Owen and Miriam Pugh

Ella, Charlie, Imani and Cerys

Sent from Bunyan Baptist Church, Stevenage

The Pughs work in a team among the Alagwa using Bible stories in the mother tongue, for evangelism and discipleship.

Both Owen and Miriam are from Stevenage and their passion to serve the people of Tanzania grew out of the many years they were actively involved in their local community. Through their church they were involved with youth work (both inter-church and church based), church leadership, worship, teaching and hospitality.

Their TIMO team, which ran from 2010-2013, was a partnership between AIM and the Africa Inland Church of Tanzania (AICT), lead by Tanzanian AICT pastor Emmanual (Ema) Shilikale. Having spent the three years on the TIMO team training and ministering amongst the Alagwa, Owen & Miriam were passionate about returning. They wanted to continue to share Jesus through their friendships, through supporting and nurturing the small church which had been planted, and through practical projects. They hope their love of the Alagwa and understanding of culture gained during their time on a TIMO team help them to encourage people to know Jesus deeply, in every area of their lives.

The Alagwa are a small people group in north-central Tanzania. Over 99% would consider themselves to be Muslim. Family and community are extremely important to them, and becoming a follower of Jesus means facing possible rejection. This is a frightening prospect, with potentially serious consequences.

Many of the original TIMO team have returned to work among the Alagwa, and together they continue to live simply amongst this people group, sharing their lives with them. Through farming, education, small-scale development projects, church work, story groups, Bible studies, and just ‘doing life’ with people, the team seeks to share the gospel in ways that are understandable.

Alagwaisa is an unwritten language, and although many people speak the national language of Swahili, conversations about life issues happen mostly in Alagwaisa. The team has worked with a number of Alagwa to produce a set of chronological Bible stories. These are being shared on audio devices, phones, and by word-of-mouth to individuals and groups. More recently, the team has had the opportunity to work on an oral translation of the book of Luke with both Christian and Muslim Alagwa translators from many different villages.

The Pughs are involved in discipling new believers, encouraging them to discover more of God for themselves and to share his truths with others. This is challenging, because people among the Alagwa are used to knowing by being taught, rather than by relating to God themselves. Owen and Miriam long to see many Alagwa set free to know and share God’s love for themselves. They want to see the Alagwa church thriving, reproducing, and reaching out to the Alagwa and others in their communities.

Could you partner with the Pughs in this work?

Latest Prayer News

Miriam writes, “I am thankful for the way the gospel of Luke in Alagwaisa is continuing to speak to the disciples. This morning, a friend and I were listening to Luke 14:15-24. As we asked ourselves what we learn about people in this passage, my friend said people’s heads are so hard… (as in resistant to God) and we talked about the importance of giving God the first place in our lives and looking to him above all other things. She affirmed this as she talked about the way even before she gets out of bed, she talks to God and puts everything she has to do in his hands. As we prayed, she confessed that often our heads are hard and also prayed for many hearts to be opened in our community and beyond.” Praise God for how God is speaking to believers through the Alagwaisa translation of Luke’s gospel, and pray that God would open more hearts to him among the Alagwa.

“Owen, Charlie, Imani and Cerys are planning to fly back to the UK at the end of August. This is so Charlie can start university in September. Imani and Cerys will be doing school online for the first term of the coming academic year. One of our biggest needs we would appreciate prayer for is affordable accommodation the UK… Miriam is staying in Tanzania, probably for 2-3 more months to be with the team through the multiple transitions for team members, as well as possible new people coming… Please pray for [the new people] as they prepare to come, that God will preparing the way for them.”

The Pughs have been temporarily living in Kondoa so they could have a better internet connection for their work and their children’s school work. “Although we are not locked down, there has been a kind of isolation in shifting from home and ministry to a place where we are outsiders again. Whilst we are praising God that this is the last prayer update from Kondoa (!), we are thankful too for lessons we have learnt here. These last eight weeks also seem to have been a time where we have had lots of work needing internet, as well as the children. Not only were we able to participate well with our LFIO leadership training via Zoom, but also Miriam’s RVA Board meetings and various conversations following… We thank God for his provision and his timing, that he could see things we needed in these weeks which we could not see… Pray for good boundaries as a family as we seek to balance school, family and ministry. Please also pray for wisdom as we try to work out the best plans for the next few months, for who should travel to the UK and when.”

“We are writing this from Kondoa, where we have had to relocate for a short while so that the children can continue with their schooling. RVA have done an amazing job of getting the third term of school available online for all the students, which is great. Despite negotiations with our local phone company, we couldn’t guarantee a good enough solution in Ga/ara, especially until the roads are mended. We are very thankful to God to have a house to be based out of here in Kondoa with lots of space for us, and internet for school… We would appreciate prayers as a family as we continue to adjust to a life for a few weeks/months, different than any of us were expecting. The kids are mourning all sorts of losses and adapting to a very new way of doing school. Town life, supporting our kids, Ramadan and Covid-19 have made our entry into this community very different for us too. But we are getting there!”

Miriam writes: “Pray for the many people who are coming to us as a team for audio players with the, Alagwaisa Bible stories as well as some Rangi Bible stories and the Swahili Bible. The demand has outstripped the number of players we have! We heard of an unbeliever taking their player when they visit relatives to play God’s word to them. The brother in law (also the brother of a believer, as well as being a renowned witchdoctor) then come with money because he “absolutely needed” a player too! Praise God for this hunger, and for the way many are hearing. Pray for this believer and me as we plan to visit her brother so we can study God’s word with him more.”

Tanzania

Tanzania is one of the world’s poorest nations; agricultural subsistence dominates its economy. Health and education sectors require massive investments.There is freedom of religion; all major faiths have the ability to share and propagate their faith. Christianity makes up 54% of the population with Islam totalling 31%. LEARN MORE

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