We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Friday, 24 July 2020

EI Goes to Tanga

It's now official! Emmanuel International is beginning a new partnership to work in the Tanga region of Tanzania. This is such exciting news and is something that has long been in our prayers and well over a year in the planning!

In May last year, Tim went with Ibrahimu (EI Iringa Team Leader) and Duncan Ndimbo (EI board member) to Tanga. For some months prior, we had been thinking and praying about the future and growth of  Emmanuel International's work in Tanzania. There had been a sense that we were to be more "EI Tanzania" than simply EI Iringa and EI Mwanza and there was also a sense that EI was ready to give birth to something new! And so we had been seeking what this meant. In that time four churches in four very different parts of the country contacted us about partnering together. Emmanuel International agreed to send teams to visit all four of them in May and June last year and thus it was that Tim went to Tanga to visit Bishop Stephen and his team in West Tanga. 

Tim, Ibrahimu and Duncan with Bishop Stephen and Tanga pastors
The church warmly welcomed the EI team and shared their heart and vision for touching their community and took them to see the projects they had begun. Kilindi and Handeni, the rural districts that make up West Tanga, are among the poorest in Tanzania with extremely low literacy rates. The vast majority of people are from the Zigua, Maasai and Nguu tribes and are subsistence farmers or pastoralists. As EI, we seek to partner with churches to empower them to meet community and physical needs while satisfying spiritual needs. Some of the village churches here have been struggling to survive often with fewer than 15 members and not knowing how reach out to their community physically and spiritually. Life for many village pastors is very hard, and Tim and the team visited two, who with little training and education don't well know how to engage their communities. The West Tanga church asked us specifically for training in this area, already recognizing they needed a holistic vision for mission to reach out with the love of Jesus to care for people's total needs. And after all four locations across the country had been visited, and after much prayerful consideration of all reports, it was decided that EI would begin to work in Tanga!
A traditional West Tanga village house 
Tim has been working hard over recent months working with the board, drafting a partnership agreement, and thinking through the key steps towards forming a partnership. Last week, just a few days after we left Tanzania, the partnership agreement was signed as the TAG Tanga Bishop, his secretary and some of the EI Tanzania board members met with Joel and the team members in Mwanza! We are also working with the TAG national missions department to find a team leader to head up the EI Tanga Office. The plan is to select someone or a family who has gone through the mission training school. Then they will go to Mwanza for training with EI and then be sent to Tanga!

Signing the partnership agreement
Taking the Tanga team to visit the Girls Health Project in Igombe