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If you ever get a chance to visit your partners in Tanzania you will experience the blessing of their amazing hospitality in the form of delicious foods, like potatoes, chicken, goat, chapati, and, if you are so fortunate, mandazi…all of which are cooked with sunflower oil.
One of the many impactful aspects of the Bega Kwa Bega parish-to-parish partnership is the huge variety of projects that can be worked on together. One such project between the Mlowa Parish and Christus Victor is a sunflower oil press.
The leadership of the Mlowa Parish came up with the idea for the project after considering how much time, effort and money their members and neighbors had to expend to get sunflower oil for cooking. People have to plant, tend and harvest their own sunflower seeds. Then they put the seeds in large sacks to take to Iringa by bus, a four-hour or longer, expensive trip. Once in Iringa, they would take the large sacks of sunflower seeds to the press to pay for their sunflower seeds to be pressed into oil. Along with the sacks of seeds, they would have to carry their own large empty plastic containers for the oil. Often an overnight in Iringa, as well as food, would be involved before jumping back on the bus with their containers of oil for the long journey back to the village. This was the same situation for all of the surrounding villages.
“What if we had our own sunflower oil press in Mlowa?” they dreamed together. How much time, effort and money would be saved if people in the surrounding villages could come to Mlowa instead of going all of the way to Iringa? Not only that, but a sunflower oil press would bring in funds to support the ministries of the parish!
So Pastor Godhome Mhosole, Kenani Nyato, and Neema Nyalusi from Mlowa traveled to Iringa to have a Zoom meeting with members of Christus Victor to share their dream and plan with us. They invited us to dream and pray with them about supporting this project. So we did, and we brought this project to the members of Christus Victor, who enthusiastically supported this dream and within four days we had all of the funds needed to complete the project!
Christus Victor provided the funds and supported the project with prayer, while the members of Mlowa did the hands-on work of making bricks and putting up a building as well as planting sunflowers. After much work and prayer, at the end of April, a group from the Mlowa parish traveled to Dar es Salaam to purchase and transport the brand new sunflower oil press back to Mlowa. By the time you read this article, the sunflower press will be up and running, squeezing out oil for cooking delicious food for everyone in the surrounding region!
Mungu ni mwema! God is good!
In Christ’s Grace,
Pastor Kent Claussen Gubrud