Angola
Republic of Angola
February 12-13
Africa


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 1,246,700 sq.km. Coastal state dominating Congo-DRC's and Zambia's trade routes to the Atlantic. Cabinda is an oil-rich coastal enclave to the north of the Congo River.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 12,878,188 +3.25% 10 per sq. km.
2010 17,235,659 +2.79% 14 per sq. km.
2025 25,106,861 +2.35% 20 per sq. km.

All population figures are estimates. No effective census for 40 years because of continual war.

Capital Luanda 2,665,000 (unofficially nearly 4 million). Other major cities: Huambo 250,000; Benguela 200,000. Urbanites 32%. Massive overcrowding in cities because of war refugees may have raised this to 60%.

PEOPLES

Bantu 97.9%. 39 peoples, largest: Ovimbundu 4,970,000; Mbundu 2,690,000; Kongo(3) 1,866,000; Chokwe 664,000; Luvale 464,000; Ovambo(4) 438,000; Mbwela(3) 222,000; Nyemba 222,000; Lunda 178,000; Luchazi 155,000; Herero(3) 141,000; Mbunda 135,000; Nsongo 92,000; Yaka 80,000; Nyaneka 76,000.

Khoisan 0.6%. 8 peoples, largest: Kwadi 28,000; Kung 23,000; Hukwe 20,000.

Other 1.5%. Mixed race 139,000; Westerners 40,000, Pygmies 11,000.

Literacy Officially 42% (but more likely 27%). Official language Portuguese. All languages 42. Languages with Scriptures 12Bi 3NT 13por 5w.i.p.

ECONOMY

Enormous potential – rich and well watered agricultural land, diamonds, iron. Oil and diamond wealth is being squandered and pawned to fund the civil war. The infrastructure has collapsed and the population is almost completely dependent on food aid for survival. HDI 0.398; 160th/174. Public debt 294% of GNP. Income/person $270 (0.8% of USA).

POLITICS

A Portuguese colony for 450 years. Independence was won in 1975 after 15 years of warfare. The Marxist-oriented MPLA gained control of the government with Cuban military assistance. This rule was contested by the UNITA nationalist movement, initially supported by the West and by South Africa, in a civil war that has dragged on for over 25 years. The legacy of greed, power-seeking, revenge, mistrust and broken promises on both sides will take generations to heal. Renewed fierce fighting in 1999 left MPLA controlling the cities and UNITA much of the rural areas. Successive peace agreements and an expensive UN-supervised election have all failed.

RELIGION

The first President, a Marxist, vowed to eradicate Christianity within 20 years, there have been many incidents of repression and outright persecution of Christians. The harsh realities of war and the ideological collapse of Communism in the 1990s resulted in an easing of nearly all discrimination against Christians.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 94.07 12,114,511 +3.5%
Traditional ethnic 4.96 638,758 +1.1%
non-Religious/other 0.95 122,343 -4.5%
Baha'i 0.01 1,288 +3.3%
Buddhist 0.01 1,288 +3.3%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 29 18.44 2,374 +1.8%
Independent 104 6.74 868 +4.3%
Anglican 2 0.70 90 +2.4%
Catholic 1 62.12 8,000 +4.1%
Marginal 1 1.09 140 +6.0%
Unaffiliated   6.60 850 n.a.
Doubly affiliated   -1.62 -208 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 260 4,571,429 8,000,000
Assemblies of God P 431 190,000 600,000
Kimbanguist I 165 165,017 500,000
Evangelical Congreg. P 1,405 182,609 420,000
Christian Brethren P 1,200 170,000 350,000
Seventh-day Adventist P 1,667 176,000 300,000
Ev Ch of SW Ang.(AME) P 938 75,000 170,000
United Methodist P 400 100,000 150,000
Jehovah's Witnesses M 343 35,000 140,000
New Apostolic I 350 70,000 140,000
Anglican [2] A 300 45,000 90,000
Church of God P 113 35,000 80,000
Ev Baptist[2] P 57 35,928 60,000
Ev Ch of S Angola(SIM) P 194 17,483 50,000
Ev Pentecostal P 346 25,974 40,000
Free Baptist I 40 20,000 38,000
Baptist Convention P 135 17,000 34,000
United Evang P 268 20,359 34,000
Mennonite Brethren P 27 4,000 8,000
Other denoms [116]   1,156 116,100 268,000
Doubly counted     -104,000 -208,000
Total Christians [137]   9,800 5,992,000 11,264,000

Trans-bloc Groupings pop% ,000 Ann. Gr.
Evangelical 16.4 2,111 +2.7%
Charismatic 16.0 2,061 +3.0%
  Pentecostal 5.6 720 +1.0%

Missionaries from Angola
P,I,A 44 in 5 agencies and in 5 lands.

Missionaries to Angola
P,I,A 187 in 30 agencies and from 13 lands: Canada 37, USA 34, Brazil 26, Switzerland 19.
C 1,400. M 50.



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Answers to prayer

1 The failure of Communism to eradicate Christianity.

2 The growth of biblical Christianity in the midst of appalling suffering and deprivation.

Challenges for prayer

1 Continual war since 1962 has been devastating. The 25-year civil war has become an unscrupulous battle for power using aid programmes, NGOs and the suffering civilian population as weapons of war. Anti-personnel landmines outnumber the population, and by 1999 there were 100,000 amputees. Forced recruitment of young people is widespread. A large proportion of the rural population has fled to urban areas due to widespread famine. The psychological, social and spiritual wounds are even more harmful and long-lasting. Pray for:

a) The healing of the nation at every level.

b) Lasting peace and a righteous government sensitive to the well-being of the people.

c) Those seeking to alleviate suffering by clearing mines, rebuilding the infrastructure, homes, hospitals, schools and churches. In many areas the destruction is over 80%. Many agencies including WVI, TEAR Fund and a consortium of churches and agencies called Church Action in Angola are involved.

2 Luanda and other major cities have become the home of refugee populations living in squalid despair. Many orphaned or abandoned children struggle to survive; many victims of the war aggressively beg on the streets. Pray for churches and agencies seeking to alleviate their suffering.

3 Christians have suffered ostracism, abuse, discrimination and outright persecution for many decades. In the first ten years after independence there was intense persecution of Christians, dozens of pastors and thousands of believers were martyred or abducted, and many churches were deliberately destroyed. Many simple Christians kept the faith and witnessed. As a result, congregations have multiplied in both the UNITA and MPLA areas during the conflict. Services are packed, and despite their desperation and destitution hundreds of thousands have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray that this growth may continue and lead to the total evangelization of the country.

4 The church has not emerged unscathed and needs much prayer – specifically for:

a) Love that transcends tribal loyalties and the violent politics that fed on such, often dividing Christians.

b) Forgiveness of the perpetrators of violence and of Christians who compromised under pressure.

c) The ending of state restrictions and manipulation, and the emergence of true freedom of religion. Only about half of the 150 denominations have been granted registration.

d) Christ-like, holy living by followers of the Lord Jesus that commends the gospel to unbelievers, and a passion for outreach to their disillusioned, apathetic neighbours.

e) Unity in the gospel. The Angola Evangelical Alliance links 10 denominations for coordinated action, but because of war it can hardly function.

5 The dearth of trained, godly leadership is the most critical problem limiting church growth and maturity. The results – many leadership struggles, divisions, petty legalisms, compromise and condoned sin. Many are not free from all aspects of witchcraft. For years, little formal training could be given, but now there are seven Bible schools and four seminaries (Ecumenical, Evangelical [at Lubango, AEF, AME, AIM], Baptist and Catholic in Luanda). Pray for the provision of funds, buildings, libraries and, above all, godly teachers and for the effective spiritual growth and ministry of those trained.

6 The unreached and needy:

a) Chaos has prevented a survey of needs. This is an urgent requirement, especially for Bible translation. There is ongoing translation work in five languages, but at least 21 are without either Scriptures or translators.

b) Specific peoples yet to be evangelized. Most are in the dry and isolated regions of the south and southwest bordering on Zambia (the Mashi/Mbwela, Mbukushu, Ngankala) and Namibia (Herero, Kwangali, Nyaneka and the various San peoples). The main missions with involvement are YWAM, SIM(AEF) and AME.

7 Young people and children are spiritually deprived both in and outside the churches. The Marxism exclusively propagated in earlier years is no longer taught, but the negative attitudes to religion still make any Christian witness difficult in schools, and have discouraged churches from running Sunday schools and youth groups. Pray for:

a) Primary and secondary schools to be opened up for religious teaching and SU activities.

b) Churches to recover a vision for evangelizing and discipling children and young people.

c) University students face campus unrest and the looming inevitability of being drafted into the armed forces. Pray for the ministry of IFES with 3 groups and 1 staff worker.

8 The life and witness of a depleted missionary force through the years of suffering was a good testimony. Pray for continued ministry within the churches by YWAM (33), MAF (22), AME (20), SIM (15), all Baptists (13), Brethren (9) and others. Pray that a new generation of missionaries may be raised up to reconstruct the country, restore health services, strengthen the Church and evangelize unreached peoples and areas. Pray for the provision of visas and for favour in the eyes of the government. Pray also for their safety and fruitfulness in these desperate and dangerous times.

9 Media and support ministries:

a) The Bible Society is active and involved in development of Scriptures in nine languages, and new translations into Luchazi, Umbundu and Kongo. There is a great demand for Bibles, but deep poverty limits sales. There is no longer much hindrance to Bible importation or distribution. The Gideons are allowed to distribute NTs in hospitals, but not hotels, schools or prisons.

b) Christian literature is scarce and little is available in Portuguese and even less in indigenous languages.

c) Radio broadcasts reach the land in seven indigenous languages from TWR in Swaziland and also in Portuguese.

d) The JESUS film is available in Portuguese, Kongo, Kwangali and Kwanyama, but 20 more languages need to be tackled. Pray for the completion of these and their effective use.

e) GRN has made recordings in 30 languages and dialects.

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