By Pastor Ethan Collins
Jackline said she was born with “liquidy” fingers on her left hand. Three of them had to be removed when she was a baby. My best guess is that “liquidy” means the bones in her hand weren’t fully formed when she was born, possibly from being malnourished while in the womb. Life is hard in Tanzania, East Africa. Fighting your way through it as a fourth-grader with one hand would seem to make it really hard. But you wouldn’t know that if you ever talked with Jackline. Her smile is electric, and she wears it constantly. She has big dreams and she loves Jesus. I won’t be surprised if she is one of our top students by the time she graduates 7th grade from Kondoa Integrity School.
Everybody has a story. I have one, you have one, and Jackline has one. Her story is just one of 853 student stories at Kondoa Integrity School (KIS) & Mairowa Integrity School (MIS). I had the privilege of hearing little parts of these stories when I visited last month and was truly impacted. It reminded me of God’s story and of His unconditional love for us. And it reminded me of how our stories get intertwined with God’s story. Let me tell you two more “stories.”
Peter and Suzana are students at our Mairowa school and are both from the Maasai tribe. The Maasai in Tanzania have been one of the most resistant tribes to the gospel message. They come from a strongly animistic culture. Peter and Suzana’s mothers are both widows. We visited their homes last month, and I got to ask Suzana’s mom if she was a Christian. She told me that her daughter had become a Christian at MIS last year. Suzana started asking her mom to take her to church, so they began attending a local Baptist church in Mairowa. Eight months ago, Suzana’s mom became a Christian! A daughter’s new faith invaded her home and impacted her mother for eternity! Peter’s mother has a very similar story, but she became a Christian two months ago. These women trusted Christ in the past year and both now know Jesus because of the faith of their children.
SBC has been serving in Tanzania since 2003, and we will be in Tanzania for many years to come. God is impacting children, and they are impacting their families. We will continue to hear these life-changing stories, because God is the God of new life. This intersection of “life” is exactly where our SBC stories get intertwined with stories of children like Jackline, Peter and Suzana. As people from SBC become Child Sponsors, they pray regularly for their child, exchange letters with them, and give $35/month to provide for their education, daily meals, and a school uniform. Sponsors sometimes visit their students and often learn that their child has trusted in Jesus.
Each individual or family who sponsors a child has a story, and each one is impacting families for Christ in Tanzania. We are praying we’ll hear more great stories of the new life God is bringing to children, families, and these two communities in East Africa.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
This article was written by our Global Outreach Pastor, Ethan Collins, about our church’s ongoing project in Tanzania.
This article is submitted by Bonnie Lathrop of Scottsdale Bible Church. Scottsdale Bible Church is a Missio Nexus member. Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.