When I arrived in Tanzania, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church was in the middle of a satellite evangelism program. I wanted to visit one of the sites, so a local church elder picked me up from the hotel.
We were in the heart of a densely populated community of mixed religious backgrounds, including Muslims. The streets were narrow and dirty. There were tightly packed cubicles on both sides of the street with vendors and marketers. You can find almost anything in these shops.
It was after six o’clock in the evening. Women were now outside of their shops preparing the evening meal for their families. Various aromas permeated the air. About one out of ten shops is a local restaurant with a bar and big screen television. You cannot miss the heavy beat of music radiating from these drinking places. The community is poor but satellite dishes are displayed like jewelry on the simple mud and wooden houses. Soccer is the most popular thing to watch.
After about ten minutes we arrived at the site, which was actually the soccer field for the local children. The soccer match was interrupted as the evangelistic team set up the loud speakers and wide screen television for the satellite transmission. People were sitting outside, against the walls of their small homes, listening to the message. This was only one site of hundreds across Tanzania. During these meetings, the Bible lessons from Light Bearers were distributed.
A Muslim gentleman named Athumani received a set of lessons which he privately studied at home.
Since 2015, the Adventist Church in Tanzania has identified Muslim areas where the gospel has not been preached. Every year, public evangelistic meetings have been held in these locations. The Bible lessons are used in connection with these meetings and God’s Spirit has been moving upon individuals.
Many bigger churches are sponsoring Bible workers to go into these unreached areas with the Bible lessons before public meetings are conducted. One such church has identified 13 Muslim areas and is paying 13 Bible workers to sow the seed and nurture new converts. These lessons have helped to start 13 groups, of which seven have grown from company to church status.
During the satellite program in another Muslim area, an evangelist was using the Bible lessons before and during the meetings. A Muslim gentleman named Athumani received a set of lessons which he privately studied at home. When the public broadcast started, he attended the meetings. He is now in the class preparing for baptism.
These three members started worshipping under a tree. Soon they needed a piece of land to build a church…
The Heavenly Trumpet Ministry is a group of 30 members whose aim is to share the gospel in Tanzania. The ministry sponsored and conducted a public evangelistic campaign in Ngalawani, Mkuranga district in the coastal region, just outside Dar Es Salaam in 2017. This was an unreached Muslim community and they used the Bible lessons from door to door. The group also sponsored a Bible worker to prepare the area with the lessons and study with those who were interested. The Bible worker found a man named Luka with his wife living with Luka’s brother-in-law. The brother-in-law had left the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They did not attend the meetings. The Bible worker kept on studying with this family and in the community till after the meetings ended. The family of three was baptized in 2018 during the camp meeting. These three members started worshipping under a tree. Soon they needed a piece of land to build a church and the group raised $500 to purchase the property. They started building the church in 2019. Through their efforts, an extra 4 people were baptized and two were Muslim. More and more they are realizing that public meetings are not so effective in Muslim areas and the meetings are too expensive. Door-to-door Bible studies, using the Bible lessons are more effective in the Muslim communities. The church group is growing.
In 2019 a campaign was sponsored by the Magomeni Church, with a Bible worker, in an area called Mandela. The Bible worker initially took two boxes of Bible lessons for the meetings but the boxes were finished during the first week of the meetings. By the end of the week, the choir arrived with another two boxes. The choir had come to help for the weekend. While going to the site to eat their breakfast (a distance of about two kilometers), the choir decided to go from door to door and give out these lessons. Before reaching the site for breakfast, these two boxes were also finished. The lessons became known quickly within the community and people started complaining that they had not received lessons. More boxes were ordered from the Magomeni Church. At the end of the meetings eight people were baptized. The lessons are breaking through tradition and unbelief.