Small Angolan town needs Christ, or its future is doubtful

By March 6, 2006

Angola (MNN/AIM) — The youth of Kuito are in trouble. Ssince the average Kuitoian is 15 years old, that means Kuito itself is in trouble — unless they turn to Christ.

According to Africa Inland Mission missionary Kristy Rasanen, there are a number of serious problems facing this Angolan city. For starters, sexual promiscuity is rampant, even among teens. One survey found that l8-year-olds have had an average of l9 sexual partners. Since there is no AIDS testing available, no one is sure how many residents are HIV-positive.

Having faced many years of war, the city is struggling to address literacy and education concerns. There are 80,000 students, Rasanen reports, yet not even one public library. The majority of the children do not own a book. There is no gymnasium and not a single park in all of Kuito.

The spiritual condition is no better. “Church leaders are at a loss,” Rasanen says. The youth, though making up most of the population, seldom attend church. Rasanen speculates that “church has become an outdated and no longer necessary idea.” And since no attempts are being made to bridge the generation gap and draw them to Jesus, there are very few young believers.

The situation is overwhelming, Rasanen admits. But instead of giving in to discouragement, she sought God for answers.

“I felt God speak to my heart,” she explains, “and the idea of a youth center began to bounce around in my head.”

After meeting with her AIM team, Rasanen formulated a strategy to reach the youth of Kuito. It involves the construction of a gymnasium (for not only sports, but youth and church activities), a children’s library, and a subsidized HIV/AIDS testing clinic with free information about AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Having prayed for God’s direction and confirmation regarding this ambitious plan, she is excited to report that things are coming together.

The government has donated a large plot of land for the youth center. A tentative design has been drafted, along with an outline of costs. Rasanen and the team are now at the fund raising stage, trusting God for the resources to move the project forward.
“I very much covet your prayers,” she says, “as there is still a long journey ahead.”

As you pray for AIM’s Angola team and this important project, please consider offering financial support as well. Rasanen also hopes to recruit short-term teams to assist with on-site work in Angola.

The for the HIV/AIDS testing clinic/counseling center is $50,000, while the children’s library is $50,000 and a Gymnasium is estimated at $200,000.

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