Good & Faithful Servant

Good & Faithful Servant

Guest Post | Personal Reflection

This is a guest post by Gina Jacklin. Gina serves as our Administrator and Sponsorship Coordinator. Recently she was in Kenya and Tanzania visiting two of newest partner projects, and witnessed first-hand the impact the Hope Story funded projects impact the lives of the children in those communities.

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It was blistering hot and humid from the moment we arrived in Tanzania, often reaching 35-38 mid-day...even the locals thought it was hot! However, when I think of the snow and cold in Canada I find myself thinking that this is not so bad though I think Ryan would disagree. lol Upon our arrival in Tanga, we were warmly greeted by the wonderful Sarah, daughter of Pastor Matinya, and administrator of Amani School. Pastor Matinya is the visionary behind the inception of Amani School, an English Christian school that is growing and thriving in a community that once did not welcome the idea of a Christian School in a majority Muslim community. 

While there we have had the privilege of getting to know Sarah, Pastor Matinya and his incredible story. I feel like there is not enough time or words to fully describe this amazing individual who has dedicated his life to transforming his surrounding community by providing access to quality education and sharing the Gospel message. 

The vision and passion to begin this school bloomed from his personal journey from Islam to Christianity. As he carefully recounted for us his testimony this week, Pastor Matinya was forcefully shunned from his family and community at the age of 17 when he was confronted by his family to choose which God he wanted to follow, Allah or Jesus. Once he made it known that he wanted to follow Jesus, he was sent out on the streets without any money, resources or other family members to rely on. He had quite literally become homeless and orphaned overnight. As he continued to recount his struggles, it was very difficult to hear as from the get go, Ryan and I could sense a gentle, deeply loving, patient and kind spirit who is so concerned to love and serve those in his community. 

In some ways, I believe his testimony has uniquely positioned him to share the Gospel of Christ with the 96% Muslim Digo tribe that surrounds Amani School. He understands their customs, beliefs  and way of thinking but more importantly, it is his very genuine concern to help, love and serve that has gained the respect and approval of parents that has helped to make this school a success, though the beginnings of the school were marked by uncertainty and hostility (he endured lethal threats toward himself and toward the school building).

As we sat with him and listened to all the ways in which he extends his care outside the school walls, it is not hard to see why he has so quickly gained the respect and care from the once hostile community. He is a man committed to living out Christian Faith going above and beyond his call of duty as a school manager to help the parents of students in any way they need. From counselling to providing advice on practical matters or handling economic challenges. 

After spending a few days with Pastor Matinya, seeing his deep faith as expressed through our daily prayer and devotions alongside his tireless work ethic that knows no boundaries, it seems there is nothing he won't do or sacrifice to help reach someone lost or in need. As he puts it himself in quoting the book of James, he is deeply moved and has a hard time when he meets someone who asks him for help when he doesn't have the resources to do so. Like I said, it is hard to do this man's story and his big heart any justice in such a short blog post but Ryan and I have both been truly honoured to be in his presence seeing how active his faith is as is expressed by his actions toward his family, the teachers, students and broader community at large. We have also been deeply moved and challenged upon seeing how many needs have yet to be filled at Amani School... 

You can help support the various needs of Amani School in Tanzania by visiting here

"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked or destitute of daily food, and one of you says, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus, also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 2:14-17

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