Trip to Dar es Salaam
Anna and I had the opportunity to travel to Dar es Salaam this month. Word of the leadership/eldership classes I had conducted at Kisongo church of Christ reached a church in Dar, the Temeke COC, and I was asked to come and conduct classes for them.
Anna and I left our home, with Agustine, in Kisongo Thursday morning around 5:15 am. After traveling by bus more than 12 hours we reached Dar es Salaam that night. We were met at the bus station by ACSOP student Shadrack and his friend Henry. After two more hours we reached our hotel room.
On Friday we spent the day getting to know our brothers Shadrack and Henry better and touring their city. We got to eat plenty of fish and squid from stands on the side of the road.
The seminar began on Saturday at 9 am and ran (both days) until 5 pm. It is hard to put into words our experience with the church at Temeke but we want for all of you to hear about the wonderful works they are doing and the maturity they have shown us. 152 people were in attendance for day 1 of the Leadership seminar and 167 were there for day 2. Temeke had recently selected two elders. (Please be praying for these men) They wanted to better understand their roles and wanted the church to understand and have the opportunity to ask questions. On both days there were two 1 hour long Q&A sessions. We talked about what a Christian leader is verses what the world teaches us a leader is. We also talked about all the different roles in the Church and their jobs and roles. By the comments we received from the congregation, and hearing our friends here tell us about talking to the members there, the seminar went very well and was successful. The members and elders of the Temeke church gave me the highest form of compliment I could have received. I was told by numerous people that they were unsure of me coming because they did not know me but often foreigners do not understand them or their ways and their lessons don’t help. However, I was told that not only did they understand but they said I “knew the culture” because I gave examples that showed I had talked to and interviewed people here. This may not sound like much to you but Anna and I have a deep desire to understand the people here and make sure our lessons and examples are understood and effective. I spent a lot of time this year working on this through talking to the Tanzanians and for them to have noticed was huge to me. Again, this has been our prayer and desire and I hope to continue to try and make sure my lessons are applicable in their culture while adhering to the word of God.
What amazed us most about the Temeke church of Christ was their maturity. They work with the other churches in Dar es Salaam to provide a Bible school at the church. They had 168 first year students and 72 second year students! Two people were brought in over the weekend to be baptized who had been taught, not by their evangelist, but by two different members sharing the Gospel. They also work with the other churches in Dar es Salaam to pay for four radio programs a month. The churches plan out curriculum and a schedule and take turns teaching over the radio. On Sunday’s, after church, every member is divided up into a zone group. The different groups go to their “zone” and spend the day evangelizing. After evangelizing each group goes to a shut-in and worships with them that night.
These are only a few things we saw (we are leaving many many out) but it gave us so much hope and encouragement for the churches here. Temeke is not the largest or strongest church in Dar but they are doing so much to further the cost for Christ. It is our deep desire to see the same for the churches here in Arusha.