Kagera

We just returned from a four day trip to the Kagera Region of western Tanzania; this involves taking the all night ferry back and forth. The ferry trip in itself is a wonderful cultural experience; both with positive and negative aspects. The actual journey is enjoyable but the loading and unloading process with hundreds of other passengers and tons of cargo all vying for the same space at the same time is rather chaotic and unorganized.
In Kagera we met with the leaders from the District to discuss the needs of each section and how we could partner with them in the areas of teaching/training leadership and pastors as well as provide some funds and/or teams to help in specific areas of need.
The Kagera region has a high incidence of Aids (7-8% of the population) and a large orphan population; 21% of the total population. According to World Vision, the criteria for being classified as an orphan is being under the age of 18 and both parents are deceased with no other family to take them in. Most of the orphans have lost their parents to Aids.
We also visited 10 churches in the region that are church plants started within the last two years. We visited with the pastors and their families and encouraged them in the work they are doing. They live and minister in difficult areas with little or no pay; living on food from their own gardens, food gifts from the people of the church and the little money that is brought in by selling crops such as bananas and coffee beans. Half of the churches we visited were meeting in temporary church structures made from wooden poles with cloth, grass or plastic walls and roofs were made of straw. The floors were covered with what they called “Tanzanian carpet” which was dried grass. Two of the temporary buildings were partially collapsed on one side but they were still meeting in them until they could finish their new churches which are made from handmade brick with metal roofs.
And yet, without exception, they greeted us with smiles and were joyful and hopeful in their attitudes and conversation. We prayed a prayer of blessing over each church, home and family before we left.
We also visited 3 orphanages that are being built by the local TAG churches; each one will house 56 orphans when finished.
It was a good visit and we look forward to our next trip to the Kagera region.

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