. Bredenkamp and his wife opened Luz Mission in the northeastern part of Angola among the Lunda and Chokwe peoples, at Dala in the Lunda District. Elder W. B. Commin described the isolated location and state of the region as he saw it at that time:

Dala is about 400 miles from the nearest post office and railway line, and Brother and Sister Brendenkamp can hope to receive post only about twice a year. The problem of sending to the mission at Dala food supplies and money is quite a difficult one. The natives in this part of the country have not as yet been conquered by the Portuguese government, and they are rather a wild tribe; but the gospel of Jesus Christ can do much more by love to conquer these people than can be expected from force of arms.3

One year later, Bredenkamp was able to speak Chokwe quite well.4 He needed a wagon and a chain to haul stones to the mission site for the building. He managed to construct two missionaries’ homes, a small dispensary, a temporary church building, and a school building (in 1927) with a capacity of 200 students.

Medical Work

The missionary medical work in Angola was not limited to Bongo Hospital in the Upper East region. It had provided coverage for almost all the territory of Angola. After the establishment of Bongo Hospital, a medical care service was opened at Luz Mission, more than 1,000 kilometers from Bongo. This service was founded by Pastor W. H. Anderson in 1925 where, with the support of natives Jeremias Mingajo, Taulo de Sousa, Adolfo Cafusa, Noah Sakaliela, Samuel Munsungunha, and other workers, Leonardo Mines and Venancio Chipopa established the Mission. The first Missionary placed in Luz Mission was Pastor O. O. Bredenkamp, who arrived at the site in August 1925.

Two years later, the dispensary was said to be doing fine medical work and had a good reputation among the people. In 1929, Nurse M. Fourie was placed in charge of the dispensary. In his report on September 20, 1927, Bredenkamp wrote: “Presently we have at the station the principal’s house, the house of a second worker, a small provisional dispensary building, and a provisional school building that accommodates about 200 people. ”5

Education Work

Helping Brendenkamp with the running of the school was Brother A. D’Oliviera. In 1927, they had 60 names on the school register, and those students were considered an intelligent set of boys. The attendance at the school and the worship service continued to be good. Their only challenge was that their church building was far too small, and it needed to be enlarged to accommodate from 500 to 600.6

Indications of the people’s willingness to learn the truth became evident at Luz Mission during the 1928 campmeeting. A. E. Nelson reported:

These people, for whom work has only been done for about two years, are most willing to learn the will of God. After a sermon on dispensing with bangles and other ornaments, we found the people chiseling off these adornments from their arms and legs. They took all their ornaments and presented them to the missionary to show that they wanted to follow the ways of God.

The most interesting experience of all occurred after the last sermon of the campmeeting. We went outside the church and found a large basket which a witch doctor had brought to the mission. This contained the instruments he used in his witchcraft. Upon inquiring what he wanted us to do with it he stated that he wanted us to burn it up, so the teacher and the witch doctor gathered some sticks and grass and made a fire while a large company gathered about. The witch doctor then took piece by piece of his bones and other accoutrements from the basket and dropped them into the fire. It seemed as though the Spirit of God impressed us all with this wonderful manifestation of power for we spontaneously broke out in singing “Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow.” When this ceremony was over Elder [W. H.] Anderson turned to me and said that in all his thirty-five years’ experience in Africa, he had never seen anything like this before.7

In 1935, during a campmeeting conducted by S. A. Wellman and L. L. Moffitt, nine people took part in the first baptism among the Chokwe people, and it was conducted in a stream that flows by the mission site.8

A church building was built in 1937. The definitive concession for the mission’s occupation of the site was authorized by the decree of 16 May 1941, published in the Official Bulletin of September 1941.9

In 1947, Everett L. Jewell remembered having been told, “Superstition and witchcraft are so deeply rooted in the hearts and minds of the Chokwe and Luena peoples, among whom the work of Luz Mission is carried on, that they are recognised as being among the hardest of Angola to lead to the acceptance of Christ.”10 In 1949, he built a school that was inaugurated the following year.11

But after five years of his stay there, he could see some clear results. From the original four satellite schools they ran, the number had increased to 19 satellite schools covering a radius of approximately 125 miles in just five years. Practically any native within that distance knew about the mission and Adventist beliefs.

To illustrate further the impact of the Adventist message among the Chokwe people, Jewell relates a story he was told by one of the teachers of the satellite schools as follows:

An interesting incident has come to our attention which shows how the Lord has many ways of spreading this message. It is of a Chokwe lad who left his home, near the place where the Zambezi River passes through a corner of Angola, to seek his fortune on the Rhodesian copper mines, some two months’ journey on foot. His wanderings finally led him to Bulawayo and from there to our Solusi Mission where he enrolled as a student. Even though he did not finish his course he did learn to love God and when he left, he carried the message of truth with him in his heart.

Eventually he returned to his people, and he wasted no time in telling them of the wonderful news of salvation. Soon he had a number of interested persons and so he established a Sabbath School. About two years passed, and he decided to visit some of his family who were living at a place near one of our out-schools. Upon arriving there, he inquired if they knew of anyone who kept the seventh day, Saturday, instead of Sunday. His relatives replied that there was a teacher living just across the river who taught the people to keep Sabbath. He was very happy and wasted no time in going to see our teacher, to whom he told his story, and who in turn told it to me. He is very anxious that we send down a teacher to help him in his work. The place where he lives is approximately 250 miles from the mission and yet we have not been able to send anyone.12

Pastor Anderson was proven right when he established the Adventist work in a region so fertile to evangelism. To this list are added missionaries, workers without the title of “pastor” such as Seculo Samingueli, wives, children and members of the churches. Everything took place in less than 30 years and just before the region was affected by the national liberation war. Later, due to the war, Luz Mission was transferred to the Sacambua Mission.13

Future Outlook

According to the report of one Angolan newspaper dated April 4, 2011, the governor of Lunda South Province, in the act of laying the first stone for social works in the municipality of Dala, Saurimo, said that a professional training center, a school with six classrooms, a health post, a church, and a dormitory for 60 students was going to be built that year (2011) at the Seventh-day Adventist Mission in the locality of Mualenge (Lunda South).

The project for the construction of these infrastructures is part of the plan for rehabilitation and expansion of the mission, whose first stone was laid on Sunday through the partnership between the government and religious institutions. In her address, after the first work was finished, Candida Narciso affirmed that the Mission will contribute to the rescue of civic and moral values as this is a great opportunity for citizens to be trained within Christian and social morality and civility.14

Sources

Branson, W. H. “A Cheering Word from Angola,” African Division Outlook, September 1, 1927.

C[ommin], W. B. “From the Congo to Angola,” African Division Outlook, October 15, 1925.

Editorial, “Progress in the Equatorial Union,” African Division Outlook, September 1, 1927.

Jewell, Everett L. “Luz Mission,” The Southern African Division Outlook, June 1, 1947.

Justino, Alexandro. Pregoeiros da Verdade Presente: Historia da Igreja Adventista do Setimo Dia em Angola, 1924-2004, 2007.

Moffit, L. L. “Visiting Camp-meetings in Angola,” The Southern African Division Outlook, September 1, 1935.

Nelson, A. E. “Camp-meetings in the Congo and Angola,” African Division Outlook, September 27, 1928.

Paulo, Isaac. Guidos Por Deus: A Obra Medica e Missionaria Adventista em Angola os Parsons e a Missiao do Bongo, 2013.

Notes

  1. Alexandro Justino, Pregoeiros da Verdade Presente: Historia da Igreja Adventista do Setimo Dia em Angola, 1924-2004, 2007, 123.

  2. W. B. C[ommin], “From the Congo to Angola,” African Division Outlook, October 15, 1925, 8.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Editorial, “Progress in the Equatorial Union,” African Division Outlook, September 1, 1927, 10.

  5. Isaac Paulo, Guiados Por Deus, 117

  6. W. H. Branson, “A Cheering Word from Angola,” African Division Outlook, September 1, 1927, 11.

  7. A. E. Nelson, “Camp-meetings in the Congo and Angola,” African Division Outlook, September 27, 1928, 2.

  8. L. L. Moffit, “Visiting Camp-meetings in Angola,” The Southern African Division Outlook, September 1, 1935, 4.

  9. Justino, Pregoeiros da Verdade Presente, 126.

  10. Everett L. Jewell, “Luz Mission,” The Southern African Division Outlook, June 1, 1947, 2.

  11. Justino, Pregoeiros da Verdade Presente, 126.

  12. Jewell, “Luz Mission,”  2-3.

  13. Isaac Paulo, Guidos Por Deus: A Obra Medica e Missionaria Adventista em Angola os Parsons e a Missiao do Bongo, 2013, 300-301.

  14. Ibid., 301.

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Paulino, Agostinho de Assunção. "Luz Mission, Angola." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. February 03, 2021. Accessed May 21, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8CYD.

Paulino, Agostinho de Assunção. "Luz Mission, Angola." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. February 03, 2021. Date of access May 21, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8CYD.

Paulino, Agostinho de Assunção (2021, February 03). Luz Mission, Angola. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 21, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8CYD.