Welcome to Tanzania, a nation of lavish beauty and abundant wildlife. It is situated on the east coast of Africa and bounded by Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), Burundi, and Rwanda. It consists of the former German and British territory of Tanganyika and offshore islands Pemba, Mafia, and Zanzibar. Much of the western border is formed by Lake Tanganyika (Africa’s second largest lake), Lake Victoria, and Lake Malawi.
By faith, SIM sees:
- making the Gospel available to the southern coastal people.
- Christian growth in local churches.
- addressing the needs of the people in the community.
- believers expanding to reach out to other groups.
Current SIM Ministry
SIM missionaries are committed to taking the news of Jesus’ forgiveness to people groups in the south and to seeing strong churches established among them. The people closer to the coast tend to be more strict in their adherence to other religions, and much spiritism is still in evidence. Missionaries are seeking relational and spiritual tools that will help gain a hearing for the gospel among them. SIM also equips the existing churches to reach out to the surrounding community.
SIM’s Partner Church
The African Evangelical Fellowship, prior to its merger with SIM, entered Tanzania in 1990. SIM missionaries are committed to evangelization among unreached groups in the south and coastal areas. No single SIM-related church exists at this time.
Unreached People Groups
Of the 29 people groups yet unreached with the Gospel, nine are in the south, SIM’s main focus.
History of Christianity
In 1860, three Catholic priests moved to Zanzibar from the island of Réunion. They were joined in 1863 by Holy Ghost Order priests who founded Bagamoyo on the mainland in 1868. Originally a freed-slave settlement, Bagamoyo became the base for evangelistic activity in the interior including the outreach of the White Fathers towards Uganda in 1878.
German missions arrived soon after Germany assumed control of the country. The first was Berlin Mission III which arrived in Zanzibar in 1886 and moved to the mainland the following year. Benedictines of St. Ottilien of Bavaria came in 1887. Next were the Bethel and Leipzig Missions in 1889 and 1893 and the Berlin Mission in 1901.
In 1891 German Monravians took over the work pioneered by the London Missionary Society in 1879. The United Free Church of Scotland provided interim assistance at the time of World War I until 1926 when the German Moravian missionaries were able to return. German Adventists first appeared in 1903, followed by the Africa Inland Mission in 1908 and American Mennonites in 1934.
The United Missionary Church of Africa was the first Anglican society beginning on Zanzibar in 1864 and moving to the mainland in 1875. Evangelical Anglicans arrived to work among the Gogo in 1878 through the Church Missionary Society from Britain, Australia, and later New Zealand.