Our Visit to Ikengeza Parish

6-20-10 / John: Sorry for no pictures yet… sloooowwwwww internet 😦 ..lots of videos too… but that’ll have to wait. Read on and use your imagination! Blessings to you all back home!


Sarah: Sunday, Iringa, Tanzania. Yesterday morning we left Iringa to visit Ikengeza, the sister congregation to Holy Cross and Beaver Lake. Ikengeza is one of seven preaching points.

Saturday morning we picked up two pastors, Huruma and Donald. Huruma was our translator and Donald works at the district level, and Ikengeza is one of the parishes in his area.

The drive was a little over an hour, and of course, it was on bumpy roads. The last km or so we followed the members of Ikengeza that were singing, dancing and waving branches to greet us and lead our bus to the church. We got our first look at Ikengeza. It had a tin roof, cement floor, benches for pews, an altar and a pulpit. Streamers and decorations were out all over.

After that we went to the pastor’s house, which had all the rooms we were staying in. They served us a tea break (it was already after noon) because lunch was later. Then we were off to see the preaching points.

The first one we headed for was for the Masai tribe. This was farther out, and we got the bus stuck crossing the dry riverbed. The men spent awhile getting it out of the sand (members of the parish rode with us), while the women played ball with some Masai kids that were walking by. Once the bus was out, the road finally stopped (too many trees), so we walked the rest of the way.

The “church” itself was just branches making up the walls and ceiling. The benches in the church were also just small branches off the ground. As at all the churches, we were welcomed with songs. Then we introduced ourselves, said a few words, and left. We also got stuck in the riverbed again leaving, but for not as long.

We went to two more churches, both in various stages of construction. One had a nice floor from the money Holy Cross sent, but wanted to plaster the walls. The other was close to putting down a cement floor. We saw this church Sunday morning. At both places, we were greeted with songs, waving branches, brought into the church for introductions and then went back out. All for the preaching points had evangelists, so we met each of them as we went.

The fourth church had a lot of people, and it seemed larger than Ikengeza. We had the same procession, but we were taken to an area that was setup for eating. So, we had our lunch (around 6 pm). Then we went inside the church, but since it was getting dark and we have no lights, we went back out for the introductions.

At all the churches, we were given gifts. We received a couple of chickens, eggs, and at the big church we received baskets, woodcarvings, and Masai jewelry.

After seeing the three churches, we went back to Ikengeza to our host’s house, and then we had supper (around 9 pm). We got to see a beautiful starry sky as we brushed our teeth outside. Then it was bed.

Sunday morning we had breakfast with chapori (a thick crepe). Then we went to see the 4th preaching point (the one that needed the floor). We also saw a primary school (it has 5 teachers and 600 students), and the well. After that we went back to Ikengeza for church.

The church service followed a liturgy. Pastor John gave the sermon. Our group sang some songs. Then we presented three suitcases of gifts. We showed the cross that was made, the water filter pumps, gave the flashlights to the evangelists, and showed some of the other gifts to the people. Our group received more gifts (somewhere we were given a goat and a chicken, but we couldn’t bring that back). The whole service was about 3 hours long.

After church was lunch, then we packed up to head back. We saw the fifth preaching point on the way out. The church didn’t have its own building, it just used an old milling machine room. After all the greetings, it was back on the road and to Iringa.

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4 Comments on “Our Visit to Ikengeza Parish”

  1. Ann Hagestad Says:

    I’s so enjoying all your posts. Blessings and continued safe travels!


  2. Pam Hinton Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the highlights of your trip with us! I’m imagining the gift of a goat and a chicken . . . to us, that sounds pretty odd. But to your hosts, they are likely highly esteemed gifts. I would have loved to have seen the presentation of the three suitcases ~ all filled with love and caring from the people of Holy Cross! God bless you all on this adventure in Christ. Thank you for making this trip for us ~ and take care.


  3. Jan Oleson Says:

    Blessings to you all! Thank you for taking the time to share a bit of what is happening with us. You are in our thoughts and prayers and we know God will use you in many marvelous ways.


  4. Thank you for taking the time to write about your experiences. Wow! You were quite honored to receive a goat and chickens! Your descriptions are giving us a good idea what the preaching points are like. We are with you in spirit and in prayer. Safe travels.


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