Tanzania missionaries visit EPA Conference churches

Update from The Rev. Davis, Missions Secretary:

Our Missionaries Rev. Mutwale and his wife Kabaka arrived on the September 29, 2014 and visited with us till October 20.

They were in 16 meetings at various churches and with several pastors and our Bishop as well.  We were able to generate over $2,500 and also enter into a covenant relationship with at least five new churches. They travelled to many places to meet with people and share their ministry.

They said that this has been a great time of fellowship and learning and sharing their vision for the United Methodist Church in Tanzania, In 2015 they will be a full fledged conference,  and will have over 65 churches established with elders, deacons and local pastors leading these churches.

They are planning to have a UMC Center to set up children's education program and Income generating training for women. They also have in place a program for primary health care facility. They are encouraging the pastors and churches to take a more closer look at their ministry.

EPAUMC Giving, according to the GBGM figures as of September 30, 2014:

  • Project support  $ 345,297.
  • Missionary Support $ 42,208.
  • Total Advance Giving $387,505.

The Rev. Mutwale Ntambo Wa Mushidi and Kabaka Ndala Alphonsine, United Methodist missionaries in Tanzania, East Africa, have been itinerating in the EPA Conference for much of October. During his sixth visit and her third, they have visited churches and shared the strides, hopes and critical needs of their growing mission enterprises, while meeting old and new friends and supporters.

Fast-growing, multicultural, multi-faith Dar es Salaam is Tanzania's capital and largest city. There they are involved in evangelization and church growth, Christian education, women's education and activities, community development, health education and refugee ministries. This active, dedicated missionary couple, who have four daughters and two sons, receives support for their work from donors in our conference, among others whom they are visiting. They will return home in December.

The Rev. David J. Davis. EPA Conference Secretary for Global Ministries, has been their host for the month, encouraging churches, groups and individuals to invite them for fellowship and mission interpretation.

“The Conference Missions Team has been working hard to draw attention to the mission work United Methodists are engaged in globally through the missionaries we support,” said Davis. He coordinated the conference's two Celebration of Mission events in March 2013 and 2014, held at Olivet UMC in Coatesville, where he serves as pastor.

"We try to bring missionaries into our midst, from time to time, to give our congregations opportunities to hear and support what God is doing through them," he said. "The amazing work they do is really good news, and a testament to the sacrificial giving we engage in for missions."

Kabaka Ndala Alphonsine coordinates women's activities and training for the church in Tanzania and directs a United Methodist preschool in Dar-es Salaam. Her work includes Christian education and teaching sewing and other entrepreneurial skills to help women obtain income security.

Kabaka also teaches health education, especially healthy habits to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and now Ebola. Of special focus are the many refugees in their area, where she works with her husband to evangelize and care for the developing church and community.

The Rev. Mutwale Ntambo Wa Mushidi is a member of the North Katanga Annual Conference in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is part of the North Katanga and Tanzania Episcopal Area. He represents the bishop as Superintendent of the Dar-es Salaam District, the headquarters of the Tanzania Provisional Conference, which hopes to become as a full annual conference if approved by the denomination’s 2016 General Conference.

As an evangelist, church planter and community developer, Rev. Mushidi pioneered United Methodist mission work in Tanzania in the early 1990s. Thanks to support and collaboration from mission partners, there are now 64 churches in 11 regions there, he reports. “Our primary function,” he says, “is to proclaim Christ to the world while working for God’s reign of grace, peace, and justice."

There is a lot of “competition” among many faith groups, especially Catholics, Rev. Mushidi admits. But the United Methodist Church in Tanzania is growing and reaching out. "People are changing according to God's word; refugees are being consoled," he says.

Thanks to generous donations they recently purchased 15 acres of property in southwest Dar es Salaam to build a guest house and reception center for missionaries and visitors, and eventually a church, a school and a medical facility (Advance Project #12635N).

The Mushidis end their visit to our conference at First UMC Lancaster on Sunday, Oct. 19, before departing to visit other conferences. Learn more about them and their mission work on our Web site at http://epaumc.org/ministry/global  and on the General Board of Global Ministries Web site at www.umcmission.org/Missionaries-in-Service/Missionary-Profiles/.  

—John Coleman, EPA Conference Communications Director