Each year we invite 3 supporting congregations to send a mission team to work alongside Tanzanians. Teams go to resource-poor areas to enhance local initiatives. The team tackles challenging problems. There are many unknowns, some aspects are beyond our control, it involves everyone making some sacrifices, taking some risks and trusting in God. And this is really what mission is all about! Planning, communicating, organizing, working, but ultimately leaving God in control and expecting that God is present and active. God blesses our efforts in obvious and hidden ways. God’s work is to change us and then to use us to change the world. We want the miracle of 5 loaves and 2 fishes to be real in our lives. We want Jesus’ message to impact us and to impact God’s world.
In July 2015, 12 people from congregations and Rotary Clubs in Superior and Duluth worked with us on the Serengeti. The congregation members donated muscle to assist the Christians of Piaya to pour a concrete floor in the church they are building. 50 people cooperated to mix concrete by hand and to pass it by bucket brigade to local skilled masons. The team also brought funding for metal trusses and metal roofing. Piaya water is bitter and the taste cannot be covered with coffee or KoolAid. To collect rainwater for drinking, the Rotary members constructed a 15,000 gal storage tank for the medical clinic. Rotary also brought funding for installing solar lighting in a new health facility being built by the village.
We were impressed by the positive attitude and adventurous spirit of Mission Team Piaya 2015. Mutual respect developed between Africans and Americans. Conditions were rough. The work was physically hard, sleeping on a 1-inch pad in a 1-person tent got hard, trying to bathe out of a bucket was hard and day hikes in the Rift Valley and the Gol mountains were hard. But God’s Spirit was with us. Mission means building community, empowering others, protecting God’s environment, alleviating poverty, promoting healthy habits, exercising, renewing our minds, nourishing our spirits, conforming our behavior to the 10 commandments, embracing God’s forgiveness of our sins, appreciating other cultures.
By their example, Piaya Christians challenged us to follow Jesus in new and dynamic ways.