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!