Habari, Kanisa! (Hello, Church!)
My name is Pastor Desi Wheeler, and my wife, Ranee, and I greet you in the name of The Most High.
We labor in the beautiful city of Mwanza, Tanzania, East Africa. We have been open just over three and a half years, and it has been a wonderful time of service to God.
We started our church on one of the many hills that makes up our city, but I recently began a diligent search for a new location. In February 2017 God opened the door for a beautiful and highly visible location. It is a 2-story, 4600 sq.ft. building, complete with walled-in compound, a huge parking lot, 2 bathrooms and plenty of room for children’s church/nursery. I challenged our church to pay for our building and as they responded generously, we had enough money to pay for the entire year, paint the church and build a 20-ft. stage. But this is just the beginning of God’s grace.
Evangelist Frank Escobar did our first revival in March, kicking things off with a two-night Healing Crusade and ending with a men’s discipleship at my home. Many visitors came out and many decisions were made for Jesus. It was great week of ministry.
April saw us again reaching out to the community as our drama team took Jesus through the streets – mocked Him – whipped Him, and told bystanders to come along – they were going to crucify this Jesus. The crowd followed Jesus into the church and there He was beaten again, nailed to the cross, and resurrected on the 3rd day. Many responded to the gospel that day.
God has been bringing in families from Uganda and Zimbabwe, and from many tribes in Tanzania. One great blessing to me as a pastor is to see the disciples now conducting the service, taking the offerings, and leading outreaches. Our Monday night men’s discipleship classes have challenged the men in many areas of their life. Here’s a quick snapshot of one disciple’s recent decision:
A 20-year-old disciple named Daniel feels the call of God to pastor someday. He was struggling over whether he wanted to go to a University or stay and go to a local college. The Government has offered to pay for his schooling to a top-notch school, but the catch to accepting that offer is that they own you and can send you wherever they please until your school fees are paid off. Daniel decided to stay in Mwanza and pursue the call of God. He is going to find a job, pay for his own schooling, and someday be sent out to pastor.
These kinds of decisions are not easily made here where the per capita earnings are $60/month USD. But these are the kinds of decisions being made by the church folks here in Mwanza.
We have great vision for this city and for this church, and should Jesus tarry, we shall plant workers. Thank you, Pastor Harold and Sister Mona, for your years of service. Thank you, Tucson congregation, for your love and faithfulprayers, and for your years of giving.
I also want to thank my wife, Ranee, for 31 years of marriage, and for giving herself to the call of God as well. Blessings to all!