Building in Tanzania

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Since 2001, I’ve made seven
trips to Kigoma, Tanzania to do
a very different kind of homebuilding . . .

Actually, I go to present Marriage and Family seminars for national pastors and church leaders. Encouraging strong marriages and parenting skills is a passion of mine, learned over the last 40 years in my own home. Now after 12 years of time invested in East Africa, encouraging reports confirm that the Word of God is powerful and effective through these presentations. Because Tanzania is one of the world’s poorest countries, local churches are unable to fund such ministry, so seminar expenses and meals for attendees, as well as Bibles and other materials provided, depend on donations from enthusiastic believers in the U.S. (I provide my own round-trip transportation from Charlotte, NC to Kigoma.)


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In each of my trips in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2012, I’ve worked with Pastor Ezra Mtamya, the Bishop over a denomination of about 200 churches. They span across Tanzania and into Burundi and Congo, as well as many refugee camps in northern Tanzania. During my first trip, I was astounded to learn that most of the pastors had no Bible training – in fact, many did not own a Bible of their own from which they could study and preach the Word of God.

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Another big surprise was the realization that many cultural trappings hinder families and churches from understanding and practicing Biblical marriage and family patterns. Husbands and wives had no clue how to treat each other with love and respect. They did not know how to train and nurture their children toward Godly character.

Emmanuel Petro

It was almost inconceivable to me to imagine a pastor without a Bible. When my wife learned that many pastors’ wives were left without a Bible in the home when their husbands travelled (think “circuit rider”), we had to do something. On my 5th trip in 2008, we were able to present several groups of wives with their first Bible. All were rejoicing, many with tears – THIS was a thrilling experience to me.

August 26, 2011: Just returned from Trip #6, and again saw God do great things! Many pastors came with their wives and other church leaders, and I was able to present an Old Testament summary – very helpful for the many pastors who have had no formal Bible school or seminary training. Afternoon session concentrated on becoming men and women of God – husbands, wives and parents following healthy Biblical patterns. What a thrill!

After two more trips – #6 in 2011 and #7 in 2012 – I’ve continued to be unspeakably grateful for the joy and privilege to invest some of the riches I’ve gained from God’s Word with struggling pastors in rural Tanzania. Maybe God will initiate another trip in the future (2015?) and I want to stay ready and available. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, or for further photos and details about this ministry and past seminars … email me at

<<<  Finally … Here’s a LINK to a short video about
the 2012 seminars that I hope you’ll take 4 minutes to enjoy.