Our involvement in Tanzania
Rational for our involvement in ministry in Tanzania
by Benson Fraser, Ph.D
Founder and President of FAD
The Maasai people of Tanzania and Kenya are at a critical time of transition in their development. The government has required that they give up their nomadic life, which they have practiced for hundreds of years, and adapt to a more settled way of living. Furthermore, they are required to develop both educationally and agriculturally in order to exist as a people. The lack of adequate educational opportunities and facilities, as well as the absence of needed skills and resources to provide for even the most basic needs of their children and families has placed these people at a serious disadvantage. Add to this the spiritual poverty that exists among many of the Maasai and one can see a great need among these people and in this part of the world.
In a recent letter Dr. Kiruswa wrote: “Poverty and lack of adequate education continues to reign among communities around the Longido constituency, which has a total of 74,000 inhabitants most of them living below the poverty line.” Change, both from the Tanzanian government and from the social and cultural realities of modernization, has been thrust upon the Maasai. No longer is there a question “if” they are going to change, it is now just a matter of “when” and “what kind” of change will be realized in this community. They are working hard to meet this challenge but their resources are few.
All this is happening at a time when Tanzania itself is struggling to develop as a country and to fight the devastating influence of AIDS (there are reportedly more than a million orphans in Tanzania due to AIDS). However, even as the harsh reality of this situation has presented itself there has been a growing spiritual awakening among the Maasai. The poor, who in the past had not had been exposed to the Gospel, are coming to know Christ and he is being worshiped among many of the Maasai.
Still there is much to be done. What we are presented with is the opportunity to help Steven and other Christian Maasai leaders influence a whole people group for the Lord. Not only can we help with the spiritual needs of the Maasai but we can help with their material and social needs as well—we can work with a people who are fighting for their very existence. While the Maasai in the Longido area are crippled by disease and lack of knowledge, due in part to the absence of basic resources and adequate educational facilities, it does not need to continue to be that way.
We propose to gather and equip teams of dedicated Christians to work alongside of Steven and other Tanzanian Christians in order to serve, build and minister in the Longido community. In a recent letter Steven has outlined the needs of the community and we may be able to provide some of the resources and personal to meet those needs.