“It is a huge gift to be able to worship, praise, and pray with students. I look out at my students sometimes during our assembly time, and I am amazed at the potential that is there. I wonder where the Lord will one day call these little world changers and what they will do to advance His kingdom.” Words spoken by Brittany Mathias who serves as a teacher in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania at Haven of Peace Academy (HOPAC). Brittany believes, “Teaching, regardless of where you are, is always a ministry.”
Serving HOPAC since 2013, Brittany works with first graders at this Christian International School. She is excited to be able to disciple all ages both in and outside the classroom.
But her work doesn’t stop there.
After arriving and getting set up in Tanzania, Brittany had another passion which she immediately began praying for God to open doors. It was a passion that started while on a mission trip to Uganda back in 2007 with Central UMC. Her heart ached to work with vulnerable children in East Africa.
God did open doors. Through her local church, Brittany helps lead a ministry to orphanages in the Dar area. “The orphanage that I have the greatest relationship with is Kurasini. It is the only government run orphanage in Tanzania, and the conditions at times can be heart-breaking. The children who stay there were either removed from their homes due to abuse; were separated from their families and have not been able to locate living relatives; or were taken off the streets.” Some of the children in Kurasini orphanage have lived there over a decade, “while others only a matter of weeks depending upon their family circumstances and the recommendation of their social workers.”
Brittany continues, “We have also been able to partner with Kurasini on a few projects, such as fumigation to prevent malaria, installing solar panels to provide consistent electricity, sponsoring two boys in a technical training program for young adults who are deaf, etc. As well as to do a few outreaches like Christmas programs and a football camps. Over and over again we have been reminded about how the Lord is Father to the fatherless. Though circumstances can be hard, it is our prayer that these children will know that they have a heavenly Father who desperately loves them. It’s a huge blessing to be invited into the work that our Father is doing in the lives of these children.”
Stories do not always have a happy ending for children in Kurasini. Back in 2014 Brittany was introduced to a little girl named Tumaini while volunteering at Kurasini. Tumaini was about three at the time and quite small for her age. “She was very shy,” Brittany tells, “but I was drawn to her because she had these really cute chubby cheeks.” One day when Tumaini was sick and began to cry, Brittany reached out to her. “She then let me hold her, and I realized that she had quite a high fever. She eventually melted into me (quite literally because it was hot that day), and stayed on my lap for a few hours. My heart hurt for her because she did not have her mom caring for her when she was sick, wiping away her tears. At the age of three, she had to learn to tough it out and make it on her own in order to survive. Tumaini left Kurasini, but I always wondered what happened to her.”
About a month ago, Brittany found out what had happened to Tumaini. While driving through downtown Dar es Salaam on the way to Kurasini Orphanage with a team from church, Brittany spotted Tumaini on the side of the road begging. Although Brittney wasn’t able to stop that day, a couple of weeks later she was able to speak to Tumaini while offering her food and inviting her to look at a picture from the orphanage of Tumaini and Brittany. Although not much information was given during this time, Brittany learned Tumaini’s mother would send her out to beg on Sundays.
Brittany continued to share, “I don’t know where the Lord will lead in this story. Much of it is still yet to be written. However, I am thankful for the chance to reconnect with this little one, and I’m praying and trusting that our Father will continue to guide us in knowing how to come alongside this family. Tumaini means ‘hope’ in Swahili. This always makes me smile. ‘Thank You, Lord, for the reminder that even in dark places, there is hope in You. ‘”
Brittany is one of the many missionaries Central UMC sponsors. If you are interested in learning more information on Brittney or our other sponsored missionaries, contact Greg Gibson at email@example.com. Brittany’s prayer request include the following:
- HOPAC’s theme this year is “greater things”. “I have been praying John 14:12 over this school year and our students. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
- For a discipleship group Brittany has with 9th grade girls; for wisdom in knowing how best to lead them
- For Tumaini and her family; wisdom in knowing how to come alongside them
- Orphanage Ministry:
- That the children we serve would come to know that they have a heavenly Father who desperately loves them.
- For a possible educational sponsorship program for two local orphanages partnering with sponsors abroad
- For the mamas and “babas” who care for the kids at Kurasini to have integrity and to have a heart for the children they serve.
Central Member & Guest Blogger