The Chapel Story!
I was a leader of one of the Christian organizations in my high school. The high school I went to belonged to the Lutheran Church of Tanzania long ago — and since the church was part of the organization — we had the privilege of using the school Chapel.
The Chapel was an old building, however. It needed some maintenance, but the costs to do so were higher than what we could afford. “We are only students; how could we do it?” This question prevailed among most of my fellow leaders for quite some time.
One day when I was in one of the offices in the Chapel, two of my colleagues (now architect Agape and engineer Mtui) approached me. They proposed an idea about starting a renovation project. I was skeptical initially (not that I was to give a final say, it was just a personal belief), but I listened to their plans regardless.
Eng. Mtui started by committing himself to oversee the technical aspect of the project since he had some experience with construction projects. He and architect Agape had also raised some funds by that time to kick-start the project. I was personally impressed by their commitment; therefore, I chipped in.
After a few weeks of sharing the idea with other members, a big part of the congregation participated. Some people donated some money. Others their knowledge about construction projects; other folks gave their energy and time to do any manual work needed. (So, they opted to stay at school instead of going home for vacation.)
At the beginning of March 2015, we had about $50. We had more than $700 by the end of the month. The $700, for the most part, came about after a successful speech delivered in our ‘parent’ church.
I remember that day vividly because I was the one who gave the speech!
On a cold morning along the slopes of Mount Meru, I delivered my message to the church with about 150+ members. I had one theme: explaining to our ‘guardians’ what was happening at the Chapel because they had seen some changes.
I did not know what to say until about 30 minutes before getting the call to give the speech. I opened my Bible to the book of Exodus. I told the church what God told the Israelites on Mount Sinai — about cleaning the environment they were in to prepare for God’s revelation to them. I told them, “God does not live in a dirty place; so, we are just obeying that call.”
All went well after that speech. I got several handshakes after the mass from those impressed by the message — some even believed that I would make a good politician. The good thing is they also gave generously; thus, giving us even more conviction to finish the project.
By the middle of April, the Chapel was like a new place. Everyone who passed by it was astonished. The headmaster was surprised. The teachers were impressed. Some students could not believe that the work got done, with my name on that list.
After that project, I learned nothing is impossible when people decide to unite themselves to go after something. To date, that project remains to be something I am most proud of in my life. I guess you can see the big smile in the picture above during the first week when we started renovating our beloved Chapel. I was young and handsome, like how our project’s development was then!