Breaching the Blockade
The border with UNITA-controlled "Free Angola" was firmly closed. The border area was crawling with Namibian Defence Force (NDF) soldiers. Roadblocks and checkpoints controlled access to the border areas. According to the local people anyone trying to cross the border would be shot on sight. Several Angolan women had already been shot and thrown to the crocodiles in the river for attempting to obtain food, salt or cooking oil on the Namibian side of the border.
Since 1961 Angola has been at war. First against the Portuguese colonial administration, then since 1975 against the unelected communist dictatorship. When the 50 000 Cuban mercenaries finally left Angola by 1991, Angola enjoyed over a year of rare peace. Until the UN supervised elections of September 1992. The widespread MPLA fraud surrounding that shameful excuse of an election was followed by the worst outbreak of massacres ever seen in Angola. In just 3 days Marxist mobs murdered over 10 000 Bakongo and Ovimbundu tribesman (the primary support base for the anti-communist UNITA movement). The war exploded again with a ferocity never before seen in Angola. More people died in the 2 years following "the election" than in the previous 30 years of war which it was meant to end!
Instead of punishing the Marxist MPLA government for the electorial fraud and cold-blooded massacres of their opponents, Western governments inexplicably imposed total economic sanctions on the victims - those who supported UNITA. This blockade has prevented even food aid and medicines from being delivered to the millions of people living in Free Angola. So while Western governments continued to sell weapons of mass destruction (including napalm fuel-air bombs) to the Marxists, they enforced severe sanctions against humanitarian aid reaching the victims of these attacks.
Throughout 1994 Frontline missionaries made multiple entries into Angola - often under cover of night. This generally involved swimming in with heavy packs held above the water or paddling dug-out canoes across the fast flowing river. On this occasion our teams had 3 truck loads of medicines and Bibles - the largest single consignment we had yet delivered at one time to Angola.
It seemed impossible that our teams could continue to evade the ever tightening noose and breach the blockade. Yet, by God's grace, they were able to get to a quiet section of the border. Two rivers and a swamp had to be crossed so they sent word into Angola and 70 tribesmen and soldiers came over to help. They each balanced a box of Bibles or medicines on their heads and began the long and arduous journey through the crocodile infested rivers and through the snake and insect ridden swamp. The procession had to return several times for new loads before the precious cargo had all been physically carried to the thankful and desperately needy recipients. Some people who were dying of Malaria received the medicines just in time to save their lives.
Amidst the joyful villages one radiant pastor expressed their gratitude: "This shows us that the body of Christ in Southern Africa is sharing in our sufferings. As the Bible says: `If one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers.' We are very thankful. Not many people want to help us - because they fear death and war."
What has been particularly encouraging to these people is that Frontline missionaries are true to their word and return. As one pastor explained: "At first we did not think you would come back. Other visitors came only once and never returned." It means a lot for these suffering Christians to know that they are not forgotten and that we will return - with more precious Bibles and medicines.
To each one who has contributed medicines, Bibles, relief "boxes with love", finances for petrol and printing and prayer cover - we do not have enough words to express our deep appreciation. If only you could have seen the joyful celebrations of those whom you have blessed in Angola! And the many bodies healed, lives spared, people encouraged and souls saved. May the Lord bless and reward you for your generosity and Christian concern.
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