Bolivia is a landlocked country located near the center of South America. It is bounded to the west by the majestic, snowcapped Andes Mountains that surround a high, dry, plain. A vast lowland plain spreads toward the north and east.
The nation is rich in natural resources, and is a leading producer of tin. But frequent wars and unstable political conditions have hampered economic growth.
During the 1500s Spain conquered the native inhabitants and ruled the region until 1825, when Bolivia won its independence. The new country was named after Simón Bolívar, the Venezuelan general who helped Bolivia and several other South American countries win their independence from Spain.
As with most other South American republics, the first Adventist missionaries in Bolivia were colporteurs. Juan S. Pereyra, a former Presbyterian colporteur from Chile, sold the booksPatriarchs and Prophets and Steps to Christ in Bolivia as early as 1897. Imprisoned and condemned to death through the influence of Roman Catholic clergy, he escaped death through the help of a friendly judge who had become a Sabbathkeeper after reading the books sold by Pereyra.
Edward W. Thomann and his wife, Flora, were sent to Bolivia to direct the work in 1907. Two years later Ferdinand Stahl and his wife, Ana, started medical work among the indigenous population. In 1911 they moved to Peru where they spent most of their career. On August 7, 1912, Rosa N. Doering became the first Bolivian to be baptized. Mission work has made steady progress ever since.
Doctors H. E. Butka, Harry T. Pitman, Elmer Bottsford, and others have been involved in medical work in Bolivia throughout the years.
A solid educational system has developed, which includes many elementary schools, and, since 1991, the founding of Bolivia Adventist University (Universidad Adventista de Bolivia). It is located at Vinto, Cochabamba.
La Paz (administrative), Sucre (legal)
Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Roman Catholic (90%); other (10%)
172,638 (at the end of 2006)
ADVENTIST TO POPULATION RATIO
Located in the same city is the New Time Communication Center (Centro de Comunicaciones Nuevo Tiempo), which operates radio and TV stations and a Bible correspondence school.
The most recent evangelistic event was “The Hope Is Jesus” series, sponsored by the Bolivian Union with Shawn Boonstra from the It Is Written television ministry as guest speaker. All across the nation lay members linked arms with pastors to bring the gospel of Christ to their neighborhoods. More than 2,240 evangelistic campaigns were held as a result. In April, It Is Written participated in a series of reaping meetings. For eight nights Evangelist Boonstra preached to thousands of people who had gathered in hundreds of auditoriums to watch “The Hope Is Jesus” programs broadcast live from the Adventist University at Cochabamba. The result: 12,276 people baptized.
One in five of the world’s population now lives in China. Here, 1.3 billion people live in what is geographically the third largest country on the planet.
China is proud of its 5,000-year civilization. From ancient times China contributed to humankind with the invention of the compass, gunpowder, paper-making, and block printing. In the last decade China’s annual economic growth has averaged a staggering 10 percent. No wonder China is assuming a prominent place on the world stage.
Religiously Speaking China is not now and never has been a deeply religious country. Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are China’s traditional religions, but Christianity also has a long history in the country. The first authentic record—from the excavated Nestorian Tablet—tells that the first Christian missionaries came to China in the seventh century during the Tang Dynasty. Even with the emperor’s support, however, this early Christian movement, like a shooting star, survived only a short time.
Modern Protestantism came to China exactly 200 years ago, when Robert Morrison of the London Missionary Society arrived in 1807. The Adventist message came to China in 1888 with Abram LaRue, a 66-year-old lay member. In 1902, our church sent its first official missionary to southern China, Jacob N. Anderson. By 1951 the Seventh-day Adventist Church had 21,000 members among 276 churches, while fewer than 1 million Protestants lived among a population of 450 million.
Over the next 25 years, parti-cularly during the so-called Great Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), religions of all kinds were diminished; not a single public place of worship survived.
Now the church is like bamboo shoots after the spring rain. A 5,000-seat cathedral-style Christian church is located in the beautiful city of Hangzhou; while the largest Adventist church, seating 4,000 (above), stands in the northeastern city of Shenyang. Such spectacular events are happening for the first time in Chinese history.
Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghaiese, Fuzhou
Officially atheist; Taoist, Buddhist, Christian 3-4%; Muslim 1-2%
ADVENTIST TO POPULATION RATIO
The most wonderful thing is that the Bible is available among the Chinese as never before. During the Cultural Revolution, Bibles were confiscated and burned. Now 50 million copies of the Bible have been produced by the Amity Printing Company, sponsored by the United Bible Society.
There are now an estimated 50 million Christians in China. The Adventist Church has more than 15 times the membership it had 50 years ago—around 350,000. This has been accomplished without formal educational and medical institutions to help God’s cause. The Holy Spirit is moving upon thirsty hearts, and gospel seeds are being spread by His faithful children. The message is also being spread through modern media.
Please remember China in your prayers, the largest area in the 10/40 window and the greatest mission field in the world.
Traveling from the modern overcrowded streets of Lagos on the Atlantic coast to the hot, humid jungle villages of eastern Nigeria may seem like traveling through time. Lagos is Nigeria’s commercial center, the second largest city in Africa. Its towering high-rises are a sharp contrast to the eastern villages, where traditional beliefs and ways of life are still being practiced.
Located along Africa’s west-central coast, Nigeria is Africa’s most populated nation. It is home to more than 250 people groups, hundreds of languages, a variety of histories, and large groups from several major world religions. Nigeria is widely considered to have the largest Islamic population in Africa.
Nigeria officially gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1960; and it is still a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Established as a federalist republic, much like the United States, Nigeria has struggled to maintain a democracy. In 1999, after 16 years of military rule, Nigeria once again regained civilian rule, and a new constitution was adopted. At the end of May, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua became the first civilian to succeed a democratically elected president, marking the longest period of civilian rule in the nation’s history.
Even though Nigeria has the world’s tenth-largest petroleum reserves, political instability and weak infrastructure have kept the nation from capitalizing on this natural resource. This is unfortunate because this industry plays a major role in Nigeria’s ongoing financial stability, as petroleum alone accounts for more than 20 percent of Nigeria’s economy and nearly 95 percent of its foreign export income.
Years of political instability, ethnic and religious tensions, and accusations of corruption and mismanagement within the government plague this nation. The regionalization of Nigeria’s Muslim and Christian population underscores its diversity. The north and southwest are predominantly Sunni Muslim, the south and southeast are mostly Christian, and the eastern villages are mostly animist.
Animist roots run deep in Nigeria. Although only 10 percent of today’s population is animist, the 14 million adherents represent a region that is considered the home of voodoo. The ancestors of the 30 million member Yoruba ethnolinguistic group brought voodoo to the Caribbean when they were taken to the new world as slaves.
English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igobo, and Fulani
Muslim 50%; Christian 40%; indigenous beliefs 10%
ADVENTIST TO POPULATION RATIO
The Adventist Church is well established in Nigeria, with a number of educational and medical institutions. Babcock University, one of the oldest Adventist higher-educational institutions in Africa, makes a powerful impact on its community. More than half of its 3,500-member student body is not Adventist. But there are still great challenges to mission, especially in the east where there are currently no Adventist schools.
This quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build three evangelistic centers in Nigeria, a worship center for students at Babcock University, and a secondary school in eastern Nigeria.
To learn more about Adventist mission work in Nigeria watch “The Road Well Traveled” on this quarter’s Adventist Mission DVD, or visit:www.AdventistMission.org to download your copy of the mission quarterlies.
Compiled by Hans Olsen, Office of Adventist Mission
Located on the northwest tip of South America, the Republic of Colombia covers an area of 440,570 square miles (1,141,374 square kilometers).
Colombia is a multifaceted and multicultural ethnic mosaic, with a population of 46,000,000, who are descended from natives, Europeans, and Caribbeanislanders and live in five distinct geographical regions.
Colombians are a hospitable, cheerful, and warm people who take advantage of the biodiversity of food produced in their geographical territory: corn, potatoes, beans, coconut, rice, banana, yucca, yam, sugar cane, cocoa, milk, coffee, meat, and seafood. Exotic tropical fruits abound year round. The country is rich with the folklore, music, and customs of several cultures of the past and present. Regional festivals reflect a people rich in religious traditions as well.
Adventist Beginnings American photographer Frank C. Kelley was the first Seventh-day Adventist to settle in the capital city of Bogotá, in 1895. In 1901, Frank Hutchins, an American pastor, and John Eccles, an Australian missionary doctor, arrived in Panama, which at the time belonged to Colombia, to spread the Advent message. But they both died prematurely, victims of yellow fever, in a town called Bocas del Toro. In 1902, Samuel Parker Smith, son of Seventh-day Adventist pioneer Uriah Smith, arrived in the islands of San Andrés and Providencia. The first Adventist converts were baptized in San Andrés, and later in Providencia.
The Adventist work on the mainland began with Max Trummer, a pastor, who baptized José Redondo, his wife, Ana, and their daughter, Carmen, in a town on the North Coast in 1921.
Spanish (English in the Caribbean Islands of San Andrés and Providencia).
Roman Catholc (95 percent); other religions (5 percent).
ADVENTIST TO POPULATION RATIO
In 1925 the Atlantic Coast Mission was organized, and in 1927 the Colombia-Venezuela Union Mission was created. That was the administrative center until 1989, when the Colombian Union Mission was organized. It reached union conference status in 1992. The headquarters of the church in Colombia is located in the city of Medellín.
The Colombian Union has 244,200 members (70 percent are young adults), 250 pastors and ministerial workers, 651 teachers, 447 colporteurs, 1,000 churches, 956 companies, 212 districts, 10 local fields (conferences and missions), 1 university, 43 academies, and 36 elementary schools.
The union’s membership and administration have adopted four main goals for the 2007 to 2011 period: to change the status of six missions to conferences, to organize a second union conference, to reach 600 towns and villages with the Adventist message, and to reach a membership of 350,000.
Prepared by Eliseo Bustamante, president of the Colombian Union Conference. Translated by Alfredo Garcia-Marenko.
The United Kingdom (U.K.) of Great Britain and Northern Ireland comprises England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Isles, and the Isle of Man. Immigration is an integral part of the culture. From as far back as the Celts in 1500 B.C.E., to the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Normans, immigration continues to the modern day with diverse people groups making up the modern democracy that is the United Kingdom.
The U.K. is the oldest surviving democracy in the world,* making Westminster “the mother of all parliaments.” The height of the U.K.’s political and imperial influence was in the nineteenth century when the British Empire covered a quarter of the world’s surface.
Probably the most famous of many U.K. writers, artists, and composers over the centuries is William Shakespeare. His many plays and sonnets are still performed and recited around the world. However, the most solidly influential piece of literature to be produced in the U.K. is the King James Version of the Bible. The first “authorized” translation of the Bible, originally published in 1611, is one of the most widely circulated volumes in the history of the world.
The U.K. has a strong religious history. Christianity arrived by the second century A.D. Celtic Christianity, with evidence of Sabbathkeeping, was strong until 644, when Catholicism became the predominant religion until the Protestant Reformation. Today 53 percent of those who live in the U.K. identify themselves as Christian, but only 15 percent of the population attend church regularly. Islam is the next largest religion with adherents numbering 3 percent of the population. Another 3 percent are made up of Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, and Buddhists. Some 39 percent of the population say they have no religion.
Christian 53%, Muslim 3%, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, Buddhist 3%; No Religion 39%
John Nevins Andrews was the first Seventh-day Adventist missionary to arrive in the U.K. in 1874. Today some 27,000 members meet each Sabbath across two conferences and three missions. This presents a challenge in reaching out to the secularized British population. The LIFEdevelopment program, with a magazine, The Evidence television series, and Mind the Gap, was developed as part of a strategy to win friends from the unchurched community (www.lifedevelopment.info).
Adventist institutions in the U.K. include the Stanborough Press, two high schools, eight primary schools, Roundelwood Health Spa, and an active Adventist Discovery Centre (formerly the Voice of Prophecy). The Trans-European Division office and Newbold College are also located within its territory.
U.K. Adventists are committed to mission.
In 2006 they collected more than £580,000 (US $1,155,180) for the ADRA Ingathering Appeal, among the highest per capita figures in the world. Hundreds of U.K. missionaries and mission volunteers have spread the good news of Jesus Christ across the world.
Compiled by Victor Hulbert, Communication director, British Union Conference, Watford, England.
* Greece and Iceland are older democracies, but have not been continuously democratic.
Albania, located in southeastern Europe, is bordered by Greece, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, and the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Archaeological discoveries suggest the area has been populated since prehistoric times.
Surrounded by powerful, warring empires, Albania has been occupied at various times by Greeks, Romans, Venetians, Ottomans, and Italians. During World War II the population was forced to speak and use Italian instead of Albanian. Albania is the only European country occupied by Axis powers that ended the war with a larger Jewish population than it had before the war. Not only did Albanians refuse to turn over lists of Jewish families, they provided refuge to Jews of neighboring countries, and provided them with forged documents so they could be assimilated into the Albanian population.
Christianity has been part of Albanian culture since the first century. After 395 Albania fell under the administrative umbrella of the Eastern Roman Empire; but Albanian Christians remained loyal to Rome. During the Schism of 1054, Christians in southern Albania came under the jurisdiction of the ecumenical patriarch in Constantinople, and those in the north became loyal to the pope in Rome. During the Ottoman invasion of the fourteenth century, the Islamic faith was imposed on Christians and pagans alike.
After independence from the Ottoman Empire in the early twentieth century, political regimes followed a systematic practice of separating state and religion. In the latter half of the twentieth century the government practiced a policy of eliminating organized religion from its territories. Albania officially declared itself to be the world’s first atheist state.
Although religious freedom has since returned to the country, most Albanians do not practice any religion, but align themselves with one of the three traditional religions.
Adventists in Albania
The first Albanians to become Adventists were baptized in an area that is now part of Greece in 1909. In 1932 E. Hennecke, director of the Grecian Mission, moved to Tirana when he was forced to leave Greece. He obtained permission, with two German nurses, to begin a medical work in Albania. The project lasted only a few months when all foreign workers had to leave the country. One woman was baptized as a result of their efforts, however.
In 1938 an Albanian, D. C. Lewis, learned about the Adventist message in the United States. Upon returning to Albania he began to share his faith and four people were baptized.
Muslim, 70%; Albanian Orthodox, 20%; Roman Catholic, 10%
ADVENTIST TO POPULATION RATIO
During World War II, contact with Adventists in Albania was lost. After the war it was learned that Lewis died shortly after the war ended. For more than 40 years the church had no contact with any of its members. But in 1991 the church discovered that two believers had remained faithful during this period of isolation. And in 1992 a team of evangelists under the direction of David Curry, Ministerial Association secretary of the Trans-European Division, held meetings in Tirana and Korce that resulted in the first baptisms in 50 years.
In 1993 the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) leased land from the local council in Tirana for development of a warehouse, community center, health center, and micro industrial units.
Today nearly 300 Adventists worship in three churches in the Albanian Mission Conference.
ften referred to as “Down Under,” Australia lies totally in the Southern Hemisphere, between the Indian and South Pacific Oceans. Australia is the sixth largest country in the world and the smallest continent. In the seventeenth century Dutch explorers extensively mapped the northern and western coastlines of Australia, but it wasn’t until 1770 that British explorer Captain James Cook claimed the continent for Great Britain. On January 1, 1901, the British colonies of Australia federated themselves as states to form the Commonwealth of Australia. As a constitutional monarchy it has a parliamentary system of government, but still recognizes the British monarchy as the head of state.
Although Australia was originally a penal colony of Great Britain, most of the population descends from nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and Irish immigrants. Since World War I the population has quadrupled due to aggressive immigration policies: today more than one quarter is foreign-born. The native peoples, known as Aborigines, declined for 150 years, but policies established in the mid-twentieth century have helped reestablish them.
British colonists took advantage of the country’s vast natural resources and developed agricultural and manufacturing industries that quickly established Australia as a world leader. Its strong economy compares with the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Australia is an exporter of wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruits, cattle, sheep, and poultry. Industries include mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, and steel.
Adventist Life: Ellen White arrived in Australia in 1891. Her nine years there had a deep impact on the Church’s early work in the South Pacific. She first received visions of the work in Australia on April 1, 1874, and January 3, 1875. However, it wasn’t until 1885 that Stephen Haskell,
Catholic, 25 percent; Anglican, 25 percent; Uniting Church,* 10 percent; other faiths, 15 percent; no affiliation, 25 percent
ADVENTIST TO POPULATION RATIO
?*The Uniting Church in Australia is a union of three churches: the Congregational Union of Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia, and the Presbyterian Church of Australia.
J. O. Corliss, M. C. Israel, William Arnold, and Henry Scott, along with their families, left San Francisco harbor to become the first Adventist missionaries in Australia.
By the middle of 1886 the first church, Melbourne Seventh-day Adventist Church, had grown to 90 members. Like most postmodern secular nations today, the church in Australia struggles to grow in membership. Over the past 10 years the Church in Australia has grown by only 8 percent, as compared to the world church’s growth of 66 percent. n Ellen White contributed to the selection of the site for Avondale College in 1894 and the Sydney Sanitarium (now Sydney Adventist Hospital) in 1903.
• Sydney Adventist Hospital is the largest private hospital in New South Wales, the most populous state in Australia. The church also operates 15 retirement centers throughout the country.
• The first Adventist primary school was established on June 10, 1900, with two teachers and 60 students. Today there are more than 55 primary and secondary schools in Australia.
• In 1927 Pastor David Sibley is believed to have broadcast the first Adventist radio program in Melbourne. In 1956 Faith for Today was the first Adventist television program broadcast in Australia. In 1966 the Adventist Media Centre in Australia began production on Focus on Living films.
–Compiled by Hans Olson, Office of Adventist Mission
Known in Bible times as Cush, Sudan is the largest nation in Africa. Two civil wars and the recent regional violence in the west-central region of Darfur have decimated the infrastructure of Sudan during the past half century. Since the country gained independence in 1956 Sudan has experienced fewer than 10 years of peace.
Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build permanent dormitories at Eyiera Adventist Vocational Academy in southern Sudan, if the offering is large enough. By some estimates more than six million people have been displaced within or outside Sudan since the second Sudanese civil war broke out in the early 1980s. In 2004 widespread violence broke out in Darfur, which has reportedly displaced some 2.5 million people within Sudan. According to some estimates another 180,000 people have been killed. Peacekeeping forces are working to establish peace within Sudan, but refugees continue to spill into neighboring countries, which is further destabilizing the region.
Sudan lies just south of Egypt and north of Kenya and Uganda along the Red Sea. In a sense Sudan marks the line between the Middle East and Africa. The north is mainly Islamic Arabs and the south is predominantly animist and Christian Africans. The Blue and White Niles join in the capital city of Khartoum, to form the famous River Nile, which flows north through Egypt and into the Mediterranean Sea. Today more than 40 million people live in this country, which is just a little more than a quarter of the size of the United States. About 140 ethnic groups and nearly as many languages divide much of the country.
The country is rich in natural resources such as petroleum, natural gas, metals, and minerals. In 1999 Sudan began exporting crude oil. Thanks in part to oil revenues, last year Sudan posted a 10 percent economic growth rate. Yet nearly 80 percent of the country depends on the tenuous agricultural industry for its livelihood. Civil unrest, adverse weather, and weak world agricultural prices have kept most of the society below the poverty line. Only a quarter of Sudanese are literate.
Arabic (official), 117 other tribal languages
Sunni Muslin 70% (in north), Christian 5%(mostly in the south and Khartoum), indigenous beliefs 25%
ADVENTIST TO POPULATION RATIO
Farris Basta Bishai, an Egyptian pastor, and his family moved to Khartoum in 1953. Their first two converts went to Middle East College in Beirut, Lebanon, before returning to work in Sudan. During the civil strife of the 1960s the church lost track of all members. By 1969 the then Middle East Division declared Sudan an unentered country. In 1973 Adventist Church work was officially reopened.
Today Global Mission pioneers and other lay evangelists are an active part of the Adventist Church’s outreach in Sudan. The country has only nine pastors for the more than 13,000 church members.
In 1979 the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) began work in Sudan with a primary health-care program. Since then, ADRA has broadened its scope to include food security, emergency relief, water resource development, and sanitation and community development.
To learn more about the Adventist Church’s work in Sudan, visit www.AdventistMission.org . Read inspirational stories from Sudan in the online quarterly Mission magazines or browse a missionary blog by Darrel and Kristina Muehlhauser from the South Sudan Field.
Located in Middle America between the United States and Belize, Mexico, is a vacation destination with two coastlines—the Caribbean to the east and the Pacific to the west. It is the eleventh most populous country and the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world. Mexico’s capital, Mexico City, is the world’s third most populated urban area.
Although Spanish is the official language of Mexico, some 16 percent of the population speaks only one of the Indian dialects found throughout the country.
What is now Mexico was the site of three advanced Amerindian civilizations: Mayan, Toltec, and Aztec. These civilizations are credited with developing their own architecture, cultivating maize (corn), and studying mathematics and astronomy.
In 1519 Spanish explorers and colonists established New Spain as a Spanish colony for the next three centuries. During this time Roman Catholicism grew in the country. Gradually Spain placed the majority of the country’s control in the Catholic Church’s hands. In 1810 Mexico declared its independence from Spain, sparking an 11-year war that established the short-lived First Mexican Empire. The 1857 constitution separated the Catholic Church’s control from state government. Over the next few decades various governments rose and fell. In 1929 Plutarco Elías Calles founded what became the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). This party ruled Mexico for the next 70 years.
A devaluation of Mexico’s money, the peso, in the 1990s threw Mexico into its worst economic recession in more than 50 years. Today the nation continues to make an impressive recovery, though there are ongoing concerns of underemployment, low real wages, and unequal income distribution. In 2000 Vicente Fox, of the National Action Party (PAN), defeated the PRI candidate for the first time since 1929, in what some consider the freest election in Mexico’s history.
Adventists in Mexico
Roman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 6.3% (Pentecostal 1.4%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.1%, other 3.8%), other 0.3%, unspecified 13.8%, none 3.1%
ADVENTIST TO POPULATION RATIO
*General Conference Office of Archives and Statistics, 144th Annual Statistical Report
The Adventist Church’s work in Mexico started in 1891 when American tailor S. Marchisio sold copies of the book The Great Controversy in Mexico City. Two years later a group of missionaries started Guadalajara Sanitarium, the first medical missionary work outside the United States. The same year the first Mexican Adventist church was organized in Guadalajara as part of the medical mission. Within a decade the Adventist Church’s work spread to seven more cities, with some 70 church members.
The Adventist Church in Mexico has more than 500,000 members; yet people in some regions are largely untouched by the Adventist message. Mexico City and its surrounding regions average one Adventist for every 1,000 people.
Many Adventists in Mexico have no permanent houses of worship. For this reason, part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering for the second quarter of 2008 was designated to help construct 28 church buildings in the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Conference.
Located just south of the equator, along southern Africa’s Atlantic Ocean coastline between Namibia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola is rebuilding after enduring more than 25 years of strife.
Angola gained its independence from Portugal in 1975 after 400 years of colonial rule. War soon broke out as different political factions fought for governmental supremacy. Peace was established in 2002 when National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) leader Jonas Savimbi died, leaving opposing faction leader José Eduardo dos Santos of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) as president. A presidential election is scheduled for 2009.
According to some reports, as many as 1.5 million people may have been killed during the 27 years of civil war. Up to 4 million Angolan refugees suffered, left the country, or simply fled to other regions of Angola. Because of widespread health risks, Angola has a relatively low life expectancy of less than 38 years.
Angola’s economy has been transformed during the past few years, moving from the disorder of civil war to being the second fastest growing economy in Africa, and one of the fastest growing in the world. The country is the second largest petroleum and diamond producer in sub-Saharan Africa, and recently a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Some 85 percent of Angola’s economy is based on the oil industry. Postwar reconstruction and displaced people returning home have helped to stimulate the construction and agriculture industries as well.
Adventists in Angola
Indigenous beliefs, 47%; Roman Catholic, 38%; Protestant 15%
ADVENTIST TO POPULATION RATIO
*General Conference Office of Archives and Statistics, 144th Annual Statistical Report—2006
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Angola struggled during the country’s civil war. Even though the church’s membership grew to some 300,000 members around the country, much of the church’s infrastructure was damaged. In just one region of the country, 145 church buildings were destroyed.
The Bongo Mission Station, where Adventist work began in 1924, was abandoned. In 1986 workers at the mission station were forced to flee as fighting moved into the area. The station’s buildings are still standing but are in urgent need of repair and refurbishment.
Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering for the second quarter of 2009 will help rebuild Bongo Adventist Seminary. Before closing its doors Bongo had an average of 300 students and offered courses from elementary school through high school and up to three years of Bible instruction. This project will have a long-lasting impact on the Adventist Church in Angola because it will help educate the country’s growing membership and prepare young people to spread God’s message of love.