By Tysan, 3 June 2019 |
Last week a major Adventist evangelism initiative in the eastern Africa nation of Tanzania came to an end with more than 8,000 baptisms. The campaign featured Dr. Baraka Muganda, a Tanzanian who has served as vice president for campus ministry at Washington Adventist University in the United States and youth director for the denomination’s General Conference. His preaching was live-streamed to more than 4,000 sites over the Internet out of the central city of Dodoma by the Tanzania Adventist Media Center (TAMC) team.
To launch the campaign on 15 May, Muganda met with the Speaker of the nation’s parliament, the Hon. Job Ndungai. He was welcomed publicly by the Deputy Speaker, the Hon. Tulia Jackson, who warmly introduced Muganda and his team to the parliament in session. The visit was arranged through Adventist members of parliament.
The team included Pastor Christopher Ungani, communication director for the South Tanzania Union Conference; Pastor Gideon Msambwa, communication director for the North Tanzania Union Conference; Pastor David Mbaga, communication director for the Central Tanzania Conference; and Pastor Prince Emmanuel from the Hope Channel Tanzania television ministry. The members of parliament all received copies of Hope for the Family, an outreach book used in the campaign.
The delegation visited with Speaker Ndungai in his office. Ndungai commended Adventist choirs for their singing style. “I love your choirs, even this morning I was listening to their songs. Please do not imitate the world and change the rhythm. When Adventists sing, I feel touched; I get the message in the song. I do not like when words are drowned out by instruments and gestures. Please keep it up.”
The visit to parliament resulted in Members of Parliament attending every evening. The campaign included family life seminars, health classes on nutrition and Muganda’s sermons on the theme “Experiencing the Power of God.”
Besides inviting their neighbors to the meetings, Adventists in Dodoma donated blood to people in need. Mbaga stated that the campaign boosted the membership of the conference and its reputation in the region.
The last Sabbath was a day of celebration. All the officers of the two union conferences in Tanzania came to share in the joy of the harvest. Pastor Mark Malekana and Pastor Godwin Lekudayo, respectively presidents of the South Tanzania Union and North Tanzania Union, praised God for the results. They thanked church members for their commitment to three weeks of activities and urged them to take care of their newly baptized friends. They also appealed to pastors to focus on nurturing and retention.
Tanzania has a relatively large Adventist presence. With 600,000 church members and twice that number when unbaptized children in Adventist families are included, it numbers more a million among the country’s 56 million population. There are more than 5,200 local congregations, as well as the University of Arusha, Heri Adventist Hospital in Kigoma, a dozen secondary schools and 20 medical clinics operated by the denomination. The Adventist membership has been growing at a rate of 10 percent annually in recent years.
The photo was taken on the last Sabbath of the campaign as thousands of new Adventists were baptized across the country. Tysan is an Adventist Today correspondent based in Tanzania. In addition to his firsthand reporting, this story includes information from the Adventist News Network (ANN) supplied by Prince Bahati, communication director for the denomination’s East Central Africa Division.