The last twelve days served to be one of the most humbling experiences to witness God's grace in a town that was, at one point, so unknown. God has revealed the magnitude of his handiwork by equipping each one of us as we stepped out of the boat of comfort to share his love in Tanzania. As a team, we discovered first-hand the depth and power of the Holy Spirit in Kigoma. Some of our ministry activities included: teaching church leaders about leadership development; talking about Jesus in the villages of Manyovu, Kasangezi and Nkungwe; supporting the Kids Club ministry and speaking in secondary schools and youth nights to encourage young adults.
It would be an understatement to say that we did not struggle. As leaders, we faced seasons of joy and discouragement. Yet, God has equipped us to submit to his plan with humility in order to plant seeds of hope in the hearts of the community members. We discovered that our objective was to simply introduce God's Word. There is no reason to impose unnecessary expectations in our personal capacities to appear as though we are seasoned conversationalists of God's Word. Because the truth is, we would not have achieved our ministry goals if it wasn't for the grace of God. In my point of view, God worked effectively through us as a team during the most overwhelming situations in our ministry. We learned how to do our best and leave the outcome to God. Our job was to start the work and trust that the Holy Spirit will achieve its fruitful completion. As Philippians 1:6 says, "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Although we came with the goal of equipping leaders in Kigoma, we found ourselves to be at the receiving end of learning about the cultural and socioeconomic differences in leadership development between church leaders in Tanzania and Canada. For example, there is a lack of resources to strengthen the professional development and leadership capacity of church leaders and congregation in Kigoma. While there is a significant interest to learn more about God’s Word, there are just as many challenges to get a hold of a Bible, which costs roughly around ten-thousand shillings. In Canada, on the other hand, Bibles and other devotional resources are most often readily accessible and are sometimes found in bedroom drawers of several hotel chains.
Certain struggles are inevitable, but we rejoice in the grace that God has given us to make the first step and share his love to others – even if it means feeling incredibly nervous before speaking in front of church leaders about leadership development, knocking on someone’s front door to talk about Jesus or spending hours under the sun to teach kids about Philippians 4:13 in Swahili. These are significant measures that create a durable impact in the lives of people, regardless of where we come from.
The last twelve days have been fundamental in the transformation of our mindset and hearts. As a team, we demonstrated full reliance and complete dependence on God in our daily activities in Kigoma. Our Hope of the Nations family played a significant role as our cultural bridge that helped us connect with the village residents and church leaders. They have effortlessly gifted us with the tireless resilience to trust the power of the Holy Spirit and to persevere in sharing God’s love to others without hesitation. The workers are few; the harvest is plentiful.
Asante sana na tuta onana badaye, Kigoma.
The adventure begins! After 22+ hours of flight time and layovers, we have reached our home-base in Kigoma, Tanzania.
Disclosure: Our adventure actually started before arriving in Tanzania. Here we are patiently waiting at Frankfurt Airport after discovering that we had just missed our connecting flight.
Disclosure Part 2: We weren’t the only ones who missed our connecting flight. We found out that our luggage also missed the flight to Tanzania. Here we are at the Lost and Found desk in Dar es Salaam International Airport. We were reconnected with our precious luggage four days later. Bwana asifiwe!
This is our magic school bus. It endured hours of life-changing conversations while seamlessly driving over bumpy terrains. We all agreed that the most adventurous spot in our school bus is to sit at the very back!
Learning how to count and add numbers at the Hope of the Nations Primary School in Kigoma.
Touring the construction site of the new Hope of the Nations Bible College
We spent the first week of seminar at Four Square Church in the village of Manyovu.
Kuku Kuku Bata! Playing duck-duck-goose at Kid’s Club in Manyovu.
Desiree and Ivan teach about Worship at a secondary school in Kigoma.
Derek makes a new friend and connects with the children at Kid’s Camp in Manyovu.
Pastor Kamal, Iris and Justine along with Hope of the Nations staff teach Philippians 4:13 in Swahili at Kid’s Club in Manyovu.
Door-to-door outreach with Pastor Kamal and Moses in Kasangezi.
Children accompany Pastor Don back to the church after Kid’s Club in Kasangezi. They wanted to make sure that he can find his way back. He did.
After a full day of sermon teachings and door-to-door outreach, we made a quick stop northbound and crossed the border to explore Burundi. J’étais très contente!
Desiree, Iris and Pastor Don meeting a family during our door-to-door ministry in Kasangezi.
Ivan, Desiree, and Shukuru give an illustration about the Value of Learning for Christians at a secondary school in Kigoma.
A typical lunch time involves lining up with the mamas and wachungaji (pastors) patiently awaiting the delicious food!
Desiree, Ivan and Adoneth share God’s Word in door-to-door outreach in Kasangezi.
Pastor Kamal takes a break and sips on some fresh coconut juice in Kigoma.
Iris teaches gives an illustration about the Cost of Leadership with Dismas in Nkungwe.
Desiree’s kind and nurturing personality was more than enough to get this little boy to fall asleep in her arms in Nkungwe.
Ivan, Pastor Don and Sylvester learn how to properly start a fire in Nkungwe
A dada (sister) stays on the sideline to watch over her baby brother while her friends play a game at Kid’s Club.
Justine shares her experiences in decision-making and courage at a Youth Night event in Kigoma.
After a 26-hour layover in Dar es Salaam, Derek and Pastor Kamal met Yosef, a taxi driver who confessed his sins and gave his life to Jesus. Please pray for Yosef as he finds a church that will encourage him to grow in faith and learn more about Jesus.
After twelve days of sermon teachings, door-to-door ministries, kid’s club activities and relationship-building, we spend our last working day in the village of Nkungwe. Our Hope of the Nations family has left a lasting impact in our hearts. We look forward to continue working with them next year.
Kwaheri Tanzania! In awe of God’s wonderful creation, we spend our last day admiring the waters of the Indian Ocean at Coco Beach.
– Justine (Justina)