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An Interview with Anderson Monteiro

An Interview with Anderson Monteiro

Anderson with his Daddy, Pastor Monteiro (Facebook)

Bern, Switzerland [CD EUDNews]. Seventh-day Adventist minister Antonio Monteiro dos Anjos was arrested, charged and imprisoned at the Civil Prison in Lome, Togo on March 15, 2012. After 22 months, the Cape Verde native was found innocent of all charges ag

April 10, 2014 | CD EUDNews;

Bern, Switzerland [CD EUDNews]. Seventh-day Adventist minister Antonio Monteiro dos Anjos was arrested, charged and imprisoned at the Civil Prison in Lome, Togo on March 15, 2012. After 22 months, the Cape Verde native was found innocent of all charges against him by the Togo Appeals Court and released on January 13, 2014. Thousands of Seventh-day Adventists, persons of various faiths, and human rights advocates around the world who had prayed and worked for the freedom of the minister were grateful at the news of his release.

The Communication Team in the EUD - Corrado Cozzi, director, and Andreas Christian Mazza, assistant - kept from the beginning of this story in touch with Anderson, Pastor Monteiro's oldest son, first through Facebook, then - after the release of Pastor Monteiro - meeting him in the US during the GAIN meeting, where we had the opportunity to have the following conversation with Anderson:

CD EUDNews: Is this your first time in the USA?

Anderson: No, not my first time, I have been here in 2004 with my father Pastor Monteiro for an evangelistic crusade with the Capeverdian SDA churches in Boston. In 2005 I came for a vacation and had the chance to be at the General Conference in St Louis, Missouri.

CD EUDNews: What is your impression of the US?

Anderson: USA is a land of opportunities in various ways, unfortunately not everyone takes the chance and the opportunity to get ahead, its a very beautiful country showing God's creation trough nature.

CD EUDNews: How did you find the participants of GAIN?

Anderson: I thank God to be able to participate for the first time in GAIN and I hope that I will be able to attend all other conferences in the future. Personally, it was very special to meet all those that for almost two years worked and prayed so earnestly for the release of my father. As a communication professional it has been great to experience how our Church is committed to using technology and communication to spread the gospel. I am doing my best to bring this to Cape Verde and help the preaching of Gospel, thanks to the General Conference for making it possible for my family to attend the meeting and I thank everyone around the world that joined us in prayer and support: today we are happy to have my father back to the family.

CD EUDNews: What was your first reaction when you saw your father finally free?

Anderson: I felt like hugging him for weeks or months on end. I could finally say to myself that now I can sleep after working day and night for 22 months for his release, it is now a dream come true, Thank God! He is still able to perform miracles like we see in the Bible, to see my family, my father and specially my mother coming out of that situation, such a blessing, I just cannot describe how happy I have been since that moment.

CD EUDNews: Where do you live now?

Anderson: I live in the Cape Verde islands.

CD EUDNews: You had to leave Togo to go to Capo Verde… what did you think about that change? Did you have to leave friends behind?

Anderson: I never lived in Togo at all, I had to stay back while they were in mission there. When my father was called to the Union there, I was already working in Cape Verde and attending the university. I have been there for vacation and to visit my father in prison when he completed one year in prison. It was an emotional moment to see my father behind bars, arrested, wrongly accused for something he didn't do. You can see my fight for his release, a lot of articles and posts on www.facebook.com/freedom4monteiro.

CD EUDNews: What did your friends say regarding your father? Did they believe he was innocent?

Anderson: Yes! My friends were just an anchor for me and for my family, they always believed in his innocence I don't remember a friend that didn't believe.

CD EUDNews: Did you have to face some friends that didn't believe in the innocence of your father, and how did you react?

Anderson: Not from friends, but we had a lot of comments in newspapers and on social network that tried to defame the name of my father, the family and even our church. But by God's grace this didn't affect us much and we simply ignored it because we knew that he was 100% innocent and those comments where coming from people that din't know our father and our SDA ministry.

CD EUDNews: What advice would you give to youth who, like you, might find themselves in trouble because of injustice? (false accusation of a father)?

Anderson: First of all I would like to say that it's not easy to go trough something like that, there are several things that go through your head, and the most important thing is to have a full trust in God, as my favorite quote from the Bible says: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” God will never disappoint us, let's keep strong and courageous. We cannot be afraid because the Bible says that our faith won't be proved more than what we can handle, so I was saying to myself and sharing with my family that, if God allowed this to happen in our lives he surely knows the reasons and has a lesson for each one of us. The same God continues to perform miracles and we saw his hands leading the case from the beginning. Prayers are extremely important, you cannot stop praying in such situations, you have to talk to God as a friend and he will speak to you trough his Scriptures and show you the way. Injustice is everywhere and we are all exposed to it, we need to be ready for anything. It was this readiness of mind that helped us overcome the battle and be prepared for a higher level of faith.

CD EUDNews: Who was the one that was the most encouraging... your mother, your brother, your sister...?

Anderson: My main concern was for my mother and my little brother, they were there alone in Togo, my sisters were at Valley View University in Ghana and sometimes they went to visit there. I was told to stay in Cape Verde and help with the diplomatic efforts and facilitate the connections with the World Church so we could resolve the case sooner. Answering your question: our mother gave us a special strength to face this injustice, I was concerned about her because she was the one leading out, but everyday her faith grew and was a big support when she shared it with us.

CD EUDNews: Having been two years without your father, what did you miss the most? What was the unique and most important thing that helped you endure?

Anderson: Yes, in fact it was a horrible time without him, a father that we used to see almost everyday now in prison, for no reason. Without further contact I was only able to get news from my mother that he was doing fine. My father has always been my best friend, counselor, someone who always challenged me to new horizons, new things, and to do my best, he was everything to me, and suddenly all was gone. For two years I had no one to take his place, but what helped me to endure was the way he faced life, my father is also a psychology teacher and he takes bad things in stride and that rubbed off on me during all those years and thank God I was able to do that myself. Yes, confidence in God and trusting Him helped us, but our attitude was also fundamental in our victory after almost two years. Right now I am trying to catch up on all the things that we missed and refill my life with dad's strong presence. He is my hero.

CD EUDNews: Thank you for this interview, Anderson.

pictures: 1. Pastor Monteiro and his family after his release; 2. Thousand of letters received by Pastor Monteiro during his detainment; 3. Anderson and his beautiful family; 4. One out of many conversations had on facebook between Anderson and Andreas in 2013;

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