Revd Dr Linnet Smith is currently spending 2 months in Tanzania on secondment from the UK. She’s based in Arusha but is also visiting other parts of the country where Rooted in Jesus is in use.
Linnet met with Revd Charles Unjiro, Rooted in Jesus Coordinator for the Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro: “He is so enthusiastic. He talked about how people in the groups were saying ‘God speaks to ME’ in these groups!’ And that some of the people in the groups have gone to new places where they are planting new churches and are being evangelists there. People are growing up in spiritual ways, helping their pastors with evangelism and becoming the future servants of God. Some of them have set up home-cell groups to continue studying the Bible together.”
She has visited the Diocese of Mara, travelling with Regional Coordinator Canon Jacob Robert to a number of villages: “Visiting different churches where there are RinJ groups was great. Each time we arrived at a church, after a long drive over dirt roads, we waited for a while for people to gather and then Jacob gathered the children in a group, asked them questions about what they were learning in their RinJ group and tested them on memory verses. He was so kind and affirming with them – it was a joy to watch. Then he repeated the exercise with the adults and took the opportunity to teach them more from the Word and about how RinJ groups work at the same time.” In all they visited 9 churches in 4 days. Some highlights:
- “We visited Kirumi Church where the people seemed very poor – subsistence farmers with little or no cash for school fees etc. People did gather eventually and Jacob gave them opportunity to talk about how their lives had changed through knowing Jesus and through RinJ. One woman told us that before she gave her life to Jesus, her husband had left her with several children so she turned to prostitution. Then she came to Christ and gave up that way of life and prayed for her husband. Now he has come back and they are a family again.
- “Our next stop was at Buhema church. It took a while for the people to gather there and Jacob reminded me that people were making a real sacrifice coming to meet with us when there was work to be done in the fields. In the end a group of about 60 children gathered. After playing a game with them, Jacob asked them questions from the RinJ course and then tested them on memory verses, giving each child who got one right, a big round of applause. He was just lovely with the children and then with the adults. It was a joy to watch!!
- “Then we went to the Church at Mmazame. They shared with us how they had benefitted from RinJ. For example, now they had confidence in opening the Bible for themselves; now they felt able to share their faith with others; now they had learned the memory verses, they could stand against temptation; now they felt able to teach others. One man had learned 33 verses while studying 3 RinJ books – he didn’t say them all but he did say quite a few word perfect. They were given new books also and the evangelist challenged them to start a new group each.”
Linnet concludes: “It was truly wonderful to see Rin J groups in operation in the parishes – I praise God for your vision and hard work in creating something that God is using so much for the growth of the church here. Jacob and I travelled back here together and then on Friday we met with James Almasi, the other Regional Coordinator, to plan for 2014 and beyond. It was a joy to work with such men of God and I think we made good plans. We stepped out in faith and planned for more conferences than we really have funding for so please pray that the extra money will be given!”
Linnet is also working through Book 1 of RinJ with the diocesan staff in Arusha, and talking with Charles Unjiro about how they can help RinJ become a self-sustaining ministry within the diocese. A grant is being applied for, and there are plans to hold special ‘Rooted in Jesus’ Sundays when an offering can be made to support the costs of the programme. Charles is also considering a tea and cake/groundnuts event when people would be invited to come and have a cuppa and make a contribution to the work of RinJ.
We continue to pray for Linnet as she travels, advises, assists and speaks, and for the Tanzanian Rooted in Jesus team Bishop Stanley Hotay, Canon Jacob Robert and Canon James Almasi.
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