During the month of May, I had the privilege of participating in a short term mission trip to Tanzania, Africa. I was accompanied by other worship arts students, Dr. Jason Werkema and Mr. and Mrs. Adam Wolf. The purpose of our trip was to train and teach local worship leaders and volunteers who would be attending a worship arts conference at TGBI. This was the first time I had participated in a short term missions trip and because of what we experienced, my life will never be the same.
When we finally arrived in Tanzania, after traveling for what seemed like an eternity, we stepped out of our plane onto the tarmac and were immediately immersed in beauty. Not only was the countryside beautiful, but everything was so crisp and clear. The air was fresh and it seemed like you could see for miles upon miles. It was breathtaking. After we gathered our luggage, we had a quick lunch with some of the GMI missionaries, and drove to TGBI(Tanzania Grace Bible Institute, located in Mumba, TZ). As we began to plan for the conference, I began to ponder how God was going to use me during this trip. I knew that I would be teaching music lessons, but I wondered what else He would show me.
A few days later, our team began to meet and engage with the local Tanzanians. After several conversations with them, I started to notice a common theme amongst them; they were happy. I started to wonder, why are they happy? These people had nothing, some of them were hungry, and yet they smiled and laughed and loved one another. I began to ask myself, why can’t we do this in America? Other than our family members or our friends, when do we truly love our neighbors as ourselves? When do we take the time to stop and say hello as someone walks by us? Are we so incredibly egotistical that we do not have the capacity to acknowledge another human being? What is wrong with us?
Jesus tells us In Matthew 22:36-40, that the greatest commandment is to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. As a fellow brother in Christ, it seems that we miss this truth, especially in our culture. It is easy to travel several thousands of miles to a country you’ve never been and show love and compassion to the various people we meet, but can we do it in our own back yard?
I had an amazing experience in Africa, and I await the day God sends my family and I back to Africa on a more permanent basis.
Jonathan Blosser, author of this blog post, who was in Tanzania helping teach a worship seminar that was organized by GBC and our Missionary Brook Seekins, graduated from GBC’s Worship Arts program in May with high honors. He is 29 and will be celebrating his third anniversary with his wife in August. They have a 5 month old named Evelyn Avery. He is currently working at First Presbyterian Church of Trenton, MI and looks forward to the future ministry opportunities God has planned for him and his family.