Having recently returned from Tanzania, Africa, after being on mission with 40 young people from our YWAM Orlando Fall Discipleship Training School (DTS), there are sooo many amazing stories I could share! I am absolutely blown away by what God did during our 7-week outreach in Tanzania. I will share some of the stats from outreach, but first I want to share just one story that gives you a glimpse into our experience in the nation.
The sun is beating down, the sound of goat bells rings in the background, and the smell of earth and livestock comes with the light breeze as we trek across the dusty ground from one boma to another (areas of huts and livestock pens; owned by one man with many wives). In this particular city, the majority of the bomas are inhabited by widows, some as young as 18 years old. As our group of 10 young adults approached a boma with our translator, we are greeted by the “mama” and given her permission to stay and share whatever message we have. As we ask if we can pray for her, she returns to her work, but more and more young women start to gather, babies strapped on their backs, and a little shy of us as their visitors. Another mother in the boma comes forward and asks us for prayer. She is a born-again believer but has been having some physical ailments and was feeling spiritual warfare. Our team lays hands on her, praying in the name of Jesus, and she says she feels a coolness go through her body and a lifting of the ailments she has been feeling. A DTS student steps forward, led by the Spirit, and asks the group of teenage girls if they wanted to really know Jesus. And, if they had not been born again, if they wanted to receive eternal life in a lasting relationship with Jesus. With this question, another young woman on our team stepped forward and began to share the full gospel with the group of girls. On the invitation to turn from their sins and receive Jesus as Lord and savior our translator drew a line in the sand, “Step up to the line if you are making this decision and really mean it!”
Six young women with eyes lit up stepped up to the line, smiling shyly down at the ground. Our student led them in a prayer to receive Christ, as the born-again mother of the boma who had just gotten healed celebrated behind them.
This is just one of many stories of salvations and healing. I have never experienced such fruitful ministry times as I did in Tanzania!
Our outreach team spent weeks in remote villages with no running water, no regular toilets (my first encounter with the renowned squatty potty), and no Wi-Fi. All comforts and luxuries that I couldn’t imagine going without in my normal day to day life. But going without broke something open in me. Going without brought a greater awakening to what we really need in order to survive. And a greater urgency to share this dependency and real source of life with those who don’t have it.
Being starved of the comforts that we normally fill ourselves with left our team with one thing to focus on – our need for God and a greater hunger to see Him show up in power and glory. I believe that it was this pure hearted hunger in our students, their integrity to serve the Lord and walk in humble obedience to Him that resulted in such a fruitful outreach.
Some of the ministry we did included:
- Sharing at public schools (with anywhere from 300-800 students!)
- Children’s ministry in the villages
- Home visits bringing food, soap, and other essentials
- Building homes for widows (we helped build a total of 3 homes)
- Worship and evangelism in the village centers
- Preaching and sharing testimonies in church services
- Visiting orphanages and elderly homes
- Praying for the sick in hospitals and clinics
- Worship and intercession at the YWAM bases in Tanzania
At the end our time in Tanzania we recorded:
- 2,705 meaningful encounters
- 5,769 ministered to
- 3,647 full Gospel shared
- 86 healings
- 1,273 salvations
Just absolutely mind blowing the amount of people that were touched by the Spirit of God! It brings tears to my eyes that God would choose to use us in our simple “yes” to Him. He sure doesn’t need us to accomplish his purposes here. The rocks would cry out if we don’t! But He invites us to be a part of His story. He invites us to receive an inheritance of life. Coming out of an experience like this, one can’t deny the power in Jesus’ statement that in losing your life you truly find it.
“If you truly want to follow me, you should at once completely reject and disown your own life. And you must be willing to share my cross and experience it as your own, as you continually surrender to my ways. For if you choose self-sacrifice and lose your lives for my glory, you will continually discover true life. But if you choose to keep your lives for yourselves, you will forfeit what you try to keep.” (Matthew 16:24-25 TPT)
I have left this outreach feeling tired, but refreshed. Feeling like I poured out, but also feeling a rich fullness. God truly met me and marked me on this outreach.
He met me in the hard moments. Moments when I didn’t know what I was doing leading. Moments when I didn’t want to be a missionary and just wanted to go back to something comfortable and safe. He also met me in the many, many moments of laughter, dancing, hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, swimming in waterfalls, and experiencing the beauty of his wild creation on a safari.
And God marked me. He marked me with a greater urgency to reach the unreached when we encountered people in the bush who had never heard the name of Jesus. He marked me with a love for the one when the Spirit prompted me to pray for motherhood over a woman who I didn’t know had experienced multiple miscarriages. He marked me with greater faith for the next generation when we saw hundreds of children in public schools respond to the Gospel. And He marked me with a greater heart for the nations when we worshipped with other tribes and tongues, brothers and sisters across the world, who are the inheritance of Jesus.
One last thing I have to share in celebration is the 34 students that graduated this DTS! They were an absolute joy to walk with the last 5 months and witness their transformation and breakthrough. Sometimes I can’t believe I get to do what I get to do. As I am getting met and transformed by a loving and gracious God, I get to walk with other young people in their relationship with the Lord as well as discipling them…all while being spurred on and encouraged by them!
So much to be thankful for in returning from this outreach. So much to celebrate. All glory to God for this outreach and the fruit of the last 7 weeks in Tanzania!
And glory to God for your support and friendship in making this possible. Thank you, many times over, for giving of your finances and time in prayer to support me. Again, I can’t believe that I get to do what I do, and I owe this joy to you as my support team.
If you would like to hear more stories, catch up, and share how I can pray for you, please reach out! I would love to hear from you.
In my next update I’ll be sharing about what’s next for me with YWAM Orlando (I’m stoked for it. :))
Until then, God bless!