Steve and Ruth work for the Africa Inland Church’s Institute of Bible & Ministry (IBM) in Tanzania. They live in the bustling market town of Morogoro, at the base of the Uluguru mountain range, about 120 miles inland from Dar es Salaam.
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%.
A trip to Africa in 1984 first set in motion the desire in Steve to serve there. Further frequent visits over the years saw that desire grow, and towards the end of an 18-month trip in Zambia, Steve began to sense a call to be involved in discipleship in Africa. He began preparing for this by attending All Nations Christian College and working for AIM Europe in the UK. After a career in TV production, a change of direction saw Ruth moving into Christian ministry, working with Oak Hall, Tearfund and latterly SAT-7 where she was responsible for marketing and fundraising.
Steve and Ruth now work with IBM in Morogoro. IBM is an ongoing Bible training programme for around 140 pastors and evangelists who are involved in ministry within the Africa Inland Churches (AIC) of eastern Tanzania. This coastal diocese includes over 14 districts or regions and covers over half of the country. The goal and purpose of IBM is to enable, mobilise and inspire these pastors to a closer relationship with God and greater effectiveness in their ministries, thereby equipping them to lead their own congregations, as well as helping them to reach their communities with the gospel message. Various regional seminars, lasting three to five days, are organised from March through to November each year, giving the pastors opportunity to gather together for fellowship, updates, and fresh Biblical input.
IBM’s headquarters are at Sanga Sanga near Morogoro and serve as a central location for the activities of the Institute. The 13-acre site comprises offices, basic sports facilities, agricultural plots, a camp site, a 13-bed retreat house and a large conference centre.
Ruth is the Communications Officer for IBM and her role involves helping to manage the Retreat Centre; handling bookings, accounting and budgeting; fundraising and publicity; and the teaching of occasional English courses. Steve is a Bible teacher, involved in the planning of the regional conferences and the teaching itself. He also preaches at a number of local churches, and is AIM’s Unit Leader for eastern Tanzania, which involves management and member care for AIM missionaries.
Could you partner with the Lancasters in this work?
The Lancasters work with Africa Inland Church Tanzania at the Institute of Bible & Ministry. Steve is Unit Leader for Tanzania East.
If you would like to partner with Steve & Ruth in your prayers, gifts and practical support, please download and complete this form and return to Freepost RTJH-JRZE-XXKX Africa Inland Mission, Halifax Place, Nottingham NG1 1QN.
For any queries, please email: email@example.com
Latest prayer points
- 25 October 2019
The Lancasters are currently in the UK on Home Assignment. Steve writes: “Hopefully, we’ll be flying back to Tanzania on Sunday 17th November to begin our third and final term at Sanga Sanga (2 years). Ruth will continue to work closely with Pastor Batano in the management of IBM & Sanga (bookings, admin and finance), and I’ll continue in my role as a Bible teacher amongst the pastors and evangelists of the AIC. I will also continue as AIM unit leader for Tanzania East…. It will also be quite strange returning to Morogoro without the Swansons or the Dixons being there, but we’re looking forward to working with our new team-mates (Joel & Lauren Wildasin), who arrived back in May and seem to have got their feet firmly under what was the Swansons’ dining table! So, onwards and southwards we go, back to the mighty continent of Africa, and in his strength we’ll carry on the work that he’s given us to do for this next chapter. We’re fully aware that “there is nothing in us that allows us to claim that we are capable of doing this work” but we know that “the capacity we have comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:4). And so we commit ourselves to him and ask that he would use us mightily for his purposes, despite our weaknesses and our ‘jars of clay’ fragility! Please pray for us as we return on Sun 17th November; that we would be able to pick up where we left off; for good relationships with our new team mates; for strength and stamina as we get back into the Tanzanian flow; and for safety on the roads and in the home.”
- 22 February 2019
The Lancasters are currently preparing to go on Home Assignment, and Steve writes: “…this term seems to have been tougher than our first one. I’ve struggled with illness for the past 10 months (sinusitis and gastritis) and we’ve both had bouts of what they call ‘culture fatigue’, although which missionary hasn’t experienced this?!… Ruth has also felt the burden of various responsibilities more this term… However, we do have much to praise God for! Many positive things have happened during this second term. I’ve driven over 50,000km without accident or breakdown. We’ve seen the Conference Centre [at Sanga Sanga] grow to its completion with the facilities being well-used by various groups. I’ve preached or taught over 160 times, mainly to Tanzanian pastors and leaders, and have had a go at my first Swahili commentary. Ruth has dealt with over 80 bookings at Sanga with over 2,600 people staying there; taught several English courses; and she’s also processed donations for work at Sanga totalling 507 million Tanzanian Shillings (£170,000)! We’ve also had the pleasure of introducing family members to Tanzania, as well as a number of church teams and Oak Hall groups. It was also heartening to hear that a number of those Oak Hall folks have gone on to invest further in mission. So, whilst we travel home with jaded eagerness we’re counting our blessings, and we’re thankful for what God has gifted us to do… Please pray for us as we aim to finish well and hand over our various responsibilities. Pray that our Home Assignment would be a time of refreshment, physically, mentally and spiritually.”
- 7 December 2018
“For our team here in Morogoro there is plenty of change ahead, although it seems as though missionaries serving overseas live within a revolving-door environment where people are constantly coming and going. Our team mates Tony and Cath Swanson are in the process of saying their goodbyes and packing their bags after being in Tanzania for 20 years. [This weekend] they head to the UK for six months before continuing their consultancy roles with AIM, based in Uganda… Please pray for the Morogoro AIM team as we enter this time of transition. Whilst Tony and Cath will leave on 9th December, we’re hoping to have a new family joining the team in February, depending on the issuing of work permits. Please pray for this to happen soon. Ruth and I will then be heading back to the UK on Home Assignment in early March.”