Christmas Can Still Change the World!
Advent in Action is an opportunity for the Bethel Church family to give an additional gift this Christmas season to help build a house for missionaries in Cavango.
We believe a gift like Advent in Action can be transformative in our community as a visible reminder of the generosity of God. Sacrificial and joyful giving demonstrates the joy our Heavenly Father expressed in giving His Son to the world in need of a savior.
Let’s Build A House in Cavango!
For 2021, our Advent in Action funds will be used to help build a new home that will better meet the needs of the De Souza family serving with SIM in Cavango, Angola.
The De Souzas are serving the Lord in Cavango as medical missionaries in a remote clinic that serves about 50 neighboring villages which all together have a population of about 30,000 people. These people are largely unreached with the Gospel and lack any other basic healthcare.
“Daily we have the opportunity to witness and share God’s love with those who arrive from all around.” – Eduardo De Souza
“I always dreamed of doing this. I cannot believe that God – you are letting me live here and I love it!” – Jocelyn De Souza
“Word of mouth is spreading the message that there is hope in Cavango.” – Echoed by the De Souzas in November 2021.
Giving to Advent in Action is easy. Each Sunday, we will offer an opportunity to give in the big white gift box. We have also made it easy to give online at bethelfc.com/give and select “Advent in Action” from the drop-down menu to designate your gift.
Who are the De Souzas?
Eduardo and Jocelyn DeSouza are serving with their family in Angola with SIM as medical missionaries. Both Eduardo and Jocelyn are medical professionals serving in a remote medical clinic in Cavango, a village of about 600 people in central Angola along the Cubango River. The Cavango clinic serves about 50 neighboring villages, which altogether have a population of about 30,000 people who are largely unreached with the Gospel and lack any other basic healthcare.
While Eduardo is in the clinic full-time, Jocelyn is in the clinic part-time and is also starting a basic Bible training program with the church leaders, a youth program, a children’s program, and an evangelism program with the patients and family members in the clinic. These are all projects that our children can also be involved with.
“The healthcare needs here are intense. People are suffering from diseases that should not exist anymore – leprosy, severe malnutrition, disseminated tuberculosis (all over the body – in the joints, brain, abdomen, lungs, etc.). They also have the typical diseases that we saw in the city, but usually only come to the clinic once they are in an extremely severe state – malaria, rheumatic heart disease and kidney failure from untreated strep throat, untreated diabetes and heart failure, traumatic obstetric situations, etc. On top of these conditions, we deal daily with liver and kidney failure in people of all ages caused by traditional medicine and witchcraft. We have seen that there is no need to think about moving to another location, such as Guinea Bissau or another part of Angola. The need here is vast and the workers are so few!” – DeSouzas
“During our visit, we got to help with the first-ever blood transfusion in Cavango!”
During their first visit to Cavango… “We saw baby Martino, who was so close to death’s door, turn from flaccid, lethargic, and pale to pink, to stronger, and then full of life once again. One thing that struck us was the joy and life-changing power that are present when the body of Christ works together in unity! So many chose to love God and their neighbor in this situation, and the results were BEAUTIFUL!”
“God, send the mechanics.”
Just this week, the generators broke down through the night and there are no mechanics around. Eduardo was awakened by the team to come and repair the generators. With no mechanical training and being the only doctor around, it was expected that he could figure out how to fix the generators. Without the generators, there is no oxygen for the patients.
The needs in Cavango are many: additional housing, hospital administration help, educators for the village children, mechanics to help maintain the machines, construction workers, and most simply, people who love Jesus and want to follow Him to Angola.
How will Advent in Action Help?
The De Souzas are living in a borrowed 3-bedroom home that is too small for the work they are doing. They regularly host ministry teams of 3-13 people in their home and they have quickly outgrown the space. As a long-term missionary family, we are excited to join them by providing a special gift to help build a new home that will better meet the needs of the Cavango mission today and in the years ahead.
“…another family will soon be moving to Cavango and will need to use the house we are currently in.” – De Souzas, November 23, 2021
How much will a new house cost?
A simple home that will host the DeSouza family and their visiting ministry partners is expected to cost about $150,000. All construction materials are imported in Angola. The builders have to purchase them in the capital city and then transport them more than 11 hours, much of that over terrible dirt paths. This will include a new well and septic system. A reliable diesel generator and solar panels are also desired but will cost extra.
Where is Cavango?
Cavango is located about 10 hr northeast of Lubango in the beautiful Cubango River Valley, near the center of the country. The closest major cities are Huambo (3-4 hours) and Lubango (10-12 hours), mostly off-road by 4-wheel drive.
History of medical ministry in Cavango.
Cavango was the host site for a former Leprosarium from the 1950s to 1976. The hospital was destroyed during Angola’s long civil war in 1976 as local residents were forced to dismantle the buildings, leaving the foundations behind. Today, a small in-patient hospital and small clinic building provide a medical ministry outpost in Cavango.
How do you power your house?
Our two houses are powered by batteries which are charged by a combination of solar panels and a generator. We have spring water which fills a large, above-ground cistern, and pretty normal indoor plumbing.
Where do people go for more serious medical issues?
The De Souzas previously served CEML, a hospital in Lubango. Lubango is a city of a million people, where there is a surgical mission hospital (CEML) which serves people from the entire country with excellent medical care and the unique love of Jesus in every interaction.
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) provides transportation via airplanes as they are able for the most critical patients. The nearest landing strip requires driving 90 minutes using 4 wheel drive. Some work is being done to get an airstrip created in Cavango.
Who else is working in Cavango?
In 2013, Tim and Becky Kubacki began serving with SIM in Cavango. They have graciously moved out of their home so that the De Souzas can be in the bigger house, a 3-bedroom home they share with visiting mission workers. The Kubackis are on home assignment for the next quarter so the De Souzas are the only SIM staff on location in this season. Another family is moving to Cavango in the next 18 months from the Detroit Lakes area and will need the home the De Souzas are using now. We celebrate that God is growing the team to serve the people in Cavango, Angola!
To learn more about the work the De Souzas are doing in Cavango, please visit their website, pray for them, sign up for their email newsletter, and support them financially as God leads you.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me… “
(Matthew 25:34-35 ESV)
Building on a Legacy of Generosity
Over the last several years Advent in Action dollars were used to provide urgent resources for children in Fargo, water wells, sanitation improvements, hurricane relief in Haiti, transportation needs in Mozambique and Nepal as well as EFCA crisis response work in Houston and support for Feed My Starving Children. All have proved to be tangible expressions of Christ’s love. We regularly receive updates from Master’s Heart, Awana, IFOSuD, EFCA Crisis Response, Feed My Starving Children and others that our investments are providing opportunities to share the love of Jesus. These projects regularly remind people that God really does love their community.
Will what I give make a difference?
If we all give a little, it adds up to a LOT. Your gift of $40, $100, or $1,000 will go a long way toward providing a home for the De Souzas. If every adult at Bethel gave $50 we would quickly raise over $60,000!
Let’s join together this season in sending a special gift to support the De Souzas and their work in Angola. Merry Christmas!