In the past two weeks, I have had the opportunity to visit New Hope’s ministry partner in Arusha, Tanzania on two different trips. On the first trip, I led a leadership development training for the staff of the primary school. The teachers were excited about learning new leadership skills and encouraging their colleagues through fun activities I had planned. I found them to be bright, motivated and committed. One of those individuals was Abraham Stanslaus. I first met Abraham in 2013 on a visit with some members from my church in DC. I was impressed with him then, but now even more so. Abraham is a teacher at the school but has recently taken on a role at the church. Senior Pastor Vernon Smith has been teaching and developing Abraham for several years now, and we believe he will be a full-time Pastor one day. On my second trip to Arusha, I sat down with Abraham to learn more about his life and his view of leadership. His answers were so insightful that I’ve decided to split his interview into two parts. Enjoy Part 1!
Q: How did you first learn about Bible Baptist and New Hope Initiative?
I am from Arusha and grew up in the Catholic Church here. When I was 16 years old, the American missionaries invited my soccer team to the church (11 years ago). At the time, the church met in a tent and was just beginning. I accepted Christ at Bible Baptist at the age of 17 in 2003. Afterwards, I became a member of Bible Baptist. I enjoyed the Bible Challenge Pastor Smith leads at the beginning of Wednesday night service and wanted to know more about God’s word.
After becoming involved at the church, I started volunteering at the school when the Foltz family started it. I continued to help and discovered that I liked teaching. I realized I needed additional education, so I completed my teaching certificate and attended Bible College. After finishing my education, I returned to the school to help.
My current role includes being the Junior Pastor at the church assisting Pastor Smith. I am on the church “board” (leadership team) and also preach on Sunday mornings occasionally. At the school, I am a part-time teacher.
Q: Why did you become a teacher?
I like teaching and I’m proud of the profession. I also like to preach. If I don’t teach, I feel like I’m missing something. I am compelled to teach.
Q: How do you define leadership?
Leadership is a privilege. It is not something you can go to school and get. It’s something that God gives people, a calling. Leadership is a gift that you have to use properly. We must steward the gift well. If someone is in leadership, they are to be servants – not to command and be bosses but to serve, walking by the Spirit, led by love. Leaders must understand that.
Q: What do you like most about working at Bible Baptist?
It is a conducive, peaceful environment that I am very proud of. It is a village of joy and fountain of peace. I am comfortable here. Of course, it’s not perfect, and we have normal issues, but we are blessed much. We have good security, teachers, and leadership. We are glad to be here, proud of what we are doing – serving the children and community.
Check back next week for Part 2 of this interview. Abraham tells us about his vision for the future and some exciting news for his family!