|Matema, Lake Nyasa (aka Lake Malawi) on a recent break|
To a passing observer it may look like an exciting adventure to work in ‘exotic’ Africa, but while Tanzania is indeed a beautiful place, with delicious tropical fruits, exotic birds and lots of sunshine, the reality of living and working here is often challenging. Leaving behind family and friends that I love and living in a culture that is so different from my own can be very hard. So why do I do it?
Though the sun is shining and the birds are singing as I write, I know that out there the world is a mess. Just over the wall are people living in poverty, sometimes wondering where their next meal will come from or how they will pay their children’s school fees. Read the news and there are people living in fear of their lives, thousands trying to escape their homes and others suffering from natural disasters. And in my own family loved ones are suffering, I myself often have health issues and I know that happiness is fragile.
I can’t make sense of all this. Sometimes I find the hopelessness of life overwhelming, except that I believe that there is hope. This world has a lot of beauty, ingenuity and love in it, enough to point me to the fact that there must be a master designer behind it – I cannot conceive that it just came to be. But if all that there is to life now is what I see around me and on the news, then I am not sure what the point of living is. My own life might be pretty comfortable and nice, but what about all those others who are suffering? Is it fair?
When I wonder about all this (which I do frequently), again and again I am pointed towards the only thing, or One, that I believe makes sense of it. This world is messed up, mostly by humanity’s own actions, but there is hope. God made this world to be a beautiful place where we can live in love and harmony with Him and one another. But people have chosen to ignore God and follow their own ideas and the world we now live in is the result of that. But the reason I have hope to carry on and the reason I live in Tanzania, is because I believe God hasn’t abandoned us. I believe that if we choose to acknowledge God to be God and to love and follow Him, we can look forward to a day when this world will be totally restored, the mess done away with, and we will live in peace with man and God. This hope for the future gives me the strength to live for today. It gives me the motivation to live in Tanzania, to work with the church here to help people to know God better, through the Bible, that they might share in that hope that I have. I have been privileged with good education and Bible teaching, unlike so many of my Christian family in Tanzania, so this is why I have come to teach in Bible colleges and churches here that they also might understand the Bible and know God better and the hope He offers. It is why I am part of an organisation trying to make the Bible available in every language of the world that needs one.
|Students at a Bible college that I teach at occasionally|
If you have questions about anything I have written, if you disagree or want to know more, please write and tell me!
"The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living." The Bible (Hebrews 11:1, The Message translation)