I love watching my boys play with these really cool toy sports cars. In my era we called them muscle cars (oops – I am dating myself). When Joseph pushes a button, suddenly the car turns into an amazing action-figure capable of amazing feats of prowess. BAM – the beauty of transformation.
As I reflect on our recent trip to Tanzania, recapping our journey, and updating you on our ministry, that same concept predominated – TRANSFORMATION! Despite challenging circumstances and spiritual road blocks, STEMM is an increasingly transformational ministry. During our latest trip during the month of January our family saw evidence of remarkable transformation everywhere we looked.
The most visually obvious transformation manifestation is the STEMM Children’s Village (SCV). In just over 3 years, a portion of our barren weed-infested parcel has flowered into a small oasis of trees, gardens and orchards. The scope of this landscape change (less than 2 of over 100 acres) has to this point been limited by the capacity of our previous well. Due to the amazing heart and generosity of John Bongiorno (Worldserve) and the Majitech Company we now have a deep-water well that (with your help) will literally transform the entire property at SCV (see Ag Vision Transformation and ABC shoot).
STEMM has been the catalyst for transformative change for thousands of children and young adults via education. Each of these students, through your financial support, has a dramatically different future. Education revolutionizes individuals, cultures and society.
The most meaningful and profound transformation, however, has been the metamorphosis of our SCV children. While always sweet and loving, we have been blessed to witness tremendous intellectual, spiritual and relational growth in every one of our precious children.
Several of our SCV children are now in the top of their primary school class ranks. Children who were previously reserved, bashful and rarely smiled are now gregarious, charming and absolutely engaging! Because of your support and STEMM’s loving care, the hopeless outcasts of Tanzanian society are growing into vital contributors and future leaders of their country.
Often lost in the myriad of STEMM’s transforming activities is the impact we have on individuals who volunteer to participate in our mission. Our own children are profoundly influenced in a positive direction by their time in Tanzania. I saw amazing growth and enlightenment in the fabulous team of Dordt students and faculty this January. No-one has legitimately served with STEMM in Tanzania without being changed; for some changed for eternity!
Paul urges us in Romans 12:2 to “not be conformed to this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” What greater transformation is there than when we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit to become a new creation in Christ!? As Jesus himself depicted this ultimate transformation to Nicodemus, (John3:7) we are to be born again. Acting as the hands, feet and heart of Jesus, we at STEMM are blessed to see firsthand the fruits of this eternal transformation in the lives of many here in Siouxland and Tanzania.
In closing I can honestly report that STEMM is now facing the greatest challenges, most profound aspirations and optimal opportunity for achievement in our history. God has blessed us with amazing new (and not so new) individuals to lead us into our 3rd decade of ministry. Dave and Lori Heilman, inspiring leaders of our US organization coupled with Tanzanian director Warren and Sue Westvig are an indomitable team. Lori Kovitch, a veteran of years of experience in Tanzania, leads our education outreach with passion and commitment. With their able guidance, your support, and God’s providence I am certain we shall surpass our goal of 1000 sponsored students by our 20 year anniversary in 2016.
The co-operation, passion, and talent of our Board of Directors is absolutely exemplary. And for those who may not read the Arusha Times, we are thrilled to announce that STEMM co-founder and Tanzania Board of Director President Lazaro Nyalanda was recently appointed as Minister of Tourism and National Parks. (see Lazaro). With God at our helm, our team with “hands on the plow,” and your continued support, we are poised for unprecedented success in the years to come.
Dr. Steve Meyer