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Iringa, Tanzania | Matt Reed

In recent years the Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) has planted thousands of churches throughout the country, and they show no sign of slowing down. The next generation of pastors are being trained and sent into some of the most remote parts of Tanzania.

Last month I traveled with a team of youth pastors from Minnesota to Iringa, Tanzania, to see how WorldServe International is partnering with TAG to install water wells alongside churches. The wells provide clean water where it’s needed most. Drought has dried up many traditional unclean water sources like rivers and creek beds in rural Tanzania, and hand dug wells are generally not deep enough to deliver
water free of bacteria or fecal matter.

Two of the villages we visited featured wells sponsored by Minnesota teens through Speed the Light (STL). The first site was next to a Bible School where we were welcomed by over a dozen current students who will soon be pastoring church plants. The second site was at a local church in the middle of a building project where District Youth Director, Kirby St. John, dedicated the well. Since the well was installed the church has experienced dramatic growth.

Church growth is a recurring theme with each of these sites. On our way out of Iringa we stopped in another village where the WorldServe crew was drilling a bore hole next to another church. On the side of the drilling rig was a huge STL logo, representing students who helped purchase these giant machines. While we were there, the drill struck water and the villagers surrounding the rig cheered with excitement. The young pastor invited us into his church and at that same moment three adults watching the drilling made decisions to follow Jesus. There was no music and no sermon. An encounter with clean water helped usher in an encounter with the Living Water.

We celebrate God’s provision, but we recognize that there is more work yet to be done. The need for clean water is great; as is TAG’s vision to plant churches all over Tanzania. Yet Minnesota students are up to the task. Shortly after we returned from Africa, youth groups across Minnesota participated in the annual Big Give night and gave $713,013.80 to Speed the Light. Every gift makes a difference, and as we’ve witnessed in Tanzania, we know many people will come to know Jesus with the help of clean water.