Ancient ways come face to face with the hope of Christ

By March 1, 2010

Tanzania (MNN) — What do you get
when you take one of the oldest people groups in the world, add a socialist
government and eliminate a way of
life?  You get a people group that time
forgot, living in the remotest parts of Tanzania: the Sandawe.

The Sandawe language is tonal and includes
clicking sounds as consonants.

Formerly hunters and
gatherers, they were forced to become pastoralists, with disastrous results.

Speaking in a language totally
unrelated to other languages around them, it is difficult to learn, and
communication barriers further isolate them. Between location and communication, these people have little or no
access to medical care. They are deeply religious but closed to
Christianity. 

Open doors are one reason Jonathon Eager (ayger) with Africa
Inland Mission
runs a medical clinic in that central
region. The Eagers live in a village
called Magambua (Mah-gahm-boo'-ah), which is part of Lalta Ward, in Kondoa
District, in Dodoma Region.

Because life there is rugged, there
is also a dispensary, an eye clinic, and mobile health clinics run by the
Eagers.

Jonathon explains they are there
because "we partner with the local pastors and local evangelists, and
they're being able to come to the clinic and share with patients. They pray with patients and comfort families when they're
going through a difficult time. It really opens a lot of doors to care for them
and to bring them the good news." 

The Africa Inland Church has
three Tanzanian families and one missionary family engaged in outreach to the
Sandawe. A Bible translation project is underway in the Sandawe
language.

Several Anglican and Pentecostal
groups have worked with the Sandawe people, and there are Gospel recordings in
their language.

There's a lot happening
to bring the hope of Christ to a few, but that means missionaries who serve in isolated areas have a heavy load to carry. They are susceptible to burnout. Currently, the Eagers are back in the United
States on furlough, but they will head back to Tanzania in July. 

Jonathon says animism is a huge
obstacle, but "there is tremendous freedom when people accept the
Gospel and come to the Lord and are freed from that. It's neat to see our local
Sandawe Christians being a witness to that."

Pray for additional financial
partners to join their ministry.
Monthly support rate targets
have increased.  Pray for resolution of
some tensions between local church leaders in Usandawe, and for their SIL
neighbors and friends. And, pray that the
village of Birise will be able to cut their airstrip well during the rainy
season so that the monthly medical flights can land. Click here for more details.




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