June 08, 2020
/ South-Western Angolan Union
What happens when a global pandemic blocks the distribution of printed Seventh-day Adventist literature? In Angola, a nation on Africa’s west coast, books are offered digitally, with unexpected results.
For Seventh-day Adventists, sharing the “book of the year,” in this case Hope Beyond Tomorrow by evangelist Mark Finley is a traditional means of bringing the gospel message to many who might not be receptive to a Bible study invitation or another approach. When a lockdown was imposed, leaders of the Adventist Church’s South-Western Angola Union (SWAU) voted to distribute the books digitally, using the popular WhatsApp mobile application to host discussion groups.
Specifically, SWAU created two business WhatsApp groups with 250 participants as the main channel of downloading the book. There were additional groups which brought the number to 500 participants. The goal was to share 5000 copies through the participants assuming that each one shared 10 books.
Diamantino Sawambo, publishing director, held an online dedication ceremony where union president Pastor Manuel Pacheco and chief financial officer Frascisco Tchitawila prayed the books would reach the right hands.
One of the recipients, a former governor and wife of a member of parliament, shared her gratitude: “Thanks for sharing this book. I am already reading, and please share more books with me”.
“The experience has shown us that we must use unconventional methods to reach as many people as possible through the printed page,” Sawambo said. “The pilot project has also given us contact leads for our literature evangelist to follow up on with more books after the lockdown.”