It was a great privilege to return to Tanzania for the third and last visit for conferences in Morogoro and Arusha. Simon Moore joined us in Dar es Salaam and we followed the old curriculum.
On this occasion, I was able to take my wife Sally, who taught some sessions for the Pastors’ wives and lady leaders.
Morogoro Conference. The conference chairman was Justine Mboya and he did a good job. This year the venue was changed to a church on the other side of town and the reason given was that the hostel for the participants was cheaper and our previous venue is undergoing further building.
The conference started with some 50-60 participants but the final number was 75. Simon Moore taught through the book of Acts and Peter taught the first 12 chapters of the book of Genesis. The idea was to give the foundations of the Bible story from Genesis and Principles of the early church from Acts. Overall, Simon and I felt the teaching went well and we had good translators.
Ladies sessions: Sally was given three sessions – one each afternoon. She based her talks on Mark’s gospel under the headings, “Jesus fees us from Guilt; Jesus frees us from Fear and Jesus frees us to Serve” which were very well received. Juliet Nhonya, Michael’s wife also gave pertinent teaching to the ladies. Sally was very fortunate to have Rahab Elias as her excellent translator. We observed that there were more ladies at the conferences this year and we were told that several of the Pastors’ wives had said “We are coming this year because there are special sessions for us!” We have now received an email from one of the ladies who wrote, “We thank you for your ministry – it empowered us a lot as ministers of the Word of God.”
Bibles and Swahili Books. With donations that we received we were able to buy 130 Swahili Bibles and to leave money for a further 45 to be bought. These were greatly appreciated as many of the participants had very old Bibles with pages missing or torn covers.
The Swahili version of Action Steps for Preaching by Philip Rodney Wood was also bought with the help of Tony Swanson. Not only was this an excellent book which exactly fits with PTI’s goal for helping to teach from text to sermon but had the bonus that it was translated into Tanzanian Swahili and Michael Nhonya had been trained to use this book when at a course at the Stephen Olford Centre in the USA. We bought 150 copies but distributed to those we felt could really use the book and left the remaining copies for Michael to use in his ministry.
Visit to the new capital – Dodoma. Michael Nhonya had arranged that we would be part of a church delegation to attend a session of Parliament in Dodoma. This was a very interesting day and we were able to leave a NIV study Bible to be presented to the Speaker of the House – Hon Job Ndugai.
Arusha Conference. On arriving at Arusha, we paid a courtesy call on the Chairman of the Church, Pastor Manasseh Ebdon. This is the first time we have met him and he thanked us for bringing the conferences to Tanzania over the last three years.
The venue for the conference this year was Mt Meru Baptist University about 5 miles from the town centre. The numbers at the conference exceeded our expectations and there were 104 by the last day. Extra notes were printed and we were able to complete all the teaching and workshops that we had planned. We were particularly pleased that a Masaai pastor from Kenya – David Kereto was able to come and join us and his contribution to the conference was very well received.
The Baptist Church were in the process of putting under discipline several of their pastors including Pastor Alfayo, who had chaired the conference in the previous two years. Despite this there did not seem to be a great deal of fallout for us at the conference. Unfortunately the lady who was to translate for Sally dropped out and so we had to make alternative arrangements which were not as good as those in Morogoro. Nevertheless, Sally and Juliet’s teaching was appreciated and the ladies liked their gift of tote bags with John 14:6 written in Swahili that Sally had prepared.