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Bongo Hospital.

Photo courtesy of Domingo Lourenco Suquina.

Bongo Adventist Mission

By Domingos Lourenco Suquina


Domingos Lourenco Suquina (M.A., Adventist University of Africa, Nairobi, Kenya)  currently serves as the director of ISPAB at Bongo, Angola. He was born in a pastoral home. At the age of seventeen, he began studying theology, starting in Bongo and ending in Friedensau, Germany. He has worked as a pastor, youth leader, and in the field of education for many years. He is married to Beatriz Martinez Suquina and has two children.

First Published: April 22, 2022

Bongo Adventist Mission was the first mission station to be established in Angola by the Seventh-day Adventist missionaries.


The Seventh-day Adventist Church emerged in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, at the end of 1844, with the appearance of three Adventist groups, namely: the Port Gibson group in New York; the New Hampshire group in Washington; and in Portland, Maine. Inspired by these currents was constituted as a church on May 23, 1863.1 Within the missionary movement, determined and courageous men and women arrived in South Africa in 1887, obeying the Master’s order to go to all nations, tribes, peoples, and languages (Matt. 20:18-20). They created the mission of Cape Conference in 1892, the Natal-Transvaal Conference in 1902, the Orange Free State Conference in 1913, and the South Africa Union Conference in 1902. Another union mission that emerged in Africa was the Zambesi Union Mission in 1916, which included Northern and Southern Rhodesia Missions.

Events That Led to the Establishment of the Mission

In all, missions constituted their main activity in evangelization (the gospel will be preached throughout the world; Matt. 24:12). This made it possible for the natives to have access to education, as many primary schools were established in these regions at the time, secondary schools, colleges in various fields, and a good number of universities. That’s how Bongo Mission came about. 2

The Bongo Seventh-day Adventist Mission is located 60 kilometers from the city of Huambo, in the Municipality of Longonjo, Comuna de Lepi, Sector of Bongo, with a land extension of 624.15 hectares. It is 7 kilometers from the National Road EN260 from Huambo to Benguela. Its surrounding villages have a population of around one million eight hundred thousand inhabitants, mostly peasants who grow cereals, tubers, and citrus fruits.

Bongo was the first mission of the Adventist movement in Angola established in 1922 by Pastor W. H. Anderson, of American nationality, who, coming from South West Africa (now Namibia), made an exploratory trip by land in order to study the possibility there to start the evangelistic work.3

In presenting his exploration report to the executive committee of the African Division of Seventh-day Adventists, which at the time operated in Cape Town, Republic of South Africa, the members sent Pastor W. H. Anderson back to Angola, accompanied by Pastors T. M. French (executive secretary of the African Division) and J. D. Baker (granted by the South African Union of Seventh-day Adventists),4 this delegation having landed at the Port of Lobito on June 12, 1923.5

After a few days in the cities of Lobito and Benguela, where they had the opportunity to provide themselves with essential supplies, they took the opportunity to maintain contact with the Portuguese government authorities, and by coincidence it was time for the Governor General to visit Lobito from Angola, who were asked for an audience.6 After the hearing was granted, they were received by the Governor General of Angola and made a formal request to him for the establishment of an Adventist Mission in Bongo; this was granted under the terms of the legislation in force.7

A month later they left Lobito by train toward the interior. They stopped at Ganda, which they liked, but knowing that the Philafrican Mission was planning to establish a missionary station8 there, they continued their journey. On the convoy, they entered into a conversation with Captain Morais, who was administrator of the district of Lépi, who spoke English and invited them to establish the mission in that village.9

Founding of the Institution

In September 1923, the Division Committee that met at Claremont in South Africa, voted among other things “to open a mission and training school at Lepi, and that two couples be secured in 1924 for that field.”10 Pastors Anderson and Baker went to Bongo, which Anderson had already explored in 1922, and were happily received by Headman Chipopiakulo. There they maintained their first missionary contacts with the natives of the region.11 On April 20, 1924, Pastor O. O. Bredenkamp and his wife arrived at Bongo (replacing Pastor T. M. French who returned to South Africa), and on June 20 the wives of Pastors W. H. Anderson and James D. Baker also arrived. 12

Pastor Anderson later took up residence at Lépi and the other two missionaries at Bongo. Thus, in 1924 in the Bongo Mission, the Adventist missionary work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Angola was begun. Lépi became the temporary headquarters of the South Atlantic Mission Field, which covered South West Africa (now Namibia) and Angola. A year later, in 1925, the South West African territory was transferred to the South African Union of Seventh-day Adventists, and Angola, with the territories of Cameroon, French Equatorial Africa, Fernando Pó Island, S. Tomé Islands and Principe and Equatorial Guinea. They formed the Equatorial Union of Seventh-day Adventists, with headquarters in Lépi.

On Sabbath, January 2, 1926, the first baptism of the eleven candidates was held on the banks of the ELuluvila stream, which flows at the foot of the mission station. Elder J. D. Baker conducted the baptismal service. In the afternoon Elder Anderson organized the first Seventh-day Adventist Church in Angola.13 In 1927 the headquarters of the Adventist Church moved to Huambo, where land had been acquired at the time and the construction begun by the American missionary T. R. Huxtable (who arrived at Bongo on April 23, 1926),14 building the headquarters of the Equatorial Union of Seventh-day Adventists, which is the current headquarters of the Southwest Union of Seventh-day Adventists.15

It was from the Bongo Mission that the missionaries left for other parts of the country, expanding their activity. So, in the summer of 1924, Pastor W. H. Anderson founded the Luz Mission in Saurimo, in Lunda Sul Province.16 In November 1928 Pastor James Delmar Baker founded the Namba Mission in Kassongue Municipality, Kwanza Sul Province.17 By 1930 Bongo Mission was said to be “one of the most beautifully laid out stations that we have in Africa. . . .”18 In February 1930 Dr. A. N. Tonge was released to the division to serve as medical secretary, while Elder Harder went to the Zambesi Union.19 In November 1931 Pastor J. Baker founded the Quicuco Adventist Mission in Kilengues Municipality, Huila Province.20

In June 1932 Pastor O. O. Bredenkamp and his wife founded the Lucusse Mission in Moxico Province.21 In January 1934 Pastor E. Buckley founded the Cuale Adventist Mission in Calandula Municipality, Malange Province.22 From the forties onward other centers and Adventist missions were founded, spread today in several provinces of Angola having as their focus and departure the Adventist Mission of Bongo.

Medical Missionary Work

Shortly after the first missionaries were settled in Angola, Dr. A. N. Tonge, an Adventist physician from Loma Linda Adventist University, California, United States of America, arrived in Bongo in October 1926 to establish medical missionary work there. 23 Thus began to function in a very rudimentary way the Bongo Adventist Hospital. The first patients were examined and treated on the porch of the mission director’s house and then at Dr. Tonge’s house until in 1929 when the hospital building was inaugurated.24 During the first month after the doctor’s arrival, he received 272 patient visits and one year later the number of patient visits rose to 564.25 Over time this modest building would benefit from successive expansions and equipment until it became an institution with 100 beds, becoming the most appreciated and well-known Bongo Adventist Hospital in Angola.

As already mentioned above, in 1931 Dr. Tonge was replaced by Dr. Roy Burlew Parsons,26 also a graduate of Loma Linda Adventist University who, after passing through the University of Lisbon for some tests, he dedicated to the Angolan people a life of medical missionary service, with the aid of his wife D. Mabel, a nurse. The medical missionary work experienced its greatest impulse in its Angolan history, with the arrival of the Parsons family. Dr. Roy and Mabel Parsons, and their two children, Roy Jr. and David, arrived at Bongo, full of expectations and joy in the heart to do medical work in Africa. That same year (1931) the nurse Miss Ruth Johnson also arrived, who remained here until the 1960s, and died in America in 1961.

In 1932 his son Robert, “Bob,” was born in Bongo. 27 In the thirties and forties, Bongo Mission established itself as the main Adventist mission in Angola, a place that was clearly developed and recognized in the fifties and sixties. With 120 beds, more than 100 daily care patients, and employing more than one hundred fifty inhabitants of the surrounding villages. In 1935 the first huts for the leprosarium, which operated in Bongo for many years, began to be built. From l953 to 1974, Bongo Hospital was enriched by the services of Doctor Élio Moretti, coming from Italy; Miss Alberta Hodde, coming from Colorado, United States of America; David Parsons and his wife D. Leona Parsons (Nurse), coming from the United States of America; Gedeon Marques and his wife from Portugal.28 By 1947, when A. W. Staples paid a visit, Bongo Mission Hospital had facilities to care for Europeans and African patients. The work at Bongo was said to be “patterned after the example of Jesus who went about doing good, teaching, preaching, and healing the sick.”29

Under the direction of Dr. Alberta Hodde, on April 1, 1957, the nursing school for the training of health technicians was inaugurated at Bongo Mission.30 The clinical analysis and X-ray laboratory were set up in 1961 under the leadership of Dr. Roy Parsons, assisted by his son Robert Parsons, who worked as a laboratory technician.31 In 1968 Dr. Roy B. Parsons retired and was succeeded by his son David Parsons as the medical director.

It was from Bongo Mission that the missionary doctors departed, with the support of an aircraft ambulance belonging to Bongo Mission, to assist and establish new hospitals, dispensaries, and health centers such as Namba Missions in Kwanza Sul (South) Province, Cuale Mission in Malange Province, Luz Mission in Lunda Sul (South) Province, Lukusse Mission in Moxico Province, Quicuco and Gungue Missions in Huila Province, and in other Adventist Missions throughout the country. Bongo Hospital enjoyed its golden years period until 1975, when the Parsons were forced to leave the country for security reasons. 32

In 1975, the year of Angola’s independence, with the departure of expatriate medical personnel, Bongo Hospital, in general, experienced a period of long stagnation and an almost complete cessation of activities. These activities were temporarily resumed with the arrival of Dr. Ferrán Sabaté and Nurse Victoria Duarte (1981-1982).33 These missionaries had a cruel experience. One night their charity work to their fellow human beings was abruptly interrupted when they were kidnapped by the troops of the armed Resistance Movement. For 90 days they had a long and hard journey, until they reached the place where they were returned to their countries of origin, after a negotiation between the Red Cross that represented the Adventist Church and the Guerrilla Movement. After the abduction, the hospital was run by local nurses, who for a long time had worked with the doctors and were trained for such service.

A few years later, and with Angola still at war, two missionary doctors and their families were sent–Drs. O. Vergéres and Butho Vá (1986 to 1987).34 Their activity in Bongo was short-lived, as they later had to be transferred to the current Huambo Adventist Medical Center in the city for security reasons. Seeing their mission not fulfilled with the limitations that the Huambo medical post presented, they returned to their homelands in 1988. Since then, Bongo Hospital has never been the same.

Training of Local Nurses

From 1957, many native nurses were trained during the period when expatriate medical missionaries were fulfilling their mission in this location. Therefore, as other mission stations were opened, hospitals and medical posts were also opened and were managed by many of the nurses trained at Bongo. That is, each new mission station had a hospital or at least a medical post, because the medical work attracted many people even from other denominations. It was to these hospitals that the Parsons traveled and even performed some surgical interventions.

Activities Performed

External consultations were performed in pediatrics, general medicine, cardiology, and genetic obstetrics. Bongo Hospital had become a point of reference, not only for the quality of doctors that the hospital had but also for the type of services that were offered in it. The patients treated there came from all over Angola, regardless of their religious beliefs, race, or color. That’s why many still identify with Bongo and lend their help to the rehabilitation of the same hospital.

Bongo Adventist Hospital is recovering from the damage it suffered during the long Angolan civil war. The Adventist hospital in Bongo, which had done so much good for the Angolan community for more than fifty years, was almost completely in ruins after the war. For this reason, it was closed for over twenty-seven years. At the end of 2011, with the arrival of Victoria Duarte dos Santos (one of the missionaries who had been kidnapped), now married and came back with her husband, Pastor João dos Santos, the restoration of the hospital was resumed using the external offices, which, for some years, had been used for outpatient consultations, laboratory, pharmacy, and hospital. The volunteer consulting physician for Bongo was Dr. Celso de Almeida, who operated his own private clinic in Benguela.

At this time the old X-ray facilities were rebuilt, transforming them into a hospital with a capacity for 14 beds for inpatients. Now the operating room and two rooms for post-operative restoration and intensive care are being built.

The main objective now is to completely rebuild the old hospital; namely, the operating room, a dental center, and an ophthalmology office, as well as a lifestyle health center. These projects are delayed because of the financial crisis affecting the country.

With regard to social assistance, although it is a private hospital, more than twenty children and five pregnant women are treated free of charge daily, including laboratory tests. Occasionally community dentistry consultations are held, serving more than two hundred fifty children each time.

Educational Work

As mentioned above, the Adventist Church in Angola was first established by W. H. Anderson, a missionary who came from South Africa and later settled in the locality of Mbongo after being refused the plan to settle in the Lepi community. The headman and the people of that region (Mbongo) welcomed the idea of installing the mission for two fundamental reasons: the first is because the mission would build the church, school, and hospitals, and that these three institutions would raise the population’s standard of living. Second, because the headman recognized the existing development in other regions that had Protestant evangelical missions; namely, Bailundo, Chissamba, Elende, and Dondi.

Since the establishment of the Adventist Church in Angola, one of the highest priorities of the missionary action was precisely the educational activity at Bongo Adventist Mission.35 In 1924 the Bongo Elementary School was opened, later the Bongo Adventist Institute and Hospital, then Bongo Adventist Seminary, and now Bongo Adventist Polytechnic Institute. These institutions established in this mission station provided training and health services to thousands of Angolans, as well as educating indigenous Angolans who later contributed to the development of the country.36 Many foreigners from such countries as São Tomé, Cape Verde, Mozambique, and Portugal also benefited from training in the same mission.

On December 1, 1924, Pastor J. D. Baker, the Bongo Mission director, wrote in his report to the Adventist Church’s World Headquarters in America saying:

We already have 20 students of ages from 5 to 50 years old. We do our schoolwork under the porch where the carpenters work. Instead of desks we have benches or pieces of wood. Our students are not Adventists, but it is a beginning, and it is growing. When the rains stop, we will start adobes to build a school.37

In October 1925, Dr. D. P. Harder arrived, charged with the establishment of the education work on solid foundations. Brother João de Sá Pereira do Lago, the first Adventist teacher to come from Portugal, worked with him. In December 1925 Brother Artur de Oliveira and family, a Portuguese family from Luanda, also arrived at the mission to give valuable help in the school. All school work was conducted in the Portuguese language.38 In 1926 the school began to be built, in the same place where the church was later built. On February 9, 1926, the governor of Cubango and the administrator of Lepi visited Bongo Mission and said that they were highly pleased to see the progress at the mission, and the governor requested pictures that he could include in the report he had to submit to the government.39

In January 1927 he left the school in a rampart for the new building, which at that time still had no doors, windows, or floors. In February of that same year, one of the students, Daniel Kahangala, was commissioned to start a rudimentary primary school in the village of Yava near Bongo, becoming the first native Adventist worker in Angola. His ministry was brief, as he died of pneumonia in 1934.40

The school experienced a notable boost with the arrival of O. I. Fields (and his wife), who worked there as the Bongo Mission director from 1931 to 1942.41 It was during their time that the former school building was replaced by the famous Bongo Adventist Institute, the soul master of successive generations of students who came to distinguish themselves in the history of the Adventist Church in Angola. By this time Adventist missionary couples in Angola had become fluent in the Portuguese languages, which enabled them to preach and interpret for visiting English speaking missionaries.42 During the camp meeting of 1938 held at Bongo Mission, Mr. and Mrs. Guadardo and Mr. and Mrs. Chaves became the first European couples to be baptized in Angola. Mr. Guadardo planned to enter colporteur work while Mr. Chaves entered the teaching work at the training school.43

By 1939 a girls’ school was running under Miss Ruby Visser, and one of the special features of the Bongo Training School was a fine choir comprised of the native youth whose voices blended so well that Elder J. F. Wright, president of the Southern African Division, considered it to be the best singing he had ever heard in a mission field.44 Since 1942 the school started to train students in primary, secondary, and theology education. Pastors trained in this school not only left as church pastors, but also as teachers in the various missions, colleges, and Adventist schools attached to local churches throughout the country.45 It was from this mother school that the Adventist education ministry expanded to several villages, towns, and cities, developing men and women who today serve the Angolan society.

Since the beginning of its establishment in Angola, the Adventist Church had, until 1970, 200 schools and more than six thousand enrolled students.46 The Adventist educational system in Angola was composed of primary schools, 1st Cycle, Schools of Arts and Crafts, Nursing and Veterinary, and Theology departments. Bongo Adventist Mission was its embryo that kept students from all over the country and beyond.

Due to the war for the independence of Angola, which also affected all the mission stations, Bongo Mission closed for about two years. From 1977 to 1987, Bongo Mission functioned only as an Adventist Seminary for training pastors and also offered what was called pre-theology (secondary education, which took its examinations at Longonjo).

The situation at Bongo Mission became unsustainable, due to the political or military insecurities to which it was exposed. Some mission infrastructure was destroyed in the presence of the mission residents, as well as workers who lost their lives because of land mines or armed attacks. According to Francisco Neto Lumbungululo,47 who was a student at Bongo in 1987, due to the worsening of the military situation in Angola in general and in the region in particular, Bongo Mission, under the leadership of Pastor Teodoro Elias, had to close again in its entirety, both the hospital as well as the school and the agricultural activity.

The hospital started operating in the city of Huambo in a precarious building and much smaller than the structure left in Bongo. In the same way, the school activity was transferred to the premises where it was known as the Huambo Adventist College (or as Adventist Seminary of Huambo), where it operated until 2008. Many students had to be dismissed due to lack of accommodation, leaving only third and fourth year students.48 Little by little improved conditions were created while still in the city of Huambo. After 32 years of operating in Huambo, the initiative to return to Bongo was taken up again, as it had the best conditions and environment for studying.

The other interruption of the school took place from 1992-1995, when the city of Huambo suffered a violent war for 55 days, where the city’s infrastructure was almost completely ruined. The military combats caused great destruction, which required a lot of hard work to raise the infrastructure from the rubble. As if it were a persecution of the work of God and the Adventist Church, the war’s greater intensity was in the region where the theology seminary was located. Classes resumed in 1995, and rising from the rubble, that peace bonanza was of short duration, especially for the city of Huambo.

At the end of 1998, the war again caused the seminary to interrupt its normal course. It took only three years of training, and those who had started classes in 1995 were only in the third year. An emergency decision was necessary so that the third year students would not be harmed. The Euro-Africa Division covered the expenses of the final year students, to travel to Mozambique and finish their studies there. During 1999 the seminar was once again closed. At this time, Pastor Dinis Kwexila was the Seminary director. In April 2000 classes resumed in Huambo, even in a climate of political or military instability.

It always required an iron will to raise the level of education in this location, even amidst the turmoil that characterized Angola and Huambo in particular. However, the idea and attempts to turn the Bongo Mission into an institution of higher education dated back to the colonial era. But the sociopolitical and military conditions did not allow it.

For example, in 1992, with the help of the former Euro-Africa Division, there was yet another attempt to make the Bongo Mission a university campus. A German architect (Smith) was sent, and he established his residence at the Bongo Mission with all the apparatus set up. Unfortunately, with the resurgence of war after the elections in 1992, that attempt was also frustrated, and a lot of building materials was burned in the warehouses and containers at Bongo in 1994.

Affiliation Agreement Approved

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Angola is one of the pioneers in teaching the natives, with the concern of training workers at different levels. After some years of negotiations, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Angola celebrated an affiliation agreement that is renewable every five years with the University of Montemorelos, Mexico, an internationally renowned Adventist university with nearly eighty years of existence.

The agreement’s aim is to train pastors in the Licentiate degree program in Theology, a program that is recognized by the government of Mexico. Thus, it was the beginning of a dream of having higher education training in the Adventist Church in Angola. Thus, 2009 began the first theology course at the Adventist seminary premises in Huambo, where many pastors were trained and graduated for a number of years.

Since the beginning of the Affiliation Agreement, six generations of new pastors have been formed. The first group graduated in 2013 and the last in 2019. A total of 150 pastors have graduated, including three (3) women and several pastors who are already in full-time ministry. The most recent group of finalists completed in May 2021 with a total of 63 graduates.

With the recent resizing of higher education in the country, the process of legalizing the Adventist Institute Superior Polytechnic of Bongo is underway to authorize it to grant other quality academic and professional programs. On October 16, 2018, the approval of the first phase of the university project was officially received. The first phase represents the approval of the suitability of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Angola to have an institution of higher education. At the end of 2019, three more courses were approved in addition to Theology, Education, Economics, and Computer Science, as part of the range of courses that will be administered on the university campus. The official communication was made in January 2020. The final phase is now pending approval, which corresponds to an on-site visit by the Angolan Ministry of Higher Education inspection team, which is expected to visit during 2021 to complete the process.

This process was led by the theology stream as a precursor of the other faculties, to change Bongo, considering that the project approved by the Government was for Bongo. Preparations were made by moving the seminary from Huambo to Bongo. This required the purchase of a generator for supplying electric power and the rehabilitation of the water gravitation system. Once the minimum conditions were created, on August 8, 2019, the students were transported from Huambo to Bongo, and on August 16 and17 of the same year, the return of the Theology school to Bongo was officially recognized; that is, a total of 32 years from the time it moved from Bongo to Huambo.

The university model that intended to be created is an adoption of an integral and harmonious type of the most advanced models in the different areas of academic work, supported by national and international experts. Considering the level of influence that the Bongo Mission exerted for many years, there is need to regain that role as it was before. The Seventh-day Adventist Church intends to build a university town for the Bongo Adventist Polytechnic Institute Superior.

As for the 1st and 2nd Cycles of education levels, after an interval of about twenty-five (1987--2012) years, due to the civil war, in 2012 the Bongo School was opened. This was done in view of the need to recover what Bongo Mission used to be for the region, in terms of education. The opening was done in collaboration with the government of Huambo and the Ministry of Education. In this context, under the leadership of Pastor José Chivela and later Pastor Lucas Calessi, the church began to see its mission being fulfilled by welcoming students from all over the country, both students living on campus and external students, first in the specialties of the Normal Institute of Education and Pre-university and teaching. As a government=funded school, the teachers were civil servants and the church provided the facilities to accommodate these students. Without these and other technical developments, it would not have been possible to keep the Bongo mission school open.

In the 2017 school year, unfortunately, it was announced that all Second Cycle students would be removed from Bongo Mission and transferred to the new facilities created at the headquarters of the Municipality of Longonjo, as its extension. This resulted in a big break for the school operations to the point of closing it, because the largest number of students were from the Second Cycle. Only 31 First Cycle boarding students had enrolled in this school year (2018). This number did not meet the minimum required for the functioning of an institution such as Bongo, which normally received around two hundred internal and one hundred fifty external students. To date there are about twenty-two auxiliary workers from the school of the I and II Cycles attached to the Longonjo campus, who include security, kitchen, plumbing, carpentry, maintenance, and preceptorship services, respectively.

Publications Works

As early as 1926, Adventist reading literature received in Angola included the Signs (both the African and American editions), the Present Truth series, and some Portuguese and German papers. Dutch literature was equally needed as there were several Dutch and German farmers in Angola.49 Although an unusual longing for reading matter was observed among the people, there seems to have been no vernacular literature available at that time.50 The problem of supplying vernacular literature, especially for Sabbath School lessons, missionary letters, and school materials, was first solved by the use of a rudimentary duplicator in l928.51 By 1929 the Sabbath School membership at Bongo Mission had reached 1,388 and the number of patients visiting the hospital had reached 22,708 in 1928.52 In 1937 the duplicator was replaced by a small multigraph press, from which, for the next twenty years, in addition to publications already mentioned, some school books and hymnals came out. 53

In 1957 construction began on the Bongo typography building, which was officially inaugurated in 1958, with José da Silva as superintendent at Botelho.54 In that same year, efficient equipment for composing, printing, folding, and binding the literature produced were acquired. In 1959 the legal society called “CASA PUBLICADORA ANGOLANA” (SA.R.L.) was established with its headquarters in Nova Lisboa (Huambo).55

In 1984 the Bongo Adventist Printing Office, which had started the Publications Ministry in Angola, was completely destroyed by fire during the civil war, leaving only the rubble as a souvenir. As with other institutions, the printer was also transferred to Huambo where it has been doing some work, though not as desired.

Agriculture and Livestock in Bongo

From its establishment until 1987, Bongo Mission always invested in agriculture and livestock. Of the total area of 624.15 hectares, 200 hectares are arable land, and the mission was able to provide food for more than eight hundred people who lived in that place. With the later development of Bongo Mission, agriculture became mechanized, with some tractors working in its vast fields. There was production of maize and other products on such a large scale that the students, the hospital staff, and local workers could not consume it all. Every day students had a few hours of mandatory manual work to make up for the few tuition fees they paid. Thus, even poor students could have access to studies at that school, as work was part of the curriculum.

By 1930 Bongo Mission had orchards and a vegetable garden that were irrigated by a ditch that started from a dam created for that purpose.56 This made it easier to have vegetables all year round. Vegetables such as cabbage, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, reindeer potatoes, and sweet potatoes were produced at the time, which were partly used in the kitchen of the students’ cafeteria and the hospital. There were still many citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, and lemons of very good quality. As everything that was produced in the countryside could not be consumed locally, the surplus was taken to Huambo, with one part to the union workers and the other part sold to the public. Students were also occupied with other small industries that had developed on campus such as shoemaking, tailoring, electricity, milling, and in maintaining the buildings and taking care of the mission grounds.

Cattle breeding was one of the brands that has always accompanied the development of Bongo, both for meat consumption and for milking. Milk was marketed to all interested residents of neighboring villages. There was also a small industry producing butter, cheese, and other dairy products. On the other hand, cattle were used to plow the land. Their waste was also used as fertilizer for different agricultural fields and especially in the vegetable garden, where vegetables were cultivated. Bongo was a self-supporting place.

There are currently around nineteen houses, with only 17 that are in habitable condition. The remaining two houses are in great need of rehabilitation. There is a church for about seven hundred people, a school with six classrooms, three offices, plus twenty-one rooms that were donated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Maranatha International organization, but with no desks. Currently, Bongo has fifteen workers in the Bongo Mission who are responsible for the vegetable garden, including a tractor driver, an assistant, and a shepherd with 30 heads of cattle. The remaining twelve are field workers.

Future Outlook

Despite all the setbacks mentioned above, Bongo Mission looks to the future with optimism. The mission is therefore confident that a bright future will open up for progress in Angola and that the Seventh-day Adventist Church will continue to make a valuable contribution for the benefit of the noble Angolan people.

Thus, a new plan has been drawn for Bongo Mission, for expansion and modernization of the campus during the second phase of a university institution, to have a capacity of 3,000 boarding students, in addition to other related ministries. This is mainly focused on training people for the future, under divine guidance and with the help of the government and the society in general. Bongo Mission believes that the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Angola must remain faithful to the mission entrusted to it by God.

List of Directors and the Different Phases

Bongo Mission Elementary School: James Delmer Backer (1924-1925).

Bongo Mission Training School: David Harder (1925-1927); Archie N. Tonge (1928); Thomas Huxtable (1928-1931); Orson Ivan Fields (1931-1939); A. Bringle (1939 to 1940); Orson Ivan Fields (1940-1942).

Bongo Adventist Institute: I. D. Higgins (1942-1944); W. M. Webster (1944 to 1945); O. U. Giddings (1945 to 1946); W. M. Webster (1946-1948); Enoc V. Hermanson (1948-1950); Everett L Jewell (1950 to 1951); Armando J. S. Casaca (1952); Joaquim de Matos Miranda (1952 to 1953); Roy Burlew Parsons (1953 to 1954); Joaquim Alegria Morgado (1954 to 1955); Manuel S. de Castro (1955 to 1956); Roy Burlew Parsons (1956-1959); Frank Dietrich (1959-1964); António da Cruz Coquenão Lopes (1964 to 1965); José Eduardo da Costa Rodrigues (1965 to 1966); António Antunes Maurício (1966-1969); José Pedro Falcão Síncer (1969-1971); David Justice Parsons (1971 to 1972); Daniel Lourenço Cordas

(1972-1974); Marenus de Paula (1974 to 1975).

After Independence: Alexandre Justino (1975 to 1976); Pedro Balança de Freitas (interim) (1976-1978).

Bongo Adventist Seminary (later in Huambo): Alexandre Justino (1978-1985); João Ribeiro Rodrigues (1985 to 1986); Teodoro Elias (Bongo to Huambo) (1986 to 1995); Manuel Filipe Pacheco (1995-2000); Dinis Kwexila (2000-2009).

Angola Adventist College (University of Montemorelos - Huambo Campus): Manuel Filipe Pacheco (2009-2013); Alberto Jorge (2013-2015); Domingo Suquina (Huambo-Bongo) (2015-Present).


Anderson, W. H. “Angola Union Mission Report.” African Division Outlook, July 1, 1931.

Baker, J. D. “Angola.” African Division Outlook, April 1, 1924.

Baker, J. D. (Mrs). “Progress of Work in Angola.” African Division Outlook, April 1, 1926.

Branson, W. H. “Extension Plans For Our Educational Work.” African Division Outlook, January 1, 1926.

Branson, W. H. “Meeting in Angola.” African Division Outlook, December 1, 1927.

Brendenkamp, Laura E. “From Windhoek to Lepi.” African Division Outlook, July 1, 1924.

Commin, W. B. “A Visit to the Bongo Mission.” African Division Outlook, June 1, 1926.

Commin, W. B. “Literature Work in Angola: Letter from Mrs J. D. Baker.” African Division Outlook, November 1, 1926.

Commin, W. B. “Meeting of the Division Committee.” African Division Outlook, September 15, 1923.

Commin, W. B. “Six Years of Growth in Angola.” African Division Outlook, April 28, 1930.

French, T. M. “South West Africa and Angola”, African Division Outlook, August 15, 1923.

Heald, B. M. “Angola Items.” African Division Outlook, October 10, 1929.

Huxtable, T. R. “En Route to Angola.” African Division Outlook, September 15, 1927.

Justino, Alexandre. Pregoeiros da Verdade Presente. Benedita, Portugal: Relgráfica 2007.

Moffitt, L. L. “The Angola Camp-meetings.” Southern African Division Outlook, November 1, 1938.

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

Nigri, M. S. “Adventism in Angola, Yesterday and Today.” Ministry, June 28, 1973).

Paulo, I. Guiados Por Deus (Portugal, 2013).

Robson, J. I. “Progress in Angola and the Congo.” African Division Outlook, September 29, 1930.

Staples, A. W. “Angola.” Southern African Division Outlook, November 1, 1947.

Tonge, A. N. “Reporto of Medical Work.” African Division Outlook, December 1, 1927.

Wright, J. F. “Camp-meetings in the Angola Union.” Southern African Division Outlook, November 1, 1939.


  1. Alexandre Justino, Pregoeiros da Verdade Presente (Benedita, Portugal: Relgráfica 2007), 24.

  2. Ibid., 25, 26.

  3. T. M. French, “South West Africa and Angola,” African Division Outlook, August 15, 1923, 2.

  4. W. B. Commin, “Meeting of the Division Committee,” African Division Outlook, September 15, 1923, 2.

  5. Justino, 106, 118; See also A. E. Nelson, “Camp-meetings in the Congo and Angola,” African Division Outlook, September 27, 1928, 3.

  6. Justino,25.

  7. T. M. French, “South West Africa and Angola,” African Division Outlook, August 15, 1923, 2.

  8. Isaac Paulo, Guiados por Deus, 31; See also J. D. Baker, “Angola,” African Division Outlook, April 1, 1924, 3.

  9. Laura E. Brendenkamp, “From Windhoek to Lepi,” African Division Outlook, July 1, 1924, 6.

  10. Commin, “Meeting of the Division Committee,” 2.

  11. Paulo, 31.

  12. Laura E. Bredenkamp, “From Windhoek to Lepi,” African Division Outlook, July 1, 1924, 6.

  13. J. D. Baker (Mrs), “Progress of Work in Angola,” African Division Outlook, April 1, 1926, 4.

  14. T. R. Huxtable, “En Route to Angola,” African Division Outlook, September 15, 1927, 3.

  15. Ibid., W. H. Branson, “Meeting in Angola,” African Division Outlook, December 1, 1927, 6.

  16. Paulo, 117.

  17. Justino, 130.

  18. J. I. Robson, “Progress in Angola and the Congo,” African Division Outlook, September 29, 1930, 3.

  19. W. H. Anderson, “Angola Union Mission Report,” African Division Outlook, July 1, 1931, 19.

  20. Justino, 124.

  21. Justino, 136.

  22. Ibid., 135.

  23. A. N. Tonge, “Reporto of Medical Work,” African Division Outlook, December 1, 1927, 6; Justino, 269.

  24. W. H. Branson, “Meeting in Angola,” African Division Outlook, December 1, 1927, 6

  25. Tonge, 6.

  26. Justino, 271-272.

  27. Ibid.

  28. Ibid.

  29. A. W. Staples, “Angola,” Southern African Division Outlook, November 1, 1947, 1.

  30. Ibid.

  31. Justino, 118.

  32. Paulo, 118.

  33. Justino, 277-278.

  34. Ibid., 278.

  35. W. H. Branson, “Extension Plans For Our Educational Work,” African Division Outlook, January 1, 1926, 3.

  36. Justino, 232.

  37. Ibid.

  38. J. D. Baker (Mrs), “Progress of Work in Angola,” African Division Outlook, April 1, 1926, 5.

  39. Justino, 232.

  40. Ibid., 236.

  41. Ibid., 238

  42. L. L. Moffitt, “The Angola Camp-meetings,” Southern African Division Outlook, November 1, 1938, 3.

  43. Ibid.

  44. J. F. Wright, “Camp-meetings in the Angola Union,” Southern African Division Outlook, November 1, 1939, 2.

  45. Justino, 240.

  46. Ibid.

  47. Pastor Lumbungululo was a student at Bongo, at the time the seminary was forced to move to the city of Huambo in 1987. Given the scarcity of written material on the history of the IASD in Angola, and Bongo in particular, much valuable information has been obtained from oral traditions and personal knowledge of Pastors João Ribeiro Rodrigues, Teodoro Elias, Manuel Filipe Pacheco, and José Pereira Lemos. They were directly connected to the Bongo Missionary Station as teachers, principals, and church leaders.

  48. Justino, 240.

  49. W. B. Commin, “A Visit to the Bongo Mission,” African Division Outlook, June 1, 1926, 4.

  50. W. B. Commin, “Literature Work in Angola: Letter from Mrs J. D. Baker,” African Division Outlook, November 1, 1926, 3.

  51. Justino, 287.

  52. B. M. Heald, “Angola Items,” African Division Outlook, October 10, 1929, 6.

  53. Ibid.

  54. Ibid., 288.

  55. Ibid., 290.

  56. W. B. Commin, “Six Years of Growth in Angola,” African Division Outlook, April 28, 1930, 4.


Suquina, Domingos Lourenco. "Bongo Adventist Mission." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 22, 2022. Accessed November 24, 2022.

Suquina, Domingos Lourenco. "Bongo Adventist Mission." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 22, 2022. Date of access November 24, 2022,

Suquina, Domingos Lourenco (2022, April 22). Bongo Adventist Mission. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved November 24, 2022,