Wednesday, 25 July
The team hiked from Mese to Kishisha, both villages on the slopes which surround Mt. Kilimanjaro. The previous hike having taken many hours, the team was expecting a longer trip and were pleasantly surprised when they arrived after 90 minutes of walking.
The hike day was sort of a light-hearted day; some teams observe an unofficial “Christmas in July”, and ours was not an exception. Throughout the day, team members shared their favorite Christmas carols and traditions, and at evening devotions we all sung some Christmas carols. The lady leaders even prepared a Christmas-inspired dinner, with turkey, gravy, and red and green koolaid.
Some team members also reflected on their initial experience of doing evangelistic presentations in schools. A few mentioned that while talking with students after the presentation, they faced a few struggles: how to keep the focus on Christ, how to share with those who do not seem to understand much English, or how to keep the attention of those who just seem disinterested. Peter encouraged the team to take themselves and their message seriously (and to expect that the students would take them seriously in turn), and to pray that they would be fruitful.
Thursday, 26 July
Accompanied by two members of the church where we are staying, the team did presentations in two schools today: Kishisha Secondary School and Kishisha Primary School. The secondary school had about 245 students who lined up outside in the courtyard to hear the team sing and give their testimonies. They sang songs in both English and Swahili. Danae and Sara shared testimonies from their own lives, while Austin delivered a message beginning with creation and the fall, and ending with the salvation that God has offered us through Jesus Christ. The students also taught the team a song in Swahili. Peter finished the presentation by demonstrating (with three team members) the separation between man and God, and how it is bridged by Jesus Christ. Several students were willing to make a commitment to Jesus Christ, and Seth, one of the leaders, prayed with them.
Following the presentation, the team began to circulate around and talk to groups of students. On this occasion, it seemed that many team members felt awkward, or struggled to know what to say to the students. Some groups of students showed team members around the school grounds; others wanted to take pictures of them. Some team members were unsure how to share with students who did not seem to understand. However, some were able to re-emphasise to the students their purpose in being there at the school – to share God’s word with them.
The team also had an opportunity to visit the village’s primary school. Before making their presentation, they were able to spend some time playing with the children. Some team members joined in football or volleyball matches; others taught the children games such as Red Light Green Light, Simon Says, and London Bridge. Still others sat and talked with children who were not playing games.
The team’s presentation was well received; as before, they sang songs in both English and Swahili. The Swahili songs, particularly Yesu Ni Wangu, were especially appreciated as the children began clapping and singing along enthusiastically.
Friday, 27 July
The team continued its ministry in schools today, visiting Sanya Juu Secondary School and Fuka Secondary School. At Sanya Juu, the team members introduced themselves to the teachers before heading over to the school’s chapel – a building which Peter had helped build seven years ago.
The team’s presentation had been scheduled during the school’s weekly chapel service; therefore the students sang several songs before the team began its presentation. Although there were a couple setbacks (for example, the sound system that the team planned to use for its puppet presentation did not work), the presentation was well received by the students. The team once again shared songs both in Swahili and in English, and this time they were able to teach the students a couple songs and their motions, including Dig a Hole and Rock, Sword, Shield. Many of the students tried to sing along and follow the motions. Emmett and Savannah shared their testimonies, and the team performed a drama called The Cage which demonstrates how people are trapped by sin, and find freedom through the word of God. At the conclusion of the message, many students raised their hands to indicate that they wanted to accept Jesus Christ. We there after led them to Christ.
Since this was the school’s regular weekly chapel service, the team’s presentation was followed by the students taking up an offering. As is usual in many Tanzanian churches, students bring whatever they have, whether money or goods, and as one of the teachers explained, they have to change those things into money. This is usually done via auction. So at the end of the offering, when the basket was full of candy, the team was blessed as many students who bought the candy then gave it to various team members – some students said they wanted to buy candy for the girl who played the guitar, or for the person who led Yesu Ni Wangu, for example; other students bought several pieces of gum for the team to share. The team really appreciated this gesture of hospitality.
After the presentation, the team again spread out in pairs to talk to small groups of students. Many of them were able to pray with students and to encourage them whether in their faith, or to continue considering the message that they had delivered.
At Fuka Secondary School, the thirsty team received another gift as one of the teachers brought out a case of Fanta, with a bottle for each person. Throughout the trip, the team has been blessed by hospitality everywhere they go.
The team made its presentation to two classes. A third class was nearby doing some work on the school’s garden, and many of them wandered over to watch the presentation as well. God answered the team’s prayer as the batteries for the mini-vox (providing the music for The Cage) lasted just until the end of the drama. After the presentation, the team again spread out to talk to students personally. Team members were able to share the love of Christ once more by explaining and giving out wordless books or bracelets; many were encouraged by the willingness of students to listen and ask questions about God.
Later in the evening during devotions, many team members shared that they were thankful to God for the opportunities they had had to share with all these students, and several mentioned that they particularly felt the message was well received and understood at this last school. The team closed out the day by encouraging each other to finish their ministry strongly, and to continue praying for the students they have spoken to in the last few days.
More pictures will follow.