God, by his grace and mercy, has called and powerfully used many men and women to enrich his kingdom here on earth. Many of them are well-known in their countries or even worldwide. Others remain anonymous or known only by a small number of people. One of those less known is the deceased brother Cristo Joaquim Cassacula, affectionally known as Papa Cassacula.
Cassacula (his last name means “house of healing”), son of Joaquim Cassacula and Ngalo Cassacula, was born in Cangote, Chinguary, Bié province, Angola on January 7, 1942. He was the third of five children and was affectionately given his father’s name.
His parents were not Christians. Their family were traditional rulers (called “sobas”). Many of their family members were dying, so Cassacula’s parents decided to move to Catota mission, in Bié province, to preserve the lives of their children. The mission was founded in 1930 by a missionary called Potti. In Catota, Cassacula attended elementary school, and he also was converted to Christ.
Because of his commitment to the Lord, Cassacula took seriously his responsibility to bring his whole family to Christ. He was intelligent and worked hard in his studies, so he was chosen by the missionary to became one of the teachers at Catota mission.
He married sister Natália Gonçalves Olimpia Cassacula on August 26, 1961. He and his wife had six children, four boys and two girls. Because of the war, brother Cassacula served his required time in the army. The family moved from Catota to Cuando Cubango, in Menongue city.
He worked as a driver to support his family. He was later hired to work in the employment center in Cuando Cubango, which then transferred him to the city of Lubango, in Huila province. He became a deacon in the Evangelical Church of Lubango because of his deep personal commitment to Christ. The growth of the Evangelical Church of Mapunda resulted from his missionary passion and focus on evangelization. He started other evangelistic work in Oncokwa, Ombwa, and Chinge.
In 1985, for reasons that have not been revealed, Cassacula was arrested and spent a year in prison. Even in this difficult time for him and for his family, he remained strong in the Lord. He used this time to develop his relationship with God and to share the gospel with his fellow prisoners. Some of them came to know Christ in jail as a result of his passion to preach the gospel.
His experience in prison was so important to him that after he was released and was again offered employment at the employment center, he chose to abandon that job and income to dedicate himself to full-time evangelism. He began with visits to the Chambangala Hospital as a chaplain. He met Dr. Duncan there, who challenged him to come work as a chaplain in Jamba.
Accepting this challenge with his whole heart, he never looked back. With one of his six children, he moved to Jamba, leaving his wife and other children in Lubango.
His commitment and willingness made him such an effective laborer in the Union of Evangelical Churches in Angola (União de Igrejas Evangélicas de Angola, UIEA) denomination until his death. His wife had a dream that the Lord told her and the children to follow him to Jamba. So, their whole family was together in Jamba to support him in this work.
In Jamba, Cassacula fulfilled his duties as a chaplain while Dr. Duncan saw patients. Cassacula’s presence was fundamental to the numerical and spiritual growth there. The war forced Cassacula to leave Jamba and return to Lubango. He returned to his previous ministry at Chambangala Hospital and was also involved in the Department of Evangelism and Missions at the church as a counselor.
Sadly, Cassacula developed cancer of the kidney and died in 2010. His wife Natália Cassacula and his six children survive him.
Amilton da Silva Moco Francisco
Pastor António Lourenço, son-in-law of Cassacula.
Pastor Eduardo Chiquete, former president of UIEA (Union of Evangelical Churches in Angola) and current leader of the Evangelical Church of Lubango.
This biography, received in 2020, was written by Amilton da Silva Moco Francisco, a full-time professor, as well as a master’s student specializing in Christian education, at the Instituto Superior de Teologia Evangélica no Lubango (ISTEL). He studied applied Bible interpretation through North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa, via distance-learning. He is the director of the Department of Evangelism, Missions, and Discipleship of the Evangelical Church of Lubango. This biography was written under the supervision of Sindia Foster, instructor at ISTEL and missionary to Mozambique with Serving in Mission (SIM).