Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Not alone

You have heard a lot about what I do here in Tanzania, so now it’s time I introduced you to some of my colleagues and helped you get a feel for the scope of Scripture Engagement work in Mbeya.

Jo records some Safwa singers
Jo (a British lady) specialises in making audio and audio-visual Scripture products available to people in their language, as many people prefer this way of engaging with Scripture, and some people can’t read. This week she is going to the Bungu language area to record local people reading Ruth and Jonah in their language. Once she has finished editing the recordings, we hope to distribute them via phones, CDs, radio and solar-powered audio devices.

Konga & Heri are kept busy supervising the literacy and Scripture Engagement (SE) workers who live in their language areas. They themselves were once literacy & SE workers in their own language areas – they did such a good job that we invited them to come and work in our main office in Mbeya to support their colleagues. They are frequently travelling to visit their colleagues, to encourage and advise them and help them teach workshops. We primarily conduct two kinds of workshops – one is to train Sunday school teachers in interactive ways to teach children the Bible (this often includes teaching them to read their language so that they can use local language Bible resources with the children) and the other is to train leaders in churches to read their language and prepare and lead Bible studies.

Frank (Tanzanian), Karin (German), Alison (American), Gift (Tanzanian) and Baraka (Tanzanian) focus primarily on literature production and literacy training, but their work often overlaps with Scripture Engagement, as books and literacy (as well as Jo’s audio and visual resources) are all essential to helping people engage with Scripture.

Literacy & SE colleagues (photo taken 2016, a couple more people have joined the team since then)
Prisca, Mwangunga, Mwangosi, Sambwe, Ngwatta, Nsolelo, Amani, Nzowa, Pitrosi, Majaliwa and Nyambo live further afield – they are the Literacy / Scripture Engagement workers who live and work in their language areas. They are involved in advocacy, teaching people to read their language, leading Bible studies and groups for listening to audio Scriptures and training others to do the same. They have a challenging task! Some have taken bold initiatives. Nsolelo & Amani recently started up two ladies’ football teams in Amani’s village, Mshewe. Before practising, the young ladies meet to learn to read their Safwa language and study the Bible together! A couple of other neighbouring villages have also started teams, led by Safwa literacy teachers.

Young ladies playing football in Mshewe
These are just the people directly involved in Scripture Engagement here in the Mbeya Cluster Project. There are so many more who are essential to the overall goal of seeing people engaging with God’s Word in their language and being transformed by it. I haven’t even mentioned the translators, linguists, IT specialists, administrators and others involved!

So, I’m not alone in this work! I have my own specific role to play, but I am very much a part of a broader team, and it is my privilege to work alongside these people. Please pray that God would direct our steps and that we would work together well, with God as our ultimate leader and teacher.