A glimpse of growth
Posted on: 17th February 2023
CMS Australia Regional Mission Director Glen Turner served as a missionary with his wife Dominique, teaching at Mara Anglican Primary School in Musoma, Tanzania for ten years. He reflects on an unexpected insight into God’s fruit in people’s lives.
As missionaries go out and serve, faithfully planting and watering gospel seeds, there is no promise of seeing the growth God brings. But what if you got a little glimpse?
An unexpected ending
In 2020, our family made a quick, difficult choice to leave our home and ministry in Tanzania to avoid the unknowns of a COVID lockdown there. With 32 hours to pack and government directives sending everyone home, we didn’t get to say goodbye to friends and colleagues. As we left, we thought it would be for a short Home Assignment before returning to Musoma later in the year. But that return didn’t eventuate.
In Australia we made the tough decision to finish as missionaries, without packing up, handing over or farewelling the people or places we’d grown to love over the last ten years. There was much grief in this time, but we entrusted the seeds to God, knowing he would continue to grow his church and his people.
Returning to Tanzania
Almost two years after we left Musoma so suddenly, we had the opportunity to go back, collect our belongings, and say goodbye to our friends. As I walked back into Mara Anglican Primary School, where I’d been a long-term teacher and principal for three years, I was nervous. In my time there I’d introduced significant changes to the way the school was run. From academic improvement and teacher development to expectations of Christian life and school culture, not all of what I brought in was well accepted at the time.
Yet, in God’s kindness, I saw a harmonious staff working under the capable leadership of John Maembe—a godly family-man I’d taught alongside, promoted and mentored. As the new principal, John has continued many programs and initiatives. Though some things have changed, I was glad to see fresh ideas, growing enrolments and other improvements. The school continues to shine a Christian light as it serves the needs of the local community.
The Turner family with Bishop George.
The joy of visible fruit
As I walked in the local streets and markets, God brought unexpected meetings with former parents and former students, who remembered their Christian Studies lessons with me, and the educational foundation they received at Mara. They’re now at university studying pharmacy, medicine, computer engineering, law, nursing and many other things. These young people are leaders in their churches and communities, making a difference to the future of Tanzania.
How wonderful it was to see how they had grown from that small seed in primary school to where they are now!
Dominique and I were also farewelled by the school staff and Bishop George, on behalf of the Anglican Diocese of Mara. It was a special gift from God to hear their kind words, their expression of the difference we had made and the things they remembered of our family. We know that God brings the growth, but it was a blessing to glimpse how God had been at work over our ten years.
Our farewell visit to Musoma reminded us of the joy of working in true long-term gospel partnership with our fellow African brothers and sisters. The chance to teach, train and disciple students and colleagues over years in a school community is an amazing opportunity that can impact generations to come. Could you offer to serve in this way with CMS in Tanzania?
There are many possibilities for discipling the next generation in Tanzania and across Africa. Why not consider if you might be the next person to plant or water, and see what growth God may bring through you?