Facing Goliath in Tanzania

While our team shared numerous treasured experiences while serving with e3 Partners in Tanzania, I would like to share just two. Both show the steadfastness of the Lord, and through both experiences our team learned valuable lessons about Him and grew in our relationships with Him.

We were under trees, in a village school yard, an hour from the nearest town, deep in the heart of Tanzania, sharing Bible stories. Our team presented a skit on David and Goliath to about 40 men and women. A few were churched Christians, but most were unreached people of the Zamaro people group, many of whom are Muslims. Naturally we cast the tallest lady on our team as Goliath and the shortest as David. The rest of us played Children of Abraham, Philistines, and King Saul. The reception of our “performance” caught us so off guard that we could hardly keep from splitting our sides with laughter!  Crowds gathered, curious children crept in from the dirt road, translators were recording on their phones, and laughter erupted along with loud clapping and shouting; they loved it!  Our audience screamed for our Goliath, who roared, flexed her arms and wore a costume made from aluminum foil and poster paper! David shot ping pong balls at Goliath with a sling shot, and the king wore her paper crown proudly. Our scribe and her interpreter narrated the story from a “scroll” on a paper towel roller, and the rest of us shouted our lines, giggled, and basically acted crazy. The next day when we arrived at the ministry site, everyone cheered and flexed their arms when our Goliath walked up! 

What did we learn?  We didn’t need expensive costumes to get the story across.  God told His story through us; we just went where God sent us and acted on the stage He provided, for the audience He prepared ahead of time.

 A small group plans the pictures they will draw from the story of Nehemiah.

A small group plans the pictures they will draw from the story of Nehemiah.

The second experience I want to share with you happened on the second day at our ministry site.  Our team had been divided into teaching teams of 2, and the class had been divided into small groups of 7-10. Each small group included at least one Christian national, and Muslims comprised the rest of the group. On that day we were teaching Creation, Fall, and Redemption.  While I certainly wanted to finish strong and present the full Gospel, I didn’t want my manner of presentation to deter the Muslims (and one Muslim man in particular) in our group from returning to finish the week of Community Transformation classes. I wanted to speak with love, gentleness, and respect, and as I spoke, I prayed in my mind and heart, “not too strong not too soft.”  My partner spoke of Creation, I spoke of the Fall, and as I began Redemption the one Christian lady in our small group interrupted me and said, “My name is Amelia. I, myself, choose to follow Jesus.  He is the Son of God and came to die on the cross for our sins.”  All I could say was, “Thank you Lord.” I truly believe that God placed Amelia in our group to share the Gospel in a way that this Muslim man could really hear. As a member of his community and culture, Amelia has a kind of credibility and influence that we did not, and she remains a point of contact should he have questions. Later, I encouraged Amelia and thanked her for sharing her testimony in our small group. 

 Sharing with one of the small groups.

Sharing with one of the small groups.

This experiences really brought home the power of prayer. Prayers whispered in the moment as well as before you arrive are truly heard by our God.

 Here, we are learning how to make batik—a fabric dying technique.

Here, we are learning how to make batik—a fabric dying technique.

 The finished result!

The finished result!