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Mission in Tanzania

Corrado Cozzi, EUD Communications Director;

Matej Ondrusek is a young doctor working in the Bratislava Hospital, in the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases. In his academic experience, Matej studied not only medicine but also theology in the Sazava Seminary, in the Czech Republic. During his studies at the Sazava Seminary, he had the opportunity to participate in an evangelistic program in Tanzania.

In most Adventist Seminaries, youth are invited to experience a special evangelistic program abroad. The Seminary, that time, decided to go in Tanzania, and the students lived an unforgettable experience with people of different cultures. Matej is one of thousands of students that have had the opportunity to outreach in an African country, with plenty of challenges and interesting surprises.

"The problem was that I also was finishing my medical study that summer and I had to start working in the hospital. My graduation was in July and the mission trip to Tanzania was in August. I had a good chance to start working in the cardiac surgery department which has been my dream almost from the beginning of my medical studies. It is not a good idea to start a new job, when you know that you have to tell your boss you will have to leave one month after starting, and of course taking holidays was not an option. This was the main reason not go to Tanzania with my classmates. I had only one week to decide. After a weekend of consultation at the Sazava Seminary I went home and talked both with my father, and with my heavenly Father. I also decided to go to my potential boss to discuss with him this opportunity. It was about 6 months before finishing my studies and my potential boss did not ask many questions, he simply said:" Yes, you can go." After that I was so happy and excited."

Matei had heard some things from his father, who had been in Uganda. Some of his classmates also told him some stories about Uganda, giving him advice and direction. The leader of the Tanzania-group was their teacher (director of the Sazava Seminary). All the students were Matei's classmates from external studies. The group was made of 6 students and one teacher.

"We left from Frankfurt airport by plane about 4 days before evangelism started. We spent almost 4 weeks in Tanzania.

Before evangelism the group had two meetings with local Adventists and pastors. From the beginning there were problems with public meetings because it was presidential election time and public meetings were prohibited after sunset.

"We did not have such a powerful projector to show slides in the strong African sun. The gospel was preached mostly on the streets. But God was protecting us, because we did not have any problem with local government authorities and we were preaching in the evening and at night."

The day usually started with morning session, breakfast, and prayer together. Then there was a meeting discussing the lesson, what would be most important. "Sometime we took small day trips. But most of the day we spent the time preparing for the lecture for that evening."

Evangelism took 14 days, one sermon at church on Sabbath morning and one lecture in the evening. After the evangelism the group took some days off. Matei and his classmates from church decided to climb the Kilimanjaro. They preached at the foot of that mountain. The rest of the group decided to go to the Serengeti national park. Matei experienced Tanzania as a preacher and an evangelist. He was preaching on the streets every day. The lectures were from the ShareHim program.

"At first I was surprised! I was going to preach to a country where there would be more Adventists than in my country. But it is different over there, people are listening to the gospel. Here in Europe people do not need God, they have everything. People in Africa and in Tanzania do not have everything, they must rely on supernatural power, and the only option for them is loving God. That is the reason the church in this region is growing so fast."

The local church was part of the evangelism program. They not only accepted to be part of it, but they were kind, and were praying and wanted to be ready and prepared for anything. Before every lesson the choir came to sing, the whole choir was from another part of the country but they came to sing every evening. They left their homes, their families, and their work, just to be part of evangelism and help to spread the gospel with singing.

"The Project was well done, I would not say perfect, but well done. It is a good opportunity for pastors and church members to get ‘addictive’ to God, because everything you are doing you need God to be with you, it is not your work, but the work of the Holy Spirit. But one little thing was missing, mixing with the local church members. I was just a preacher and that was all. I missed meeting with them, sharing their stories, their struggles, sharing their fighting about their faith. In the future we will need more time to spend with the members, before and after evangelism.

“Thank you for your uplifting experience, dear Matei”, said Corrado Cozzi, EUD Communications Director, “May God bless many other students, pastors and missionaries with these kind of experiences!”

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