Report from ACrossMission participants Mikaela and Claire
The people of Rorya left a huge imprint on our hearts, lives, faith, and outlook on Christian life. So many of our sisters and brothers there illustrated for us of what a true, strong faith looks like. They showed us what it is to live out our faith in every single part of life. Their genuine and joyful love for God was always bursting from them through smiles, laughter, singing and dancing. They have so little. They suffer so much. Yet they recognize that our need for God is truly our most urgent need and they showed us what it is to live authentically in this understanding.
The Christians of Rorya didn’t let their physical drought and poverty push them away from God in anger or resentment, but instead they were able to use the situation to rely on God and His strength. They understood something that so many of us living in abundance never come to understand - that God is ultimately the only thing that will sustain us and leave us satisfied.
“Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world
to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom
He promised those who love him?” (James 2:5)
Many of the people in Rorya are living witnesses to this verse. They work to consistently and persistently share Christ’s truth and life with their entire community. We learned what it is to bear witness of Christ at all times. We are made in God's image; the Christians we met in Rorya showed us what it is to live as Christ followers. They helped us see what it is to reflect the nature of Christ so beautifully and evidently through their love, genuine welcoming, and pure servant’s hearts.
Christ’s ministry worked both ways while we were there: they shared their homes, culture, food, hugs, testimonies, worship, love for God, and Christ’s message with us, while we in return shared His word and His love in our “mzungu" worship music and through choppy, translated conversations.
As brothers and sisters in Christ we found that the language barrier was quickly broken down, and communication happened through smiles, laughter, and our shared love for God. His love, presence, and power were so evident in all of the communities and parishes we visited. Having the opportunity to be apart of it all in Tanzania was incredible. Being immersed in their culture and way of life was an absolutely extraordinary experience. Seeing how God and His church are and can be the center of life in community is wonderful - it is something that we in Canada are too often missing out on - this was a great lesson for us Canadians.
While in Tanzania, our faith has developed; it has been challenged, and grown, and we have returned home with so much more than we left with. We are changed - we have been both emotionally and spiritually transformed. We are constantly thanking God for our time and experience in Tanzania. We cannot wait to return and meet again with our brothers and sisters across the world.
Bwana Asifiwe, Amin.