The Feser Family

The Feser Family

news from Tanzania

 

Recently, my Dad spent two weeks down in southern Tanzania teaching and helping run two conferences, working with a program called Global Pathway. Global Pathway teaches pastors how to turn their local church into a mission-sending church. It centres around Matthew 28: 18-20:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Most of the people in Tanzania still think that the Great Commission doesn’t apply to them. This book changes that worldview so that the pastors see that Jesus specifically commanded them all to be a part of missions.

Before now, we have helped Go to Nations (who made Global Pathway) to run a few conferences, here and there, but then the head bishop of the largest charismatic denomination in Tanzania, TAG (Tanzanian Assemblies of God) jumped on the idea, and asked Go to Nations to train every TAG pastor in Tanzania with this curriculum!

In six weeks we have run 12 conferences is five regions of Tanzania, which amounts to about 1500 pastors out of the 8,000+ TAG churches in the country. The two places my Dad helped run the conference are both places no one in our family had been to before now. We decided to drive down to see him for the second week of conferences, in a town called Tunduma, on the border between Tanzania and Zambia. Where we live, Arusha, and Tunduma are about 1,100 kilometres apart, but it took us about 22 hours to drive there!

I sat through the conference, and saw the whole thing unfold. For instance, you can see the eagerness of these pastors to learn: they all were very engaged, and all bought a text book so they can study deeper later. And to add to that, many of the attendees weren’t pastors; when my dad asked all the pastors to raise their hands, only about 3/5 of them did! All the rest were members of churches in that district, ready to hear about missions, and to help their pastor on the journey to missions.

Most of the people in Tanzania still think that the Great Commission doesn’t apply to them. This book changes that worldview so that the pastors see that Jesus specifically commanded them all to be a part of missions.

At the first conference, the Bishop for the region (the region is called ‘Northern Mbeya’) sat through all but one of the days, the day he was absent was because his wife was really sick. At the second conference, the Bishop for that region (the region is called ‘Songwe’) and his wife sat through all four days, and were very involved, showing that they valued missions and are teaching by example.

Pamoja translated the Global Pathway manual, teacher’s guide and the PowerPoint slides. We also print all the manuals used across Africa. Because they are printed in-house, they cost less; each pastor only pays $12,000 shillings (about $7 Canadian) for their book.

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Paul Balela, the head of missions for TAG, attended the conference I did. He is in charge of rolling out these conferences all across the country. He has to get the bishop of each region to host the conference, and he has had success; out of 12 bishops asked, 12 have agreed. He told my dad that in every conference pastors are saying to him, “Missionary Balela, we have all been told about missions, but this is the first time we have been taught how to do missions.”

After the conference in Mbeya, the first week, one of the pastors went home, prayed, double checked everything in his copy of ‘The Shepherd’s Staff,’ (a resource for pastors, and a book that Pamoja distributes throughout Africa). After that, he prayed lots, and felt called to the local hospital, but no one wanted to talk to him. He went home, and prayed lots more, and heard God tell him to stop dressing in a pastor’s clothes, and dress ‘normally.’ So the next day he did, and everyone wanted to hear his message! That was in just two days! On the Sunday, he preached on missions, and found one young guy who was willing to answer the missions call! Then he called up my dad, and told him all this.

In the second conference, there was a lady who was called to Equatorial Guinea through a dream when she was a Bible School. She had never heard of Equatorial Guinea, and had to look on a map to find it. She had no idea that Tanzanians could be missionaries! She wanted to learn how to make her church into a mission sending church to teach other people that the Great Commission also applies to Tanzanians.

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All of this is proof that God is working through us to mobilize the Tanzanian Church for missions, and that the Tanzanian Church is ready for it!

- Jeremy and Christine serve as PAOC Global Workers in Tanzania and have four children: Natasha, Benjamin, Paul and Jacob