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Checkpoint

The next leaders

CMS missionary Glen Turner, serving with Dominique in Tanzania, is the principal of Mara Anglican Primary School. Through the children, there is a wonderful possibility to impact church and society long-term.

“Do you remember me Mr Turner?”

A slightly dreaded question for a teacher who has taught hundreds of children over the years! I fumbled to respond, before Pastory introduced himself as a former student. He told me how he still clearly remembers me teaching him a Bible timeline as a way to understand the story of the whole Bible. That was in 2011.

Now, standing before me was a well-spoken, humble young man, thanking me for investing in his life as a young boy nearly 10 years ago.

“ I have the chance to impact hundreds of young people over a long period of time because they have to be at school. I’ve got a captive audience!”

As a teacher, it is very special to learn how small things I’ve said or done have had an impact on my students’ lives. Some years ago, I encouraged another student Leah to read the BBC news to improve her English, and now she wants to be a diplomat! Pastory is studying Pharmacy at university, but still comes back to his old primary school to say hi whenever he is in town.

Young people like Pastory and Leah remind me that it is such a privilege to be part of God work in raising up the next generation of African Christian leaders for church and society. In Tanzania the next generation is huge, with those under 15 making up 45% of the population.[1]

Teaching at a local school means that I have the chance to impact hundreds of young people over a long period of time because they have to be at school. I’ve got a captive audience! Just imagine the possibilities there are to reach the next generation when there are over 200 days of school per year for seven years—and that’s just primary school!

Questions about God and life

Every day students ask me significant questions and raise complicated issues: what should I do when someone hurts me? Does evolution fit with the Bible? I really don’t want my parents to get divorced—what should I do? Do witchdoctors actually have power? If I help my friends during the exam, isn’t that loving them? How can I be sure I’ll be saved? What job should I do in the future? What kind of person does God want me to be?

Preparing for the future

I am so thankful for the amazing opportunity I have to teach and prepare students for their future careers and roles in society; to speak the love of Christ into their lives; to show how the gospel impacts their decisions for how they live in their culture and community; and to challenge them to use what God has given them to make a difference for the kingdom.

When you work with young people you don’t often get to see the fruit of your ministry. I’m blessed to have seen a little fruit in the time I’ve been teaching at one little school in the backblocks of Tanzania. I can only imagine what God might do through the many other young people who have come to Mara Anglican Primary School.

Pray

Glen asks CMS supporters to “pray that God may use these young people to change Tanzanian church and society, so that both the young ones and their society reflect Christ and his principles for life.”