Thanks to your generosity, families in rural Tanzania received nutritious food during the recent drought which has severely affected these communities. We were blessed to receive this report from our mission partners there who work with CMFI, a long-time partnering organization with IDES. Their mission workers articulated this report beautifully, so we wanted to share it in their own words.
"We were granted $50,000 from IDES towards this project. $37,500 of this amount was directed towards the areas that our national partner was responsible for. He oversaw the efforts to purchase a total of 55,900 kilograms of corn to be distributed in 15 areas to feed 2,342 families for one month. $12,500 was directed towards the areas that another national partner was responsible for. He oversaw the efforts to purchase a total of 17,983.5 kilograms of corn and 443 kilograms of beans to be distributed in 6 areas to feed 443 families for one month.
"Even though we were not able to help all the areas with all of the relief requested for the amount of time requested, the people were so very thankful. Stories coming from our mission workers tell of people saying thank you over and over again until they were ready to cry! Some people even said "God bless you." Four tribes were impacted. Among them is the Barabaig tribe. One worker himself is Barabaig. We have church planters working among the Barabaig. But there are still many places not reached with the gospel message. While in one particular village to give out the corn, our worker heard the comment “we need a church here!”
"As promised, the corn was given out to any who had need in every region. Among the recipients were the elderly, the disabled, widows, orphans, Christians and non-Christians alike. Included among the non-
Christians were the witch doctors. In a Barabaig village, the local witch doctor came for help. Our mission worker said yes! Why? He said because the Bible tells us we should love our enemy!
"In another region, the government officials were so glad that their community was receiving help that they actually wrote two letters to express their gratitude.
"We were told ten decisions were made for Christ. In one area, the distribution site was set up at the local market to avoid incurring transportation costs. The corn was purchased at the market. The people that it was for had to walk up to an hour and a half to pick it up. But they were still grateful. And this plan ended up being a good witness to bystanders who wanted to know what was going on that day. Distribution sites were set up in a number of locals. Besides the market, when available the church building was used, sometimes the outside property of the church or a church member was used, and government office buildings or local structures were used if it was in a community with no church building or in a Muslim area.
"Stories coming from the other mission worker are just as exciting. Anyone with need was welcomed. In one area in particular, polygamy is still practiced. So a man with five wives and a total of 25 family members was able to receive his share of the corn and beans that was given out.
"Another time, a woman approached the mission worker for prayer. She had stomach pain that she had been dealing with for some time. In the past she had gone to the witch doctor for a cure. A black chicken had been slaughtered. A white chicken had been slaughtered. Incantations were said. But she was not cured. Our worker had the unique opportunity to pray with someone who requested prayer. Being a Christian he
prayed in the name and power of Jesus.
"The most exciting story comes from an area that is predominately Muslim. When the village was first approached with news of the opportunity to receive food relief, the village leaders said “you are only coming to give out food so that you can convert us!” Our mission worker told them that this was not the case. There was need. People were hungry. And God had provided through CMF and IDES. He said this was about Tanzanians helping Tanzanians. He was quick to say that he was a church planter and he was working with other church planters. Our men showed the love of God by their actions. And the outcome was that they were welcomed in the village and invited back. They have gained favor in the community. People saw that they were giving, kind hearted people who really care. And these same village leaders, all Muslims, funded the cost of the transport of the corn and beans!
"Our mission worker reports that many elderly men and women were helped. In conversation with one group of aged Muslim men, he asked about their condition. They told him they were just waiting to die. One 90-year-old man said he had never seen such a big relief effort from anyone -- government, Muslim or Christian in his lifetime!
"With this report we are closing out this project. Together with our team, our national partners, our church planters and thousands of people we say thank you! You have touched many lives here in Tanzania! Our missionaries feel encouraged. Our national partners feel empowered. Our church planters feel successful. And thousands of people feel loved."