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A Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) team based on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania has recently concluded. Team members, who are now moving on to serve in a creative access context, tell us about their experiences.
TIMO Team Trains Tanzanian Teachers
Our team worked with student teachers at Ebonite Teachers’ Training College on the edge of the city. Each week in the religion class we had the opportunity to share the amazing story of the Bible from creation to Christ. After graduating, the government sends the newly qualified teachers all over Tanzania, including to areas that are unreached with the gospel. So we discipled a group of students after school, equipping them to become bi-vocational teachers and church planters wherever they are sent.
A blessing to the students
Pastor Richard & Verena Mosses, a Tanzanian pastor and his wife who work among the students at the Ebonite Teachers’ Training College, describe the impact the TIMO team had on the local community.
The Ebonite TIMO team was really a blessing to us in a number of ways. They prayed and encouraged us in our work. Their presence at Ebonite Teachers’ Training College was a blessing to the students, and they helped, encouraged and shared the Word of God with them. At the end of their time with us, they contributed some money to help us in our mission work, which has really helped us with transporting our teams going to the mission field.
The times we met with them during the training were really edifying and refreshing. Their presence motivated us; seeing people from abroad coming to these impoverished countries, to share their life and spend time with us. It made us think, if you whites would come to disciple Tanzanians, why not give ourselves wholly to reach our fellow Tanzanians? Your simple life was a model to us. This is how we saw the team bless us. Thank you!
What Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:2 clearly encapsulates the approach that we used: “The things which you have heard from me… entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”. We trained the students how to tell Bible stories, share their testimony, challenge others with the gospel message, and start a small house church that would multiply.
In total over fifty students have already followed God’s call to reach their fellow Tanzanians for Christ. More have just graduated and are waiting for their postings to ‘hard’ areas where the gospel desperately needs to be shared.
We had the opportunity to see some of the fruit of this ministry when we visited a small house church in a Muslim village. This church had been started by a few recent graduate teachers. It was great to see them living out the values and principles that we had tried to teach them, and being so faithful to God’s call.
Sharing the gospel
During our time in Tanzania we saw a number of students come to faith, and we had the privilege of baptising nine of them. It was wonderful to see many of our discipleship students actively sharing their faith with their peers.
A key part of TIMO is learning the local ‘heart’ language, which in our case was Swahili. While many in Tanzania are ‘spiritual’, there is very little understanding of the Christian message and what it really means to follow God or live his way. So as our Swahili improved, we were able to share the good news in our community too.
As a team we had our fair share of struggles; scorpions, snakes, tarantulas and poisonous centipedes in our houses, bank cards being swallowed by ATMs and several thefts. But we remained committed to what God had called us to do, and every team member will be returning to minister in various locations across Africa.