Anyone who has ever read this blog and thought, “Whew, I could never do that.” Please hold your applause until all names have been announced. I have had the privilege this year of meeting a man who has surprised me with his dedication and his ability to persevere with very little help or encouragement. Jacoba Korinda is a local pastor who pastors a small church in Ingrachini, Tanzania. Don’t even try, you won’t find it on a map. This village is almost an hour off of the main road.
Jacoba has the spirit of a pastor and the mind of a leader. Since the time when he was first selected to lead this newly planted church in Ingrachini he has continued to recruit help in building God’s kingdom. He has recruited and held together four evangelists who have managed to start churches in four other villages also off of the main road. All churches, except the one in Ingachini itself, meet outside. The church in Ingrachini is hardly a building, with four brick walls and a tin roof that is always threatening to blow off. The seating inside are logs on the floor and the only Bible or song book in the house belong to the pastor. Yet it is a church in every sense of the song we all sang at VBS growing up “I am the church. You are the church. We are the church together.” Jacoba has continued to be a faithful leader of all five churches despite a rocky last few years. He still visits and lifts up these other evangelists and leads them to continue with their ministries. And he does all of this using one leg and a stick as the other leg is damaged from a childhood disease. However, this does not stop him from visiting the other churches at least once a month or standing up strong at the front of the church on Sunday and leading songs, prayers, and preaching the sermon. In fact, he made it to Gamasara to greet me at least three times before I ever made it to Ingrachini.
The thing that most strikes me about Jacoba is his desire to improve himself as a pastor and his ministry to God’s kingdom, and how hard it has been to try and achieve that desire. He is shy to the point of embarrassment about not knowing as much about the United Methodist Church as he should since he works for it, yet no one has ever done much to teach him. Hopefully all of this will start to change next year. Pastor Jacoba has been invited to Morogoro, Tanzania to enter pastor’s training school. It will take eight years since he will only go for two months a year, but Jacoba did not hesitate. He is as excited as any student who has been accepted to Duke, Asbury, or Chandler about starting this new part of growing as a minister of God. I am very happy to see what he can do with this next stage of schooling and ministry.
*If you are interested in helping sponsor Jacoba with his schooling please let me know. It is only $200 a year for transport, lodging, food, and school fees.