An interview with global worker, Jade Kenyamanyara in Tanzania
What is the nature of your ministry with children? Please describe how your role as a global worker in this location was needed.
We work with Village of Hope – Africa Society, specifically as the Director and Administrator at Village of Hope Mwanza in Tanzania. Villages of Hope (VOH) is a Canadian charity under the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada that seeks to give hope to vulnerable children across Africa by providing shelter, nutrition, healthcare, education and the hope that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. We were needed here in VOH Mwanza to fill the roles of Director (Julius) and Administrator (Jade) and to bring leadership to this Village as it is the newest Village in Africa. Our roles involve making sure everything is running smoothly and they we are fulfilling our vision and mission as a VOH. This also includes vision casting, staff training and mentoring as we have an ultimate goal of National leadership.
Are children there responsive the Gospel? If so, why?
Children here are definitely responsive to the Gospel. They are eager to listen and quick to believe especially when they feel the person or people sharing with them care about them and their daily needs. We are surrounded by a lot of need here and so children can easily realize their need for Jesus. He becomes the solution to their struggles and someone they can always depend on no matter what circumstances they find themselves in.
What difference are you seeing in the lives of children as a result of your ministry? Please share a testimony
In mid-2015, we partnered with Dar Es Salaam Pentecostal Church to open a site here in Mwanza right on our VOH compound. As a village, we did not have one regular church that we were connected to and we lacked that spiritual unity. Mwanza Pentecostal Church was planted in July 2015 and we have already seen amazing changes in our children. They are growing in their faith and learning how to live out their Christian lives daily. We are also having more opportunities to reach out to the children and youth in the surrounding communities. Last year we held a VBS program for a week and we saw over 100 children come from the community. They learned what it means to fully rely on God and even our own VOH children grew so much in their faith. We also held our first ever youth camp for our teens, which was hugely successful. We had a few of our older youth give their hearts to Christ and have a real encounter with Him like they have never had before. Now they are continuing to grow in their faith as they attend and are involved at Church and discipleship classes through the Mwanza Pentecostal Church.
What can the Canadian church do to help partner with you?
There are several ways the Canadian Church can partner with us specifically and also with the larger Village of Hope – Africa. First, you can pray for us. We say it first because it truly is the most important; the more people praying, the better. Secondly you can give. Village of Hope has eight locations in five African countries and has many programs running which also help the surrounding communities. Villages partner with local churches as well to help reach out to their communities. It takes money to do all of this, plain and simple. When you give to a VOH you will be helping to feed, clothe, and educate many children. Your donations also help us provide health care and a home to live in, if its needed. Your donations also help with outreach activities to reach out to the lost in our surrounding communities with the hope of Jesus Christ. And because our focus is children when you give you are part of laying a foundation in their lives that we know will change generations, communities and countries throughout Africa. It may sound cheesy but it’s absolutely true – these kids are the future leaders, the foundation we give them know will greatly determine how they become contributing members of society who love Jesus and want to make a difference in their world. You can also specifically sponsor a child at any of the Village locations. This way you can interact with and pray specially for your sponsor child. Finally you can come (or send)! Teams small or large can be really helpful, whether it’s ministry or building or teaching or training – there are lots of opportunities to help and be involved on the ground.
What are the greatest challenges/obstacles in reaching children?
Some of the greatest challenges here when it comes to reaching children are the education system which sees kids in school for long hours which can make it difficult to find good times of planning events or time to talk with them. Also the relationship between adults and children here can be a challenge as typically it’s very formal and children’s views and opinions are not seen as valuable in most cases so they don’t get opportunities to share and do open up to adults as easily. Finally, high cases of abuse in many areas here (neglect, emotional, physical and sexual) cause children not to trust most adults. This can pose as a challenge in trying to talk to them about Christ and to have them open up and share their hearts.
How can we pray for you and your ministry?
- Health and protection while serving here for our family. (We don’t take it for granted and we appreciate your prayers).
- Wisdom and discernment. In many cases here we need great wisdom to make the right decisions and to ultimately be in line with God’s will.
- Sufficient financial support – both personally to support our family while we’re here and also general operations for VOH Mwanza.
- Pray that God would lead the right people with the right hearts to VOH Mwanza. That our leaders would be full of the hope of Jesus Christ so that it automatically overflows to our children. We know God has the right people for leadership roles and we continually ask Him to lead us to those people.
- Pray for our children! Both the ones who live onsite at VOH Mwanza and also other children we work with (in our school and church/community). Pray most of all that they would have real encounters with Jesus and that they would never be the same.