Well, a lot has happened recently, and so many of you have helped to make it happen.
I have a return date and a plane ticket.
Thank you Tony and Jennifer Barnes, and Bill and Ramona Holley, for your generosity which made this possible. Thank you also to Conrad Barnes. We miss you. May you rest in peace.
We have a house, Nyumba Wesley, where we will live in intentional Christian community for six months.
Thank you to Mwita Baita, Cynthia Ombuo, Cyndi and Charles Strasburg, and Grace Methodist Church Dallas, for finding this house and helping with the payment to hold the house for us.
Who will be living here?
We have 4 potential Tanzanian members of the community:
Dinna Sylvester, from Gamasara, Tanzania
Dinna’s father died when she was 14 and her mother left at the same time. Life was very hard living in a mud hut with her grandmother, who often could not afford the basics. Then one day she was introduced to Gamasara Methodist Church, and from Gamasara Methodist, she was introduced to Wesley College, where she received her diploma in theology on Nov. 7th.
Dinna says “It used to be that I did not know God, I did not know that God cared about me or my family, I did not know that God wanted to use me in his work. But God has made so much of my life. He has taken me to Wesley College so I could study theology and has shown me that he wants to use me and make something of my life. Now I just want to tell everyone I meet about this, if anyone will listen I just start talking about it.”
Gilbert Bagaya, from Karagwe, Tanzania
On Nov. 7th, Gilbert graduated from Wesley College with his diploma in theology. In his words, “When I was 16… no, wait, 15, my parents decided I should start supporting myself so I left home. This was a hard time, so I started to get involved in church. I enjoyed music so I started helping with leading worship. It was through leading worship that I really started to know God and God’s love for me. And through this, I started to hear God calling me to share him with more and more people.”
Raphael Musa from Nyagisia, Tanzania
On Nov. 7th, Raphael graduated from Wesley College with his diploma in theology. In his words, “My father had 3 wives. This made home somehow difficult, there could be a lot of quarreling. But I remember that life got better when I started going to Gamasara Methodist Church. Then I started to know God and started helping other children who were in the hard life like I had been in. Now I just want to do this more and more.”
Veronica Marwa, from Gamasara, Tanzania
On Nov. 7th, Veronica Marwa graduated from Wesley College with her diploma in theology. She says,
“Over the last three years, I have learned so much about who God is and God’s love for everyone. Most surprising was that God loves women just as much as men and wants to use them to bring everyone the good news. After these last three years, I now have such a heart to share this same news with other women, whether young or old, that God cares about them, loves them, and wants to empower them.”
Thank you to Noel Chomola, Eric Soard, Damson Maganga, Bonface Wanyama, and many others who helped to connect us with these recent graduates.
And a big thank-you to Wesley College in Mwanza, Tanzania for connecting us with their recent graduates, and for all they are doing on the ground to make this community possible. Learn more about Wesley College here: https://www.wesleycollegetzfoundation.com/
… And three overseas members who will be living in the community:
Brina Simmons, from Madison, Alabama
It’s been great getting to know Brina. Who knew you could enjoy an interview so much? She has a powerful story of how she has come so much closer to God through some painful challenges and suffering, and in 2019 she was surprised to find just how much she loved children when she gave a summer to serve children at a QuadW mission site in Anniston, Alabama. This new passion is driving her to become a neonatal nurse, and she wants to give a few months to serve in Tanzania to learn more about what it looks like to serve children as a part of God’s mission.
Megan Swanson, from Huntsville, Alabama
Megan had the opportunity to work in Tanzania with a team from the Auburn Wesley Foundation in 2017. That was a truly life-defining experience for her and since then, she has completed her undergrad degree in Natural Resources Management and her graduate degree in Conservation Leadership, during which she and several colleagues lived in Rwanda for four months to research women’s access to water.
While Megan is currently enjoying her work in fundraising for nonprofits, she is so excited to have the chance to go back to Tanzania and to continue to learn, grow, and share with this intentional living community and the people of Tanzania.
Not sure who this guy is, but as the community leader, he is hoping to empower this community to know God’s love through sharing their very different stories with each other, and to empower them to pass this same love on to their neighbors.
Thank you to Rev. Dan Kim, Global Community Methodist Church of Columbus, Ohio, Deborah Shim, Linda MacCarthy, Helen Park, Roland MacCarthy, Kadijah, Paola Orduna, Joshua Shepherd, and others who helped so much with discernment and interviews.
I will be in Tanzania during January and February, working with Mwita Baita (Assistant Site Director) to get things set up, and then on March 14th, everyone will move in and we will begin to meet our neighbors. For the next six months, we will pray together, learn from each other, do service work for the nearby Methodist churches, share the good news of God’s love with our physically immediate neighbors, and train them to do the same.
When Willie Tichenor passed away from osteosarcoma at 19 years old, his family and friends founded the QuadW Foundation. Four “W”s: What Would Willie Want? (Meet Willie here: http://www.quadw.org/meet-willie)
One of the things they knew Willie would want would be for other young adults to have transformative mission experiences, like the mission experience that transformed Willie’s life.
Thanks to Willie, these young adults will have that kind of transformative mission experience in 2021 at QuadW’s first international site, QuadW Missional Skunkworks: Tarime, Tanzania. (https://quadwmi.org/tarime)