Tanzania 2018 Trip Update

Ever since 2002, Shepherd of the Valley travelers have made annual trips to visit our companions in Tanzania. Each time, we are welcomed lavishly and asked to return tena na tena, again and again.

Working bega kwa bega or shoulder to shoulder through prayer, presence, and projects, we support ministries of evangelism, education, healthcare, and economic development. Makifu and Tungamalenga Parishes are each comprised of nine village congregations in a remote rural area. Usolanga Parish is our third partner, with seven village congregations.

Three participants visited Tanzania in 2018: Pastor Wendy Steger, Anna Steger, and Kirsten Levorson. To learn about the three participants, click here. These three had a busy schedule that you can view here.

Since the participants have returned, they answered the following questions: “Who did you meet on this journey that you will never forget?” “What surprised you in Tanzania?” “Did the trip live up to your expectations?” “How did things go with the things you worried about before the trip?” “Where did you see Jesus in Tanzania?” To read their responses, visit the Tanzania blog.

Verbal Recollection of the Tanzania trip:

While listening to Pastor Wendy, Anna, and Kirsten discuss their trip, who they met, and their experiences, the theme of generosity and hospitality arose. Generosity is shown from both sides of the partnership, strengthening the relationship SOTV has with our three partner congregations: Tungamalenga, Makifu, and Usolanga.

Tungamalenga, SOTV’s first partnership, has made a big change recently. Travelers were able to see a second service, open primarily for business people. This service is open before work, allowing for many new members to worship who couldn’t previously.

At Mpalapande Primary School, a fun surprise has happened since the last visit – the school has SOTV’s logo painted on the side of the building! The school opened in January with 60 students, ages 4-11 in the kindergarten class. These older children have never had the opportunity to attend school because it was located so far from their homes. First, the teacher has to make sure that the kids from three different tribes (with three different tribal languages) learn Swahili in order to follow her instructions. Then, the kids learn by reading the chalkboard and verbally copying the teacher. The teacher is the only person in the room with a copy of the textbook.

While in Makifu, red shirts were given as a sign of our unity; guests and partnership committee members wore them throughout the visit.. The back of the shirts said “the love of God has bring us together.” This shirt was not the only gift, the village gave many gifts over the travelers’ three day stay. As a thanks for our scholarship support, they brought gifts of goats, sheep, chickens, rice, and maize to be delivered to the orphanage. During the time in Tanzania, each village brought what they could to donate to the orphanage. The pictures show the delivery of the gifts from all villages that were brought to the orphanage. When talking with the people in the villages about why they are donating so much, they said they are generous because we have shown so much generosity to them. Not only have our scholarships changed lives, but we have donated money for many other projects such as: a school, pipeline, bike, medicine for the dispensary, food for the orphanage, and help build churches. But, the generosity is far more than just projects and money, they believe that we show love by caring enough to come visit. The visits are an important part of our relationship, helping to build the awareness and relationships, while creating empathy toward those who are now close friends around the world.

Pastor Wendy spoke about why the Tanzania partnership and visiting the partner congregations are so important. She said that if we didn’t send people to Tanzania to visit, people wouldn’t have the investment as representatives of SOTV or as future advocates to take and share the emotional aspect of the experiences in Tanzania and bring it back to SOTV. The visits are not only to learn about the congregations and the culture, but it is about relationships. Parents in Tanzania want the same thing as parents here, we want the best for our kids and our families. If you flip things, we could have been born in another place and we could be on the opposite side of this partnership. It is important for us to have empathy and to give, just as they are doing in Tanzania as well. Since we have started our partnership, our Tanzania partners pray for us every Thursday. This relationship far outweighs the financial help  we give, this is a relationship built on prayer and presence.

Our newest partners in Usolanga showed hospitality throughout the entire stay. Not only did they show hospitality and generosity through their gifts of a soda and snack, they also made an outdoor patio area by where the travelers stayed. Since this partnership is new, many wonderful aspects of their village were shown. The travelers were shown what the parish does to raise funds. From visiting the farm, learning how to make bricks, picking cotton, and making baskets, this parish works hard to raise the funds they need to build their parish projects. Not only did this parish show their challenges, they also showed the capacity to solve their own problems. What a great and healthy relationship to start out on!

What now?

Currently, SOTV is raising funds to extend pipelines to Mpalapande and Ikwavila so they will have full access to a good source of water. You can help by praying and giving to this project.

Pray for our partners:

Gracious God, you have called us into a community of faith. We are called to life by you, the source of life and creator of every being. We pray for those who struggle every day for their daily supply of water. We pray that those who are fortunate enough to have an abundance of water, do not take your gift for granted, or fail to heed or understand the cries of people who need water for life. Amen.

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