TO READ A BRIEF BACKGROUND TO THE WORK, SEE BELOW.
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A BRIEF BACKGROUND
My name is David Stamen and I have been travelling to Tanzania on an annual basis since 1991. I was initially invited to speak at a conference of village churches in the Iringa area, connected to a pentecostal denomination. However, for some years now I have been associated with an indigenous work that began among the Maasai but now encompasses others also. I was invited by the leader (Bishop Francis) of this work to speak at his main church in Kibaoni, near Morogoro, which is about 180 km west of Dar Es Salaam. From that time on our relationship has cemented in a special way and I am now part of the leadership of this indigenous work . It is the law of the country that a church must register with the government, so I helped them in this process and the group of churches are now registered as 'The Fellowship of Gospel Churches.'
Though I work closely with those churches in the Morogoro Region, I am increasingly being invited to speak at other churches belonging to different denominations. This is the result of people listening to my messages and reading my articles on my website at www.somabiblia.com. The messages have simultaneous translation into Swahili and the articles are also in Swahili, though there also some in English. The website has generated a lot of interest and brought many invitations to visit and teach in different parts of Tanzania and even from other neighbouring countries, such as Burundi and Kenya. For example, my visit of June 2018 came exclusively from churches in Dar Es Salaam whose pastors or members had come across my website. These represented six different denominations or independent works. Some independent works who have appreciated the teachings have joined the Fellowship of Gospel Churches, since this is also much easier than going through the registration process themselves. My audio messages have been broadcast on a local radio station in the north of Tanzania by one of the directors who came across my website and a Christian newspaper based in Dar Es Salaam also published all my written messages week by week over many months. So, whereas in the earlier years I used to spend most of my time preaching and teaching in villages and sleeping in mud huts, I am now increasingly being invited to speak in a number of different cities in Tanzania, especially Dar Es Salaam. In fact, it has been a prayer burden for some time that the Lord would open effectual doors in Dar Es Salaam and this is what is now happening. It was a special blessing and privilege to speak for five days at a youth conference in June 2018.
What do I do when I go to Tanzania? Apart from days when I am travelling or having a rest between speaking engagements, I am preaching and teaching every day - occasionally three times a day and usually for an hour each time. I can speak Swahili socially, which, apart from being a tremendous help to me in getting to know people, is also greatly appreciated by the Tanzanians themselves. However, I preach mostly in English, though I do 'lapse' into Swahili at times!
Inevitably, I am also involved in supporting pastors, churches and believers who may be suffering hardship, such as widows or abandoned mothers, particularly in the villages where people are extremely poor. Over the years this support has included paying for the corrugated metal sheets that are the main expense of building a more weatherproof meeting place for believers - this is a useful way of helping all the believers in a locality as they generally find it impossible to raise such money by themselves; buying special-breed goats that are an on-going resource for poor Christians in providing milk for the family and money from its sale, as well as producing a further goat each year (I have been able to buy about 40 so far); supplying maize flour to believers in times of drought or flooding; supporting certain key faithful pastors; plus a variety of other needs that crop up regularly like helping Christians with medical expenses in more serious situations. If you read the various pages on this site, you will get an idea of the different kind of works and projects I have supported and been involved in.
The Maasai are traditionally pastoralists. They have cattle, which is their chief source of livelihood. By tradition they are not farmers or agriculturalists. They believe God has given them all the cattle that exist and that they can graze them anywhere. In this changing, modern world, this has led to conflict with farmers as land becomes scarce and is being used for agriculture. Their culture is under pressure. Their way of life is increasingly becoming unviable and some of them are beginning to change. Some are pursuing an education to get a job while some are even turning to farming.
I am very thankful to Lord for the opportunity to go to East Africa and to share and declare His word, and am very appreciative of the prayers of God's people!
If you wish to contact me about the work, please use the following email address:
Below is a map of Tanzania to help you locate places I mention in my blog. You will notice that Dar Es Salaam is almost half way down the coast of Tanzania and Morogoro is due west of Dar. The island of Zanzibar is just north of Dar.