Hugh Myers, from Hertfordshire, reflects on the six weeks he spent in Tanzania with Serving In Mission.
After completing his Masters degree, Hugh Myers, 24, went to Tanzania to join Serving In Mission workers in Lindi and Mtwara – two coastal towns close to the border with Mozambique.
“I wanted to make use of the block of time I had before starting work,” he explains. “I met SIM UK mobiliser Hannah Hitchin at a Warwick Christian Union event and the process started from there.”
SIM’s vision for Tanzania is ‘The Coast for Christ by the Church.’ Nine of the 29 unreached people groups in Tanzania are located in the south – the focus of SIM’s work in the country – where it partners with local churches to reach these communities with the gospel.
The ministry involves assisting with Christian growth in local churches; discipleship of new believers and helping to run various faith-fuelled small businesses.
Throughout his time in Tanzania, which is home to Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain – Hugh (above) attended churches and evangelistic events and helped the small SIM team with its work.
“I was overjoyed to spend time with many godly, faithful Christians from all over the world,” he recalls.
“I was part of a SIM team that hailed from four countries across three continents (I made it five countries and four continents) and it’s a powerful display of global gospel unity that, despite our cultural quirks and diverse backgrounds, we were able to call each other family.
"These were Christians who had made considerable sacrifices to give their lives to reach the unreached along the Tanzanian coast and to support the local church.”
Hugh says it was also a privilege to serve alongside the local Tanzanians reaching out to their communities, especially one evangelist called Kambona.
“It was incredibly refreshing to watch a man passionately share the gospel in the face of consistent persecution throughout his life and meet many others believers who are faithfully serving the Lord each day.”
One of the highlights during Hugh's final weeks, came when Hugh attended the Christian Union meeting at Lindi High School.
“At the start of my trip, I’d been nervous about how about how I’d fare holding long conversations in the language. But by the time I met 50 teenagers crammed into a classroom signing loudly and joyfully, I was confident enough in Swahili to share my testimony with students one week and then to speak on the Parable of the Talents, the next.”
And the countless hours Hugh had spent learning Swahili, were all worthwhile when he was able to reconnect with four Tanzanian friends he’d made during his gap year in 2015.
“Perhaps one of the most joyful moments of the entire trip was a 20-minute phone call I had with my friends. I’d waited until the end of the trip so my Swahili would be as good as possible. Hearing their voices again almost brought me to tears – it was an extraordinary act of God’s kindness that we were able to speak together.”
So while, Hugh won’t be using his Swahili in his new job as an economist for a large, professional services firm in London, the memories of his time in Tanzania will endure. “We have a great God who can accomplish great things through prayer and through the weak efforts of his faithful servants,” he says.
That there would be lasting fruit from Hugh’s trip.
That the SIM team would continue to be encouraged.
That everyone Hugh spoke with, particularly Oliver who works at the SIM house in Lindi, would seek to know more about Jesus Christ.
By Kerry Allan