Jeremy & Leah Krahn, with their children, Ryan (15), Paul (13) and Marie (11) have been serving in Tanzania for eight years. For the past two years they’ve been working with the Zigua people and have recently started leading a Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) team. Here they share their story:
We didn’t always want to be church planters and ten years ago we had never even heard of the Zigua people. Our journey to becoming missionaries was a slow process. After our first exposure to missions work in 2002, it took us another eight years before we answered the call to full time ministry. By then we had three young children. Being called as a family came with joys, but also a great deal of challenge. Ryan and Paul were already in Grade 3 and Grade 1 when we arrived, and Marie was in pre-school. We had to not only figure out how to navigate a brand-new culture and language, and how to live in rural Tanzania, but also how to homeschool for the first time. To say it was difficult would be an understatement. During our second year, we had a teacher come and join us to take on homeschooling our boys. That experience was amazing. It allowed us to focus on language learning and ministry in ways we never could have otherwise.
Disciples in the classroom.
Julie Schmidt has been serving on the Training in Ministry Outreach team among the Zigua since November 2016. Julie helped teach Marie, the daughter of team leaders Jeremy & Leah Krahn and has since added the children of the rest of the team to her class.
Missionary Kid Academy of Imagination
Less than a year ago my students’ world was turned upside down by moving across the world. Their parents are busy figuring out how to live in this new place, setting new family rhythms, re-learning how to cook, studying language and so much more! In all of this change, my students desperately need a safe and stable place to learn and be themselves. That is where my job comes in. At the Missionary Kid Academy of Imagination, as my students named our one-room school house, they know what to expect and what is expected of them. As I teach the children, their parents are free to work on language, relationships, and life. Then when their kids get home, they can focus on being parents.
Meanwhile, it is my ministry to make disciples in my classroom. Whether we are dissecting owl pellets, building model castles, or problem-solving a conflict, those students are looking to me as a role model in their lives. As a missionary kid myself, I know what an impact godly adult role models can have, especially when your extended family is so far away.
I am passionate about recruiting more homeschool teachers. Teams all over Africa are looking for teachers! A teacher can help a family thrive in a new place, rather than just survive. A teacher can free up husband and wife teams to work together more. A teacher can be another adult investing in missionary kids’ lives at a very crucial time in their lives. Could God be calling you?
Ministry in that area wrapped up after three years and God moved us on, but we never forgot the gift that that teacher gave us.
After a time at home we knew God was calling us to return to Africa for another period of ministry. Our boys decided that they wanted to attend boarding school at Rift Valley Academy. After prayerfully considering all the alternatives available to us, we agreed to let them attend.
During our second term, we heard about a potential team along the Tanzanian coast among the Zigua who were culturally and linguistically similar to our first people group. We were excited about the possibility of leading a team there. Over and over, God confirmed the decision in ways ranging from ordinary to miraculous. We really felt strongly that our TIMO team needed to be family-friendly. And for both parents to fully participate, we needed to have a team homeschool teacher for three years. That was a huge ask, but God provided. So now, here we are, eight months into TIMO with ten adults and nine children on our team. And God is still doing amazing things. Ministering cross-culturally as a family here in Tanzania is by far the most challenging and most rewarding thing we have ever done.