Thursday, July 12, 2012

Report from Tanzania

TOT group in Dar es Salaam, TZ
 Queueing for lunch in Chamwino, TZ
 Randy Pizzino teaching in Magugu, TZ

The following is the report I emailed from Tanzania during my recent trip to East Africa:

Greetings from Tanzania. It has been a good trip so far. Began with a 1 Timothy conference in Magugu, between Arusha and Babati. I was joined by EPI's new full-time staff member, Randy Pizzino. Randy was a pastor for 41 years before joining EPI. He taught well, and also experienced the joys of eating copious amounts of pili-pili!
Randy left us after the Magugu conference to return to Nairobi, from which he would be going to Uganda. I took the 6-7 hour bus ride to the central TZ city of Dodoma, one of the seats of the government. From there we went to the nearby village of Chamwino, which is also the site of government offices, and thus a strategic place. We held another 1 Timothy conference. After the small group discussion time, which focused on the issue of the church as a family, the participants were so moved and convicted that they had a spontaneous time of repentance before God. They also firmly resolved to form an inter-denominational pastors' fellowship, and begin working together in practical ways to show the love of Christ within their community. This could bear great fruit in the future, particularly as the government spends more time in the Dodoma-Chamwino area, and sees real Christian fellowship and concerted, loving action.

Dar es Salaam. We arrived in the coastal port city/national captial of Dar es Salaam for an TOT on Biblical Theology. The participants are seeing the connections between the OT and the NT, the fascinating ways in which the OT pointed forward to Christ, and how the NT fulfilled the entire OT, often in surprising ways. My friend and EPI-TZ coordinator Joram Ibrahim remarked at how powerful this is (and I agree). 
Dickson Laizer.
One of the issues I have had to deal with is the organization of EPI here in TZ. One of my co-national coordinators was not fluent in English, which prevented me from communicating well with him. Consequently, I asked Dickson Laizer, Secretary-General of Grace Evangelical Church to be the EPI-TZ national coordinator. Dickson is a good man, experienced in teaching leaders, with a passion to do so and a true pastoral heart. I think he is God's answer to this situation. Randy recognized that this was a good choice, and I just received an email from one of the other TZ coordinators to the same effect. Knowing Dickson as I do, I think he will be able to work well with the others in the TZ leadership team, and help move EPI forward in TZ. I am looking forward to the future here, as the Tanzanians are getting well-organized, with some good and competent people.

Zanzibar. I am now in Zanzibar in the middle of a marriage conference. I pray for God's blessings on you, and will report back to you after I return home in mid-July. Best regards, Jonathan