The Nyamwezi

Tanzania

The Nyamwezi

I cannot begin to tell you how sweet it has been to hear so many of you pray this Breakthrough Prayer from the start of 2020: “Father, use us to build a reproducing church among an unreached people by 2030.”

I heard you pray it during our services and at Zoom prayer meetings. I listened as you asked God to answer this prayer during countless small group gatherings during a crazy COVID year. From our children to our youth, in our HUB groups and among our senior faithful – you have consistently begged God to show us an unreached people He wants us to focus on these next 10 years.

And, like a good Father, He delighted to give us the good gift of an answer – an exciting, solid, rich, answer – the Nyamwezi! The Nyamwezi are a 1 million-person Tanzanian people group that our own Andy and Margaret Andersen are in the process of reaching. I invite you to visit this page often, as we will be updating it with stories, resources, answered prayers, and whatever else the Lord brings to us as we continue to pray this decade l

David Schaller
Associate Pastor

Location:

The Nyamwezi tribe number around 1.5 million people and live primarily in west-central Tanzania.

Culture:

Nyamwezi live together in nuclear families. Men work the land; women care for the home. Most adults marry, and their children go to government schools. They are primarily agriculturalists and pastoralists (sheep and cattle farmers). Goats and sheep are used for sacrifices, and for their meat and skins.

History:

The Nyamwezi have a history of trading in copper, wax, ivory and slaves with Arabs at the coast. Elephant hunting was at one time a prestigious occupation due to the wealth from the ivory trade. They acquired guns and were often involved in intra-tribal wars and conflicts with the Arabs.

Religion:

They embrace African traditional beliefs, Islam and Christianity. Most claim to be Muslim. They have much respect for their ancestors, to whom they offer sacrifices. They live by their animistic worldview, believing in a creator God, the spirit world and the importance of using witchdoctors and other diviners to communicate with the spirits.

Africa Inland Mission has provided more information on the Nyamwezi people at Pray Africa. If you wish to partner with them in prayer and receive email updates, subscribe here.

Nyamwezi Updates

Journal entries from Andy & Margaret Andersen, missionaries to the Nyamwezi
August 2021 – An Evangelist, A Bible School & 3 Churches!

This last year we have witnessed many efforts to reach the Nyamwezi in and around Tabora.

1. Nyamwezi Evangelist. Nsolezi is a Nyamwezi evangelist we have been working with. He is currently in a pastors’ course with 52 other men as a pastoral candidate. If Nsolezi is ordained, he will be the only Nyamwezi in the AICT Tabora area.

Pastors typically oversee 6-8 churches, overseeing several evangelists. Evangelists begin and lead the local churches. Those who are called by God as evangelists are encouraged to take at least six months of Bible training at Tabora Bible School, disciples who are sent out to make more disciples and lead local churches.

2. Tabora Bible School. We are praising God for growing interest in more new students joining the Tabora Bible School. Resources have been raised to provide fencing around the property and to complete an existing building for the principal of the school to live in. Next will be building classrooms. We hope to have the Bible students meeting in their classrooms before Christmas.

Pray for the 19 faithful students who are learning to be future church leaders. Several Bible students have also begun Bible studies in new outreach areas and starting new churches.

3. The Kabumbuli Church. A local evangelist began the Kabumbuli church. It began with 10 newly baptized believers and has grown to 30 members. With help from Church of the Open Door, a church structure has been completed. Besides Sunday services, the building has been used for two mobile medical clinics to reach out and help the felt needs of the local community and to share the Gospel message with all.

4. The Inala Church. Three families have been meeting for fellowship and Bible study in a businessman’s storehouse. A plot of land has been purchased for outreach efforts in the area. Ground has been cleared and poles erected in the place where they would like to meet outside in a temporary church structure. The area is beginning to develop rapidly as the government plans to make this village a major crossroads with the main Tabora bus station moving there. Would it also be a place where the Gospel message to spreads out!

5. The Ipulu Church. Another new church has begun here (a second church plant from the Ibambo church!) – families have been meeting under a mango tree. Recently, a local village elder, a Muslim farmer, gave some of his land next to his house for the church. The believers there have gathered stones from a hill to begin a foundation. They hope to have walls up in a few months before rainy season and are grateful for the VBS kids from Church of the Open Door who have already raised and sent money for a roof.

May 2021 – Meet Mama Chikoti

Mama Chikoti lives estranged from her husband and is alone in caring for two of her youngest children and five of her grandchildren. Her son became a believer and was baptized with the name Christopher in August 2019 (he’s pictured in the purple shirt!).

I gave Mama Chikoti an audio Bible so she can hear God’s Word while she is busy with tasks at home caring for her family.

After lunch with Mama Chikoti one day, we went across the street and met Mr. Sizya, who welcomed us and gave us permission to read children’s Bible stories to his many children, as Mama Chikoti’s kids sat with us, too.

I left Bible storybooks with both families so that they could reread and learn these stories from God’s Word.

I haven’t seen Mama Chikoti since December of 2020. I pray she is able to receive encouragement, and that her faith will grow from hearing the Word and she will be able to return to fellowship.

PLEASE PRAY…

-for Christopher who failed his final exam in Secondary School and therefore cannot go on for any further studies. He needs direction and encouragement for how to make his own living.

-that they will hunger and thirst for God’s truth.

-Romans 10:17 over this family. “…faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ.”

-for the love of Christ to flow across the street and that the fragrance and character of Christ will linger on them in such a way that as their neighbors watch and know them that they, too, would desire the river of life.

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