A typical day in the Tanzanian sun finds me with a headband in my hair, a camera bag on my arm, and a smile on my face. After the initial shock of arriving in a brand-new country, surrounded by the sounds of a language I do not speak, an unwavering peace surges through my mind and remains throughout my stay.
Instead of lost luggage, heat rash, and tent sleeping creating distress, these realities carried opportunities to see God provide and to form relationships. Every day I clearly felt the presence of our Lord.
During my college years I often spoke of the “supernatural energy” which propelled me through each semester. While in Tanzania that “supernatural energy” paired with “supernatural peace” to bring about two weeks of ministry, possible only because of our gracious God.
The numbers speak of his greatness: Twenty-nine pastors and church leaders better equipped for their ministry in the villages where God placed them; thirty widows encouraged and gifted with a bite-sized book, Widowed, which echoes their struggles.
Through the ministry of our whole team, 1134 people heard the gospel. Five hundred twenty-four put their faith in Jesus. On one Sunday, we collectively witnessed 196 new believers take part in baptism. Trying to keep a piece of these moments, we returned with 5417 photographs and videos.
Behind each staggering number and picture sits a face and a story.
- One of the twenty-nine pastors and church leaders, Margarete, walked away from the conference more confident than ever in her role in ministry after studying the story of Deborah.
- A widower, Juma, promptly placed the Swahili bite-sized book, Widowed, in his pocket, following the Widows’ Conference, ready to take it home and read.
- I will not soon forget the smiling face of a Buhama village resident, Monica, after she accepted Christ and I welcomed her into God’s family.
- I can still recall the warm hug of a wife after her husband and brother-in-law came out of the water, baptized into new life.
- I smile at every one of the hundreds of photos of joyful Tanzanians unabashedly worshiping the Lord.
And I could go on and on because God did more than I imagined!
The best part? The same God who gave me supernatural peace, Margaret her passion, Juma encouragement, Monica her faith, and the Tanzanian worshippers their joy continues to work on Kome Island and continues to work through us. I may not wake up every morning in a tent, but I am learning to expect God’s peace and amazing work in Texas, just as I witnessed it every day in Tanzania.