KISII (Western), Kenya
We have been traipsing through the bush in Northern Tanzania since last Monday — this is our first evening with internet connectivity.
We are traveling with our ministry team of Richard Cazzell, myself (Doug), Ben Bahati (Director of Global Field Evangelism) and his key teaching pastor, Joseph Omondi.
On Tuesday we drove to Tanzania. The border crossing took about an hour. The good news was we got mandatory one-year multi-entry visas—the bad news was they cost $100 each.
While stalled in the no-man’s-land between Kenya & Tanzania, I was loudly cursed by a passing vendor who commanded me to drop dead from a heart attack. I am dfelighted to report that his curse acquired no traction in my soul, so I did not actually drop dead.
We stayed in Tarime and commuted one hour daily into the bush to the Changuge Hills where Pastor Patroba Amolo Waranga has been planting a new church. Our task—or so we thought—was to do three days of church leadership training.
God had assured me before the trip that I would see things I had never seen before. He was good to his promise. Read on…
Day One – Tanzania Conference.
We arrived to discover government officials had co-opted the first day of our meeting for a tribal peace conference. Two area tribes—Luo and Kuria—had a brief but deadly war last year over cattle rustling. Some 70 people died, homes were burned and people displaced. Hostilities had not formally ended, since every effort to get the warring parties to sit down to discuss peace had failed.
Representatives from the warring villages arrived on Wednesday morning. Over 150 packed into a public meeting room. The atmosphere was tense. No one could imagine what was about to happen.
The government officials did an excellent job of walking the participants through the events and aftermath of the war. They pleaded for peace and reconciliation, but the people gave no indication they were buying the appeal.
By late afternoon, the meeting reached its climax. I (Doug) was invited by the meeting moderator to tell the people how they might achieve a lasting peace.
I preached on Ephesians 2, the breaking down of the wall of hatred between Jews and Gentiles by the cross of Christ—the only sure way to individual, domestic and social peace. I spoke of the essential need to forgive as a reflection of God’s forgiveness. Ben closed the meeting with a specific invitation to forgive and to be born again as believers in Christ.
We were astonished when about 60 people responded immediately, including the District police commissioner and other tribal leaders.
Day Two – Tanzania Conference.
Our part of the training conference began. Additional attendees from the community made decisions to follow Christ and there was an explosion of joy!
We also spent time discussing how the local people—who are extremely poor—might start micro-businesses to support themselves and to provide money for evangelism and church planting.
Day Three – Tanzania Conference.
We continued training. Powerful testimonies were given to the amazing work God had done in the people the previous two days. Then we had a time of forgiveness. The meeting was capped with the public reconciliation of an older man and his adult son who had not spoken in 11 years.
Another explosion of joy.
- The church in Changuge was greatly encouraged and energized by the presence and mercy of God.
- About 65-70 people responded to the Gospel and were apparently born again.
- Initial plans were laid to assist the people starting micro-businesses.
- The Kuria people who were saved, approached the Luo pastor and invited him and his church to come into Kuria land to help them establish their first new church.
- We introduced the Transforming Prayer ministry and looked forward to specific prayer training in the months ahead.
- The District Commissioner called the pastor in after we left. He credited the church with doing what the governement could not — bringing peace to the District. He pledged his support for ongoing church activities and issued an invitation to Richard and me to meeto with him when we return.
Thanks to all who are praying for us. Your prayers are effective. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!