Children’s Ministry Seminar Amongst the Masai

“What a privilege to be part of a children’s ministry seminar with Masai people in southern Tanzania! There may be travel restrictions but the internet is far-reaching these days!

Likewise the message of the Gospel is also far-reaching. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, including children. I’m glad I heard this Good News also when I was a child. It changed my life!

A big thanks to Ps Tusiime Francis, Ps Jane Yaledi and the team on the ground for all your hard work, as well as the teachers, Mirjami Ylenius-Kuosmanen and Raili Väisänen, for exceptional teaching, and the man with the vision, Ps Arto Sädeaho, who keeps on going forward!”

– Jonathan Lemmetti

Updates from Indonesia, Uganda and Finland

Indonesia – Sumatra’s 36th Year Course Held in Exceptional Circumstances

We have kept in touch also with the Indonesian pioneers and arranged training days by utilizing Zoom. Due to travel restrictions, which have hindered the weekend church visits, this year’s course has been taught also on Saturdays. Thus, they will graduate before May. At the graduation, 27 new pioneers will also be blessed into ministry.

Uganda – An Abundance of Fruit from Radio Ministry

As the pandemic locked people up in their homes in Uganda, and as weak internet connections hindered services from being held online, Bishop John Magaba expanded their radio programs to Sunday mornings. For everyone’s surprise, people began flooding the studio with calls after the broadcasts wanting to get saved. Since April 2020, 837 new believers have been recorded as a result of these radio programs.

Bishop John Magaba Faces Backlash

In Autumn 2020, John lost a relief load sent to the south, as the truck slid down a slope, and robbers arrived and stole the food aid. Later he got fever and severe pains and was diagnosed with a tumor in his liver. After this, armed robbers broke into John’s storehouse but, thankfully, the robbery failed.

Recently, one Sunday he was traveling with his family from the radio station to their morning service. One of the vehicles was full of children. The driver lost control of the vehicle and it ended up on its side in a swamp. Thankfully, no one was injured. But the generator used for the church service got damaged.

Let’s pray for our brother’s health and work!

Domestic Mission – Vantaa International Christian Fellowship

VICF’s 2020 theme was “Living in Victory”, and the year began with great expectations. Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck. It was understood how important it is to look up to Jesus and realize how to live a victorious life with such uncertain circumstances around us!

Due to the restrictions, a media team was birthed. Using Zoom and YouTube, Sunday services and Wednesday Bible studies have been able to continue online. Monthly 3-day prayer and fasting times have also served as a backbone throughout the year. Pr. Emmanuel Mukuka (Zambian) was ordained earlier in the year as a lay pastor to strengthen the pastoral team with his giftings of preaching and intercession.

Five people were water-baptized earlier on before the lockdown. There are now 100 blessed members in the congregation. We are grateful to God for the continuation of VICF in this season. All practical needs have been adequately met.

Prayer Challenge and Report from Tanzania

Persecution in the tourist hotspot of Zanzibar

The battered pastor and his wife standing in front of their burned house in Zanzibar

In December 2020, three of our pioneers in Tanzania visited Zanzibar, a former slave-trade island, where 99% of the inhabitants are Muslim. The team met seven local pastors, all of whom had been persecuted. One of them had been attacked just half a year earlier; in addition to being violently assaulted, his home and church were destroyed, the family’s goats and chickens were stolen, and he was thrown to jail. The court eventually denied him any compensation for damages and prohibited him from preaching. Upon hearing this, we sent some aid along with the GNN team to assist in his recuperation. The other persecuted preachers were also given some small support to encourage them to continue with their ministry.

• Intercessions are needed! Would you and perhaps your church take the work in Zanzibar as your special prayer challenge this year?

Training in Dar es-Salaam

Our latest video conference to the Tanzanian pioneer pastors and children’s ministry workers was held at the end of January. Encouraged by the on-field success after our conference last September, which included teaching for those in children’s ministry, we decided to expand this meeting to three days.

Young kids who became Christians in southern Tanzania

For the first two days, we focused on the secrets of children’s ministry through pre-recorded teachings, which the known mission veterans Raili Väisänen and Mirjami Ylenius-Kuosmanen gave in Swahili. We were delighted to have five children’s ministry workers joining from the island of Zanzibar as well. The third day was reserved for meeting with the pioneers, where, as usual, teaching was conducted by our multinational teaching team.

Opposition was experienced beforehand in a form of health challenges, and at the premises when a big truck broke the power cable going into the conference hall. But thanks be to God for health, protection, and the restoration of electricity!

Missions continue in the heart of the Zaramo area

A Zaramo family who became Christians with two of GNN’s team members

After returning from the visit to Finland about a year ago, our Ugandan missionary, Francis, had to stay at his home for a long time due to the country’s strict corona restrictions. In November he was finally able to travel back to Tanzania and resume his ministry amongst the local tribes.

In January, a team of 10 people traveled to Kisaware and Masaki villages situated in the middle of the 1,2 million Zaramo tribe area. With the rental vehicle they brought along a generator for showing ‘The Jesus Film’ in the Zaramo language. May the seed sown yield a bountiful harvest!

Blessed Turn of the Year

News from Africa

Tanzania

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.

The teaching of Raili and Mirkku emphasized a child’s value, and that they can come to faith too. Reaching children often opens up new areas.

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!

Pastor Jane Mbusa with children from an orphanage

Frontline Updates

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.

Uganda

Evangelist Jordan Magaba teaching new believers

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.

Video: Joyful Praise in Ugandan Radio

The joy of the Lord is our strength – also amidst a pandemic!

Singers live on a Sunday morning’s radio service in West Uganda.

Early Summer’s Tidings from Africa

(Tanzania & Uganda)

Encouraging Internet Conference for Tanzanian Pioneers

Six new believers from Tanzanian Zaramo tribe got recently baptized

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!”

Food Aid ready for transportation

“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

Francis (on the right) together with the man who gave his life to God in 2012

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!”

Uganda’s Timely Night Radio

Uganda’s Night Radio reaches people

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.

God at Work in Domestic Missions

March 15th 2020 | Pastor Ndegwa together with the baptizees

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.

A Refreshing Visit

Map of the unreached tribes in Tanzania

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.

Arto, Francis and Jonathan at Radio Patmos, where our Finnish radio program airs every Tuesday at 3PM (rerun on Saturdays at 8PM).