Our vision is to Empower, Equip, Exhort, and Encourage the local people and ministries of Eastern Africa. So, as to become self-sustaining in order to further the kingdom of God, our heart is to see people be radically changed by the power of the gospel. We believe in having a strong relationship with the local church and partnering with the people there to change the region and the world.
Eastern Africa has been drastically affected by many difficult things, including long-term drought, conflict, lack of clean water, food, shelter, and lack of resources for health services. In four of the major countries of Eastern Africa, over 20 million people are at risk of starvation. In rural areas of Eastern Africa only 51% of the population has access to an improved drinking water source, and over 50% of the population suffers or has suffered from water born diseases.
In Tanzania, there are an average of 66 pupils in each government primary school classroom. This is an average- some classrooms have as many as 200 children. With recent increased enrollment, there has been no corresponding increase in the number of trained teachers – the pupil: qualified teacher ratio stands at 49:1.
The story is even more bleak for children with disabilities. Children with disabilities face many barriers, discrimination in primary education, and very few adolescents with disabilities attend secondary schools. Most secondary schools in Tanzania are not accessible to adolescents with physical or other disabilities, and are inadequately resourced to accommodate students with all types of disabilities. They lack adequate learning materials, inclusive equipment, and qualified teachers.
There is also a component of spiritual lack that has come into play in Eastern Africa particularly in the training of local village pastors. Because of the lack of resources they are unable to continue to further their training and knowledge of biblical foundations. An article by WYWAM put it this way "We find pastors with such passion, but no Bibles and no training, communities that are hungry for God, but the only person who can teach them is the Pastor who’s only in that position because he was willing and could read a little bit." In our visits to Eastern Africa we witnessed first hand how the lack of training ended up with ministries that wove both the gospel and witchcraft/ ancestral worship into one service. They taught what they knew about God, but they grew up worshiping ancestors and thus incorporated this practice not knowing it was not biblical. Many village pastors not only have no resources, but also lack mentors and people who can help them in their understanding of biblical principles.
Meeting The Need
We will begin by assimilating into the culture by learning the language (although there is a lot of education in English, their first language, which is important for being able to connect on a heart level, is Swahili). We will go to language school during the first month, and then continue to learn Swahili through tutoring. During these early days, our focus will be on building trust and relationships, through activities that meet the needs of the people and are geared toward building connections. As we come into contact with these needs we will use the resources that we have available to us to help the locals become self sustaining, so that in time they will be able to themselves help their community meet these needs. We will, at times, provide for the immediate need, but the vision is to come alongside of the local people and ministries to help them meet those needs on their own. Through these actions we will build open doors through which we will be able to minister the Love of Christ and to spread the word of God.
We will be using the Sawyer emergency water filtration system to help meet some of these needs for clean water. These filtration systems cost about $70 and yield 540 gallons of water per day with a life span of 1 million gallons. They filter 99.9999% of viruses, bacteria, and Protozoa/ crystals. We will also be seeking to develop partnerships with some of the FIRE team and other ministries in the area, who have already included farming training in their ministry, to learn how to train the locals in providing food for their families. One of our local contacts in Eastern Africa has a heart to see his people have knowledge and understanding concerning the spread of diseases and health related topics. We will also be seeking to partner with him so that we might be able to reach out to those who have needs in this area.
We will be pulling on April's training in the education field to work with teachers and to provide training to help assist in reaching the schools and affected families. We will be meeting with the teachers in the classroom to determine the needs and then begin to provide trainings that will help these teachers begin to improve the situations. Our aim is to have done several meetings with 20 or more local teachers in the first year. By three years we are aiming to have educational trainings and meetings quarterly with strategic follow up coaching. We will be providing mentoring and continually visiting the classrooms to see what techniques and trainings will be most effective.
Similarly we will be pulling on Jonathan's education and experience in ministry to provide pastors training to those in villages, less developed areas, and to those who have been called into the five fold ministry but have no education or mentoring opportunities. We will identify leaders and empower, equip, exhort, and encourage them, both through relational discipleship and organized trainings, so that they can become powerfully effective in the vocation and calling of God on their lives. We will begin with individualized small group trainings. Alongside of this, we will begin to develop a mobile ministry training curriculum, and travel to train pastors in more remote areas. Our three year goal is to have the pastors who received training to in turn be training other pastors themselves. We aim to have the mobile ministry training curriculum completed and being utilized by others who have been through it. We also plan to have reproduced ourselves and raised up leaders who can continue to provide the training for short periods of time in our absence should we need to travel to provide secondary trainings in other areas of Eastern Africa.
Additionally we have current relationships with contacts In Eastern Africa who are asking us to begin crusades and such, giving us several avenues to minister the gospel, connect relationally and build trust. Our main focus is always to reach the lost. These outreaches and crusades will directly fulfill this. We are excited to be joining the relational team in Tanzania and to step into God's calling on us in this area.