Recapturing the Vision Trip to the Traveler People<br />Who Will Go?<br />
Derek - HCC Children’s Ministries Pastor, Children’s & Student Ministries Team Leader<br />John - HCC Africa Region Missions Director<br />Jim - HCC Senior Pastor<br />The purpose of this vision trip was fourfold:<br />1. Relationship building. Three organizations (Avant Ministries, Highlands Community Church, and the Tanzanian local church) coming together with one purpose- to see a church among the Traveler people.<br />2. Identifying a possible location for the church plant. <br />3. Looking for well locations in conjunction with our Living Water Project.<br />4. Meeting with Lance of Living Water International (LWI), who is contracted to drill the wells.<br />Mike - HCC/Avant Short-Cycle Church Plant Team Leader<br />Mark - Avant Short-cycle Church Plant Director <br />Scott - HCC Kent Campus Pastor<br />
1. Relationship Building <br /> There was great opportunity for the leadership of the three organizations to get to know each other and begin to strategize how they might reach the Traveler people together. <br /> Having been on the ground in the city, HCC now has a more clear picture of what forming a church here will entail. There are so many opportunities in the communities that the team could use to reach out to the people! <br /> Paul mentioned they have not intentionally reached out to the Travelers with the Gospel, already stretched too thin and lacking the resources. However he is willing to help HCC to achieve this. He is very open to an interdependent, church to church relationship to accomplish this task.<br /> Paul was strategic, both in helping to identify the need of the Travelers for the Gospel, but also in our vision trip. When the team arrived he had already a laid out a tentative plan of villages to visit, transportation to get there, and leadership to meet with.<br />“After meetings with Paul and his Community Development officer, Timothy, we have found that everything is based on relationships. Due to this it would be in our best interest to wait for placement and drilling of the wells until there is a presence of at least one or more of our team members or families on the ground in the city, otherwise any advantage for relationship building will be lost where our team and church plant are concerned.” –Mike<br />
“Paul heard of a village with a well and went to check it out. There were no paths around it, so he knew it had not been used at all. The people believed that if they drank from the well, it would make the men sterile. They do not even allow their cattle to drink the water. Many of these people will die because of the lack of clean water. <br /> One lie about poisoned well water, people die because they choose not to drink. We take water for granted. It’s easy to get and cheap to have. Yet people all over the world are spiritually thirsty. In Christ’s death we are blessed. That’s the key. It will take a lot of prayer and relationship building to accept a well and, ultimately, Christ.” –Pastor Jim<br />Some bonuses<br />While in the city the team was able to meet with the few missionaries working in the area. While none are working with the Traveler people, they had many interesting things to say about life in city and ministry in the area. They confirmed that no one is intentionally working with the ‘Travelers.’ <br />Mike met Brian, a fellow worker in Tanzania. He mentioned that for all of East Africa his organization exclusively uses a language school in Iringa. He said that in six months this particular school can do more than any of the other language schools in the country and for nearly half the cost of the school we were considering in Arusha. <br />Mike also met with Joseph, a Tanzanian worker, while in Arusha. He informed Michael about a Leadership Development Program. They put on training seminars in the local church setting. Our team could bring in this program once a church is started to help with discipleship and training in various areas. The neat thing is this organization is completely self sustaining with indigenous staff and leadership.<br />
Life in the city<br /><ul><li>The conditions in the hospital are far below standard with steel frame rusty legged beds arranged dormitory style providing little privacy. Team members would fly to Arusha or Nairobi, Kenya for medical help.
There is a large, open air farmer’s market for all groceries, accompanied by many small stands and shops where other household items would be purchased.
Internet is available, however painfully slow. The team would probably look at other options, such as satellite.
Water is available to be piped in to houses in the city.
Electricity is shut off daily for power sharing throughout the country, especially in the dry season.
There is a train which runs about once a week as well as bus systems which run more frequently out to Arusha. Transportation within town is by minibus or taxi.</li></li></ul><li>Outsiders came into the area late 1700s/early 1800s, bringing in slaves from other areas. They gave the Traveler people a choice to become slaves or to convert. In their holy book it says they cannot make fellow converts slaves to themselves. The Travelers converted and traded away their spiritual freedom for physical freedom. They’ve been in that spiritual bondage ever since. <br />In ministry it must be very important for us to convey the message “I don’t want you to take my religion, I want you to take my Savior.”<br />Everyone said that to reach the Travelers will require very relational, people-oriented teammates. They love to talk and visit and you have to take time with them. <br />All ministry will flourish in this way, rather than following a strict schedule of projects or works.<br />It’s about opportunity and people, timetables do not work here. Plan, but prepare not to use your timetables in your time. Or even your plan.<br />Things we learned from others<br />In order to promote ownership, the idea must be theirs, whatever it is. You plant the seeds of ideas and let them ask you.<br />It is culturally appropriate to seek money and power; at all costs not to lose face. <br />Where the well is concerned- up front, before a hole is put in the ground, a water committee must be formed and at least one team member will be on that committee. <br />The more money and the larger the project= the larger percentage chance of failure and lack of ownership. Projects must be small and manageable and cheap and there must be ownership otherwise they will fail.<br />
2. The Church<br />When they first drove through the city the team wondered if they had chosen the right location. There were quite a few of churches in view! They soon found out that most were non-evangelical. <br />Gospel preaching churches were few and small and none were attended by the Traveler people. The evangelical churches that do exist are currently working among other tribes. <br />
The Village<br />There is intense spiritual need everywhere. After two days of driving all day in the bush around the city, visiting with village leadership through interpreters, the team discussed what they had seen. While each village had particular needs and most were suffering physically and spiritually, they felt that this particular village was the most needing of both physical ministry and the Gospel. <br />It is a small village. They have a Primary School and a Medical Dispensary- though it appeared to be closed. The team did not see any religious buildings, but there was a definite Muslim presence which could be seen in the dress of the villagers.<br />
“There is very little access to food and water in the surrounding countryside. Many people will likely die this year due to either [the current] drought or lack of food [caused by the drought]. Poverty in this region is severe.” –Mark <br />“There are people everywhere – walking, on bicycles, on motor cycles, some vehicles but very few.<br />Primitive housing (by western standards) one/two room huts with corrugated tin or thatched roofs. <br />Large numbers of young children in the yards and being carried by young mothers. <br />Some domestic animals – cattle being herded by young boys and free ranging chickens in the yards of the huts.” –John <br />
3. Living Water Wells<br />“The rivers and streams were brown, obviously heavily silted. Water [in the village] is obtained from a [rain catchment] pool dug by the government about ½ mile away. Residents make 2-3 trips daily. We saw the people were getting water with 5 gallon plastic jugs or buckets and we saw some getting their water from ditches near the road.” – John<br />“When the pit dries up in the dry season, people have to walk a mile and a half one way to another village to get water. All of the other villages we visited had at least one working well. There is certainly no church among the Travelers there. And so it seems like it is a high priority and a high need area.” -Michael <br />
4. Meeting with Lance <br /> Living Water International is an organization working in 30 countries. In Tanzania, drilling operation is available year round using a truck mounted drill rig and Lance follows up with the pump installation when he is in country. He has recently been able to reduce the drilling cost to $120/meter and raises the funds for the hand pump portion himself. Lance uses the India Mark 2 as the parts are easily available and cheap. <br /> He doesn’t use hydrological surveys as they are not reliable. Lance’s experience is to keep drilling until water is found and this is best done in the dry season when the water table is at its lowest point. Village help is not generally used since inexperience can lead to delays and damaged equipment, but we are welcome to set up programs during the time the well is being drilled. <br /> Where LWI has some teaching surrounding wells and maintenance, this would be a great opportunity to bring in our own teaching to supplement the program.<br />
“I am truly excited for what God is putting together for the impact HCC and we may be able have in Africa – and just as importantly, the impact they will have on us! Thank you for praying for those God will raise up to be a part of this team effort. I am excited to return in God’s timing to see the Word of God and hope of life in Jesus spread to those who have yet to hear. It is my prayer that my heart will continue to be broken by the things that break the heart of God. ” –Pastor Derek <br />
Faces of the People<br />“This adventure of forming a church in partnership with Avant Ministries will be an opportunity of a lifetime. I don’t want to miss this opportunity because when vision is led by yielding to the Lord and teamwork among God’s people, the Lord’s vision comes alive.” –Pastor Scott <br />
Will You Go?<br />Contact Pastor Mike for more information<br />or an application<br />hcctanzania.blogspot.com<br />