"...as shoes for your feet, put on whatever will make your ready to preach the Gospel of Peace." - Ephesians 6:15
‘Msalato is a door to heaven,’ many people say this in our parish. I turned and left the road behind. I read the sign and I said to myself, ‘Now I am here, now I am at Msalato.’
I had been walking since very early morning. My wife had prepared cassava – my only food that day. I drank no water on the way; I didn’t want to get sick.
The night before we sat together – me, my children and my wife. After we had sung a Chigogo song Kumwitumila Yesu (‘Tis sweet to work for Jesus), we prayed for different things. My wife prayed for my journey. I prayed to God to protect them and to provide for them. It was a year of famine – they had so little.
In my pocket, I had 90,000TSh – then a quarter of my first year’s fees. I had sold my two big goats to get it, and I left the three smaller goats for my family. I walked because I didn’t want to waste money on a dala dala (bus).
I had come because I heard the voice of God, ‘Go and study. Go and study.’
When I heard God’s voice, I climbed a small hill near our village to pray, so that I could be sure it was the voice saying, ‘Go and Study.’
God opened the door for me, and when I told my wife, she said, ‘Go and God can provide for you.’
I talked with my Pastor Subeti, ‘My Father, I want to go to Msalato to study.’
‘In a year of hunger and famine!? Go and God can provide. If you have faith, go!’ he said.
Years before I had been agricultural officer in my village Ng’ong’onha. Later, working as Secretary of the church and as the Youth Leader, I had a vision one night of people crying, ‘We need people to help us.’ Some cried in words I didn’t completely understand. Some cried for help. The vision came twice. I prayed for three days; I prayed, ‘God, if this is your work, send me.’
And years later, God sent me here to Msalato. That is why I’m here.
I think Msalato IS a door to heaven. I still agree with that. People who come here are called by God to be here.
During my time, I have learnt many things – through the teachings, the life at Msalato, the sharing and good relationships between staff and students. I learned about the history of the church, how they worshipped God in the past, in other places, and what we can learn from each other. I learned about prayer and ministry, and about visitation in the village. I learned about leadership and the need for good relationships between leaders and people.
Ministry is hard unless you are called by God. If you are called, God will continue to provide for your needs and for your family.
I had nothing, so I started a small garden by the kitchen to help myself, using wastewater from the laundry. Sick students came for extra food. I tried to teach some other students a way they could help themselves in their ministry. Others sought practical help for gardens and sheds for their pigs.
I know college has helped me a lot, because now people understand my ministry well, and they say they enjoy the creative way I lead the services. They say they see an educated man who uses different readings, songs, and prayers linked to a theme.
What will we do in the future? We will go anywhere – it doesn’t matter if it is town or village. We are ready to go wherever God sends us.”
Words of Ayubu Mazengo, Msalato Theological College 3rd year student
Diocese of Central Tanganyika, Msalato (Dodoma), Tanzania, East Africa
The Rt. Rev. Mdimi Mhogolo, Bishop