It is hard to put into the words the ministry experience of Tanzania, Africa. Even pictures fall short when it comes to explaining the work of God there.
How do you describe 400 villagers from Kibuye gathering around a mud brick church in the bush of western Tanzania for multiple days of worship, teaching, small group discussion and fellowship when the church only seats 250 on hard benches, and the additional 150 are content to gather around the doorways and windows to listen intently?
How do you put into words the comradery shared with young, enthusiastic up-and-coming pastors of Dar es Salaam who shared a 780-mile, 30-hour bus trek across the country to present the gospel and discipleship message to the people of eastern Tanzania? When traveling with new friends, even the hardest of journeys can be redeemed by surprising joy!
How do you articulate the feeling in your heart when you preach in a beautiful sanctuary that your church built and listen to the incredible stories and vision from Rev. Alfred Njau, who the church helped to educate and who persistently worked to be faithful to God’s calling to build a church in the growth path of the third largest city on the continent of Africa?
All I can say is that God is “on the move” there, the future is bright, a special group of young leaders is stepping into strategic positions of influence, and Marvin’s commitment to our long-term friend Alfred Njau must continue.
I am hopeful that future mission teams from Marvin will have the opportunity to go to Tanzania. As Alfred continues to build his school, the land around the Amazing Grace Church is sub-divided for homes as electricity is brought into that area and the challenging dirt road becomes paved, it will be exciting to see how the church grows with the power of the Holy Spirit and Alfred’s leadership. Future Marvin trips will focus primarily on the Amazing Grace mission of Dar es Salaam.
At the mission presentation in Pirtle Hall on Feb. 16, some of the stories of the people we encountered were told. Bahati John (Alfred’s first convert to Christianity from ancestry worship and his first church member of Amazing Grace) was mentioned. John uses his motorcycle (his means of making his living as a taxi driver) on Monday nights to take Anna, Alfred’s wife, to visit prospective church members in the community.
Along with the spiritual gift of evangelism, Anna also has the gift of intercession, and has been called upon by the people in the community to visit and pray for the sick. Vaileeth serves by teaching the children, and another Anna leads the church-wide Sunday School class.
Those who are helping to build Alfred’s congregation are finding places to serve and help grow the church. God is providing the “laborers for the harvest” (Matthew 9:38).
Having been to Tanzania and seen the work of Alfred and others there, my enthusiasm for his ministry and my prayers for his fruitfulness have been rekindled. Thanks Marvin Church for getting behind the vision, providing the resources and supporting our dear friend Alfred Njau. I am hopeful that his wife Anna will come with him this May when they travel here for General Conference. We have some incredible ministry partners in these two! I look forward to ministry updates when they are here.
Thanks Marvin family for your mission hearts!