This year we have continued further training of our summer 2019 UPG course participants virtually. Our third meeting of the year was in September, when the pioneers gathered in Dar es Salaam for a video conference.
A strong addition to the conference morning was brought by two mission veterans in children’s ministry, Raili Väisänen and Mirjami Ylenius-Kuosmanen. Their recorded teaching in fluent Swahili was about ‘The Value of a Child’, and ‘Can a Child be Born Again?’ After having heard of this additional part of our program, some pastors had brought their Sunday school teachers along with them. All up there were 48 participants from around Tanzania. Right after the conference, some Sunday school teachers went out reaching children in the Zaramo area and, two Sundays later, the church was full of children!
December’s mission trip will be to Mikumi area in the southwest, where a “GNN Team” of ten pioneers will be traveling. Bishop Julius, who oversees some 30 congregations, will host the team’s visit to the Vidunda, Kutu and Masai tribes. Throughout this year similar mission trips have birthed several churches in the area.
In June, a smaller team travelled to Singida, interior Tanzania, where they gathered 30 pastors from the nearby villages to hear teaching on reaching the unreached tribes. Now the pastors of this area are enthusiastically preparing to visit two hostile tribes in a nearby woodland.
During the September outreach, people were healed and giving their lives to Jesus. Through prayer some of them were also released from the bondage of evil spirits. Thus, some Zaramo people from the area have come to faith and started coming to the church.
We praise God that our brothers and sisters in Tanzania are actively ministering amongst the unreached people groups.
When the Corona restrictions closed the churches in Uganda in the spring, we increased our support of the radio ministry to include the broadcasting of Sunday morning church services. Since then, the studio has received phone calls at the end of almost every broadcast. Uncertain times have increased openness towards the message of the gospel, and people are looking for a more solid foundation for their lives. During the pandemic, 25-30 people have been led to follow the Lord on a weekly basis; one week in October even 43. These new believers are directed to churches in the area they live in.
Bishop John Magaba has shared of his gratefulness for such a harvest, for which he cannot take any credit. He also began inviting other church pastors to the broadcasts, and his Pastor wife Nasta and Evangelist son Jordan support him in the radio programs. The churches could re-open again in October, and John continues his ministry with the same joy as before.
The joy of the Lord is our strength – also amidst a pandemic!
Singers live on a Sunday morning’s radio service in West Uganda.
(Tanzania & Uganda)
Encouraging Internet Conference for Tanzanian Pioneers
Our planned mission trip to East Africa in May boiled down to an afternoon Internet conference. We are grateful to follow-up with the participants who were part of the GNN UPG mission training in Dar es Salaam in June 2019. Our multinational teaching team from Finland, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Uganda all contributed encouraging and timely words. Wonderful news from the on-going ministry in Tanzania included testimonies of new churches planted amongst the Masai and Vidunda tribes; pastors continuing to reach out in new areas; Muslims being reached with the Gospel and turning to Jesus. We thank God for going beyond our expectations with this fruitful ministry! – Jonathan Lemmetti
Night Radio is Blossoming Despite the Pandemic
Greetings from Pastor John Magaba in Uganda: “We are very happy about this radio ministry! We receive phone calls from different parts of the country. Even the leading officials in the government have contacted us sharing of the blessing the programs have been in this present time. We got additional airtime on Sunday mornings to stay in touch with our congregation, as weak internet connections do not make it possible online. At the end of each broadcast we receive more calls from people wanting salvation than we can answer; they are given a possibility to contact us outside airtime. During this pandemic, the significance of radio programs has grown. Every week people are turning to Jesus – however, we still wait for more from God!”
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our church members and people in the surrounding areas are suffering from lack of food. Most of them fared well in the beginning, as they received support for food from the nearby coffee plantation, but many had to stop working due to the restrictions and, as a result, have suffered from hunger. Thanks to God that Africa Renewal Ministries’ partners were able to arrange food for 105 families. We were also granted permission from the government representatives to supply food to the local residents. Likewise, we are grateful to GNN for the additional support besides that sent for our radio ministry. May the Lord bless you and all of the GNN supporters!”
Send Your Bread
Ecclesiastes 11:1 says: “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find It.”
In May I received the below message from our African partner, Francis.
“Hi, Pastor Arto! This morning I walked to the plot of land with its caretaker. On the way I asked him how he had become a believer. He said that, out of curiosity, he had gone to listen to the ministry workers’ conference in Muleete in 2012. During that seminar, at the closing of your session to the pastors, you suddenly asked if there was anyone who wanted to become a believer. This man was the only one who walked to the front. Then you led him in the sinner’s prayer – the fruit of that day has remained!”
The tight transport and public gathering restrictions have brought a collapse to the churches’ activities, causing big difficulties. Being far from the capital city, the Internet connections are unstable, thus limiting connection with others to telephone calls and text messages.
However, the ‘Night radio’ programs, that we also support, are broadcast to four other nations in East Africa in addition to Uganda. At least 30 million people live in the coverage area. Even non-Christians are amongst the listeners. Many have become Jesus followers as a result of programs. Broadcasting the Good News is not being hindered by the restrictions to public gatherings. In light of the current circumstances, we decided to double our support of this ministry. Now the programs Pr. John Magaba with his team takes care of can be listened weekly on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings. Towards the end of broadcasts phone calls are streaming in to the studio.
• Would you like to support this influential ministry? You can do that at our ‘Donate‘ page.
Vantaa International Christian Fellowship (VICF) is our domestic mission – a spiritual home for all nations. Just before Covid-19 restrictions closed all gatherings, we baptised six new believers! Luckily, from the beginning of VICF, we have collected visitors’ contact details with their permission in order to stay in touch with them. Now we can easily connect with our people through video meetings.
In February 2020, Francis Tusiime from Uganda visited us. He is our key contact in our pioneer work in Tanzania. We invited Francis to strengthen our contacts in Finland. VICF had partially supported the successful course we held in June 2019 in Dar es Salam. Our congregation warmly welcomed Francis of whom they had heard so much about from our mission trip reports.
As we travelled to various churches in eastern Finland, our African friend was very excited to see snow for the first time in his life. The passage in the Bible: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow”, opened up to Francis in a whole new way.
Throughout our travels, our guest’s modest approach and powerful prayer ministry captivated the listener’s hearts in every place. As we spent time together, we heard more of how Francis was called to ministry: Already as a schoolboy, he experienced a strong missionary call to the nations. Later on, he realised this did not mean political nations, but different tribes and people. From his mentor late pastor Wilson Ssentongo, he learnt to plant new churches in a team setting. When asked how many churches he had planted before Tanzania, his quiet answer was: ‘more than ten’.
In 2010, Francis then went to Tanzania with the blessing of his home church. He began his ministry without funds from a zero level amongst the still unreached Zaramo tribe (1.2 mill.) living in Dar es Salam area. Since the mission course we arranged in ‘Dar’ in the summer of 2019, along with the pioneers from this course, the ministry has expanded to other parts of Tanzania.
Have a blessed year 2020!
It is amazing to see what God is doing. November 2019 was the first time for me to visit a street children’s weekly gathering in a slum area of Jakarta. It was special (and very loud) to see all the kids gathered into a small, hot room, where, after some fun games, I could also share my personal faith story with them.
This ministry was initiated by Michael, a former drug dealer. After graduating from Bible school he returned to his old neighborhood, began to reach out to his former friends and associates, also ending up starting a ministry among the street kids. Michael has an official authorization to give drug education, which he’s been doing in different parts of Indonesia. Sometimes the students of these cities are brought into a stadium, where he doesn’t only tell them about the dangers of drugs, but also gets to share with them about the faith that changed everything.
– Jonathan Lemmetti
Jun 2019 | The opening evening of this historical course was filled with expectation. There had not been such a mission course in Tanzania before that focused on reaching the unreached people groups (UPG). Now, in a hostel in Dar es Salaam, 42 pastors had gathered to learn about missions among the unreached.
The three weeks’ program was quite intensive, and the content was both demanding and diverse. Days began at 5am with prayer, continuing until 9pm after two hours’ break in the afternoon. As the course went on, the participants’ enthusiasm didn’t wear out but kept on growing. On the weekends they returned home to shepherd their churches, meanwhile we i.a. arranged a Youth Conference, and a vision casting breakfast for entrepreneurs, visited a Zaramo village and preached in local churches.
On the graduation day, some 150 people were gathered together to celebrate including family and friends, leaders of the local community as well as the hostel owner. The atmosphere was joyfully liberating. A student representative gave a speech about what they had learnt. They had received tools for reaching the unreached. Their understanding of missions was expanded, and they had realized that it’s not just for the Western missionaries alone; this calling – that is God’s heartbeat – is also for the church in Tanzania.
Just recently, in September, our Ugandan missionary in Tanzania, Francis, excitedly told us that nearly half of the course participants had already begun implementing the attained knowledge into their work in new villages and areas close to them and beyond. This is great news! One of them, Brian, organized a seminar for Pastors, where he is teaching them about the practices for reaching new tribes. At the same time, he’ll continue his already commenced work in a new village, utilizing the principals he’s learned.
Our wonderful translator, Jane, reported: “Partakers of the training are grateful for GNN’s mission course. They began to modify their practices, having special consideration for the unreached tribes in their region. One lady went to a Masai area near Arusha. She has already made connections with members of the tribe, applying methods learned during the course to her work. It is evident that this June’s Mission course is bearing good fruit; we thank God for that!”
There are still 27 unreached tribes (6M ppl) in Tanzania. Next we will arrange for our participants an online follow-up training, and a “Next Steps” seminar which will be held in May 2020. Let’s intercede for these events as well as for the participants in their work – may God’s fire and vision spread through them!
We give God all the glory and want to thank everyone who were enabling this course to become a reality!
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