Video by Dave Anderson
On a sunny Sunday afternoon midway through our travels, we flew past this Tanzanian Assemblies of God Itunduma Church congregation rocking out to electric guitars and keyboard over a loudspeaker along the highway. Ever vigilant for glimpses of authentic village life, Dave asked Peter Mwakabwale, the country director and our tour guide through Tanzania, if we could spare a few moments to stop and enjoy the singing and dancing.
We wheeled in and were greeted by this joyous scene you see in the video above. The friendly pastor welcomed us to join the service and invited Peter to stop in any time he liked as he passes through on his many travels for Heifer.
Most of Heifer Tanzania's project partners, who support and share in Heifer's work in the country, are churches. Peter says the office is working to add to its three partnerships with Muslim organizations as well.
The next couple of days we would visit dairy cow projects that are part of a partnership with the Anglican Church of Southwest Tanzania. We had the opportunity to talk with Bishop John A. Simalenga, (center in photo below), who is standing with Canon Marko Mwafuteh (left), who accompanied us to the field projects in his area and Peter (at right).
"It's been extremely valuable to get expertise through this partnership with Heifer to get better animals to farmers," Bishop Simalenga said. "Those who have requested animals found that their lives have changed so much. It's been very beneficial.
"We believe in the holistic mission of the church," he said. "We don't just preach a spiritual gospel. A church also has to empower people to have better lives. I would like to see this project duplicated, reaching out to more people. When you have people who are doing better economically, the church gets a boost as well."