Text read by Mary Peters

Now I am talking in the voice of the youth.

People next to our village are invited come to come to our church. So really, we have a good number of people.

They come because we invite them. We do not choose people who smoke a lot, drink alcohol. Instead, we invite them. We teach them the gospel; we teach them how they can live. In a good way in social life. These are activities that we always do. And let these people remain in churches like whenever we invite these people. On Sundays, we prepare a big meal.

Three years ago, we were in a strong building. Our church was in a strong building. But we decided to leave that church building and go to the place we are now. It is not a strong building, but it has good conditions, and it is closer to our neighbourhood.

But we are at the beginning. We are fighting to have a good building, but it depends on the money. Many churches have good conditions nowadays, like our central church, but we do not depend on that church because it is too far away.

It is difficult to get to. We opened our own church so that people from every village can come here and not take a taxi to get to the city centre. But our congregation is still small. In terms of activity, money and in the size of our congregation, we are still at the beginning.  

Our own reality here is not the reality of Angola or of Africa. Let me talk specifically about the challenge of the church. The smaller the church, people think you are not working, the church is not working. The more people go to a church, then the church is working. You have a strong building, there are the people who listen to the message. The fewer people, it becomes so difficult. You have to develop and have good activities. You invite people to come to your church. They look at the numbers. If it is a good number, then you are amazing. And a good reference. If people are bored, then maybe you are not serious about what you are doing. Then people stay away or reject your invitation. 

The church also provides a good spirit. We have a social environment and a spiritual environment. Many people still believe in the bad spirit of witchcraft. It messes up the lives of people. Witchcraft breaks you and your journey. These spirits come at night in your dreams. They make you feel bad and bring sickness. The only spirit to fight this is God’s spirit. I recently had a conversation with somebody who does witchcraft, and he told me he can find people who pray and who do not

pray. This motivates people to look for churches. And the stronger the church, the better to fight the evil spirits of witchcraft. 

But this is Africa, with the lack of conditions. The sufferings, the lack of money. It is true that in Africa, we have a strong sense of community. People like to be together with other people, and the more people there are, the better it is. So, if you do not belong to a church, your life is empty of spirit and people. 

So let me talk about myself. I am young, and I am still growing. I was born into the church community. It influenced my life. But it means, wherever I am, I am in that community. For example, if I am jobless, someone, my brother, from the church knows me. He can speak with his boss and help me find a job. 

Being in a church, there are no judges. There are programs to help people. You do not have good clothes? People unite. They unite in the collective, the collective food they collect, some money, anything which you can give. This makes people feel more comfortable in

the church than outside of the church. 

Because people know I am in a church, my brothers and sisters from that church are going to help me. Sometimes, they can help me more than my own family. Because you can have a problem, but your own family cannot support you. In this way, you support the church, and it supports you from the first point until the end. And you are going to be satisfied.

The church here in Angola helps people, and these people feel comfortable. They feel better in being in church than out of the church. Other people benefit. For example, scholarships for example from the church. There are scholarship programs, especially for orphans. They do not have money to pay the fees, and the churches support those who do not have the good conditions to pay the fees. Of course, they serve the church, and they help the church to grow. 

In my case, the church offered me a scholarship to finish secondary school because I did not have enough money. I come from a very poor family. We did not have good conditions to pay my fees. Just now I’m waiting for the church to give me an opportunity or to offer me a scholarship so that I can attend university. 

Only that can help us. Our reality here is not the reality in Europe. Our countries are in the developing process, so it is difficult. To go to the government and ask for support? This is not easy. Why? We have more problems than people. We have more problems than even the government has. When the government has problems, they must solve their own problems. Then the other problems that come. So, it is difficult because we have more people who suffer than people who are healthy, who are in good conditions.

And it is so difficult. The government can help me, but behind me are many more. So, when the government has many problems, the church is a better place to get help. The church is like a home, for your spirit and also for yourself.

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