Information — Host Families for Guests from
the Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola (IECA)

Bottom Line / the “Ask”:

We are seeking volunteers to host a guest from our church partners in Angola, for anywhere from 1 – 4 months, between March 10 and November 30, 2017.


Our regional grouping of UCC churches (the Illinois Conference) has been in partnership with the Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola (or, IECA) for 12 years. To further the partnership, about 20 people from the Illinois Conference have been welcomed for visits in Angola, and several members of IECA have visited with us here. We have worked on common projects, including purchasing Bibles, building wells, and building an elementary school. Every part of this relationship has been positive, and a true embodiment of the spirit of Christ.

Now, IECA is working to open its own university in Angola to help strengthen the outreach of the church, prepare people to be economically competitive, and equip people to be valuable assets to Angolan society and the upbuilding of democracy. Because English is such a valuable skill in our “globalized” world, the university will be bilingual (Portuguese and English), and they are thus requiring all the professors to know English and spend time in an English speaking country.

The Current Need:

Four men, all members of IECA and future professors at the university, are coming to the Illinois Conference (that is, here to northern Illinois) from March 10 to the end of November, 2017.  They are all highly accomplished: one has a PhD in neuroscience; one has a PhD in clinical psychology; one is a civil engineer; and one is a lawyer. All are between ages 37 and 50, and have worked and taught at the university level in Angola. Helder Chipindo, pictured at right, is the Angolan team leader.  We are seeking volunteers to house one or two of the four men for 1 – 4 months, while they work to improve their English.

What is expected of a host family/household?

  • Who may host? Any married couple (with or without children at home) or single man may host. Unfortunately, single women cannot host, due to Angolan social custom.
  • Length of stay: Host one or two guests for 1 to 4 months, at no cost to the visitor. If you can only host for less than a month, we will need occasional weekend or vacation temporary homes, so please let us know.
  • Accommodations: Provide a separate, single bedroom.
  • Food: Provide full access to kitchen, with food provided, at no cost. For food, think of the guest as a family member staying long term. They should eat meals with the host family whenever possible, but should also be responsible for their own food preparation at other times. In other words, hosts don’t have to cook for the guest unless cooking for the household. If the guest wishes to purchase and prepare food other than what the household normally eats, he should be able to do so at his own cost.
  • Transportation: Guests will not be able to drive while they are here. Hosts should be able to provide transportation on a somewhat regular basis especially on Sundays (for worship at various congregations) and evenings (for meetings at other churches), given work schedules and other commitments. Access to the BNSF train line will be helpful.  If traffic and location allows, each guest should have access to a bicycle.
  • Activities: Guests should be included in reasonable family/household activities, as the guest prefers. If they are not attending worship elsewhere, they should go to church with the host each Sunday. They can go to soccer games, meals away from home, church meetings, Bible studies, shopping, movies, etc. Hosts are not expected to provide constant entertainment, but again, like a visiting family member, guests should be included in the life of the family/household, as the guest prefers. This will allow the guest maximum opportunity to learn/practice English. Hosts are not expected to take the guests on vacation, but are welcome to do so (no international travel allowed).
  • Formal English learning: Hosts should plan on working on English in a formal/planned way for at least 1/2 hour each week, with more being preferable. Each guest will be taking ESL classes and will have regular tutoring/language buddies, and hosts should plan on assisting with “homework” for that instruction as requested.  A large amount of English learning will happen informally, just through the experience of living here.
  • Expenses: As noted, hosts are providing food, lodging, and (some) transportation at no cost. Other members of the host’s church, or perhaps the church itself, can certainly help with costs if that is arranged. Guests can be expected to cover most other expenses, such as clothing, toiletries, incidentals, etc. In general, we hope that hosts will be generous, without that leading to resentment. Although the guests are professionals and very well educated, in Angola that does not usually translate to what we would think of as a decent income. Even lawyers and university instructors may make only the U.S. equivalent of a few thousand dollars a year. (For reference, in Angola, elementary school teachers make the equivalent of about $1500 per year – with no benefits.)
  • What will our guests do during the day while the host family is at work or school? The host is NOT responsible for this (other than transportation if needed), but our hope is that we will be able to find some sort of office/workspace away from home 3-5 days a week for our guests. This could be at any friendly work environment, perhaps as an informal internship of sorts related to their area of expertise, or simply as a place to hang out and practice English (a small space in the host’s church would work). The guests will not be allowed to earn money while here, but they can certainly help with small tasks as long as it is agreeable on both sides. This should be a place where other people are around, and are available for occasional conversation. Also, a computer with good internet access should be available. This sort of situation will give the guests a time and place to work on their English.

If you are interested, or would otherwise like to learn more, please contact Janine Solberg from the Angola Partnership Team and the Union Church of Hinsdale: (, 815.621.3779).  All questions welcome!

God bless you.  God bless our guests and their visit.  And God bless our partnership!

Thank you!  The Illinois Conference – IECA Partnership Team

%d bloggers like this: