In the heart of Africa's "Harbor of Peace," evangelist Andrew Palau and 700 Tanzanian churches worked to foster unity, love and humanitarian outreach through the Love Tanzania Festival.
The evangelistic event was held Aug. 11-12 at Jangwani Grounds and attracted more than 125,000 attendees. The ministry reports that several thousand people made public commitments to Jesus Christ. Palau's biblical messages of hope followed two days filled with live music performances, freestyle motocross stunts and games for kids.
With transparency and a passion for the hopeless stemming from his own turbulent beginnings, Palau invited the crowd to "experience the fullness of Christ." He went on to say, "I'm begging you to receive God's grace. Jesus is here. The battle is won."
Tanzanian artists The Voice, Christina Shusho, comedian Masanja and a national worship team led by Pastor Safari Paul shared the stage with internationally known recording artists Nicole C. Mullen and Don Moen. World-class BMX and FMX athletes performed high-flying demonstrations rarely seen in Africa, and children of all ages enjoyed a special stage show featuring U.K. performer Duggie Dug Dug.
"It was fantastically wonderful," a local resident who attended the festival said. "I've been waiting 10 years for this."
Festival staff received approximately 6,300 response cards from the two-day festival, each representing an individual who made a decision to follow Jesus Christ. Over the next few weeks, local volunteers will follow up with each person and help them get connected to a church in their area.
"Thank you for bringing this great festival and unity to us," Archbishop Valentine Mokiwa of the Anglican Church said to the Palau team. "It is now our responsibility to do all that we can to strengthen the unity and build on it."
Extensive local media coverage fostered awareness and discussion of the event around preserving and spreading peace in the city. "Hopefully the Palau Association will come again. ... Strategies to deter crime should include the role of spiritual outreach," read an editorial in Tanzania's Daily News. "Christianity is still relevant in this permissive tech-savvy modern world of ours."
During the week leading up to the festival, an international team of volunteers joined local churches in facilitating several service projects and community outreaches. This "ministry week" had its own palpable victories. More than 17,000 people received encouragement, support and the Good News through clinics, school assemblies, dinners for women and business leaders, and church services across the city. About 2,000 made a decision to follow Jesus Christ at these preliminary events, the ministry reports.
The team's four eye clinics provided reading glasses for 8,706 people. Hundreds got in line as early as 5 a.m. each day to be fitted for a pair of glasses. Each patient tested their vision on a copy of the Gospel of John, and for many, John 3:16 was the first thing they saw with their new-found sight. Soccer and basketball clinics hosted by Play for Hope, a team of professional coaches from Rwanda, served 1,520 kids.
Love Tanzania also enjoyed full support of African Evangelistic Enterprise, an international evangelical and development agency operational in 10 African countries, and many of the staff collaborated to mobilize the churches in Dar es Salaam.
"The unity across the churches in Tanzania throughout this campaign has been historic," Palau said. "The heart of the pastors and leaders to make a difference by loving the city and proclaiming this life-changing message will impact Tanzania for generations. I am humbled and honored to be a part of it."