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

Friday, 22 January 2016

Cow on a Ferry

Yes, that is a cow on the ferry. We had chickens sitting behind us. We had climbed up the rickety ladder, backpacks on backs to board the ferry for the 3.5 hour ride to Ukerewe Island (the largest Tanzanian island on Lake Victoria). We went on Friday with Samuel and Megan from the UK and after our previous experience with Phil Norris, (see "A Squeeze on Ukerewe Island") decided against taking a vehicle on the boat. There is something rather special about going somewhere on a boat. Even a small ferry boat with cows and chickens.
 

 



This was a long-awaited visit for us to meet with church leaders from across the island to discuss how we could work together on some Christian entrepreneurship teaching for the island. We are all thinking about how income-generating projects could be started that would benefit not only the main island but also the smaller, more rural islands. We were pleased to hear about their plans for a Mission Centre in the main southern part of the island; this would be a training centre for training pastors to plant churches and take with them skills and teaching in things like business, agriculture and health to the villages they go to. We are excited that they are taking the initiative in working with what they have in order to bring about change in their communities!
Tim teaching on Church and Transformation
We were interested to see how these pastors saw the role of the church in their communities. And to find out, we started our session by using an activity we learned about from Andrew in Iringa over Christmas. We had pictures of activities the church could be involved in from preaching and praying to building projects, helping others and politics. Each person was given  fifteen beans and was asked to place beans on what they saw as most important. The more important the role, the more beans should be placed on that photo. When all the beans were down, the pastors themselves were surprised at how unbalanced the results were. Prayer ranked very high, but other things surprisingly low! It was a good start to a discussion on how churches can be planted in communities and bring transformation to those places.
Deciding where to place their beans!
While on the island we also had the opportunity to visit the Umoja ("unity") Training Centre, an amazing new community centre designed by Standing Voice UK to "exist as a counterforce to the isolation and exclusion of people with albinism by creating opportunities for all community members to interact in positive and mutually enriching ways."
The Umoja Training Centre

Louisa tries out the water pump at the new centre
With a second seminar in the northern part of the island on the second day, all in Swahili, Samuel and Megan and the girls took the time to get some games going with loads of children! Lots of "Paka paka panya" ("cat, cat, mouse" otherwise known as "Duck, duck, Goose")! As the morning went on, the number of children from the surrounding area grew!


Fun with the kids at the water pump outside the church
On Sunday, (which was Megan's birthday), we joined Pastor Veron and his church in Nasio. Samuel and Megan did a great job sharing what God has been doing in their lives, we had some great lively dancing and also celebrated in thanksgiving the birth of a long-awaited baby!


 
Members of the Church in Nasio

A Sunday lunch feast of fish, rice and bananas! A good birthday feast for Megan!
Birthday Chapatti Breakfast!
It was a full and busy time. A good time. Lots of time squashed up together, bumping along terrible roads. Heaps and heaps of rice and goat to eat. An encouraging time. We were all rather sad to leave. And all rather tired arriving home on Sunday evening on the squashed dala dala to our house; Megan counted almost thirty people on a bus designed for eighteen ... but no cows or chickens on board!


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