There and Back Again

Steve & Ruth Lancaster work with the Africa Inland Church (AIC) to equip pastors in Tanzania. Recently Steve wrote about returning to Tanzania after being in the UK for Christmas.

Did it feel strange to be back in the UK after being in Tanzania for the past 17 months? In all honesty, not at all. I think we expected to feel a bit strange given the many differences there are between the two cultures – but it all felt very normal, although we took a great deal of pleasure from the some of the things we once took for granted. It was so nice to eat chips from a chippie, to drink water straight from the tap, to wander around the spotlessly clean and varied aisles of Sainsbury’s; it was awesome to drive roads which weren’t littered with pot-holes & vehicle wrecks, relaxing to feel safe on those roads, and great to feel chilly when you first get into bed! 

But now – we’re back in Tanzania.


The Institute of Bible and Ministry based at Sanga Sanga exists to enable, mobilise and inspire Tanzanian pastors and evangelists in a closer relationship with God and effective ministry. They are planning on building a new 250-seat conference hall on the site pictured above. Find out more about the Institute here.

I found myself pondering the many differences between the UK and Tanzania as I sat in the barbers the day after we returned. Sat next to me in the no-frills shop were three Maasai men dressed in their traditional red attire. The doors were wide open, the air was hot and humid, and the noisy generator was chugging away outside because the power was out once again – and the haircut cost me £1.50! It’s back to sleeping under a mozzie net, watching the geckos hang off the ceiling, hearing the various minarets ‘singing’ out their calls to prayer. It’s back to the land of whacky races, swerving to avoid pot-holes, people, bikes and mini-buses on the roads. It’s back to the noises of the night – the cicadas, crickets and frogs; it’s back to being confronted with the poverty that many people here experience, as well as feeling tongue-tied as I grapple to find the right Swahili word! It’s back to seeing children walking to school with machetes and brooms in their hands! 

And as the New Year begins it’s also back to work, serving the pastors of the Africa Inland Church here in eastern Tanzania, and helping out at the home of the Institute of Bible & Ministry at Sanga Sanga. And do you know what? It’s amazing how normal it all feels!

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