We attended the Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) General Council for our final time last week in Dodoma Tanzania.
If I could choose a theme for this council, it would be “Celebrating the Journey”. The TAG is 75 years old and has come from a time when all the leaders/pastors could meet together in one room to today; meeting in the huge Udome in Dodoma that would probably seat near 10,000 and at times there were was not enough seats for all in attendance. Over 4,500 ministers were registered for this conference.
There were too many wonderful things that happened to mention them all, but here are a few highlights:
- About 156 Evangelists were commissioned
- 300 Pastors were ordained
- Nine new missionaries were commissioned bringing the total foreign TAG missionaries to 14.
- Over 300 ministers were called into missions during the missions service
- Over 8,000 new churches were promised to be established within the next two years.
There were awesome moves of God’s Spirit over the course of the 3 day conferences which resulted in pastors and leaders making commitments to greater service, deeper walks of faith and commitments to become church planters.
The TAG has grown to about 7,500 churches with about that same number of pastors. They have two more years left of their decade of harvest to reach their goals of 10,000 churches and 10,000 pastors.
I am convinced that they will reach that goal thanks to the mighty move of the Holy Spirit throughout the course of this General Council. To God Be the Glory!
Tim left for Africa again on July 22 to visit Bible Schools in Togo, Burkina Faso and Kenya. His last week of this trip will be in Tanzania. His purpose in Tanzania has several facets to it; one of them being to make a presentation to the pastors attending the Tanzania Assemblies of God General Council meeting in Dodoma. They are expecting about 4,000 pastors to attend this council.
Tim will be presenting a book to every pastor in attendance at this year’s General Council. The book, “The Pastor’s Helper” has been translated into Swahili. This book is a bible study and a ministry reference tool that includes a dictionary, concordance and many practical helps for the Pentecostal life and ministry.
I will be privileged to travel to Tanzania for the second week of August to join Tim for the General Council. It will serve as our final and official farewell to the Tanzania national church. I look forward to seeing many pastors and their wives who we have become friends with over the years. It will be a bittersweet time.
The last week of June was Missionary Renewal (MR) for the Assemblies of God World Missions (AGWM) missionaries who are currently in the states for their one year itineration after a four year term in countries around the world.
During this time, anywhere from 800-1,000 missionary families converge on Springfield MO for an intense week of field studies, training, fellowship, encouragement and restoration.
Children attend age appropriate activities that are both fun and challenging and teach them important things about being a missionary.
The goal of MR is to not only train and prepare our missionaries for their next four year term mentally and intellectually, but also spiritually and emotionally.
Since Tim and I are assigned to work with Africa’s Hope here in Springfield, we were fortunate to see dear friends from around the world, especially from Africa. One night, we were privileged to go out to eat with some of the missionaries we partnered in ministry with in Tanzania.
We were excited to hear good news about what is happening across the African continent and especially to hear about what God is doing in Tanzania.
We are part of a network of missionaries who live around the world, including in the states, who are working together to see that the Good News of Jesus is taken to every nation and people group around the world. We have a special bond with those scattered across the African continent. Any accomplishments or successes we have as individual missionaries are shared by all of us because we are a team.
During his recent visit to West Africa, Tim was introduced to one of the pets belonging to one of the staff at the Bible School in Burkina Faso. It wasn’t his favorite experience but we as missionaries do many things that we chalk up to “building relationships”.
We eat food that we probably would never eat given a choice, we go places sometimes that we would normally not venture into and we sometimes have to deal with people that we would not keep company with on a normal basis. We sometimes even take some risks that we would not take except for the purpose of building relationships with our African pastors and leaders.
There are times when we buy things and have them brought out from the states so that it will open a door of opportunity for us to minister to someone.
Attitude is the one of the keys to successful missionary life. We have learned our lessons in winning the lost and building relationships from the Apostle Paul who said, “I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some” I Corinthians 9:22
Tim made his first trip to Burkina Faso in West Africa in April and discovered one of the constants of Africa. Children! Across the continent of Africa, the stats are about the same; about 1/2 the population of any country are children.
Those he found in West Africa are much the same as the children of Tanzania in East Africa where we lived and ministered. They laugh, they play, they are shy with newcomers, they love attention and affection.
Tim met this group of children one day outside the Bible School and enjoyed some interaction with them.
Another thing that is a given with the children, the longer you tarry the larger the group grows!
One of Tim’s objectives for his trip this month to Burkina Faso was to attempt to get the Heidelberg Press in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso up and running. The press was delivered last year and will allow the national church to print all the needed training materials for Burkina Faso as well as do other printing jobs for some other West Africa Bible Schools and National Churches.
After spending time with a qualified tech via Skype, it was determined that some of the circuit boards were damaged and the press could not be repaired on the spot. Tim has brought the damaged boards back to the states with him where they can be repaired and sent back to Burkina Faso to be installed in the press.
This was Tim’s first trip to Burkina Faso and the national church leaders and Bible School staff and faculty were extremely gracious and helpful. We was well taken care of including being provided with a steady stream of bottled water to combat dehydration in the 100+ degree weather there.
Tim is currently in west Africa visiting the countries of Burkina Faso and Togo. His main objective in Burkina Faso is to examine a huge printing press there which they have never used because they have not been able to get it operational. He is bringing some of the parts from the press back to the U.S. for repairs. The parts will then be returned to Burkina Faso at a later date.
This is his first trip back to Africa since our assignment to Africa’s Hope as team leader for Africa Library Services. It is also his first trip to the west African country of Burkina Faso. The people he has met there have been very hospitable to him and the General Superintendent arranged for him to visit two Bible Schools near by while he is there. He was shown the libraries and viewed many of the books and materials that have been sent there by Africa’s Hope thanks to donations from various churches. Without the help of our ministry partners these libraries would not exist and they would not have the necessary books and training materials they need to train pastors and leaders.
Tim was proudly shown their Discovery Series Bible School Curriculum printed in French that they use to teach their Bible School students. The Discovery Series material is printed on the printing equipment at Africa Library services in several languages and sent to our Bible Schools all over Africa. Again, this ministry is made possible through our generous ministry partners across the U.S.