Friday, March 3, 2017

Forrest City FUMC Team

This week we have been blessed with a great team from Forrest City FUMC along with a great addition from a neighboring CME church who was a true blessing. The team has exemplified the saying, “Blessed are the flexible for they will not break.” Despite the inevitable challenges and last minute changes that are a part of any mission trip they have smiled, laughed, encouraged, and served their way through this week.

They made it just in time for the opening of Wesley College on Friday, followed by two days
of great worship at Nyagesi UMC and P.P.F. UMC. Worship was a great chance to connect to the churches, share a meal, and start to learn about the ministries of local churches here in Tanzania. The
team showed their hearts early on when they spent more time talking about what they learned and how they wanted to take back some of what they saw in worship in Tanzania, than they did about things that they felt like needed changing here.

The team leader, Bro. Bill, who also happens to be Liz’s dad did an amazing job of setting the tone for the first term of Wesley College. Monday of this past week was opening day and he spend the first three days in the morning talking about the foundation that spiritual formation provides a pastor in service to the church, community, and God. I cannot think of a better way to start these students’ theological education than that.

The rest of the team, Hank, Maurica, and Evelyn, spent their morning teaching and loving on the children from Lumala UMC. The children were taught new songs for church (in Swahili), and learned more about the love of God. At the end of the week as we sat reflecting they were recalling the names of some of their favorite children. It was a great reminder to see how love and attention can cross language barriers.

The afternoon was spent with church leaders from almost all of our churches in Mwanza learning about the fruit of the spirit. It led to many great discussions and questions as the team and the church leaders learned from each other. Some of the questions where ones I had not heard much about before and it was good that the team created a place to discuss and dig into what the Bible says about spiritual matters, prayers, and the importance of using Biblical metrics, not worldly ones, to measure our maturity in faith.

The last day of work ended with the team getting to experience dagaa for the first time, the videos are worth viewing, and dinner back at the house with some of the friends they had made through the week. Nothing warms my heart more than to see a diverse group around the dinner table with the commonality of faith and shared humanity to bring them together as friends.

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