Partnering with the Holy Spirit in Tanzania

The shape of a dove seen in this Tanzanian sunset photo encouraged a mission group that the Holy Spirit was at work.
Since encountering Jesus some four years ago, Hugo Hendriks, 32, of Johannesburg, has pursued the Lord with all his heart. He spent a year as a student at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in California USA, is currently enrolled at Legacy School of Discipleship in Alabama USA, and has served on short-term mission trips in South Africa, Lesotho, Uganda, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Tanzania and America. In this article he shares on his experiences on a recent trip to Tanzania at the invitation of a local pastor.

Africa has always been a place of big crusades, miracles and signs and wonders, but in my recent visit to Singida, Tanzania, together with my mission partner Douglas Zeiger, we witnessed a deeper move of the Holy Spirit over this country. This move of the Spirit is so beautifully described in John 1:4  — In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

In previous Africa trips I have seen people hungry for God, hungry to be nourished by the Lord. I have seen people receive amazing miracles from God, yet they left untouched in their hearts. Their hearts were still darkened, not knowing the Son of God. Their hearts remained dull, while their minds could quote the right Bible verses. They lacked the reality and experience of Christ. I was burdened for my people to meet and experience Christ in the depths of their hearts, so I cried out to the Lord and He took me on a journey — and this journey led me to the people of Tanzania in July.

Bible school teacher Anastazia Edward teaching a class in Singida, Tanzinia.

The Lord’s life in us
We started off by teaching the local Bible school about the Lord’s life in us and the difference between the two trees found in Genesis, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As we taught, the Lord’s light started to fill the hearts of these pastors, unveiling to them the revelation of Christ. Tears started rolling down a pastor’s face as the Lord revealed Himself. We prayed and ended the meeting after being deeply nourished by the Lord.

Later that evening, while walking back to church, we met a crippled man on the road. Moved by the Spirit, we prayed for him and asked him if we could help him with anything. He asked for some food.

Doug and our interpreter went to buy food, while I walked with the man to the church. People told me this man was a drunk. “I know, I can smell his beer. But that doesn’t disqualify him from our love and help. It remains an honour to serve this man, remember it’s the goodness of God that leads men to repentance” I told them. Doug brought the food and escorted the man back to his home, but the story didn’t end there. We met up with this man again on Sunday.

Pastor Paulo Mapande hands over medicine to a sick woman in the hospital the team visited.

The next morning we started teaching on what the Lord’s life is going to do in you and what your experience is going be when you fellowship with God’s life. We have grown so accustomed to fellowshipping with good teaching or a good work but not with the Lord’s life in us. While I was teaching I could see the pastors being filled with Christ and I could see the Spirit enlightening their minds. It wasn’t just a good teaching but Christ Himself was being revealed.

By the end of our two sessions the room was filled with the anointing and we laid hands on the pastors to pray for them. I had one of the most powerful experiences of my Christian walk, in a quiet room, with no visible manifestations of the Spirit. I felt how the Lord was moving the students’ entire being into Himself, where He took them out of law and works and into life and the Spirit, filling them with revelation and not just knowledge.

Humbled and in awe, we left to go and see the sunset, and meditate on what the Lord just did. While watching the sun go down, clouds moved in and formed what looked like a giant golden dove coming down to earth — a sign which we saw as confirming the work that had just happened in the school, and that the Spirit is moving in Tanzania and that the country will move powerfully in the Spirit of the Lord.

Sunday worship.

With great joy stirring in us, we met at the church the next morning preparing to visit the local hospital. We had made small gifts to hand to each person — our goal was just to bless the people and allow the pastors to love on the sick. While going from ward to ward, we saw the love of Christ coming out of these pastors. As they approached the patients, there was a deep heartfelt compassion coming out each pastor as they handed over the gifts and prayed.

Many people testified to healings and feeling better, but there was a hope that flooded the hospital and to me this was glorious. In the last ward we entered we met a woman who was very sick. We prayed for her and the Lord moved us to buy her medicine for which neither her family, nor the hospital had funds. But God sent us.

My heart was hoping for a miracle, but the Lord reminded me that I have two feet planted in the natural world and sometimes He will just give us the natural means to solve a problem.

Sending us to the hospital with the money needed to buy her the medicine was a miracle in itself, but by being fixed on looking for a supernatural miracle I had overlooked this one. How grateful I was for the provision of the Lord in my life that made me able to give that day.

Douglas Zeiger (left) and Hugo Hendriks baptise Elisha Selemani in a lake.

Overcome by the Lord
It had been an incredible couple of days in Tanzania, and my heart was full. As I was getting ready for the Sunday service, I was overcome by the Lord and His ways, and excited to spend the day in church. One thing I love about African churches is the long services where we get to dance and sing non-stop for hours. It’s loud, full of passion and everyone is free to express their uniqueness.

We got to church and there we found the crippled man we met on the road a few days before — dressed up and sober. I hadn’t expected that and nor has the pastors, but we were so glad he came to visit us.

After worship I got up to share and nothing prepared me for what was about to happen in that church with six of the Lord’s people. I shared my message and the Lord told me to do an altar call, so in a church full of “saved people” I did an altar call, thinking it was only for the crippled man.

But then five church members and the crippled man got up and started coming to the front. While waiting for them to come, the Lord told me: “Have each person pray their own prayer and have the rest of the church pray for them while they pray”.

So I told the altar call responders that I knew they were accustomed to being led in a repentance prayer, but this day the Lord had spoken in their own hearts and they needed to lay their own heart bare before the Lord in prayer — and to pray what He showed them. I instructed the rest of the church to pray while those upfront layed their hearts bear before the Lord.

While standing there I watched as the Holy Spirit moved upon each person. With tears flowing and voices lifted up to God, they repented and called on Him to save them. These saints worked out their own salvation with fear and trembling before our Lord. They didn’t just repeat a pray and sit back down — they encountered the living Christ for the first time.

Sanjaranda Bible School in a neighbouring town.

While walking down to the local lake after church to baptise some of the new believers, I was humbled and in awe of the Lord. No amount of words can describe this moment and seeing this work of the Lord. God brought the reality of Himself to the people of Tanzania. I’m forever grateful to have been a part of this trip.

As our trip drew to a close, we visited another Bible school, where we had the opportunity to see what the Lord was doing elsewhere in Tanzania. This Bible school offers its students a three-year course which includes instruction in reading and writing in English during the first year. The school equips students in the Word and ways of God, and also betters them in their personal lives.

The Lord’s Life and Light is in Africa, moving in many ways and forms and we get to play a role in it. Are you ready to walk with the Lord on your journey?urches all over Tanzania, the Lord brought us in to help and support this pastor has he moves to do the work the Lord has for him.

One Comment

  1. Jeremy Burgess

    This is an encouraging testimony, it is lifting my faith, as it is showing what the Holy Spirit is doing. Thank you for going and for reporting on it!