TIMO teams are not just about sending teams to reach out to people from another culture; the teams themselves come from different cultures. We asked two Tanzanian team members, Musa and Ema, to share their experience of TIMO.
What attracted you to be part of a TIMO team?
M: What attracted me to be a part of a TIMO team was the programme. It is about reaching out to people stage by stage until reaching the goal of sharing the gospel with them. E: TIMO works in a team setting, the twelve values of TIMO, and “living among those you serve”.
“The blessing of working cross-culturally is to finish the task and to obey the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.”
What do you see as the blessings of a cross-cultural TIMO team?
M: The blessing of working cross-culturally is to finish the task and to obey the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. This touches the heart of God, reaching the unreached. Communicating with people in their own language brings the blessing of understanding the Word of God in their own tongue. Working in a cross-cultural team means we can share our different gifts and perspectives. E: It is a blessing, especially when we differ in some cultural issues, as a team when we manage to cope with each other. It helps to live well with the culture that we serve. Cross-cultural TIMO team is good because every team member brings something from their culture to build up the team.
What are the challenges?
E: Misunderstanding of the other team member’s culture. M: The challenges are many!
- Different views and perspectives of the international team members.
- Many struggles with differences in the local culture, such as language, food, beliefs.
- The understanding of Africa Inland Church in Tanzania (AICT) about missionaries and also their support. Many people within the church have a view that missionaries come from the West; not from Africa. The church needs to learn its responsibility to its own missionaries.
What do you believe is the perception of those you minister amongst of a cross-cultural team?
M: The perception of the Alagwa towards us is an affectionate one. However, they see themselves as complete or perfect, according to their own traditions. Some people think that Tanzanian team members are just here to help the Westerners – maybe to clean their houses or to be their guides.
How would you describe the AICT’s current attitude to intentional church planting activity?
M: AICT has the same vision as AIM: to see Christ-centred churches amongst all African peoples. The AICT does church plant, but maybe needs to grow in the area of overseeing and discipling those churches. E: The AICT church is committed to support the people whom they have sent to work as missionaries. They are committed to pray, give financial support, train and visit. Yes, there are some challenges that the church is facing, just because there are many pastors who need support.