It was a warm Sunday miles away from home in rural Tanzania. Sitting in a makeshift church building, with rocks for chairs and pieces of cloth tied between sticks acting as walls, I was about to learn a big lesson. Volunteering with Tearfund Go, I had already experienced the importance of working in a team, being flexible and learning to trust in God in all situations. And now it was time to really put these lessons to the test.
Letting God lead
We had been asked to lead the local afternoon service, which was held in the middle of the village so that passers by could listen in and hear the gospel message – a great way to evangelise! We arrived with our talk finished and ready to go, however the congregation wasn’t quite what we had expected. The logs and tree stumps in the dusty centre of the village were mainly occupied by children. With lots of small faces staring up at us, suddenly the sermon we’d put together about the inclusivity of the church didn’t seem so appropriate. As was common in our time in Tanzania, a change of plan was needed.
With ten minutes until the service started, we quickly put our heads together. As the choir began singing and dancing we came up with a new plan. We decided to speak on the topic of faith and love. So we looked at a passage from Luke 8 where Jesus raises a dead girl and heals a sick woman. In our last minute preparation, we prayed and trusted that God would fill in the gaps.
And he did! He filled us with passion as we spoke and delivered the talk. Reflecting on that preach, I know that God spoke through us and as the message was delivered. Despite feeling unprepared, I had such a sense of God’s freedom.
He’s got the power
After we had finished speaking, the pastor invited people forward to respond, asking if they wanted to become a Christian for the first time or renew their faith. After that three people came to the front, one of which, a fairly old man, said he wanted to become a follower of Jesus for the first time.
Praying with him is one of the clearest and most powerful memories that I have from my time in Tanzania. When I spoke to him afterwards, he would not let go of my hand when I gave him a handshake. It was an absolute pleasure to see God working and to be a small part of this man’s journey of faith. In a small village in rural Tanzania, God used our simple words to reveal his love and the powerful truth of the gospel.
In September I left home again. This time, instead of travelling to Tanzania, I headed off to university. As I start my first year, I know that by putting my faith in God’s ability he will continue to work through me. Knowing that God goes with me provides me with confidence, motivation and joy.
Help us, in whatever situation we find ourselves, to put our trust in you. Thank you that we get to be part of your beautiful global church. Give us opportunities to show your love, hope and truth to those around us.
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