22 Jul Celebrating Baptisms in Tanzania!
Lahash’s ministry partner Path Of Hope serves families and children in a part of Tanzania known for drought, extreme poverty, and very few established churches or support services of any kind. Families struggle for survival, education levels are low, and hope is in short supply. In a village called Busoka, the Path Of Hope staff’s tireless efforts have brought support on many fronts – nutritional, social, educational, and certainly spiritual. It was with great joy that they shared the following story with us, highlighting their recent baptism celebration!
It was indeed a special time in history when 22 children in the Lahash Sponsorship Program gave their lives to Christ at Busoka village. All between 9-17 years of age, they had been taught the Gospel and trained in the principles of Christianity since 2015. On May 11, 2019, they made the decision to be immersed in water as a symbol of their acceptance of Christ as their only true Savior. Their baptism also marked a turning point as they openly vowed to walk with Christ for the rest of their lives.
“Baptism is a symbol of a new life in Christ,” explained Bernadette, one of the children who chose to take this important step. “As we got immersed in water, we buried the old person, and as we arose from the water, we become a new creation.”
These baptisms are like a rebirth of the church in this area. Although Christianity is fairly well known, many villagers in the Busoka area are still strongly tied to the longstanding traditions of the local Sukuma people group, which include widespread belief in black magic.
The church in this village is very small with a membership below 10 adults. The majority of church attendants are the Sponsorship Program children and a few adults who are their parents or caregivers. The group has no permanent church building, so gatherings are held under temporary shelters every Sunday for worship services.
“The step taken by the kids to be baptized is a significant milestone for the church at Busoka,” commented Eliza Chacha, the Assistant Director at Path Of Hope. “Out of this group, future church leaders will emerge, church evangelists will be born, and membership will grow. Their baptism is a sign of an expanded church in the future.” As the Path Of Hope staff and church leaders continue to nurture the children in Christianity, they will experience the hope and peace found only in Christ, and the ongoing support of a faith community.
Discipleship is a key component of all the programs run by Lahash partners across East Africa. By God’s grace and the faithful implementation of discipleship curriculum, hundreds of children are learning about who God is and how to live a Christ-centered life. Here at Path Of Hope, the children find joy in memorizing Bible verses, singing in the choir, participating in fellowship, and praying and worshiping together. Most amazingly, many of them share the good news of the gospel with their friends and family members. It is clear that they have been transformed, and the light they bear is evident in their day to day lives. Truly it is quite humbling to see the light of God so active in these young lives, and we look forward to continued growth in the future!