Serving the Lord in Tanzania

January, 2023

“… be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)

            Dear co-labours for missions, we give you Greetings from Tanzania, in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Thank you for your prayers and support for our Tanzanian mission. Throughout this year, we were able to experience God’s abundant grace here. We would like to share how God has granted His mercy upon us.

  1. Bible College of East Africa Tanzania

     2022 Fall Semester. Bible College of East Africa Tanzania ended its fall semester on November 25th. The semester started with 22 students. However, only 18 students were able to take the final exam. Sadly, four students were suspended for misconduct (cheating). There are still many ethical issues to be corrected; yet, we thank God for the students who have made many improvements. Our faculty members have been greatly encouraged by the growing number of students who are seriously studying the Bible and actively asking a range of in-depth questions. The next semester started on January 2nd. Please pray that God will send faithful students with a true calling, and that those students will take the meaning of becoming servants of God’s Word seriously and focus on their studies.

     Girls’ Dormitory. Our new girls’ dormitory (Ivy House) was completed in the first week of December and is pictured above. Until now, due to the lack of space, our girl students had to stay in the guard house at the entrance of our site. This was not good for them. However, from now on, they can focus more on their studies while staying in the new dormitory. It is located right next to our new library (Stephen Library), far from the boys’ dormitory. There was a dedication service at the opening day of the new semester. After the service, the girl students moved in.  The maximum capacity is 12, but we feel that eight is a manageable number for now.

     Curriculum Revision. Our faculty members have continued to improve the college curriculum, and to develop new subjects to strengthen students’ academic skills. Our subjects are wholly focused on the Bible and its core doctrines, also offering practical subjects to make our students prepared for their ministry:

  • Church Music Ⅰ/Ⅱ and Pianoforte: to understand the basics of church music and its proper application.
  • IT Basics: Compared to other countries, the computer-based system here is still in its infancy. Most students have never even used a computer. However, as candidates for the next generation of ministries, they need to be well equipped with basic computer skills. A visiting lecturer (Rev. Ma YoungJin) has been teaching IT Basic Ⅰ to our students since the fall semester.

     Miscellaneous. We continue to improve our physical environment too, wanting to use the dead spaces as efficiently as possible. Some of the spaces behind the library now have a small garden to supply vegetables, and a parking lot was made in front of the garden. Also, a new main road was made from the main entrance to the new library. Moreover, we are renovating the entire waterway on campus. Lastly, there are fencing repairs on all the fences for safety, as the number of people moving into the town near our college is suddenly increasing.

2.  Glory Bible-Presbyterian Church (Campus Church)

     Pastor Joseph has been diligently serving at our Glory Bible-Presbyterian Church. This year, we resumed our VBS, which was suspended for the past three years due to COVID-19. We give thanks to God for His grace that granted us this precious ministry for children once again. It was held from December 8 to 10, with a graduation service of the Chemchem Kindergarten on the last day of VBS (December 10).

     For this, missionary Bai EunYoung, with two Kenyan and one Tanzanian student formed a team. They first completed a VBS at some Maasai churches (near the border area of Kenya) before reaching BCEA Tanzania. After that, with a total of 13 staff members joined by eight more students from BCEA Tanzania, the VBS program was successfully conducted at Glory Bible-Presbyterian Church. More than 200 students, including Chemchem Kindergarten members, participated and had a valuable time learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All expenses during this period were sponsored by Chemchem Kindergarten. Please pray that many of these children will be saved by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and will grow spiritually in obeying the Word of God.

Chemchem Kindergarten

     The Kindergarten started vacation with their 2022 graduation on December 10. A total of 13 students graduated this year. The total enrollment in Chemhem Kindergarten this semester was 83, but there were only 74 attendees in the graduation service. Since parents’ awareness of the importance of education is low here, their awareness of the importance of attendance without missing a single day is also low. We are working hard to change this. Pray for wisdom for our teachers who have been working so hard to effectively teach and manage students according to God’s Word, and for parents to understand the importance of education based on the Bible.

     The Kindergarten is also making improvements. Due to the rapid increase in the number of students, Chemchem has suffered from a shortage of outdoor play equipment. So, next year, we plan to install playground equipment and reorganize the front yard of the kindergarten to become an efficient space for play activities. Also, we are planning a children’s library for those who are neglected due to the lack of an after-school education system. Due to the poor publishing industry here, there is a real shortage of books, including textbooks. Children’s Christian books are even scarcer.  So, we are trying to prepare an after-school program for the children of church and kindergarten. Pray for the securing of these books (English and Swahili) and the preparation of a children’s library.

  • Bible Project (Kiswahili Bible Distribution Project)

       As God moved many people’s hearts, so we were able to distribute about 2,000 Kiswahili Bibles this year. At the beginning, we simply thought we could distribute these Bibles only in our region. However, God has stretched His mighty hand to help us send them even to Mwanza and Bukoba, the far western part of Tanzania beyond Lake Victoria, which is about 1,000 km away from here. We earnestly pray that the day will come soon when all Tanzanian Christians will be able to hold the Bible in their hands and read it.

       There is a very delightful testimony related to this Bible Project. We have one builder who built our new library and girls’ dormitory. Although he is a very diligent man, one thing to be desired about him is that he is a Muslim. As he has been working together with our college for years, we have been praying for his salvation. How happy would it be if all those who work with our college could come to know and believe in Jesus Christ? Our professors have been praying for him, and even the students have encouraged him to believe. And finally last week, this builder, suddenly asked us for three Bibles: One for himself to read, one for his Muslim friend, and one for his children. This is a meaningful start because here in Tanzania, if a father becomes a Christian, his whole family converts to Christianity. So, we immediately gave him three Bibles with great joy. How wonderful is this! All praises to God who moves people’s hearts toward salvation. Now we earnestly pray that true faith will spring up in the hearts of that builder, his friend, and his whole family while reading the Bible.

4.   Special Prayer Requests

       Serious Electricity Problem: Due to the very poor electricity facilities in Tanzania, we have suffered from a shortage of the electric supply. But recently, the supply problem has become more serious. It has been several months since the power was cut off (for so many hours each day). If one day the power was cut off for more than 10 hours, then the next day would be more than 6-7 hours. This pattern has been repeated, making the cost to run the generator for the entire college system excessively high. Moreover, because of daily usage the generator has suffered frequent breakdowns. Then, the regulator that used to handle the unstable voltage has repeatedly failed. These things put stress on the college in many ways, and unexpected financial burdens as well. Please pray for Tanzania’s electricity supply to be normalized as soon as possible so that all these problems can be resolved.

            Serious Drought and Famine, and Christmas Gift: It’s hard for everyone to survive these days, but it seems to be especially hard for people in Africa. Due to severe drought this year, many here are suffering from serious famine. I was told about the recent updates on Tanzanian churches from our local faculty members, saying that the children are even eating banana peels because they have nothing more to eat. It is also said that if any church prepares food for a church event, uninvited starving village people flock to ask for the food, thus making it difficult to prepare enough food. So, for this Christmas, we are going to buy and give out Ugali (corn meal) to the church members as a gift. Along with this, we will share the greatest spiritual gift, the Gospel of Christ. Please pray.

      Campus Church Building in Danger of Collapsing, and Its Reconstruction Matter: The campus church building (Glory Bible-Presbyterian Church), one of the earliest buildings on the campus is currently in danger of collapse. When this building was built, it was done without properly laying its foundation. As a result, several long transverse cracks have already been found in its walls as the building has absorbed all the moisture from the damp ground here. Wall and floor reinforcements were carried out a few years ago, but when the wall tiles were dismantled recently, the size and condition of the wall cracks were more serious than expected. For safety, it was judged that continuing to worship in this building could be dangerous. So, after demolition, we are planning to rebuild with a new church building as soon as possible. Pray for the new church building to be built strong with a solid foundation for worship and church ministries, and for sufficient funds to be raised.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      With great joy of the coming of Jesus Christ our Saviour,

                                                                                                Rev. Dr. Park SeungKyu and Dr. Ra ChaeWon