Ridley alumnus prepares for calling to Tanzania
The Revd David (Ry 2014-17) and Christine Torrance were discerning a call overseas with Church Mission Society when they were invited to go to Tanzania. They share with us their love for a people they are yet to meet, and a future home they are yet to visit, as they make their preparations for departure this summer.
Kondoa, Tanzania, is the homeland of the Rangi people. The story goes that the Rangi people were wandering water diviners from the north, looking for water that wouldn’t run out. In Kondoa, they found what they were looking for, because – while it is a dry place on the surface – there is water underground from a dried-up lake.
While sub-Saharan Africa, in the popular imagination, is a heartland for Christianity, that isn’t the case in Kondoa, a predominantly Muslim area since early Arab slave routes cut through the territory. In the 1990s, the current Bishop – Given Gaula – was a young Church Army evangelist working in the region alongside a New Zealand missionary called David. One day they encountered a local woman who needed a blood transfusion to save her life. They hadn’t found a match amongst her relatives, and so the Kiwi missionary offered his. He was a match, and the transfusion saved the woman’s life. This was not only a great cause for rejoicing in itself, but that boundary-transgressing act, of a foreign Christian man giving his blood to a local Muslim woman, was a profound witness. Bishop Given says that this was the turning-point in the reception of the gospel in Kondoa.
The Diocese of Kondoa has grown rapidly, from 7,500 in 2012 to a little under 25,000 in 2021 (not including other local Christians, especially Roman Catholics, with whom there are good relationships). Bishop Given has identified 300 local Christians he would like to train as evangelists and pastors. These are not people expecting good stipends and houses, but brothers and sisters in Christ who are excited to share the gospel with those around them, and who do so in a powerful way.
These are not people expecting good stipends and houses, but brothers and sisters in Christ
who are excited to share the gospel with those around them, and who do so in a powerful way.
On that basis, Bishop Given reached out to Church Mission Society, with whom we were discerning a call overseas (we were in ministry in Southampton at the time). We were invited to come so that David could work as a tutor at Kondoa Bible College.
Christine immediately felt God call her to Kondoa, on hearing the very name pronounced. David’s journey took place over a couple of weeks, as he sought God in prayer. He felt God was showing him a picture, of Jesus on the cross over Tanzania, the intersection of the cross pointing to Kondoa, and blood flowing from Jesus’ side, becoming living water filling the whole country. David then felt prompted to write below this picture, which he’d drawn, “the water of life flows from Jesus’ side.” At that time he did not know about the ancestral thirst of the Rangi people for water that wouldn’t run out, or about the turning point for the gospel in the region being a blood transfusion received from a man from a distant land. Those only served to confirm this call, to see just how much God loves the people of Kondoa.
David is the one with the specific formal role, but all three of us (David, Christine, and our one-year-old, John) have been called to Kondoa. Christine has consistently found that God waits until she has arrived in a place before He tells her what He’d like her to do. In the short term, we expect that a great deal of both of our time will be taken up with language learning and adapting to a new way of living, especially with a young son.
We aim to arrive for language training in July or August this year (David will be teaching in Kiswahili), with an initial commitment of 3-6 years. To that end, we need to raise a money to fund the budget CMS has set for us. Already a number of churches and individuals have been enormously generous, but we still have a long way to go. Will you consider partnering with us, either individually or as part of your church, in prayer, finances, and relationship?
"Will you consider partnering with us, either individually
or as part of your church, in prayer, finances, and relationship?"
What would it mean for you to support us? Well, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that things don’t always follow human plans. As such, while we are excited about the vision we have been invited to take part in, working in theological education in Kondoa, above all we are responding to an invitation. God has invited us to see what He is doing in Kondoa out of the riches of His love. Ultimately, we don’t know what God has in store for us, other than that we have been called. So we are looking for people who are willing to walk the journey with us, who are just as willing to seek God with us if everything goes to plan or nothing does – work permits unexpectedly declined, sudden illness – whatever.
"We are looking for people who are willing to walk the journey with us,
who are just as willing to seek God with us if everything goes to plan or nothing does."
We are tremendously excited about what God is doing in Kondoa, and would love to share stories with those who walk with us. Adventuring with God in our day-to-day lives is an adventure we are all called to, wherever we are, and so whether you feel called to journey with us or not, may God bless you and equip you in where He has called you.
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