- About 700 Juventude Metodista members from West Angola’s 12 districts had the opportunity to interact, learn and have fun with their peers.
- The event, the largest in the group’s history, coincided with celebrations to mark 71 years since the youth organization was founded in West Angola.
- “The youth must be the light in this dark world by witnessing the love of Jesus Christ,” said the Rev. Adriano Kilende, West Angola youth pastor.
In an unprecedented gathering, over 700 youths of the West Angola Conference gathered in Lubango town of Huila District for a six-day camp.
The Aug. 1-6 event, usually held every four years, gave the Juventude Metodista (Methodist youth) members the opportunity to interact, fellowship and learn under the theme, “Let your light shine bright.”
The gathering, the largest in the group’s history, coincided with celebrations marking 71 years since the founding of the youth organization in the conference.
“The youth must be the light in this dark world by witnessing the love of Jesus Christ,” said the Rev. Adriano Kilende, West Angola youth pastor.
Bunga Filipe, one of the coordinators of the camp, said the aim was to guide the youth in matters relating to the Bible, church doctrine and current social issues affecting them.
“The camp enabled young people to reflect and understand the need to be the light of the world so that wherever we go, we make a difference by being youth with the mind and love of Christ,” he said.
The event, which was held on a farm, brought together youth ages 12-25 from the 12 districts of West Angola. Highlights included morning devotions, sharing experiences and a gospel concert. Five pastors and 12 counselors were on hand to provide guidance for the attendees.
The gathering was reminiscent of the 2018 Global Young People’s Convocation held in South Africa, which brought together over 400 young people from across the world. The camp gave the Angolan youth an opportunity to have fun, discuss issues affecting them, learn from various presentations, participate in a variety of team-building exercises and also pray for each other.
Sylvia Gasolina of Cuanza Norte enjoyed the camp and dedicated most of her time serving in the kitchen. “I liked everything,” she said, “especially the tours and the Juventude Metodista 71st birthday celebration.”
Constancia da Rocha, 21, of Redentor United Methodist Church in Luanda, described the weeklong experience as wonderful. “From the organization to the activities carried out, it was just a blessing. It is not easy to accommodate such a huge number of young people,” she said.
Catarina Afonso, 19, said the whole experience was new to her. “Initially, the interaction with new people was a little difficult, but I must confess that I already miss the days I was there.”
She is looking forward to the next gathering, possibly in 2027.
“It was an unforgettable experience for me,” said Florinda Pupa, who also participated in coordinating the event. “Seeing this human frame made me believe that we can still do more for our youth as we managed to exceed the expectations of the event,” she said.
“I have faith that the young people who were here will be transformed because we did everything to ensure that this institute was not just seen as a way of fulfilling the calendar but something that would change the lives of many young people.”
Kilende said some of the social issues affecting youth in West Angola include unemployment, crime, lack of education opportunities and family breakdowns, and the 2023 camp aimed at renewing the hope and faith of young people in his conference.
The first youth camp was held in 2004 and it has continued to grow over the years.
“In its 71 years of existence, Juventude Metodista has been the nursery for growing and nurturing future church leaders,” said Kilende, adding that retired Bishop Emilio de Carvalho was the first president of the organization, while current Bishop Gaspar João Domingos once served as secretary.
“Several top national leaders passed through the organization. In Angola, it is said the youth group of The United Methodist Church is a school which trains young people to assume leadership roles in church and the community,” he said.
Chikwanah is a correspondent for UM News based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.