Impact Blog

Four Days in Tanzania

In early December, I woke up one morning with the strong impression that the Lord was asking me to go to Tanzania. This was both unexpected and yet persistent, so I called my friend Mike in Kenya and asked what he thought. Mike’s response was immediate: he believes that this is a time of destiny for Tanzania, and so he was not surprised by what I shared with him. I was leading a Journey of Compassion to Uganda in early January, and so it was not difficult to travel from there to another East African nation. At the completion of the Journey, I flew to Nairobi with David and Cynthia, and our partner in Kalonga, Richard. From there we were picked up by our friend Mike, then drove south across the Tanzanian border to the city of Arusha. We were in for a great adventure as we scouted for a potential Journey of Compassion to Tanzania.

Tanzania is a beautiful country with lots of savannah, green pastures and high mountains, including the highest mountain on the continent, Mount Kilimanjaro. It is also one of the poorest nations in Africa, much poorer even than Uganda.

Here are a few highlights from our scouting trip––

We were driven to a collection of mud huts about 45 minutes outside of the city of Moshi. An elderly woman asked us to pray for a 95 year old man who was bedridden; she was one of his ten wives and was responsible for his wellbeing. After prayer, the woman and her daughter shyly came over to us and said that they had been discussing if we were, in fact, angels since they had not seen white people before! When we asked about their drinking water situation, we were surprised to hear that the groundwater nearby was salty. As a result, the tiny community took donkeys about 25 miles to Mt. Kilimanjaro where there is fresh water. After filling up the water skins, the donkeys carry them to a cistern a few miles from the hamlet. From there, the people come and carry the water in jerry cans to their homes. The struggle for water (and therefore, survival) is unending in this community.

That afternoon, we drove the two hours back to Arusha; we all sensed that the Lord was leading us back there. There we met a remarkable woman; the Honorable Mumbi is a member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), and one of the most famous women in East Africa. She has advised presidents in several nations. Honorable (which is what everyone calls her) was the first woman mayor of a large city in all of East Africa. Although she is a Kenyan, even our partner Richard knew of her. We spent two fascinating hours together learning about Tanzania and the surrounding countries. When she heard about what Impact Nations is doing in Uganda and other nations, Honorable Mumbi told us she believed that God had brought us together for the benefit of the poor in Tanzania. She then surprised us by arranging a meeting the next morning with the Speaker of the House (the top position) of the EALA.

That night, Mike took us out to the red light district. Mike had been talking with us since we left Nairobi about the ‘Daughters of Destiny’ program that he has been overseeing for the past two years. Mike and others go out at night and invite prostitutes to come back to a restaurant for a meal. He pays them twice their regular nightly rate. When they come, he shares his testimony, along with other team members, and tells them about the Lord’s love and plan for them. Then he offers to help them to come off the streets that very night. Mike arranges a place for the women to stay, then invites them to receive job skills training. So, we found ourselves in some unfamiliar water, talking to street women and inviting them to come with us back to our hotel where there was a good meal waiting.

Over half of the women we spoke to just walked away; some said that they didn’t trust us and accused us of tricking them, because nobody gives something for nothing. In the end, we walked back to the restaurant at our hotel with 5 women. They were nervous and suspicious. While the meal was being served, Cynthia shared her testimony, then David and I. As we talked about how precious each one was, some began to cry. Mike invited the ladies to share their stories. Three of them did, and they were heartbreaking. The saddest was a Muslim lady who had a small child and was 5 months pregnant. She had been abandoned by both fathers. The night before we saw her, she had been brutally abused the whole night, to the extent that she feared she would lose the baby she is carrying. She came close to taking her life that night, and had decided to sell her small child so that he could survive. The other ladies’ stories were all about abuse, shame and hopelessness. They openly spoke about how filled with shame they all were. One lady told us she is HIV positive. None of them had any place to go or anything else to do but sell themselves. We prayed for all of the ladies together; after this, all of them prayed to receive Jesus into their lives. We then took a good deal of time praying for each of them individually.

Mike then gave each of them the money he promised (in fact, double what he had promised). Every one of these ladies told us that in all their lives, they had never been treated like this. He had them all write their names down so that his friend Pendo (a lovely woman who works with the poor in Arusha) could help them get off the streets. Mike took the pregnant Muslim lady aside and on the spot arranged for a place for her and her child to live and pre-paid 4 months rent and food for them. He also arranged for her to immediately be trained in how to start a business. After the five ladies left, the kitchen staff, which had been listening, came out. One of them was in tears. They said they had never seen anything like this and asked if we would pray for them too.

On this remarkable evening of salvation (in its fullest sense of rescue), we were all struck with just how easy it was to do this. We also saw, once business opportunities were created, how this model can be adapted to almost any country or culture.

The next morning, we found ourselves in our best clothes at the parliament buildings, where we were led into the offices of Speaker Daniel Kidega. He welcomed us warmly and then asked us to explain exactly what Impact Nations did and where. He expressed genuine interest and even told us that we are to now consider his a friend. He offered some specific encouragement and help, then asked us to pray with and for him. (We were amazed to find out later that the Speaker mentioned Impact Nations in his address to parliament the next day.

We walked away from the parliament buildings, talking about the remarkable contrast we had experienced over the past twelve hours. Jesus was comfortable in every situation, secure in His Father’s love and care. I think he wants us to be the same.

We finished the trip by installing some water filters at a school and an orphanage. A final meal at Honorable Mumbi’s home with another member of Parliament and some friends completed our trip. Except for one thing: after the meal, we shared the Lord’s Supper. Honorable invited her house staff to come in and join us. After that we left. However, David didn’t come out of the house for quite awhile. He later told us that the staff were actually Muslims and he had the opportunity to lead one of them to Jesus. A great ending to a great day.

It seems clear to each of our team that the Lord has gone before us in some very powerful ways to open the door for a Tanzania Journey of Compassion later this year.

Comments
Anne Heinrich commented on 11-Feb-2016 10:50 AM
Wow, I have been longing to hear of this report. It sounds like a place of convergence where favour and transformation will be multiplied. Wonder when the JOC might be?
Darrell McCauley commented on 11-Feb-2016 05:39 PM
Great Work David. It's so Awesome that you have followed your parents leadership. We are all proud of you. Darrell and Becky McCauley
Sherry Church commented on 16-Mar-2016 08:56 PM
My heart jumped for joy when I read this testimony. I had an amazing deliverance in Der Er Salaam. After an Impact Journey I was kidnapped along with my Zambian interpreter and a Ugandan female pastor and held captive for nine hours. God sent Holy angels and delivered us out of the hands of five muslim thieves. A beautiful Tanzanian young man, Adam traveled with us to Nairobi, arriving at midnight. Adam up his hotel for us and brought us breakfast in the morning. We were in the Destiny Hotel. Another angel? I am not sure but God loves Tanzania. I miss it.

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