Well, it was 29 months ago that we decided to act on the vision we were seeing.
An intentional Christian community of Tanzanian and American young adults
Working with the people of Tanzania to develop servant leaders, for the benefit of the people of Tanzania
Making disciples who make disciples who make disciples
I say “we”, but back when we decided to act on it, there were only three of us who were seeing the vision. As we brought the vision to you though, you listened, you asked thoughtful questions, you suggested modifications here and there, and then chose to believe as well. You offered your support- financial, advice, training, an opportunity to live in community, and a listening ear when things were hard. We came together. And just over three weeks ago, I walked back down the rocky path to my friend Mwita’s house. His children saw the mzungu from afar and sprinted up the road to meet me, then recoiled and tried to hide their shy smiles once they made it to me. It was precious. Mwita and I shared a hearty embrace and then he broke into a prayer of gratitude.
It has brought me deep joy to see everyone again after 29 months apart. One unexpected meeting came yesterday as I was hurrying along the side of the road, preoccupied. A moto-taxi driver tried to flag me down, and I assumed he was asking if I needed a ride. I declined and walked on, then heard “DAVI!” I turned around and saw one of the young men who I had been working with in 2017 and 2018, one of the young men who had been living on the streets, who we had been teaching to make bricks. He had new, clean clothes and was clean shaven and showered. We smiled at each other and I held his hand for a while, before he invited me to the house he is renting. I’m going today.
Getting back to the vision…
When it comes to making disciples who are true servant leaders, Tanzanian young adults and American young adults have so much to learn from each other. But we won’t learn as much if we are looking at each other per se. Rather, we’ll learn more if we are looking to the great servant leader, hoping to become a little more like him. As we look to him in community, we will really begin to learn from each other.
But this presents a problem. It’s an unfortunate leftover from the colonial days that many Tanzanians have an inferiority complex, thinking that folks in the West are better than them. And most Tanzanians firmly believe that Jesus was white.
Well, obviously we don’t want to be strengthening the inferiority complex by telling Tanzanian young adults that they should try to be like a white person.
Of course, we’ll explain that Jesus was Arabic, not European, and go over this again and again as we soak ourselves in the four gospels, but pictures can be stronger than what we learn verbally. It seems like every other house I visit in Tanzania has a picture of a white Jesus on the wall.
So I was pretty thankful when I saw this picture floating around on facebook:
Turns out it was the work of James C. Lewis, and it wasn’t at all hard to get a print of it. Just last week, our friend Marwa Kituo made a beautiful wooden frame for it, and it will hang in our common room in a few weeks. Hoping that as we look to Jesus and seek to become like him, it will be clear that this has nothing to do with being white or Western, but rather, has to do with
no one who can’t be made new
the least of these
not counting rank as something to be grasped
community rather than lone rangers
life to the full
bringing the outsider inside
tearing the veil
good news for all people
We’ve incorporated your thoughts at every stage of the development of this community, and I would love to hear them again.
Thank you, friends.