Tanzania Trip 2016
by Ben Swanson
“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor”
– Romans 10:9-10
I counsel pre-married couples to attempt to outdo one another in showing love to the other. Our interactions with our loved ones should never be put on a spreadsheet and analyzed for value gained over value given. Love should not be quantified. We should simply outdo one another in expressing our love.
On our trip to Tanzania this year, we attempted to outdo our brothers and sisters in showing love. We failed, but everyone wins when playing this lovely “game.”
As Americans who emphasize doing over being, we were ever so tempted to leave a physical mark on the landscape through a building project. However, as we interacted with people in the villages we realized that showing love through conversation, encouragement, and prayer would get us closer to our goal of showing honor and love to our Tanzanian brothers and sisters.
The regular theme of our conversations with people at every level of society was, “You are rich!” In a radio broadcast to millions of Tanzanians we said, “The world might think you are poor, but we see you as rich. You are strong. You are smart. You are gifted. Poverty is not a lack of cash, but a lack of opportunities.”
We promised COSAD’s artisan community of basket weavers and drum makers that we would be able to guarantee the sale of nearly $4000 of their products. This “microloan” has been delivered. The artists haven’t stopped weaving and pounding out drums since we left. Opportunity is everything.
Unfortunately, the Imuka tour will not happen this year as they were denied travel visas. This throws the future of the artisan’s work into question and frustrates our plans to host the choir and attempt to match the hospitality they showed us. We trust that God has a plan for us even within this great disappointment.