Joy and Learning
This was the first year of a new five-year cycle of conferences in Tanzania. Dave and I were partnered by our local convener Michael Nhonya who had been so helpful in previous years to Peter McClure and I. I had already made a solo reconnaissance trip in 2018 to prepare the ground for our time in Tanzania.
I first visited Dodoma, the capital of the country, over 30 years ago. A lot has changed in that time: not only new parliament buildings but an extensive building programme for ministries, embassies and universities. The population has risen from 200,000 to over two million. Rapid growth has led to church planting but not significant and comprehensive training for local pastors.
Although numbers were a little lower than expected at the first conference, we had over thirty pastors who enthusiastically embraced the training in a church next to the local airport (hence the odd interruption). It was good for Dave to catch up with local students he had taught in a nearby Bible college fourteen years earlier on a sabbatical.
After the four days of training we made the long fourteen-hour road journey (taking two days) north to bustling Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria. Here the conference had nearly seventy pastors on a daily basis and so we were kept busy and engaged with frequent discussions and questions.
In both places, as we preached in local churches, taught and discussed, there was an overwhelming joy that we were partnering in this venture together, and there was a real hunger for the topics that were being taught. Our time there has begun a number of significant relationships with local pastors, and, God willing, there will be a return in June or July 2020. It was a privilege to be there and to feel so much a part of the world-wide nature of God’s church.
Simon Moore and Dave Morris