You know when you watch an TV show that’s about some crisis in a foreign country and the CIA director or the American president asks, ‘how good’s our intel?’ It’s a good question, because what you hear or assume and the reality on the ground can be quite different.
During our pre-departure deputation in Australia, we talked about what we thought we knew about student ministry in Tanzania, and it was accurate based on our intel. But now we know different, so I thought I’d update with a few corrections!
1. We said that uni ministry isn’t structured around camps (e.g. Commencement Camp, MYC/SUMMIT, NTE, etc) because there aren’t really campsites. That’s half true. There aren’t many campsites, but there are plenty of residential universities and colleges to hold a camp at. And while camps don’t necessarily follow the university year in the same way they do in Australia, they do happen, often over Easter or Christmas or other public holidays.
2. We said that evangelistic rallies rather than Bible study are the bread and butter of student ministry. Again, that’s only half true. Rallies do happen, but the most regular event for student ministry are fellowships – often evening meetings for praise and worship and preaching. Of the 5 or 6 student fellowships at St John’s, we’ve only encountered one that has what Australians might recognise as a Bible study.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.