fbpx
Category

Tanzania

Training in Burundi

By Burundi, Tanzania, Training

Heavenlight Luoga is a key APF training partner from north-west Tanzania. Alongside Kesia, his wife, they use eVitabu to run workshops for untrained pastors from rural communities such as the recent programme they provided in Burundi.

The training was an amazing time. My wife, Kesia, and I based our training on resources from APF’s eVitabu app. eVitabu was a great help in preparing the programme for the pastors and wives. The key resources we chose on eVitabu were from Next Leadership and written by Revd Dr Kate Coleman.

Revd Kate’s material covered many important aspects of family life and marriage. We explored together how marriage was designed to reflect the God who created us in His image, both male and female, and who is recreating us to be like Him in loving relationships, deeply connected with each other and in partnership through agreement and cooperation in a way that honours the marital bond.

We looked at how unresolved issues can wreck marriages and destroy families and discussed problem solving and conflict resolution in marriage.

We also talked about repentance and forgiveness within family and married life. At the end of the training, there was an opportunity for husbands and wives to renew their marriage covenants together.

So many pastors told me that this teaching was completely new to them. Wives were praising God and even during breaktimes they gathered into groups to continue to discuss the teaching. Pastors were so happy to sit down side-by-side with their wives. This is not a normal thing!

Altogether, over 60 attended the training. We had hoped for 50. But success is not just about numbers, it was found in seeing husbands and wives together, repairing and building their relationships and hearing their testimonies after the training.

One of the pastors at the training was a Church of Burundi pastor called Revd Maendeleo. He enjoyed the training so much that he made a call to Bishop Evariste Nijimbere from the local Buhiga Diocese. I then received a voicemail from the Bishop asking me to come and join him in June to lead some seminars for the Diocese.

In more good news, a wider door has been opened for the next year. All pastors in the training programme agreed to sponsor themselves for three days of training next year if I can cover the transport cost for Kesia and myself. Kesia will facilitate the pastor’s wives training and I will facilitate the pastors training, then in the evening all of us will come together. We are told to expect 100 or even 150 for that training. I am not the one who asked to do this but the idea came from within the group themselves. Of course, for me this is a great fruit.

The journey from Karagwe in Tanzania to Buhiga in Burundi and back is long. We travelled by bus, taxi and motorbike and had to negotiate the Covid-19 testing challenges at the border between the countries. I was tired and suffered from fatigue at the end of training and after the journey but I had no regrets at all.

I look back to what God has done for me and for all participants and, for the sake of God’s Kingdom, I am full of joy in my heart.

The View from Tanzania

By Covid-19, Tanzania

Unlike most African countries, the Tanzanian government did not announce a strict lockdown. Churches, mosques, and other religious buildings have remained open for worshippers, although schools, sports and other gatherings deemed unnecessary were closed until June. From Karagwe, a remote rural town in Kagera Region in the far north-west corner of Tanzania, Pastor Heavenlight Luoga shares his reflections on what God has been reminding him of during the crisis.

“This pandemic teaches us how God is in control of this wonderful and fragile world. During the crisis, there are both dangers and opportunities. Dangers because thousands and thousands of people have been infected and died. Also, there is the related economic crisis with people losing their jobs.

“Opportunities have come because many people are turning to God. We have seen, all over the East African countries, people crying and praying to God because of Covid-19. It is striking the world and all of us realise we are most certainly not in control, ‘we’ meaning humanity as a whole. The fragility of life is emphasised, the limitations of knowledge become plain and human capacity is challenged.
People here in Karagwe were in fear concerning the limitations of local health infrastructure. Our highly social lifestyle and overcrowded homes all created a huge fear of the virus. Many expected to see uncountable dead bodies on the streets. Thank God this has not yet come about in Tanzania. Our government recently announced that the situation here is not too bad. The number of people affected in hospitals is coming down. Our government prepared 1,000 beds at Saba Saba Exhibition Ground, but today all of them have been removed.

“We see wealthy countries investing millions of dollars for security purposes, on health insurance and social safety nets, but still many people in those countries are dying from coronavirus.

“It is a reminder to us that God is in control of the world and he can do whatever he wants to do, without any resistance. In response, we start looking up. As Deuteronomy 32:39 says:

‘Look now; I myself am he!
There is no other god but me!
I am the one who kills and gives life;
I am the one who wounds and heals;
no one can be rescued from my powerful hand!'”

Swahili commentary sets back in print!

By Tanzania

The Akan people of Ghana have a saying: “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi.” Roughly translated it means, “It is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.” From the proverb comes the word ‘Sankofa’, which means, “Go back and get it.” The symbol of Sankofa is a bird moving forward but with its head turned backwards, in effect going forward while remaining conscious of the past and the wisdom contained there.

At APF, we have had a sense of the importance of moving forward but looking back for some time. Our friend and partner Rev Dr Kate Coleman put it to us like this: “When you get on the train, choose the seat facing backwards.” Move forward but remain conscious of where you’ve come from.

So, while eVitabu, Jubilee Trees, Growing Greener, solar energy projects, locally-led pastor training in-service workshops and many other new and exciting initiatives absorb much of our time, we’ve also been keen not to forget good things from APF’s past. To go back and fetch what we forgot.

For example, our Tanzanian friends and partners have been asking for a reprint of our New Testament Bible Commentary sets ‘Ufafanuzi Wa Agano Jipya’ for some time. Written in the 1990s by Sister Dorothy Almond, a Church Army Tanzania missionary from Yorkshire, Ufafanuzi Wa Agano Jipya remains to our knowledge the only complete New Testament Bible commentary written in Swahili, not a translation into Swahili. With its clear language and simple explanations, demand remains high amongst poorly trained rural pastors who rarely have access to any other books beside a Bible.

It has taken us a while to get it right but at last, three thousand copies recently landed at the port in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from printers in India. APF partners in Tanzania including Heavenlight Luoga (Karagwe), Amos Nkini (Arusha), Timothy Saulo (Mwanza) and Emanuel Mhina (Morogoro) have been busy distributing hundreds of copies to rural church leaders across their regions.

Another 500 sets are available from the shelves of SomaBiblia Christian bookshops across Tanzania where they are selling at heavily subsidised prices to ensure they remain affordable to pastors.

We are deeply indebted to our generous donors in the UK and our committed partners in Tanzania whose support have made the reprint of Ufafanuzi Wa Agano Jipya possible.   Asante Sana!

Please pray

For Heavenlight, Amos, Timothy and Heavenlight as they distribute commentary sets at training workshops and through local bookstores.

That the faith of rural pastors using Ufafanuzi wa Agano Jipya would be enriched and their ministries strengthened.

For other APF literature projects such as the distribution of local language Bibles funded by OM Special Projects.

For growing links with African theological seminaries, especially connections with the Network of African Congregational Theology (NetACT).