The Reformed Baptist Mission in Tanzania

The purpose of this report is to invite you to join the Reformed Baptist mission work that is currently being planned for Tanzania dubbed as “The Reformed Baptist Mission in Tanzania.” I would like to provide background information on the setting up of the Reformed work in Tanzania.

The Background 

It was in 2014 that Simon Patilo was privileged to go for Bible school at Lokichoggio (known as Loki) in Kenya. Lokichoggio is a Bible training institute run by the Middle East Reformed Fellowship (MERF), which is under the Free Methodist and Reformed churches.

Whilst at Loki, he was under the tutorial of Andrew Alsop (from UK) and Chipita Sibale (from Zambia) for three weeks. During this period, a kindred spirit was developed in Simon. His encounter with the duo led to him doing his internship with Kabwata Baptist Church (KBC), which he completed in 2015. His experience at KBC eventually led him to adapt his doctrinal position to Reformed Baptist convictions. Led by this conviction, Simon was able to return to his home country in the town of Kigoma with a burning desire to establish a Reformed Baptist church.

In the sequel of events, Simon managed to traverse some notable districts in the southwest part of Tanzania in Rukwa Province. He engaged a number of Christians on joining the Baptist work. His resilience and connections finally paid off; for he managed to secure some support. The group he founded was an amalgamation of men and women drawn from different districts such as Nkasi, Kalambo, Sumbawanga Main, and Rural.

Among them were two pastors, one from the Free Methodists and the other from a Charismatic church. Simon and the team proposed a church to be planted in Sumbawanga Main district which is the Capital city of the Province.

My trip to Sumbawanga

A time came when Simon sought help and guidance from Andrew Alsop who in turn contacted me to take up the “mantle” and support the endeavour. I was agreeable and hence my trip to Sumbawanga in November 2016 via public transport. I met Simon at the border and together we were able to reach our destination. This was a maiden tour for me to reach Tanzania and lasted from the 7th to the 11th of November. The purpose for my visit was to validate the work and be able to provide a report to our churches in Zambia for support both in terms of finances and personnel.

The seminar

I conducted a one-day seminar at which I introduced the five Solas. Afterwards, an “indaba” to discuss the setting up of the church was held where various matters were conclusively addressed. In the end, I supported the establishment of the work in Sumbawanga. My ardent desire today is to see the Reformed work take root in Tanzania. I pray that this brief report will stir you to sharing in this passion with a view of supporting this work individually and collectively with your church.

The place where we held our one-day seminar

Helpful Points to Consider

  1. The population of Sumbawanga town is estimated to be more than 396,327 (2012 National Census) and the municipality has more than two thousand of the registered employees working for the government. The province thrives on agricultural and financial (service) industries. The town can be compared to our Choma town in Zambia. Most of the people including the prospective church members are indigenous farmers.
  2. The religious situation in Sumbawanga is mostly Roman Catholic, Islam and Pentecostalism followed by the slow spreading of the Free Methodist Church. The name Sumbawanga means “Pour your witchcraft,” a reminder that the majority in the province are bound to superstitions or mysticism. It is no different with what is obtaining in Zambia.

                                                                              Pastor Emmanuel Sakala

                                                               Fairview Reformed Baptist Church

 Reformed Faith Mission Pastors’ Conferences in South Africa

We enter 2017 with much enthusiasm as we look back and trace how the hand of God providentially and strategically moved over our lives and our ministry in 2016. By God’s grace, we can exclaim with the rest of God’s people, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

This year, Deo Volente, we will have our 20th Pastors’ Seminar in April. The Lord has been graciously providing for every seminar. Not just financially, but also in the growing attendance of pastors to the seminars and the significant changes in their lives and ministries. We are still amazed that this ministry has been sustained for so long, and even more so, that more pastors are joining. Every seminar is very challenging and goes against much of what they’ve grown up to believe and teach. Only God can sustain something like this.

This year we have already secured our venues and speakers. We are excited to have Tim Cantrell with us on 29 April, Victor Kuligan on 22 July, and Japie Van Kampen on 14 October 2017.

The attendance for our last two seminars in 2016 surprised us. We usually only cater for 40 people, but had well over 50 people, with the last seminar over sixty people. These are as a result of pastors inviting other pastors to attend. Thank God for a renewed interest in the study of His word.

We want to encourage you to keep supporting this ministry financially and prayerfully. We estimate that for each seminar the catering will be approximately R6,000. Catering for the three seminars for the whole year will therefore amount to R18,000.

We do not want to burden the churches with any other costs and so I am grateful that the Lord enables us to provide for the rest of the logistics and books, etc. We are so grateful to our speakers that minister sacrificially. Since we have started with these seminars, none of the speakers have asked us to cover any of their expenses to minister at these seminars. We are so grateful to the Lord for the service of these men to our local pastors. May many be snatched out of error through their ministry!

Mario F. Maneville, RSA

Grace Baptist Church in Daveyton, South Africa

It is a privilege to be part of what God is doing in his church. This month, God has been working in the hearts of our members. They are beginning to appreciate the preaching of God’s Word. Some are meeting during the week to discuss how they can apply Sunday messages to their daily life.

As a church, we’ve been praying for an evangelistic activity that we can do together. With the help of Northmead Baptist Church, we are now able to do a soup kitchen. This ministry is providing an opportunity for our church members to serve and share the gospel with others (see photo on next page). A few of the kids have started coming to share. Please pray with us that God may use them to reach their parents.

Planting a biblical church can be very lonely in a township. The Lord has raised a group of men who are passionate about township reformation. We meet with these men regularly for the purpose of praying and strengthening each other in the Lord (see photo on next page). Please pray with us as we are seeking God’s direction and support in planting many churches in the townships.