Tanzanian culture has been influenced by its German colonisation from the 19th century with its large Lutheran community of faith. Yet there is still unbelief and in some places traditional worship remains strong.
The Reverend Joseph Kahindi was trained at the International Baptist Seminary of East Africa, Arusha Tanzania for his under-graduate degree 1988-91. Joseph Kahindi then went to Fort Worth Texas at the SouthWestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he gained two Masters degrees and was Ordained in 1995 at the Gambrel Street Baptist Church, adjacent to the Seminary by the African Mission Outreach.
Joseph Kahindi is with eighteen other Baptist ministers on this Australian Baptist study tour who are each assigned to various regions around Australia.
Since his arrival Joseph Kahindi has visited the Lower Clarence Baptist work, the Ipswich Baptist ministry, the Banora Point (Tweed Heads) Baptist church, the mission Well-Being Australia and in this final two weeks, is assigned to Ocean Shores and Ballina Baptist works and the Casino Baptist Church.
Arusha is a city of 1.3 million people (2002 Census) with a history of Baptist ministry that goes back to 1961 when Southern Baptist missionaries initiated a work in that city and founded the Baptist seminary a year later.
In 2002 the Southern Baptists gave the seminary responsibility to the nationals and Joseph Kahindi was appointed the deputy Vice-Chancellor. In this role Joseph Kahindi deals with the academic affairs of the faculties.
At this current point in time, the university hosts 900 students, of which 50 are undertaking theological studies and the others are training in education and business studies. The university has a very good name and is highly recognised in Tanzania as a institution worthy of acclaim.
Joseph Kahindi is married to Loice and they have three children, Baraka (a son) 20, Grace 17 and Margaret 14. Married in 1987, they relocated from Kenya to Tanzania in 1988, twelve months after their marriage.
Baptist Church life in Tanzania is alive and thriving with over 500 churches throughout the nation. In the Arusha Baptist Association alone there are some 40 churches. The largest of these 40 churches in the Arusha Baptist Association would have congregations of around 250 people.
While in Australia, Joseph Kahindi is looking at Baptist Church Life and his reflections to date are that the ministry of these churches are not dissimilar to the Baptist churches in Tanzania, especially in their worship and polity.
This involves everything from Sunday worship, to home groups, bible studies, community ministry, schools although there are not very many activities mid week for various groups within congregations such as aged care meetings or play groups.
Joseph Kahindi's study tour has assisted him in understanding an Australian way of thinking, how Australian Baptist Churches handle congregation disputes, and the nature of evangelism in this country. One of the tasks given to Joseph Kahindi has been to share the needs of Baptist life and work in Tanzania, especially at the university.
Three of these specific needs are:
First, expansion of the facilities especially an administration centre and an additional lecture block. Second, sponsorship for the theological students in order for them to be trained as Ministers for the Gospel of Jesus Christ within East Africa; and Third, looking for interested qualified personnel to live with us and be part of our faculty in areas of teaching English, Mathematics and IT and come as faith missionary financed ventures.
People may contact Reverend Joseph Kahindi at email@example.com
and the web site for the Mount Meru University is www.mmu.ac.tz