Lament and Hope: A Pan African Quad-Centennial Devotional Guide - Page 9

A History of Migration, Immigration, and Enslavement
Weekly Scriptures Lessons:
First Sunday: “Lamenting in Distressed Communities” (Psalm 102:1-2)
Second Sunday: “Migration and Immigration May Lead to Suffering” (Matthew 2:18)
Third Sunday: “Migration and Immigration May Lead to Mourning” (Acts 8:2)
Fourth Sunday: “Fasting and Prayer Empowers an Immigrated People” (Nehemiah 1:4)
Biblical Reflection: 
Angola has a long history of migration and immigration. This includes a season of forced migration of at least 5 million
enslaved Angolans between 1500 and 1850. From 1618 to 1619, a combined force of Portuguese and Imbangala soldiers
attacked and conquered the Kingdom of Ndongo, laying siege to the Ndongo capital of Kabasa. The Portuguese sold
thousands of Kabasa residents into slavery carrying them in 36 ships leaving the port of Luanda in 1619 destined for slave
plantations in the Americas, primarily Brazil (Dr. Nell Elizabeth Irvin). This season also included enslaved Angolans who were
diverted to Jamestown, Virginia on August 20, 1619 and for whom we also lament.
The period of forced migration of enslaved Angolans to the Americas was a prelude to significant immigration patterns
that followed. Most recently, during the period of modern armed conflict (1975-2002), Angolans immigrated to neighboring
countries and overseas. Many of them, despite having immigrated to developed and semi-developed countries, were still
attentive to the environment of their land of origin and hoped to return to their home country. Many worried about their
families and their belongings.
The world is still filled with lamentation for immigrants and those who live with hunger, lack of employment, shelter, medical
care, and conflict.
Nehemiah 1:4 brings us the example of a model man who, despite living comfortably and prominently in the royal palace,
loved his people, for his heart was broken when he learned that his people were suffering. Upon acknowledging his people’s
infidelity to God as the cause of their suffering, Nehemiah also humbly regarded himself as among the guilty even though he
personally remained loyal in his walk with God.
Nehemiah wept, prayed, and fasted to God for four months on behalf of his people. He hoped for and worked to attain faith, a
rehabilitated Jerusalem and prosperity for his people. God expects us to do the same. Boasting and squandering resources as
millions of people suffer is a gross sin against God and humanity. George Bernard Shaw wrote:
“The worst sin we can commit against other human beings is not to hate them but to be indifferent to them: this is the essence of humanity.”
O God of mercy and love, teach us, like Nehemiah and the disciples of Christ, to love our neighbor. Give us the strength to
work with and for those who suffer from the “strange fruits” (Abel Meeropol) of wars, conflicts, hunger and social injustices.
Reflection Questions:
Week 1: Why does the world continue to have people suffering unjustly?
Week 2: What should we as Christian disciples do, in addition to prayer, to transition from a state of lamentation to hope?
Week 3: What are the “strange fruits” in your community that compel you to be an advocate for justice?
Week 4: What are the immigration and migration patterns in your community that cause you to show hospitality and concern
for those who are most impacted?
Rev. Dr. Deolinda Teca is the general secretary of the Angolan Council of Churches-Conselho de Igrejas Cristãs em Angola (CICA).
Bread for the World


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