by Brian and Debbie Howden
Brian and Debbie serve in Angola. They are involved in Bible teaching, evangelism, Emmaus work, printing and the running of Camundambala Primary School.
Camundambala Primary School started in 2005 due to the vision of Angolan elders in the local church. They had no means to run a school, let alone build one, but they had vision and they realised the truth of this ancient proverb, ‘He who learns, teaches.’ In this article we will hear from three young people who have passed through the school and are now contributing positively to their community and local church.
‘When I started studying at Camundambala Primary School I heard the gospel every day because many of the teachers were Christians, and they always taught with love and enthusiasm. When
I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ my life changed, and I know that through this school many other lives have been changed too. If today I am educated it is all due to the grace of God. In His power and mercy to me and my people He directed the mission workers to come to Camundambala. Through the school many children from this community have been able to receive a good primary education – something they never had access to before. This school inspired me to be a teacher, and I was so happy when, in 2017, Brian asked me to join the staff at the school as a trainee teacher. I enjoy working with the children in Sunday school and I have almost finished my teacher training.
‘The school has a Christian foundation and without doubt it has helped transform the lives of many young people who have heard the gospel through attending school. Many have repented of their sins and believed in the Lord Jesus. Lives have been changed and continue to be so. I know that our parents are rejoicing that their children can read and write. In everything we give thanks to God, and to all those who support us through this school. May the Lord bless you all.’
In everything we give thanks to God
Octavia, aged 21, is a single young lady. She is cheerful, keen and fully committed to the local church gatherings and to the school. We are so thankful for her. Pray for Octavia, that she will be kept and that she will continue to put the Lord first in her life.
Horano Carlos Mazango
‘I started attending Camundambala Primary School in 2008; I was nine years old and could not read or write. At first, I was happy to go to school but I soon started getting bored and skipping lessons. My parents were continually called to the school to explain why I was missing lessons. My parents decided to take me to school each day but after an hour or so, I would run away. I spent my time fighting, stealing and doing many other bad things, whether I was in school or not. Sadly, I even fought with my teacher in school.
‘Thankfully, the school had teachers that were patient and loving, even with delinquents like me, and they never gave up trying to teach me. This caused me to think, “Why do they still want to teach me even when I’m so naughty?” So, I tried to make an effort and go to school but I kept making excuses and skipping lessons.
‘Before starting lessons, we read the Bible each day. This caused me to be curious and gave me a desire to learn the Word of God. I decided to attend Sunday school and from there I began to hear the gospel. I realised that God did not like my sin and that whoever did not believe in the Lord Jesus was lost forever. This began to affect me and I decided to no longer practise the things that dominated my life. In 2014, having completed 6th grade, I finally trusted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. It was at Camundambala Primary School where I was loved, where I learnt to read and write, where I heard the Word of God and, where as a result, I believed the gospel and my life changed completely. I was 16 years old and I will forever give thanks to God for the privilege He gave me to learn His Word.’
It was at Camundambala Primary School where I was loved, where I learnt to read and write, where I heard the Word of God
We started giving Horano odd jobs to do in the garden when he was 14 years old and still causing trouble at school, in an effort to draw near to him and help. Horano has become a tremendous help in the practical work needed around the school. He has learnt a lot from skilled tradesmen from the UK who have visited us over the years. Recently, he single-handedly installed electricity in 34 houses, supplying power each night for his community using a generator that we provided. He has also proved to be very capable at mechanics and is now responsible for maintaining the vehicles that we use day by day. He is now 21 years old and active in the local assembly. Pray for Horano, that he will continue to grow spiritually and be a witness to the grace of God changing lives.
Bijel Andre Muanjolo
‘I started studying at Camundambala school in 2007 and was one of the first students to finish primary education there. Before then, I had already studied up to Year 6 in a government school, 10km away in the city of Saurimo. But, because of the deficiency of the lessons and the distance to walk each day, many of us abandoned the government school and entered the Camundambala mission school.
‘All of us who passed through this school have great pride and satisfaction that we were its students. It is one of the most admired schools in Saurimo because of its quality and the social help that it offers to the people of Angola and, in particular, to those of us from the village of Camundambala. The school has helped the community in a spectacular way, both in the social and evangelical spheres. It has transformed many lives through weekly student Bible studies and daily in assembly, where there is singing and a prayer before going into the classrooms.
‘I am very grateful to God for His plan in my life. This school helped me no end and transformed my life through its excellent teaching that built basic fundamental principles in me, both in my social and spiritual life. I credit the person that I am today to the school; my time there transformed and greatly shaped and contributed to my future. I feel proud and very grateful for everything I learnt and experienced at the school. It contributed to the fact that I am a finalist at Lueji Ankonde University, where I am preparing my dissertation.
‘This school has been a real work of God for our community, as it has helped and changed the lives of many young people. It is unique in the province, in that it provides meals, computer classes, English lessons and Bible study for students of Years 4-6. I hope that it continues to help our society and that God will illuminate the path of all those who have given themselves to support this school. It is a blessing from God for the community.’
This school has been a real work of God for our community, as it has helped and changed the lives of many young people.
Bijel is married to Angelina and they have recently had their first baby, a little girl. Bijel is a tremendous help in the local assembly, a student of the Scriptures and very capable in public teaching and preaching the gospel. Pray earnestly for Bijel’s preservation, that he will continue to walk with the Lord. He is employed at the Emmaus work based in Saurimo.
Like these three young people, many lives have been radically changed by the gospel. For us, it is a tremendous privilege to be involved in the work of God and to see the transforming power of His grace in action.
- for the ongoing work of the school
- for the school leadership team
- for the teachers, some of whom are not Christians
- that the school will continue to be a good testimony, not simply in education, but in the lives transformed by the gospel
- that we will be given wisdom to address the many challenges in running a school of over 600 pupils.