TANZANIA – World Renew has been walking with communities in Tanzania for over 25 years. Partnering with the local church there, the Africa Inland Church Tanzania, we seek to see God glorified, churches strengthened, and people moved out of poverty.
Not far from the shores of Lake Victoria in northern Tanzania, we have joined Reconciled World in supporting the Africa Inland Church’s Diocese of Geita, as they seek to equip churches and communities there to respond to their own needs with their own resources. This kind of development work centers on Reconciled World’s Truth Centered Transformation programming, a holistic training and discipleship program centered on God’s essential and powerful role in transforming lives.
As rural churches are discipled by trained, local facilitators, they learn to apply God’s truth to their lives and serve their communities. We are seeing, through this service to their communities, beautiful church growth in both size and depth of faith.
The church of Kasomeko engaged in Truth Centered Transformation training in April of this year, studying and discussing the Bible and also thoughtfully considering how they might mobilize their own available resources to meet their own needs instead of waiting for help from the “outside.” Church members began to see that they might solve some of their own problems with resources already provided to them by God.
After much discussion, the church decided to address the lack of a toilet at the church — church members had been using toilets at neighboring buildings and even going in bushes near the church. “We need toilets,” they decided. “ As human beings we can’t hide in the bush during Sunday services. As we are created in the image of God, we have to think about building a church toilet.” So church members resolved that each member should be asked to contribute building materials like stones and bricks, which they did. And now the church of Kasomeko has met their own identified need with gratitude to God for the resources He has provided them.
The church of Mwembeni also began TCT training in April of this year and was moved to engage in what the TCT program calls Acts of Love, often simple, one-day projects accomplished with the resources they already have — powerful exercises in obedience, dignity, and service. Before embarking on Truth Centered Transformation, church members did not understand or demonstrate acts of love to community members or church members who were not attending Sunday services. The church evangelist focused on prayer and preaching, not visiting or serving those who were in need.
Mwembeni church members attending Sunday service
As the church focused on God’s word and His truths, church members began to understand the importance of caring for others and decided to start showing acts of love to their families and neighbors. They began visiting house to house and provided food like maize and cassava to vulnerable children, widows, and the elderly. They donated clothing. They carried water from water sources. They repaired the house of a widow that had been damaged by rain.
Not surprisingly, the Mwembeni church began to receive new members. Their membership grew from 30 to 45, and the offering has also increased. Church members testify that showing and receiving an act of love brings people to God. Amen.
Prayers for Tanzania
- World Renew Tanzania has begun partnership discussions with a church in Mwanza that wants to reach out to young people in the neighborhood it serves with business and employment opportunities. We plan to sign a Memorandum of Understanding soon. Pray for discernment and wisdom on all sides as we move forward with this opportunity.
- We give thanks for lives and communities transformed through the work of our Africa Inland Church partners. Pray for good health and safe travels for our partners as they work long hours and travel long distances to remote communities.
- And finally this, from Jim Zylstra: This is the last term with World Renew for Josephine and me. We have given notice that I plan to retire in November 2019. We ask for your prayers for us as we prepare for this big transition, for the Tanzania team, for those who will be searching for my replacement, and that the right person will be available and at the right time.
World Renew Tanzania
Details for this story were provided by Anedy Kishimbo, TCT Program Officer for AICT Diocese of Geita
Header Photo: Mwembeni church pastor and members with widow and her new roof