How did Africompassion came to existence?
“From my life experiences, I have known the challenges of social injustice, disease, illiteracy, and poverty. By the grace of God, I was able to break out of this environment, get education and be able to take care of myself. I never wanted just to end up taking care of myself, but to change even one life at a time from wherever I was and with whatever I had. And the most valuable thing I had at hand was Jesus, The Bible and Education,” Said Jerald, the Africompassion Founder.
It wasn’t something easy, but because Jerald severally heard the voice of God instructing him to serve Him. He obeyed and followed the vision.
Prayerfully, he felt that he would have a much better chance for a meaningful and intimate experience with people if he did what God wanted him to do. Jerald had high hopes of providing compassionate care to the people in his outreach and missions. The community that surrounded him dared much to be served and no one was ready to take the cross and follow the vision. That’s why after a very long period in prayers and fasting, he felt called to a compassionate social work—to bring God’s love to the hurting people.
Reality quickly set in, there were so many needs and only one of him. And only so little available hours in a day. He had a thought with thousands full of needs, but also a ministry full of needs to be established. So, the solution was obvious: Reach the local people and train them by Equipping them for the work which could lead to the establishment of the projects he intended for building up the body of Christ through love and care and Africompassion Organization was born.
He trained five lay caregivers in that first phase: That was in the year 2013. A secretary, a field officer, a community transformation trainer, children ministry in charge and a spiritual development teacher. They were “ordinary” church people, but Jerald was immediately impressed by the seriousness they put into their training and the enthusiasm they showed at the opportunity to be involved in hands-on ministry.
After the leaders were assigned, there was a big hope in the development of the care they provided—and the joy the team discovered as they saw Christ working through them to bring hope and healing to people.
The story did not end there. Two of the first Africompassion ministers recognized that “AFCO” was too valuable and important to be limited to only one mission area, so they encouraged Jerald to figure out a way to offer it to other places.
Buoyed by the vision and protection of the Lord, Jerald and his team, one day set out with a backpack and four loaves of bread, water and an umbrella with their Bibles and Jesus cards, and began knocking on the doors of the villagers.
They explained to the villagers that they were Christians and that they were called by God to reach them and share the love of God with them and that they could keep visiting them and teach the word of salvation as part of telling them about the vision Jerald had.
Part of the villagers understood that Africompassion team were interested in them spiritually, but also in every aspect of their lives. At the initial contact, Jerald and his team wanted to ascertain their history: family, work, and faith background. The team wanted to bless the villagers lives in every possible way, and so came with their hands full of good things for them each week like clothes, candies, pens and some food for the hungry old ladies.
The then Africompassion team, frequently kept doing that but with people very skeptical, afraid and unwilling to let them in physically or symbolically. Many even said, “They don’t know why the team should be let in to their houses… we don’t let people in…” or, “I’m a much-closed person.” We, of course, knew why they were letting us in, and thanked God for it! The weekly visits to the elderly and the orphans were the very foundational of Africompassion organization.
Most of the people visited had no other family; the Africompassion team become their family, and did not take that role lightly. For each person met, a covenant was made with God to do all that He led the team to do, praying for them daily, visiting them weekly, and seeking to bless them in all that the team could.
The team truly sought to be ministers of reconciliation to them and attempted to reach them from wherever they were, and led them to be reconciled to God, whether it was a first-time faith, a renewal of a seed of faith that had been dormant since they were a child, or nurturing them in growth and surrender to God.
In the first three months, the team began having Bible Studies with individuals in their homes. For most people, this was the first time they had read the Word of God or prayed. Believe this, there was no more moving event than being with people who were at the end of their lives, and learning to talk to God and trust Him for the first time.
After about eight months into the Friday visits, the team got approval for the first prayer and fasting meeting, which would be in a Home of one of the village elders who was open to all residents
The prayer, fasting and the evening fellowship meeting were held every other month, and were advertised by the local church leaders who accepted to join the vision. Jerald’s wife did put together all the programs which were usually made up of local gospel singers and some local leaders donating their time for the fellowship. People could put together all the plans with the help of the Africompassion team leaders. The meetings always begun with prayers, asking the Lord’s blessing in all that had been planned for the future missions.
At the end of the first fellowship, people were asked if anyone had any questions or comments. One of the Africompassion team leaders, stood and announced to the entire meeting that the one-on-one Bible study could go on. This prompted a native pastor to say, “Why can’t we have a Bible Study at our homes ounce a week instead of once a month?” Jerald smiled at the pastor, and said, “I suppose that would be all right.”
Immediately after the meeting, Jerald called one of his prayer worriers’ leader, who had initially been involved in the prayer and meetings for the ministry, and let him know of the need for a Bible Study teacher. The Lord was calling; Pastor Jonathan to help on this.
In April 2014, Africompassion held the first Series Leader’s Training Course (LTC) and trained the first church planters who then returned to their respective areas to recruit, train, and supervise their own church planting. Since then, Africompassion Organization in Tanzania has specialized in “training the trainers” through different series, reaching the un reached groups and helping the needy in the society.
Through door to door gospel presentation, and by visiting different communities, Africompassion team got different testimonies about the many people who died from HIV/AIDS living behind desperate children with no help and support. Relating that to Jerald’s previous life experience, Africompassion team prayed about what to do and in 2016, Africompassion Academy and Children’s Day Care Center was born.
We did all the paper work, got registered and started by faith. Through prayers and fasting, God connected us to rightful people who could pray with us and share the vision with others.
Today, together with other key initiatives, Africompassion focuses on educating orphans, the neediest children and defenseless youth by providing sponsorship at all stages of education. By capacity building, we help parents/careers of the most vulnerable families to sustainably manage the livelihood, promotes health care and child protection and facilitate structured overseas volunteer placement for nurses, students, teachers, people of general skills and professionals who are willing to offer their time, skills and psychosocial support to our communities for their developments.