It’s been 12 days at the Angolan Embassy...
...and I was nowhere close to being allowed into Angola – a county that I have been trying to visit for more than 20 years. The visa application was a nightmare. It was that fine line between, "is God opening a door or the devil trying to kick it back into my face?"
After some serious prayer I realized that I will fight the latter. After completing my thick application document I confidently greeted the visa officials, only to be informed that the intricate Angolan process has been changed – we needed an online application through 2 agents.
It’s 12 days later and I arrived at the Embassy on a hot Tuesday. We already had to cancel our flights and postpone our tickets by a week. Today was D-day! We simply had to get into ANGOLA. One more phone call ……and as I was now well-known by the visa staff, Victoria greets me with her usual comforting voice. This time she said: “Francisco …. Why are you so persistent? How quick can you be here?"
I gasped for air and being caught off-guard for a moment …. I replied in British English “Dearest Madam …. I will be delighted to join you in 15 minutes.”
I was an hour away but didn’t care. Traveling with me was an African warrior and veteran, Raymond Lombard – a specialist in so many areas of ministry but a man who’s heart was on fire when it came to evangelism and church planting.
I quickly phoned him and with a great shout of anticipation he rushed out of his office to meet me at the embassy. Never ever arrive at any African embassy with a short trouser – even if a heatwave persisted for many days. I was not allowed in. Raymond – dressed and ready - was the only one allowed in. He decided to wait with me outside until the security guard took pity on us and allowed us in. 3 Hours later the embassy closed the windows and doors. “Please come back tomorrow your visa will be ready”.
I could not accept the offer and words I didn’t want to hear. I planted myself and thought of Psalm 1. "I shall not be moved," I thought.
It was quiet in the waiting area – it was just the security guard and me. And then God moved in: The Embassy was forced to stay open for another 2 hours to finish our visa and I walked out with a bewildered-looking security guard mumbling: “Aaaaw you go with God church man.”
DOORS WIDE OPEN
The moment we entered Angola, God opened all doors so wide that I could hardly believe why we struggled to get into this beautiful country. We were greeted by a huge delegation of church brothers who'd followed our ordeal every step of the way. Time was of the essence though to work through our objectives that we felt God laid on our hearts. Even our little chinese pick-up which refused to climb a steep hill from the airport couldn’t stop us.
Training commenced with 35 leaders as we strategised on how we would plant 1000 churches and more in the next few months. Everything went well but we still needed ONE contact to truly make all of this happen, as working with many churches in one country is extremely strenuous.
And then God showed up again: through a bishop we had a contact. We met Rev. Deolinda Dorcas the Secretary-General of the Council of Churches who was amazed with what we had to offer. She was interested in Leadership and as we brought the vision of the Willowcreek Association that we wanted to introduce with church planting she gasped for air as she said: "I have been waiting for a lifetime for this to come our way… And here you are.”
I wanted to say to here... "Yes Madam… I too have been waiting 20 years!"
God was doing something awesome. We decided to be active partners in a Leadership Institute to be created by her office. Suddenly the last door opened and I realized how satan was actively trying to stop us from pursuing God’s plan for Angola.
And the lesson was simple: Never, never ….. EVER give up if God has confirmed His plan. Work where God is working …..and you will never fail or be disappointed.
Ten hours later God handed Angola over to us! Raymond sat on his chair thinking deeply as he looked at me and said: "God is good, isn’t He?"