Quessua Methodist Mission Station - Angola

Quessua Methodist Mission Station - Angola

10/3/2014

United Methodists have a very strong history in Angola, and the church has a positive reputation and strong support from the An-golan people. Much of that is due to the existence of Quéssua Methodist Mission Station.

The first bishop was the intrepid missionary William Taylor, sent in 1885. Missionaries built Quéssua, named after a nearby river, in the early 1900s with help from the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). Quéssua became the heart and soul of the Methodists in Angola.
The Quéssua complex is located a few kilometers from Malange in the gently rolling countryside with beautiful vistas. Surrounding Quéssua are fields and small villages. In the distance is a high hill on which the missionaries planted a cross that can be seen for miles.

Quéssua was built in style. The buildings were concrete and complete with plumbing. They were built with a gorgeous architectural style. The college provided higher education for hundreds of students, including many of today’s government and business leaders. The theological seminary provided training for all of Angola. A huge hospital served a wide geographic area. Dormitories housed the men and women students, and there were houses for teachers and administrators. An enormous agricultural university is there.

Many of the Methodists who are now in their fifties and older were educated there. The schools were for everyone, not just Meth-odists, and the hospital served all of the population. The grounds are still impressive with rows of towering eucalyptus trees lining the roads. Thousands of acres belong to Quéssua and the United Methodist Church.

What happened to Quéssua?
When Angola won its independence from Portugal, the first president was United Methodist and the son of a pastor. The factions that fought in the civil war wanted to gain the political power and thus were anti-Methodist. At the beginning of the civil war, about 25 years ago, Quéssua was bombed-out as an act of revenge against the president.

Nothing could have hurt the United Methodists more and, indeed, the next two generations of Angolans. After the war every build-ing, except the church, was destroyed. Roofs, windows and doors were all missing, and vegetation had taken over. The church building was damaged, though but was still used for worship. Stained glass windows were broken and the ceiling tiles were hanging by threads. All of the villagers left the area and only now are slowly beginning to come back.

After the war, when you arrived at Quéssua you are speechless at the senseless damage that was done. Not only were buildings and the institution destroyed, but the chance to educate thousands of children, men and women went up in smoke.
Once the land mines were cleared, work to restore Quessua has been ongoing . Since 2003 the United Methodist Church in East Angola has been working with the government to build the roads at Quessua as well as some of the buildings. Florida Conference of the UMC helped restore the church and the orphanage/boarding house. Today there is a secondary school, orphanage/boarding house for boys, dormitories, the seminary, a few houses for staff, and the domestic school building.

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Two days ago a terrible storm with wind and hail damaged some of the build-ings at Quessua Methodist Mission station, including the high school where 1,000+ young men and women are currently studying and the boarding house, which had just this summer had major work done to rebuild it.
I received an email this morning from Ken Koome, GBGM missionary for the East Angola Conference. He wrote:
“The wet season is with us again since two days ago, which has brought us both joy and tears. However, in everything we are reminded to remember to thank God.

I have attached some pictures to give you an idea on the intensity of the destruction that happened to the Church, school and the boys boarding house that is being constructed through the support from Florida Annual Conference. The Church is slightly damaged by a falling tree. Due to prolonged neglect almost the entire roof is leaking and may need fixing, otherwise with another storm coming, it may not survive.

We thank God because despite the destruction that occurred, there were no inju-ries to the persons close to the affected buildings.

It is very unfortunate the students had to be turned away because most the classes have been affected and the remaining one still have a very unstable roof due the weakness resulting from the damage.”
You can help through the Advance.
To help with repairs to the school: Quessua School Advance #105625
To help with repairs to the church: Evangelization Ministry Advance #15061A
To help with repairs to the boarding house: Advance #11638N