Population: 20.2 million (2012)
Official language: Portuguese
Major religion: Christianity
IFES movement: Grupos Bíblicos de Estudantes Cristãos Angola (GBECA)
Angola is a country still recovering from a 27-year long civil war that ended in 2002. While there has been strong economic growth in the past decade, it still remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Politically, Angola has moved from being nominally communist to nominally democratic, and while there has been strong economic growth, corruption and deep poverty also exist.
Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, with Protestants making up about a quarter of the population. Many people mix animism and tribal religions with Christian beliefs, and interest in the prosperity gospel is growing.
- 29 institutions of higher education, 7 with IFES groups
- 1 full-time worker, and 1 volunteer
- 6 high school groups
- two new graduate groups: one meets monthly; another meets weekly
- largest group is 70 students
- smallest has 2 students
Some of the best things that have happened to students in GBECA have taken place through their intense involvement in showing the love of Christ to those infected and affected by the HIV/AIDS virus. In their HIV/AIDS project in Lubango city, for example, they provide voluntary testing and training in the avoidance of STDs with an emphasis on celibacy before marriage. They also offer care and support to those living with HIV/AIDS. Many sufferers experience cruel stigmatization which not only brings emotional trauma but also threatens their livelihoods, and GBECA students stand by them and try to help in any way that they can.
View from the inside
The vision of General Secretary Éden Lucas is to open HIV/AIDS outreach centres in all the universities of Angola.. His prayer is also for ‘all universities in the country, that students and professionals come to knowledge and maturity in Christ, that they preach him and strengthen their colleagues. I believe that it is possible to influence our country for Jesus. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance” (Psalm 33:12).’
- for students as they give show the love of Christ in difficult and painful circumstances;
- for more student groups to catch the vision for opening HIV/AIDS centres;
- that the ministry grows both in the number and strength of student group.