The saints gather after Sunday service
After a staggered arrival of both teachers and baggage, the team has finally started teaching our course on Hermeneutics. Donald is leading one group of students while David leads the other. Gil will teach tomorrow while I (Josh) teach a seminar on Biblical Leadership for a group of 25 local pastors.
Donald Thomas leading his class
Getting to Tarime, Tanzania is not easy. I've taken a dozen or so trips with TLI and this one might win the award for the most exhausting travel schedule.
1. Fly 8 hours to London.
2. Layover in Heathrow for 6 hours.
3. Fly 9 hours to Nairobi, Kenya.
4. Layover 3 hours in Nairobi.
5. Fly 1 hour to Kilimanjaro in Arusha, Tanzania.
6. Change planes.
7. Fly 1.5 hours to Mwanza, Tanzania.
8. Negotiate customs and immigration and lost luggage claims in a small, rural African airport. (2+ hours)
9. Drive through Mwanza for an hour, purchasing snacks and water for the drive north.
10. Drive 4 hours to Tarime, Tanzania.
11. Arrive thoroughly exhausted at East Africa Christian College.
That's about 35 hours total. We slept well on Saturday night in Tanzania.
EACC is a beautiful, small campus with a big vision to train the next generation of pastors and church leaders in northern Tanzania. The students are eager to study and learn and after all our travel adventures, it's a joy to be looking into Scripture with them.
On Sunday, David went with Pastor Christopher to his church while Donald and I went to Pastor Peter's church, Tarime Baptist Church. Set in a wooded community near the base of Mt. Tarime, the church is a beautiful community where God's people gather weekly to worship Jesus and enjoy Christian fellowship.
Tarime Baptist Church
I taught Sunday school, which is essentially a simplified worship gathering. Donald enjoyed a lizard-moth battle at his feet during my teaching. Then as the church gathered for the morning worship time, Donald preached from Jude's doxology, pointing us to God's sustaining, preserving grace.
Tanzania is about 40% Christian, 40% Muslim, and 20% other religions (Hindu, Sikh, animistic). In areas like Tarime, there is a higher population of Christians, while nearer to the coast and in Zanzibary, the Muslim population surpasses 90%.
The Christian church here faces multiple challenges. Pentecostal churches are increasingly synonymous with prosperity theology while Roman Catholic churches are syncretistic. One pastor describing his conversion stated that worshiping in a Catholic church was essentially the same as his background in animistic idol worship.
So what does Tanzania need? Tanzania needs the gospel that God's word proclaims! Our course on Hermeneutics will be introducing these students to the process of studying God's word, the Bible. As these students engage in ministry in northern Tanzania, may they point to the grace of God in Christ Jesus explained and proclaimed in the Bible.
Josh MontagueInternational Trainer, trip leader