We visited a tarafa (similar to a “county” in America) church located about two hours outside of Mwanza in a small village called Mwamashimba.
The church is about two years old and we had been invited to visit this particular Sunday. A visit from the missionary or other leadership serves to encourage the pastor and his family as well as the church members.
In this place, it is a two-hour round trip by bicycle to purchase clean water at 500/=(about 40 cents) a bucket. If the pastor makes roughly $10 or less a month, this is a costly item for them.
They have a local “watering hole” which is used by people and animals alike; it is muddy and must be filtered and allowed to settle before it is even usable for non-drinking purposes.
The adults gathered for the service inside the church while the children and I gathered outside the church under a tree for our service. Some of the adults were fortunate to have chairs while many of them sat on baked bricks on the floor. The children were content to sit on the ground under the shade of a tree.
The wind blew across the dry parched land causing the dust to stir and billow around us making the use of most of the visual aids and object lessons impossible. However, the children were excited to have a special place, a missionary, and a service just for their benefit. Tim had about 25-30 adults in the church and Mabesa and I had about 60-70 children.
Afterwards, we went to the pastor’s tiny two room house for lunch; rice, cooked greens and goat meat. A feast in their eyes that cost them more than they earned that week; but to them it was a joy and privilege to serve us as their honored guests. We were presented with a small bag of unground dried corn by the church elders which we presented as a gift to the pastor and his family.
It was a good day and a vivid reminder of the blessings we take for granted.