I have to remind myself every day to be intentional about our ministry here and find ways to minister to anyone that we possibly can. Since we are still in the process of learning Swahili, we are still limited in what we are able to communicate. However, we learn more about how to minister to people in culturally appropriate ways each time we are exposed to real-life here in Tanzania and how locals respond to it. We know that there is great need here, and not just spiritually but physically too. Answering people’s physical needs is one area that we feel we know a little about and we try to help in any way that we can when people approach us with physical needs.
We also know that our ministry here begins with our household. If we can’t manage our household as followers of Christ, then how will we be able to minister to anyone else? This line of thinking is what has helped us to realize that we must be good ’employers’ for our workers. We have one guy that is our guard 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. He also does all the outside work and helps me locate things around town (supplies, propane, tools, plumbers…). In order to provide him with an environment that is not only livable, but one that we feel ministers to his physical needs, we decided to add a ‘workers utility room’ which includes a kitchenette, shower stall, and toilet room. This part of the renovation is complete.
Next we need to renovate our garage stall into livable staff quarters. Currently, there is no way for our guard to monitor the gate and walls since there are no windows in the room. Plus, it is not as secure as we would all like it to be. Most importantly, providing a nice livable room is a big way we can minister to the folks that we work with and show them that we care about their needs.
We are also in the process of building a hutch with rabbit cages in order to raise rabbits outside. We have planted a garden which is doing pretty well right now. We hired a gardener that comes once or twice a week to help it along. We decided to use him because he is really good and he needs the funds in order to support his family in Malawi. We don’t pay him much at all, but every little bit helps him. We enjoy being able to help him in this small way. We will use the produce from the garden for ourselves and to feed the rabbits, so it will be very cheap to feed the rabbits. The rabbits will be raised for their meat in order to supplement our diet, since meat is pretty expensive here. We have the space and it will allow us to do more with our finances here. I think most importantly, the rabbits will be a really big way to bless people around us. Our workers, our language helpers, our friends from church, and our neighbors, will be very surprised when we are able to bless them with a small gift of a fully-grown rabbit that they can use to start their own rabbit ranch, or they can use it immediately for the meat. It will be a part of the ministry that we will enjoy here. The left side of the hutch will have 6 small cages to house all the kits we plan on having.
Meeting people’s needs opens some BIG doors here. At this point in our time here, we are becoming more free and knowledgeable to minister in more ways than before. Thanks to all of our partners, families, friends, and churches for working together with us for the ministry here in Tanzania.
Next Blog will be taking a look at our church here and all that is happening in that aspect of ministry.