Three days walking. Six perilous hours on a boat. Two nights sleeping outdoors.
I was on the bus, en route to Tanzania, listening intently as Ama recounted her experience traveling to an unentered mission site in December 2011 with three other young adult missionaries. They had left home, school, and work, sponsoring themselves to minister to a community in dire need. They had braved the heat, mosquitoes, and a wearisome journey to go where the Savior had bid them.
When at last they reached their destination on a Friday evening, almost one whole week after leaving their homes in Nairobi, their hearts were deeply grateful for God’s protecting care and love. They spent that Sabbath together under a tree–they were the only Adventists in the village and there was no standing church building–fervently praying for the tremendous mission ahead of them.
In the weeks that followed, they went hut to hut, making friends and giving Bible studies. They also met the physical needs of the community as best as they could, often sacrificing their food to feed a malnourished child, giving some of their clothes away, or helping an older woman work her farm. God blessed their efforts as several souls gave their lives to Jesus. By the time they packed their small travel bags for the long journey home, they had established the first Seventh-day Adventist church in that village.
The only lasting solution is Jesus Christ
Meeting Ama and other missionaries like her was the highlight of my week visiting Kenya and Tanzania. No doubt, I enjoyed doing the GYC Intermission site visits, planning mission logistics, preaching in the sunny outdoors at one of the village churches, meeting with local pastors, and even eating real tropical mangoes! But my favorite moments were spent listening to these young people. They are not trained theologians, nor do they possess a wealth of experience, yet deep in their hearts burns a desire to serve God at any cost.
Young, radical, and committed, they move forward burdened by the conviction that the African crisis is a fundamentally spiritual one. Man-made attempts provide temporal relief from poverty, disease, or hunger. Yet, as long as we live in this sinful world, children will continue to die, AIDS will continue to claim lives, war will continue to break up communities—Africa will continue to bleed.
The only lasting solution is Jesus Christ, both in what He can do now for the individual and in His promise to come end this world as we know it. That we have been called to help hasten that end is profoundly humbling. Young people in Kenya and Tanzania have already responded to that clarion call. Sold out for Christ, they are ready and willing to work.
This summer, we will work to strengthen their hands. For two weeks in June (June 3-17) and another two weeks in August (August 5-19), we will work side by side with them to reach the communities surrounding the villages of Bunere and Lanja in Tanzania.
Together, we will run Bible programs for the children at the Reach International orphanage on the shores of Lake Victoria, provide for the medical needs of the local communities, help initiate basic income-generating projects for the poor, go door-to-door (or rather, hut-to-hut) sharing Swahili literature, run an evangelistic series, plant a church in an unentered area, and be trained for service through practical evangelism seminars.
…my favorite moments were spent listening to these young people.
Join us! But don’t come expecting comfort or a relaxing trip. Come expecting to give all you have in service for others, to weep with the poor and hungry, to spend and be spent. Come expecting to rub shoulders with some of East Africa’s most dedicated young adult missionaries. Come because God has called.
If you’re willing, God will provide the means. When Hudson Taylor set off to establish the China Inland Mission, he had neither substantial funds nor income. All he had was faith—raw faith—trusting that if God wanted China evangelized, He would provide the resources. History testifies to God’s abundant provision.
If you can’t physically join the intermission team, let your resources go where you can’t: sponsor a local ALIVE missionary in Tanzania with a gift of just $150. It may mean changing your spending habits, saving up or canvassing to raise the funds—all to help save another soul.
“Sacrifice,” we would call it. Yet, I think when we get to the sea of glass, see the millions redeemed, and hear Jesus welcome us to the home He so lovingly prepared, we will echo the words of Dr. David Livingstone in his speech to students at the University of Cambridge in December 1857: “I never made a sacrifice!”