A Fisherman Begins to Fish for Men

 

Jesus is still calling fishermen and teaching them to fish for men. In Tanzania, Arbogast is not only fishing for men, but mobilizing those who respond to fish, teach and send others. “Mobilize others through our prayer and ministry efforts” is one of the prayer points of Pray2020.

Arbogast Henga was born on an island in Lake Victoria, Tanzania. A fisherman like his father and grandfather before him, Arbogast practiced witchcraft and took traditional medicine, believing these things would help him catch fish. When fish became scarce in 2011, Arbogast, age 47, traveled to a nearby district known for witch doctors, looking for more traditional medicine.

Instead of a witch doctor, Arbogast met Kanagana, a pastor preaching about Jesus. God changed Arbogast’s heart, and he left his nets and boat to follow Jesus.

Pastor Kanagana took Arbogast in and taught him the Scriptures. One day, Arbogast learned about 2 Timothy 2:2, “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” This was what he wanted to do! Barely a year old in Christ, he started sharing his testimony and discipling others. Over the next several years, he started six new churches and turned them over to other leaders. But he had no real plan for the work.

A “Person of Peace”

In November 2017, Pastor Kanagana attended a Multiplying Churches and Communities (MC2) training by Global Church Movements. He passed the training on to Arbogast and four others. Arbogast was thrilled with the new principles he learned. One was the strategy Jesus taught his disciples, as found in Matthew 10. Jesus instructed them to go, meet people’s needs, talk about the kingdom, and find someone who would receive them and their message — the “person of peace” the Father had prepared.

George

In December, Arbogast went to Nyamikoma, a nearby village with no church, trusting God to lead him to a person of peace. Immediately, he met George, who received him and his message, putting his faith in Christ. Arbogast taught George to explain the gospel, and the two went house to house sharing the good news.

Soon four more people joined them in the faith. The new discipleship group began reading the Bible together and going out to share the gospel. After one month, the group grew to 14. George caught the vision. “I can do this!” he said. “I want to start my own group!”

Ibrahim

George had a friend, Ibrahim, in Igwata, a village about 7 kilometers away. Ibrahim and his friends were poachers and had been arrested many times, paying high bribes so the police would let them go. George thought, “If Ibrahim accepts Christ, we can use that money for God’s kingdom!”

At the end of January 2018, George went to Igwata. When Ibrahim heard George’s testimony and watched the “JESUS” film, he decided to follow Christ. Just as Arbogast had done with George, George went house to house with Ibrahim, sharing the gospel. Soon a group of 45 new believers were meeting for Bible study, prayer and worship.

Diana

After a few weeks, Ibrahim wanted to share the gospel with others and start his own group. The former poacher knew a lady named Diana in the next village, whose mother was friends with his mother. Before trusting Christ, Ibrahim often clashed with his mother. He would visit Diana to seek help, causing many problems for Diana. “Why are you taking a rebel into your house?” Ibrahim’s mother would shout.

When Diana saw the change in Ibrahim and learned about Jesus, she also put her faith in Him. Ibrahim helped Diana share the gospel with others as George had helped him, and a third generation group arose. By early February a group of seven new believers was meeting.

By May, the growth had reached the ninth village and generation. By July, the 12th. By September there were 15 generations, each meeting in a different village, each started by the generation before. Over 11 months, 16 villages had been reached with the gospel. About 320 people had come to Christ.

Each village now has its own church service. Arbogast meets weekly with the leaders, and they pass on what they are learning to their churches. Nearly a year and a half later, the village churches all follow a weekly pattern of reading the Bible, obeying what it says and explaining the gospel to others.

To this day, Arbogast does not know what happened to his nets or his boat. But when it comes to fishing for men, the former fisherman has still bigger dreams. So far 105 households in Nyamikoma are represented in the movement. Arbogast wants members from all 450. He wants to send people to other districts so more villages can hear and more groups multiply, on and on and on.

– by Wade Mantlo