Let me paint two pictures of Tanzanian church services.
The first is a Good Friday service. It’s long and the ministers are dressed up in their robes. It’s an Anglican service. And there’s something familiar about the way the congregation responds: the mumbled words after the Bible reading, the faces buried in hymn books. No one moves, even while the choir sing a lively song, complete with dance moves. There’s no prayer book, but there’s some sort of liturgy which the congregation murmurs after the leader.
The second is an ordinary Sunday service. It’s much shorter and less formal. There’s no minister but there’s a worship leader and a preacher. A congregation member prays after the offering. It’s a Baptist service. The songs are one-liner call-and-response and they’re more lively. The band and the congregation sway in time and clap.
A few months back, a JW called Glenn came to our door. Apparently he didn’t realise we live at a theological college – his opening line was, ‘Hi there, just wondering if you’ve ever read the Bible?’ We’ve seen him a number of times since then. Sometimes he comes back on his own, sometimes with someone more knowledgable than him. Read more
Tamie and I have been seeking appointment by a missions organisation called CMS Australia. For us, this is the equivalent of ordination, as I mentioned in 2009. We’re currently in the thick of the CMS application process! Read more
Compared with where we’re heading, this video is about a different dimension of ministry, in different parts of Africa, from a different sending group.
Yet it’s the same church, the same world, the same mission.
“Why haven’t the missionaries returned? … In the past there were missionaries who loved us, and accepted to suffer with us.”
Did you hear it? They are asking. They are not asking for outsiders but for their family.
AIM have other excellent videos at their website.
In my last post, I mentioned that you can’t separate off St John’s the uni from Dodoma as a town and I want to explore that some more here. There are lots of non-uni people to interact with: the guards at the uni gate; the milk lady; drivers; sellers at the market. Everything in Tanzania is relational – you get to know your potato man and your banana lady.
My brothers-in-law are quite into cricket so I was interested in the biography of CT Studd for that reason, but mainly, because he gave up the fame and luxury of his cricketing career for the life of a missionary, working in China, India and Africa. This book is a very stimulating read because it’s a picture of Studd ‘warts and all’ and thus raises some very difficult questions. In this first post, I’ll look at Studd’s approach to mission and, in the next, the impact of this on those closest to him.