Declining soil fertility, poor farm management, and population growth are contributing to low productivity and reduced soil resiliency on the majority of smallholder farms in Tanzania’s Lake Zone. Current yields are estimated to have dropped by as much as 95% over the last five decades. Many farmers are struggling to feed their families and are looking for answers.
In many of these same rural areas, there are no churches present. The people who live in these villages are intensely spiritual, but do not know Jesus Christ or that his kingdom is near. They exist between fear and fatalism, seeking to appease ancestral spirits given charge of the world by a very distant creator God. They do not understand that this creator God deeply loves them and wants to be in relationship with them — and that a life in his son is a life of great purpose, without fear.
Nearly every one of these villagers is a subsistence farmer. Continue reading
As a missionary and agriculture development worker in rural Tanzania, I have countless opportunities to teach both Bible and agriculture. Everyone wants the knowledge I (am perceived to?) possess,* and I am regularly invited to teach new groups of people. But my time is limited and finite.** Perhaps the least mentioned task of cross-cultural workers is one of the most important skills for them to develop in order to be effective in their work.
Steve Childers of Reformed Theological Seminary stated recently that the key to evangelism in the 21st century will be hospitality.
I can’t help but think one thing….
Hospitality has always has been the key to evangelism. But not in the way one might assume.
While talk of hospitality in evangelism brings to mind Christians having non-Christians into our homes, inviting pagans to dinner is not exactly what I read in the New Testament. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not at all arguing against being kind to strangers. Inviting the neighborhood over for a barbecue is a great way to build relationships. So is hosting the little league end-of-the-year party.
But my understanding of hospitality’s primary role in evangelism is exactly the opposite. Continue reading