Open doors in Tanzania

Tanzania is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Tanzanians are known as calm, friendly, and welcoming. In general, they pride themselves on being a peaceful country and tend to stress being a ‘Tanzanian’ over being from a certain people group. Because of Tanzania’s emphasis on keeping the peace, spiritual conversations can start with a bit of a pluralistic bent, “There is one God, many ways to the same God, etc.”  But when you dig down further, there are still deep spiritual needs that are not being met. There are many Christians in name, many Muslims in name, but still a sense of lostness or striving for a salvation through works rather than faith in Jesus. In many churches, the Lord is working in mighty ways. In other places we see the idolatry of the prosperity gospel and the love of money and power robbing people of putting the Lord first in their lives.   

Join us in praising the Lord for some of the indigenous church planting movements we’re seeing among certain people groups like the Sandawe and the Datooga, and training going on for lay leaders among unreached people groups. We also thank the Lord for some interdenominational unity and the partnerships we’re seeing on the Muslim coast between evangelical churches and AIM missionaries working in Kilwa. Pray for the Tanzanian church to continue to catch a vision for mission and church planting, that more and more Tanzanian missionaries would be mobilised to reach the unreached. Pray for solid Bible training and discipleship among new church plants. 

We’re also praising the Lord for a very real change we’re starting to see in the Labour and Immigration offices towards welcoming foreign missionaries. In the last few months, hoops in the process have been removed, some of the process has been streamlined, and many more work permits are being issued instead of rejected. Continue to pray that this would remain an open door that no one can shut for expat missionaries to come to serve here. Many Tanzanians love Jesus and are following him, but there are many who are still held in bondage to sin, evil spirits, ancestor worship, and Islam. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few: pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more workers!

What’s going on in Tanzania?

There are a couple of big issues that Tanzania is currently facing. One of them is recovering from the shock of losing President Magufuli this year. What that means practically is the new president, President Samia, is working to earn the respect she deserves and to take the country towards a more internationally cooperative posture, but at the same time to honour the work and legacy of the previous president. So far in my estimation, she’s been doing a great job walking that tightrope by instituting changes that will continue to help the country progress and develop more international partnerships, yet at the same time also building on certain Magufuli projects.  

Another big issue is the government’s changing approach to Covid-19, and its work to keep variants from sweeping through the country. Some of the change in attitude can be seen in new testing policies for people arriving into Tanzania, and also a move to accepting vaccines. Recently it was announced that foreign companies and embassies would be allowed to import Covid-19 vaccines for their staff. It is likely that we will see more changes in the next six months; for example, Tanzania has signed up to become one of the countries requesting vaccine supplies through the Covax initiative after a Covid-19 committee appointed by the new president recommended this course of action.

Jon Eager

Jon Eager

Jon Eager is AIM’s country leader for west and central Tanzania and is a family doctor. He and his wife Melissa serve among the Sandawe people group in central Tanzania.

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