Friday, March 30, 2007


On a Hill Far Away

In August 2006 Sunshine After Rain Ministries led its first team on a trip to Tanzania, East Africa. Six women set off to train, bless and learn from women living in remote villages. Ms. Sabina Lumwe (our leader during the 2004 Kenya women’s training) arranged a conference for ninety women to be held at the Vuga Bible School (built in 1912 by Germans for a mission post). It took days of flying, and treacherous bus riding to arrive at the compound set high in the Usambara Mountains. Our quarters were the Bishop’s guest house sitting at the bottom of the acreage where the Bible school is located. French doors opened to a stone porch filled with faithfully tended flowers and overlooking a spectacular view of the mountains and valleys surrounding us. We felt privileged. It was obvious God had protected this place on a hill and long used its sanctified ground as a place where His light had gone forth into a dark nation.

“Here's another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill... Now that I’ve put you on a hilltop...” Mat 5:14-16 The Message

Each day of the conference, we took our afternoon tea with different groups of laywomen. Sabina explained they were leaders of small bible studies, and some of churches or prayer groups. This would be our opportunity to get acquainted in an informal setting.

On our first day, eight women sat on the stone bench with the beauty of the backdrop and took tea and biscuits. We were able to ask them questions, and they were able to do likewise. We began by asking, “What is your day like?” It was hard to keep our mouths from dropping open as they said, “The day starts at 6:00 am, letting the animals out to pasture, gathering firewood, boiling water, preparing the meals, getting the children off to school. We finish at sundown to begin again when the sun rises.” They asked if we had children, husbands, etc… and we asked the same. The oldest in the group had 14 children (none born in a hospital) and again our mouths strained against dropping as they shared one by one a few facts about village life for a woman.

The sun was setting and off in the distance, we began to see the roads fill with women who had left the conference. Sabina and those who had joined us for tea pointed to the farthest mountain. They shared the women were walking up that mountain, down the valley and even past the farthest hill in the distance.

The sight, miles away, of women walking up a hill to return home to tend animals, gather firewood, boil water, care for children and rise the next day to walk back 3 hours to hear what WE would have to say humbled us. We all prayed to have something worth their sacrifices made on the hill.