The fifth of the ten Luke 10 Exploration Trips in 2022 went out last month, September 12-22, with a team of seven to Tanzania! Thank you for praying for this team and EFM’s Luke 10 Initiative as Evangelical Friends discern where to launch new mission fields as part of EFM’s Five-Year Goal. See more information aquí.
The following is a report which Thomas Moore, serving for one-year as a short-term missionary in Central Africa, helped prepare.
|Who Was on this Trip?|
- Domitien Sabongerwa (Team Leader and EFC-Burundi Missions Coordinator)
- Brad Carpenter (Team Co-Leader and EFM Missionary to Central Africa)
- Fidele Bizimana (Kwibuka Yearly Meeting, Burundi, General Superintendent)
- Thayne Thompson (EFC-MAYM General Superintendent)
- Salomon Ntibaharire (Burundi Friends representative and Swahili translator)
- Thomas Moore (EFM short-term missionary in Central Africa)
- Matt Macy (EFM Director of Mobilization)
|Where Did We Travel?|
We flew from Bujumbura to Dar es Salaam, then from there visited eight communities among the Kutu and Zaramo people groups. The primary contacts that we made on this trip were through the East Africa School of Missions in Dar es Salaam. This gave us the opportunity to learn about receptivity to the Good News among these people groups and hear stories of successes and challenges for pioneering new churches in their communities. It didn’t work out to make connection with FUM-Africa church planters on this trip, but EFC-Africa and Burundi Friends have open communication with FUM-Africa and have had several other visits with FUM-Tanzania, and we look forward to following Burundi Friends’ lead in further learning and interaction with FUM.
|What is the Need in the Area?|
The Kutu people in Tanzania are two-three% Christian with 77% connected to Islam faith. The Zaramo people are also two-three% Christian with 95% connected to Islam. Both are considered unreached peoples. Each of the specific places we visited already has a church planter/missionary from another people group in Tanzania working there. However, each of these church planters affirmed that there are many villages near them that don’t have any churches or planters working there. Throughout the trip, we repeatedly heard that both peoples are Muslim in name, but in reality still very much follow the traditional spiritism religions that their ancestors followed.
Praying over the site for a new church building in Dar
Meeting with a missionary in Masaki
|Stories and Testimonies|
- We joined Domitien in reconnecting with a multiplying family of Tanzanian led churches in Mlandazi, where Domitien had completed a practicum during his missions training from South Africa 22 years ago. We were encouraged to learn that this family of churches has multiplied from about 50 churches when Domitien was with them, to a reported 600 today. They have some work among the Zaramo and affirmed that much more work was needed among these people.
- We visited the East Africa School of Missions in Dar es Salaam. We were impressed with this small school, which opened in 2015. They effectively train African missionaries in a one year intensive, from April start to March graduation. They have had 94 students graduate from the school, and 47 of them are now serving as missionary/church planter/disciple makers among unreached peoples. This year, they have 16 students with a capacity of 28 per year.
- The following are some of the sites we visited where Tanzanian missionary-church planters came from other people groups to reach these unreached peoples, after graduating from the East Africa School of Missions:
- We visited a young couple in Nyambogo who came to work with the Kutu people. After three years of hard work, they have 12 who have decided to follow Jesus, and they do much of their discipleship work after dark for security reasons. She helps support their ministry and disciple others through a sewing business.
- In Kidunda we visited Muslim background believer who came to this village as a farmer with his family in order to make disciples among the Kutu. After three months, he began to pray with people who needed physical healing, and saw Jesus heal several who had not found healing with the witch doctors. We met one elderly woman who had been healed by Jesus of a tumor in her chest, and despite her family tearing down her house for becoming a Christian, she had become one of the church’s primary evangelists. They now have 30 gathering at his home as part of the church. Some of these families have experienced significant persecution.
- We visited a village deep in the bush named Dar where a young church was started to reach the Zaramo people. The congregation has mostly grown from other people groups moving into the area for agriculture who are more open to the Gospel, but two Zaramo have accepted Christ and joined the church. We had the opportunity to interview a Zaramo non-believer about his culture and worldview.
- We visited another Tanzanian who has worked among the Zaramo since 2018 in the town of Masaki, where six churches already existed but there was one Zaramo church member amongst that group of churches. He has seen 40 persons accept Christ through their church and his ministry, and 36 of these are Zaramo. He testified that the Zaramo are willing to listen and are showing openness to the Gospel, but the church in general is not focused on reaching this people group.
- The team had exposure to other cities, such as Kisangire, where insights were gained that could help an EFC mission strategy develop.
Above: The woman who had been healed of a tumor in her chest.
Top: Congregation in Dar
The team wants to express a big thanks to those who provided generous financial support from both Burundi and the U.S. for the costs of this trip. The team also praises the Lord for the vehicle and driver that the Lord provided for the long trips into difficult places in “the bush,” and how despite the challenges the driver and vehicle had mechanically and the condition of the roads, paths, and thorn bushes, we completed the trip with no problems. Above all, the team is grateful to God that we saw exactly what we needed to see and learn on this trip!
|What’s Next?Luke 10 Exploration Trips will continue taking place during the remainder of 2022. In November, teams will present detailed reports and recommendations at the national Luke 10 Think Tank.
How Can You Join?
Are you interested in exploring missionary service? Do you know of anyone of any age who might be interested in exploring the idea of serving as a missionary overseas for two or more years?
EFM is currently looking to contact and connect with people about opportunities to explore serving as missionaries with the Friends Church!
We look forward to sharing more news as it becomes available about what we are finding and discerning in EFM’s Luke 10 Initiative as we continue to explore where EFM may launch new mission fields.
Director of Mobilization