A solid foundation at the Boys Brigade Mara Training Centre
Posted on: 10th September 2018
CMS missionaries Matthew & Samantha Archer serve in Bunda, Tanzania at the Boys Brigade Mara Training Centre (BBMTC). They provide young men with the opportunity for a better standard of living, alongside a solid foundation in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
At BBMTC, young men have been learning carpentry skills alongside the Bible since the centre’s establishment in 2014. Many of these men have no opportunity for work or study in their villages, so BBMTC is meeting a great need in providing them with the trade skills to earn an income, as well as a good understanding of the gospel so they can return as leaders in their village Boys Brigade groups.
The idea of teaching carpentry to Bible students first came to Matt when he saw how many were unable to pay for the necessary books for their studies. The profits from selling a stool or small table would cover those costs, if only they knew how to make one. Matt eventually established a carpentry course at Bunda Bible College, which proved very beneficial for the pastors. However, it was in travelling to many Boys Brigade groups in village churches that the idea of BBMTC became fully fledged.
“Many young Boys Brigade leaders had very little opportunity for work in their villages and a good quality of life. They also lacked the confidence and ability to teach the Bible to the younger boys. We saw the need to help young men gain skills to enable them to earn an income. We also saw the great need to equip them with a good understanding of the gospel and the Bible,” explained Matt.
Matt was a carpenter with many years of building experience before he attended Bible college and joined CMS. There were many carpentry needs in the Tanzanian villages and a need to train tradespeople to fill the increasing demand that accompanied a rise in the standard of living. It was a natural fit and in 2014, BBMTC opened its doors.
“We wanted to teach a holistic way of life,” said Matt. “So we took a holistic approach, helping the young men physically as well as spiritually. The aim of BBMTC is two-fold—to teach young men trade skills to enable them to return to their village homes and earn an income through self-employment; and to give them a good understanding of the gospel and the ability to teach in the Boys Brigades in their village churches.”
Now in its fifth year, the BBMTC also has welding and electrical classes, with future plans to offer driving, mechanics, computing and plumbing. The centre is very close to achieving its goal of self-sufficiency and received government approval at the beginning of 2018 to be recognised as a Vocational Education Training Authority (VETA) centre.
So could they have simply taught trade skills and been faithful witnesses to the Lord Jesus on the side? While it’s possible, Sam thinks the two-fold model of BBMTC is more effective.
“We’re not just here to help people’s standard of living improve. Our deep desire is to see people’s hearts transformed through coming to know and understand who Jesus really is. You can teach carpentry and witness on the side, but we have found that teaching the Bible well helps the students to learn so much more.”
By the end of their studies, many of the students speak of Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and choose to be baptised, declaring their desire to live for him. They are then able to return to their villages and thrive in both self-employment and local church ministry.
CMS is committed to equipping Christian leaders for church and society. Please continue to pray for and support ministries like BBMTC, which train young people in professional skills and gospel ministry, so that they too can be disciples of Christ who serve their communities in word and deed.
Many CMS missionaries, like the Archers, are involved in ministries that teach, train and mentor people to serve in their churches and communities. You can help equip Christian leaders all over the world by making a generous financial donation at give.cms.org.au.