Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Meet the Longs

We would like to introduce you to a few of our ministry partners over the next few blog entries.  We have been blessed to have so many people come along side of Anza Imani in this endeavor to rescue a boy and reach their city.  We pray that you will be encouraged and compelled by their stories.

Written by John Long

In January of 2012, a friend told me to read the book Radical by David Platt. That book tore at my soul. It made me realize the importance of missions. Up until that point, I thought that missionaries were “hippy types” that had nothing better to do.
Pastor Dean Herman from 5 Point Church in Easley, SC, was a guest speaker at my church in Conway, SC in the spring of 2012. Dean said that he planted a seed church in Tabora, Tanzania, and he invited everyone in the congregation to go with him in November to go. I KNEW that I was going with him. I thought that it would be the one mission trip of my life. I could check that box off of my “Christian experience list.”

The first Tanzanians that I met were Samuel and Pendo Limbe. I fell in love with them immediately. I had never met such powerful servants of God, and I knew I wanted what they had. The mission trip involved washing children’s feet and giving them new shoes. God “caught me” when I was on my knees on the dirt floor of a Tanzanian church washing filthy feet of children. God revealed to me that He had future plans for me in Tanzania.

On the bus ride to Mwanza from Tabora, Samuel Limbe told me about Anza Imani, and work being done there by him, Pendo, and some wazungus from Alabama. We visited the city boys, and Liv and Brian Meany in Mwanza the next day. Needless to say, I was hooked! Seeing Liv and Brian living and working in Mwanza helped me realize that I could make a difference in a child’s life in Tanzania. They were and are a great inspiration in my life.

I came back to South Carolina a changed man. Long story short, my wife, Mary, and our three teenage children returned to Tanzania in 2013 so that they could experience what I had the year before. After that trip, Mary and I prayerfully decided to go “all in” with Anza Imani and evangelizing in Tanzania. We sold our house, downsized, and woke up from a nightmare that we used to call The American Dream.

I have travelled to Tanzania twice in the past year. During both trips, Samuel, a friend of mine from Conway, and I travelled to several remote villages, evangelizing and baptizing. Over 450 people gave their life to Christ during these trips. I love sharing The Good News with people in isolated places. It fulfills my God given sense of adventure and I use my abilities in public speaking.



My family and I will return in July to do more evangelism and to spend time with Anza Imani. Mary and I will be moving to Tanzania in 2018, and we will live at Anza Imani, and work with the boys. 

I am very thankful for the Kornegays, the Meanys, and the Limbes. They are world changers. It is an honor for me, and my family, to be chosen by God as partners with them all in sharing God’s love in Tanzania. I cannot wait to see what God has in store next!

God bless.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Water & Living Water


Life and water. Water and Life. One is necessary for the other. Biology teaches us that water is the fundamental building block all life. Cultures throughout history have long associated water with the creation of the universe, life, and mankind.

It’s not hard to see why. Behind oxygen, it is the single most needed resource in the world. Everywhere in the world people go to great lengths to ensure an adequate supply of water for their purposes. We dig for water and drill for water. We buy it and sell it. We build pipes, reservoirs, farms, purifiers, and pumping plants all to bring us the water we so desperately need.  

In Tanzania, water is plentiful in most places.  Near Mwanza, Lake Victoria stands as the second largest fresh body of water in the world.  The rainy seasons bring plentiful waters to the country, to people’s farms, wells, and lives.


Unfortunately, it’s a case of “Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” Though there is plenty of water in most places, water that is safe to drink is not so easily available. The village of Nyakasanga, in the Misungwi district outside of Mwanza is within walking distance of the vast Lake Victoria. However, even though the water is fresh, it’s not safe to drink. Disease, impurities, and sometimes even dangerous wildlife inhabit the lake.

Apart from the lake, people are required to gather water from stagnant pools or shallow wells that gather water that isn’t much better than that in the lake.

For the people of Nyakasanga, what they need is clean water, water that brings life.
Jonathan Barbee brought a team in of people from Olive Grove Baptist Church to bring two things to the people of Nyakasanga. The first things they brought were water filters. These filters will allow families to have clean water for years to come. With a little basic care, the filters will provide countless gallons of water, free from disease and impurity. To those of us living in developed parts of the world, this doesn’t seem like such an important thing, but to those who live in places like Nyakasanga, it is truly a matter between life and death.

The kindness and compassion shown by Jonathan and his team through the water filters were only a small part of what they brought, because in addition to filters that would provide clean water, they brought the Word which brings living water.

There is a story in the bible, in the book of John, where Jesus is sitting at a well in the middle of the day. A woman comes up to the well and Jesus asks her for water. She’s shocked because of the obvious differences between them (He’s a Jew, she a Samaritan, and for the two of them to be talking in such a place and time was seen as improper. She questions Him about this and He replies, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Jesus explains speaks of a “living water” which if received, becomes a source of eternal life. Jesus is telling us through this story that just as water is necessary for our physical life, that living water is necessary for spiritual life.

Jesus knew that each of us are parched inside, we are thirsty for a life that we have never known. Our souls are dry and dead, withered at the very root. Apart from water for our very souls, we have no hope of life.

Jonathan and his team brought the living water of Jesus Christ to the village of Nyakasanga. They spoke to a people who were already so acquainted with their need for something more that it was not hard for them to understand that they needed something beyond the physical. They heard and believed. The living water that Christ spoke of came and, for those who accepted , became a well springing up to eternal life.


Our need is for something greater than just water. If we drink the clean water that comes from our faucets or from bottles, we will again grow thirsty. This water will not quench the thirst of our souls for that something more. The living water of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can bring life to the lifeless and without it, we are as dead as if we had no water to drink at all.


Monday, April 21, 2014

To whom much is given

Today, I (Brian) bring greetings from our ministry partners in Tanzania and from all the boys at Nyakabungo Baptist church!

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to return to Mwanza and while I spent much of the time taking care of administrative duties, I made sure to spend time with the boys at Nyakabungo! They were really excited to see me and I was certainly happy to see them.

I’m always thankful for everything that the Lord is doing in our lives here while we await the birth of our daughter, Evelyn, but I have to say that it has been difficult being away from the boys. I relished the opportunity to go and see them again. 
One of the first things the boys told me was that they were very excited about being able to go to school. I was able to see some of their school work and tests and I was impressed! Their diligence is paying off and it’s always good to see the results of their work.
The choir at Nyakabungo is growing and many of the boys participate every Sunday. I was able to see them practicing together, singing and dancing together for the glory of the Lord. It was a very sweet moment that I treasure even more now that I have returned.


I was also blessed to be able to bring a gift for the boys! Some of the children at First Baptist Pelham wrote letters to our boys in Mwanza which we brought to them. 
Liv worked very hard at translating the letters into Swahili so that the boys could read them and they enjoyed them immensely. They were excited about learning about other children from Alabama and were eager to write back. They wrote replies to each one of the letters and made me promise that I would deliver them. Now that Liv has translated the boy’s letters into English, I can’t wait until the kids from First Baptist Pelham can read them.

Even though my time was mostly taken up with other things, the time I was able to spend with the boys was by far the best. They are the reason for our ministry, and I love them with all my heart. It was a period of rejuvenation, refreshment, and simple enjoyment for me, and I thank God for that time.

Coming back to the states from a place like Tanzania is always a weird kind of flip-flop. On the one hand, it’s completely normal, because it’s returning to everything you know as normal. On the other hand, it’s so very strange when you consider what it is you just left.

The place I left is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the place I returned to, one of the richest.  Every time I return from Tanzania, the affluence and wealth of my country, the United States of America, smacks me in the face. We have the latest gadgets, the latest cars, the latest smart phones, computers, clothes, video games, tools, TVs, food, trends, fads, styles, everything. ..

How strange that I should consider this to be normal.
 

The place I left, Mwanza Tanzania, has none of these things. One third of the population of Tanzanian households earns less than a $1 a day and roughly 20% of the people live below the food poverty line.  Your average person in Tanzania may know what a car or a television is, but owning one is so far out of reach that it’s no more than a pipe dream. Why waste your time trying to obtain a car when you’re trying to feed your family? Why save money for a TV when your child dreams of going to school? Why think about buying new clothes when your family needs malaria medicine?

 Matthew 25:34-40 (NASB)
34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 ~'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
38 ~'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
39 ~'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
40 "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

For a country like Tanzania, for a city like Mwanza, the boys who live on the streets, fighting for food and shelter, dreaming of a better life, aren’t they certainly some of the least? Aren’t they who Jesus was talking about? Aren’t these children, these orphans, who He wants us to serve?
On our own, we are unable, but I give thanks to the Lord who does enable us. We have all been richly blessed to a degree that boggles the mind and we so often take it for granted. God certainly wants us to use what He has given us to the glory of His kingdom, rather than for our own glory.

 
Luke 12:48 (NASB)
48 … From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.


 
We who have been given so much by the Lord, shall we not give everything back to Him? Shall we not use what we have to help those who so desperately need it?

 Please help us reach these boys and to show them the love that we have been so graciously given.
Visit our website today to see how you can be involved.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year...Casting the Vision Again

We pray everyone had a blessed New Years Day!

We are excited for what this new year holds!  The Lord has blessed greatly already and we can't wait to see what He does next.  We pray that you'll make a commitment this year to be a part of what Anza Imani is doing in Tanzania.

We sent out a newsletter just a few weeks ago that highlights many things that the Lord did through this ministry in 2013.  I wanted to make sure everyone was able to see it so here you go!



From educational opportunities for the boys to clean water for an entire village the Lord has allowed us to accomplish BIG things in 2013.  I can't imagine what's in store for 2014.  We want to re-cast our vision for Anza Imani.  To remind you of what we're doing and what we feel the Lord wants us to accomplish through this ministry.  Here is the vision He gave us several years ago:

The Anza imani Rescue Foundation exists to extend the love of Christ to the street boys of Mwanza, Tanzania.  We believe by meeting their needs: spiritually, mentally and physically, these future leaders of Tanzania will be equipped to become ambassadors for Christ in their city.
Beginning with a clear presentation of the Gospel, our prayer is that these boys would seek to know Christ on a personal level.  30% of Tanzania is considered Christian, 35% Muslim and the other 35% of indigenous beliefs.  Missions organizations  have classified this area as 2% evangelized and therefore have shifted their focus to other areas of the world.  With this information in hand, we believe there is still much work to be done.  Discipleship is a next step in a young Christian’s life.  In order for these boys to become ambassadors for Christ in their city, they must be equipped with the knowledge found in His Word.
In Tanzania, 2.2% of the GDP goes to fund education in the country.  In the US we spend almost 6% of the GDP to fund education.   77.5% of Tanzanian males over the age of 15 are considered literate.  The statistics for these street boys falls much lower.  Most of these children have never had formal education and have no hope of overcoming illiteracy.  We will provide formal Christian education for these boys, as well other children in the community.
Living on the street is a lonely place of survival.  The Anza imani Rescue Center will provide a safe, family-centered environment.  Each boy will be placed in a family unit consisting of two parents and 9 brothers.  These families will learn to live autonomously.  Every boy will have specific responsibilities as well as learning the discipline of teamwork.  The boys will all learn the art of farming.  Agriculture accounts for 40% of the country’s GDP and employs 80% of the work force.  They will also have the opportunity of selecting specifics trades, such as carpentry, mechanics or sewing, where they will be able to excel in their gifts and talents.  We believe it is of utmost importance that these boys be well-versed in their culture and what it takes to become a successful African man.
Our ultimate goal for this first campus is a total of twelve family units.  Knowing that there are over 200 street boys within the city limits of Mwanza at present, The Anza imani Rescue Foundation hopes to extend this ministry into other areas of the city.

In the coming months we want to get onto the land and begin our ministry there.  We are going to need your help making this happen.  We believe that God wants to use you.  We ask that you pray about how you can be involved.  1000 people each month giving just $25 will provide all the funds to complete this project.

PRAY.

GIVE.

GO.

Brian and I will be stateside until we welcome our first child into the world in June but we want to help you plan your trip to Tanzania.  Our ministry partners are ready to welcome you into Mwanza and they will help to guide your trip as you minister to these street boys.  If you would like to plan a mission trip this year to Mwanza please feel free to email us at info@anzaimani.org and we will do all we can to help you plan.

Come alongside us.  Help us rescue these boys so they can turn and reach their city for the glory of Christ.

Happy New Year!
God bless you and your families.


The Anza Imani Team

  





Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ringing in the Holidays

I absolutely love Thanksgiving and Christmas!  Why?  Because we get to spend time with family and friends and remember all the things that Christ has done for us.  Every day should be Thanksgiving for us as Christians.  We shouldn’t EAT everyday likes it Thanksgiving though!

As most of you have heard by now Brian and I are expecting our first little one in June.  We are beyond excited.  We actually saw the heartbeat today for the first time.  Every time we are able to see our little bean on that monitor we are amazed by how awesome our God is.  He can knit together a human being inside the womb of their mother.  He holds this child in the palm of His hands and is singing over their tiny little life.  We pray big things for this little one.  We pray God uses them in so many mighty ways!  We are blessed to be able to bring them up in a home where we hope and pray that will see Christ.


I don’t want to skip over Thanksgiving but I want to talk a little bit about Christmas with you today.  My Dad has this book called “Unlocking the Secrets of the Feasts: The Prophecies in the Feasts of Leviticus” by Michael Norten and each time we are home he is teaching me some new piece of information about an already familiar story.  I am including an excerpt from this book so that you can be amazed just as I was!  God is such a great God and is Sovereign over all.  I want you to be reminded that God wants to use you.  He wants you to carry His Name.  The awesome truth that God reveals to us started in Egypt with the Passover Lamb.  It was then that God started showing us the picture of Christ in the New Testament.  Michael Norten starts his discussion by recalling a time of instruction under a Bible Teacher by the name of Jimmy DeYoung…. Follow along as he explains this remarkable truth:




As Brian and I spend our last couple of days in Mwanza for a while we have been hit with the reality that we may not see some of the people here for almost a year.  Now in the span of time a year is just mere minutes, but to us it’s a year of a child’s life here that we won’t be able to witness firsthand but we are leaving this ministry in the very capable hands of our ministry partners and we have no doubts that things will continue as they have for the past year and a half.  Many people tend to forget that we are not working here alone.  



Samuel and Pendo Limbe have been ministry partners with us for many years now.  Samuel is the National Director for the Tanzanian arm of Anza Imani and Pendo helps with daily tasks for the ministry.  They are both ready to continue the work full force after we leave.
Samwel Ezekiel has such a heart for these boys.  He goes out of his way to help them and make sure that their needs are being met.





Things are continuing to develop in the life of Anza Imani.  We have finished the digging of a well for the village that surrounds the Anza Imani Rescue Center.  By the end of next week a hand pump will be installed and the people will be able to begin using the water.  We were able to meet with the village government and they expressed such gratitude for the water!  Many of the women said things like “you’re saving our lives, because usually we have to go down to the lakeside and there are crocodiles sometimes.” You don’t think about the dangers that many African women endure each and every day just to survive.  So thank you to all those who contributed to make this dream of theirs a reality.





The house is nearing completion.  Here are a few pictures as it stands now:










The boys are continuing to learn on a daily basis from our two resident teachers.  Because of your donations they are receiving porridge each morning to help with their empty tummies when they wake up.  Many are more likely to stay and learn if they get a hearty breakfast, just as a child in America is more likely to listen in school if they are full when they get there!  We are going to miss our boys very much!  Each day they get more and more used to calling me “Mama!” and that makes my heart very happy.  Our little one will have 30 older brothers already that will look out for them. J

We want you, our supporters, to understand that Brian and I are coming home because we feel that God is in the middle of it.  After much prayer and consideration we believe we need to spend some time Stateside to do more fundraising so that we can implement this dream of the Anza Imani Rescue Center.  We believe God is calling us to raise $200,000 before returning next Fall.  That will allow us to hit the ground running with several buildings and begin living on the land with children.  That is a God-sized task, but like I said before, HE IS SOVEREIGN.  He is using ordinary people like you and me to do His extraordinary work.  Just as He used a humble teenage girl to usher in His Son, He is using us to glorify His Son and bring people to Him.  I carry the name of Christ because He first loved me and rescued me from a life of sin and darkness.  No gift this Christmas would be great enough to say Thank You for that.  But I can give Him my life.  That’s what He is asking of you and I.  Our lives.  Come alongside us in this endeavor.  Rescue these boys that have no one else to care for them.  Teach them what it means to be a disciple of Christ.  Be a part of this change.  It’s only going to happen when we surrender.  When we give this Christmas away.

Don't forget to shop Amazon this Black Friday and Cyber Monday!
Use our link here.
This is such a simple way to help Rescue a Boy!

We will see you very soon!
Brian & Liv

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Witnessing Water

It's been a crazy fews days in the life of Anza Imani.  Yesterday we were blessed with the visit from Chester Whisonant of One Heart Church in Norcross, Georgia and two of his church members. I (Liv) have known him since I was a child in Clanton, Alabama.

They were able to take part in our daily Saturday activities.  Except they were able to visit the future home of the Anza Imani Rescue Center and see the progress of the home as well as to see the start of the well drilling!  It's finally underway!  Here's a picture of their team with the boys and our church helpers from Nyakabungo Baptist:


Chester and Laura and I were able to share Christ with one of our future neighbors and the leader of the home accepted Christ!  Continue to pray for Mr. Miyeye.  His wife told us she was a believer so we pray that they will be able to grow together in the Lord.


We look forward to the opportunity to work with Chester and his team in the future.  We pray God continues to bless their church and all its ministries in the Norcross area.

As I mentioned before the well drilling is well underway!  They have drilled to a depth of 76 meters.  And we have WATER!  They will perform a cleaning process on the borehole and test the water's purity and flow on Wednesday.  So I'll have more information then, but for now we are so excited that God has blessed this project.  It was such an awesome experience watching the water flow up from the hole!  And half the village, I think, came to watch.  I can't imagine what they are thinking right now.  Most of these people have been getting water from a small hole in the ground that is algae-ridden and I'm sure full of germs and disease.

Here's a few pictures from today's progress:





















God is moving in our midst here and Brian and I are so excited to be a part of what He is doing here in Mwanza, Tanzania.  In a few weeks we will be heading back to the States for a longer period of fundraising.  We believe God is calling us to raise a very specific amount of money.  And we cannot do that without your continued help and support.  We will also be praying for someone who is willing to fundraise for Anza Imani on an on-going basis in the States and abroad.  God is continuing to grow and expand everything we are doing here in Mwanza and while the support we have now we could not do without, He is telling us that He is going to multiple our efforts.  Begin to pray about how you can get involved.  In the coming weeks I'll be releasing a calendar of events for December and January.  I pray if there is an event in your area that you will make an effort to be a part of it!

We pray God continues to bless you.  We cannot wait to see everyone!

Brian & Liv