Our Expansion into Malawi, Zambia and Uganda

We have often wondered if what God has done in Tanzania was the coming together of such a unique set of things that it could never be replicated anywhere else. We tried hard to distill down and discover the truly essential ingredients that led to all that has happened in Tanzania. Was it because of the unique characteristics of Godfrey as a leader? Was it because Tanzanians were willing to work in a way that people in other countries wouldn’t? Was it because Susan and I had invested 5 years in training up a class of kids who had the vision to start something incredible? Sometimes we analyzed it so much we almost despaired of it ever being able to happen again anywhere. And sometimes we just decided that that would be quite OK if it never went to another country. If indeed Tanzania were to be the one place on the planet that God wanted all this to happen, well then we would be fine with that.

After seeing what has happened in Malawi, Zambia and Uganda we are now convinced that the most important ingredient is a simple one: you just need people who are absolutely convinced this is what God wants them to do, and then God has to open the doors in the place He wants it to start and at the time that He desires it. All the other “ingredients for success” are really of rather minor importance. In Tanzania, Godfrey and Emmanueli were convinced of their calling -- they were born in villages, they themselves had no hope of ever going to secondary school, they got to go to school, and they believed that the dream that had come true for them could indeed come true in villages all over their country. Davies, down in Malawi, is very different – he was one of those who did get to go to school and he now does legal work, but he is also a pastor and he sees people whose kids never got to go to school and he feels their pain and God used that to call him to do this. Austine and his wife Sharon run a home for kids who have lost their parents and were really burdened about how they would ever be able to send them away to secondary school -- and God has used them now to open 10 schools with two other under construction. And in Uganda, Pius simply has a desire to see a school one day in his home village and when no one else seemed ready to launch Village Schools, he decided that he would try his hardest. And that’s why regardless of the obstacles, they all labor and won’t give up. If you wanted to hire someone to do the work that they all do, you would quite logically look for someone with a great resume, masters degree preferable, 5 years experience minimum in non-profit management – and yet we all know in our hearts that no one we would hire would be able to do what God has chosen to do through Godfrey and Emmanueli, and now through Davies, Austin and Pius. We’ve had a great lesson taught to us – again!

When in 2005 the people in the village of Igoda built their school in 70 days, it launched a movement that today involves people from over 200 villages in eight regions of Tanzania, all building schools for their kids – and quite frankly you couldn’t stop it if you tried. Our prayer is that somehow the same kind of movement can now take off in Malawi, Zambia and Uganda.