A Tanzanian Christian Family
Easter, John, Lucy, and Nestor live in Tanzania with their mom and dad. Easter is 11, John is 8, Lucy is 6, and Nestor is 4. They are Christians, but many of their neighbors are Muslims.
The family lives in a house made of tree poles with a roof of coconut leaves. Banana trees and cassava plants surround the house. The family cooks and washes clothes outside. The inside has three bedrooms, and it’s dark because the windows are very small and the house has no electricity. The walls and floors are made of dried mud.
John and Nestor gather firewood for their family, and they help their father grow crops. When they have free time, they like to play soccer. Easter and Lucy do not have time to play. Their mom needs them to help her cook, fetch water, and clean the house.
Read below what the family said about their lives.
Mom and Dad talk about school
Easter, John, and Lucy go to school. Their fellow [Muslim] students mock them just because they are Christians. They are forced to learn about Islam, and if they don’t, their grades are affected. [Islam is the religion of Muslims.]
We have tried to talk about this with school officials and even the government. But no action has been taken except they promise, “We will make things right.” Some parents who can afford to pay the school fees send their children to private schools.
The students and teachers have tried to convert them to Islam. Sometimes they come home with lots of questions like, “Why do we call Jesus the Son of God?” But God has been so faithful to them. Despite all the mocking and problems, still they are doing very well in their studies.
John and Easter talk about school
John: It is very hard to be a Christian because it feels like everybody at school looks at us as strange.
Easter: Every day at school, I have to answer questions about why I am a Christian and not a Muslim.
Learning and Praying
Mom and Dad: When we pray at home, people hear us, and they throw stones on our roof. We teach the children Bible stories like the story of David and Joseph. We teach them about Joseph so they will know that what they are going through will pass. We teach them the love of God, which was shown through Christ. We explain why we say that Jesus is the Son of God. We tell them that the God we serve is so great and powerful, and that He is able to protect and take care of them.
Learning and Praying
Easter: I like the story of David and Goliath.
John: I do, too.
Lucy: I like the story of short Zacchaeus who climbed the tree so he could see Jesus.
Easter: One day, Lucy was sick and Mama prayed for her, and she was completely healed.
Lucy: I can’t go to bed without Easter. We pray together and then feel safe to sleep.
Hope for the Future
Easter would like to be a doctor when she grows up. John wants to be a lawyer, and Lucy hopes to be a teacher. The children would like kids in the United States to pray for them.
Their dad shared what he prays for his children. “We pray that God will help the children finish their studies. And we pray that they may continue to know God Jehovah, the father of our Lord Jesus, who is the true God, creator of heaven and earth and everything.”
(Source: the Kids of Courage archives. Edited from the original interviews for length and clarity. Photo: Tanzanian kids.)
To Talk About
• Tell or read the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis. What were some of the troubles Joseph faced? How might the story help the Tanzanian children face their struggles?
• Why do you think Easter and John like the story of David and Goliath?
• What would you answer if someone asked why you are a Christian?