OM Lake Tanganyika hosts training for local fishermen to equip them to take the gospel to their families and neighbours.
The Good News II team has long been working to fulfil David Livingstone’s vision of reaching people around Lake Tanganyika with the gospel.
Working towards this vision, OM workers in five villages around the lake identified individuals who have a passion to share the truth about Jesus with their friends, family and neighbouring communities. These men and women recently attended training at the OM Zambia mission base in Mpulungu to gain the understanding and skills to spread the good news.
The OM team knows that these men and women are able to reach their own people more effectively than foreigners because they understand the cultures and languages spoken in Zambia, Congo and Tanzania, which border the southern part of the lake.
Few of these fishermen and their wives speak English, and even fewer can read and write. Because of this, classroom training is given in the local language and exercises and activities allow the trainees to put what they learn into practice. Often they complete assignments through drawings and presentations, rather than through writing.
Classroom topics include discipleship on the lake, church, fishing God’s way, roles in marriage, skills training and hygiene. In the first few days, participants went fishing together on the lake to practice sharing the gospel with each other, an exercise they can reproduce on their own when they spend long working hours at night with fellow fishermen.
Participants have shown a tremendous amount of commitment by attending the training. Life for these men and women generally revolves around fishing, and most live a life of subsistence. They often conduct business by bartering with the fish they catch, rather than with money.
Yet in spite of the sacrifice, most of the participants saved for months to pay the training fee of 100,000 Zambian Kwacha (20 U.S. dollars), which covered the cost of food during the course.
One participant had only saved enough money to cover the training fee, but not enough to take the boat taxi to the training. The team was astonished to find that he arrived on foot, having walked eight hours over difficult terrain to get to the base.
Another attendee was unable to bring funds to pay for training, so she brought items she had sewn, in hopes of selling them to contribute towards the training costs.
After the two-week course, and further follow-up training, these people will become self-sustaining missionaries, equipped to bring light to the hundreds of village communities around Lake Tanganyika. They'll work not only as fishermen, but also as fishers of men.
Please pray for the physical health and safety of the participants and teachers; there is currently a cholera outbreak in Mpulungu. Please also pray for the continued commitment of these men and women to follow God’s call to spread the gospel.
For more information about the work of OM in villages around Lake Tanganyika, visit OM Africa’s website at www.omafrica.org/lake-tanganyika.