Graham Davies Reports the Death of Rafael Ukuakukula


Graham Davies of the Bible Fund sent the following information:

Rafael Ukuakukula, pastor and director of the Worldwide Church of God in Angola, died in a Luanda hospital on Tuesday, March 25, 2008, following a courageous battle with thrombosis and diabetes.  He was 54 years old. Rafael was born in July of 1953, having received his primary education in the province of Huambo, where his parents were agricultural workers.  He, like so many others working in the fields, received four years of education and then went back to help his parents in the fields.  Rafael Ukuakukula married Albertina Laureta Bonga in 1976. Key dates re. Pastor Ukuakukula’s involvement with God’s Church in Angola: 1974: Church literature reached Angola as early as this year through interested people who received the literature in French.  In our files, more people are shown receiving literature in French between 1985 and 1988.  This was because many had fled to Zaire during the Civil War (1974-2002) and had learned French. 1976: Rafael Ukuakukula leaves Catholicism and becomes a Protestant, becoming a pastor in a Protestant denomination.  During the Civil War Pastor Rafael and his brother Lucas suffer persecution for their refusal to bear arms, at times being imprisoned for their faith. August 1983: Rafael and friends form a church where they can keep the seventh-day Sabbath.  They call themselves the Church of the Apostles of the Seventh Day.  The church is presided over by Rafael’s brother, Lucas Samangala.  December 1984: Rafael is nominated General Secretary of that church. August 1985: Rafael is given the responsibility of pastor. 1992:A delegation of Pastors Honório Cativa and Lucas Samangala are sent to Namibia to make contact with refugees who are members of the WCG.  They also talk to Barrie Watson, who at that time was a WCG member in Windhoek. 1992‑1994: Much correspondence carried out at this time between the Angola church and Graham Davies, who was transferred from Big Sandy to Pasadena in June 1992, setting up an office in Editorial, and coming under the dual supervision of Editorial (Pasadena) and the Spanish Department (Big Sandy).   1995:  The leaders of the Church of the Apostles of the Seventh Day ask for admission into the Worldwide Church of God.  Carlos Tavares travels to Angola for the Feast of Tabernacles and nominates Pastor Rafael Ukuakukula as the representative pastor for the church in Angola.  A letter is sent from Mr. Joseph W. Tkach, although he was on his deathbed at the time.  The letter may have been composed and sent by his son, Joe Tkach Jr.  However, the Angolan members are not informed of the major doctrinal changes in the WCG.  This is done by Graham Davies in January of 1996. 2001:  Pastor Rafael invites former editor of the Church’s Portuguese publications to come to Angola and speak at the annual Feast of Tabernacles.  Over 1,400 people gather in the local church’s yard area outside the main church building.  Photo shows Pastor Rafael consulting with Graham Davies about the festival program. 

December 2002:The WCG’s Regional and International Directors for Africa, arrive to ask for the Church’s registration documents and to install a new leader who will promote the new doctrinal direction (away from the Truth).  Pastor Rafael, together with other chief men in Luanda, stand up for the True Shepherd who would have the physical shepherds turn away the “wolves in sheep‘s clothing.”  They successfully hold on to the church papers and their ministerial responsibilities given them by Christ.  The Angolan Government, being involved in all church matters in Angola, accepts the previous designation of leadership based on the doctrines delineated in the by-laws.  The Worldwide Church of God in Angola remains a Sabbath and Holy Day-keeping church. November 2004: Pastor Rafael and his wife attend the Feast of Tabernacles in Brazil, along with Editor Graham Davies.  Upon returning home, Pastor Rafael finds that some leading men have turned against him with mostly false accusations.  This becomes an ongoing test, but stimulates much spiritual growth among the remaining members in the Church. April 2007: Pastor Rafael is weakened by high blood pressure and thrombosis, in addition to a diabetic condition.  This pastor is an example of God’s grace being made perfect in weakness.  Although partially paralyzed, he recovers in a few months sufficiently enough to be able to attend the Last Great Day assembly in Namibia, in the company of Graham Davies and a church member in that country.  Afterwards, he goes to a ministerial conference in Northern Namibia attended by the chief pastors of the IDM (Worldwide Church of God in Angola), sponsored by the Bible Fund.  March 25, 2008: In the final stages of his illness, Pastor Rafael could hardly speak. He will be greatly missed as a very kind and patient husband, father and pastor.  He is survived by his wife Albertina, and six children: four boys and two girls. 

The work of the Church will presently be carried on by a team of elders, with financial support for main needs from the Bible Fund, which was founded for the purpose of getting funds to Angola to purchase Bibles and serve humanitarian needs.  The Fund now helps with evangelism, using the church literature which it has always used to service approximately 800 members in the country.

Hopefully, those who are faithful in Angola will look into what to do next.

Two articles that may help could include:

Unity: Which COG for You? Why so many groups? Why is there lack of unity in the Churches of God? Has it always been this way? What can/should be done about it?
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God?This is an article for those who wish to easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.

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