Through years of civil war, the church helps Angola raise her head.

By June 23, 2004

Angola (MNN)–Angola is slowly emerging from the shadows of war.

Since the 1960’s, periods of peace have been infrequent. Peace agreements reached in 1974, 1989 and 1991 all collapsed. Another attempt to find peace in 1994 with the Lusaka accord finally broke down in 1998, and the country returned to war.

The conflict in Angola is estimated to have killed more than 500,000 people, and displaced hundreds of thousands of others.

In the wake of a 2002 peace accord that appears to be holding, there are still signs of the war. The country remains riddled with landmines, and frequent fighting in bordering countries sometimes ignites skirmishes.

With the country’s infrastructure in collapse, and the population in refugee camps, there seems little to hope for.

However, some programs aimed at de-mobilizing the thousands of soldiers into civilian life are successful. It’s one step in the slow recovery.

Christians are involved in stabilizing the spiritual foundation, too. Evangelist Sammy Tippit says in the re-building of the nation, he’s been asked to speak at a series of evangelistic meetings July 15th through the 18th.

Tippit explains the opportunity for the church is as great as the threat of a whole generation lost. “You have a whole generation of people out there that have never known peace in their lives. It’s difficult for them to know how to live in a peaceful situation. We try to go in and lay some underpinning, spiritually, so that they can have the backbone to be able to help and reach out to those people.”

Believers held their first-ever ‘Jesus March’ yesterday in the capital city. Tippit says it shows their commitment to preparation for the evangelistic meeting. “This is the first time that they’ve been able to get all of the evangelical denominations to come together, united, in one effort to really proclaim the Gospel to the whole nation.”

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