April 28 2020 Email from Rev Joyce Myers-Brown, AMSF Corresponding Secretary to Rev André Kangovi Euríco, IECA General Secretary, regarding the Global Covid-19 Crisis and his translated May 1 2020 email response to her.
Dear Brother in Christ, Rev Andre Cangovi,
The grace and peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you today and with your family and with all our IECA Sisters and Brothers.
I write you tonight vumanju wetu wa kola – our sacred brotherhood/sisterhood uniting us across the sea in love and concern, especially in these challenging days of pandemic.
As Corresponding Secretary for the Angola Memorial Scholarship Fund, I have been asked by many members to send their love to you all and to affirm that we pray for one another daily. As you know, COVID 19 has taken thousands and thousands of lives here in the US & in Canada and, like you, all our lives are challenged by this reality and the health protocol being enforced in varying degeees. But now our hearts ache with concern for you all as numbers begin to mount in Angola. Suku a popele omanu vahe!!!! – God save God’s people!!
We turn to God for strength & wisdom. I personally have been encouraged and uplifted by the witness of IECA and so many spirit-filled messages and comments posted on your WhatsApp. And I will be sharing with our AMSF members some of your thoughts that you might like me to share with them.
In our leccionary this Sunday we will be focusing on Psalm 23 and that surely speaks to us now as we pass through the valley of death yet ever looking to, and trusting in, our God.
Suku a kale kumue lene vosi. O lavi; o songuili, o kolisi. Ocali ca Nala Yetu Yesu Kristu co nuali– God be with you all. God protect you, lead you, strengthen you. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ surround you.,
Manjene locisola calua longeva yalua lolohutililo – Your sister with much love & remembrance and with prayers,
Translation of Rev Kangovi Eurico’s email reply, from Umbundu to English, by Professor Emeritus Frank Collins
To our sister, with love, Dona Joyce Myers-Brown.
We thank God our Father, who with his compassion and love continues to this day to sustain us through the life that he sent down to dwell among us.
I wanted to answer you in your first language [English], but then I decided that if I wrote in your second language [Umbundu] you would understand perfectly what it is we want to tell you.
First, we are thankful to know that we are in your hearts and in the prayers you offer to God the Father, and which we know he hears. Through your prayers he protects us.
We are distressed at hearing what has befallen you all. We place this in the hands of God. This is our faith, as found in Romans 14:7-9:
Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s, he who promised us saying if you trust me even if you die you will rise again and have life eternal. The Apostle Paul said “we do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
Psalm 23: tells us that even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil; for you are with us; your rod and your staff they comfort us.
This is our strength.
Hold firm, you who are His people. Worship him with hearts that are true, and in his compassion he will protect you. God is never forever angry. His love is stronger than his anger and so he forgives us our sins and is our salvation because we have left off worshipping false gods in order to commit ourselves to him.
We pray that God will show mercy, that the deaths will stop, that peace will descend upon the country and that this scourge will pass. This, in our prayers, is what we ask for America, for Canada and for all of your neighbouring countries. May God watch over you, bless and protect you.
Continue to beseech God the Father. He hears the prayers of the righteous, he forgives our sins and is our salvation.
It is true that numbers are going up in the land. Where can we look but to God the Father who will save and preserve us?
Give our greetings to all, in the love of God the Father. Tell them that we are grateful to have received the greetings of all of you and we are grateful to know that your hearts are with us, and that we are in your prayers.
As for us, how could we forget you? It is the word of God the Father you brought to us that we follow; it is our salvation and gives us hope in the face of all that might strike us. We believe God is our refuge, we will not fear because He will save us.
You are in our hearts. What is happening to all of you hurts us too because it strikes all of us in the sisterhood/brotherhood of Jesus Christ, Son of God the Father.
Be well; keep the faith, knowing that God sees us. He knows when we are passing through these alarming times. Soon he will help us understand all this, if we sincerely call upon him and worship him with all our hearts.
Give our greetings to all the churches and to all our colleagues in the AMSF.
With love and remembrance, and in the name of all of IECA, I am your brother, André Kangovi Euríco