Twing Memorial Ministries
In 1969, Dr. James A. Twing, and his wife, Ethel, a licensed practical nurse, were sent on a six-month rotation to Heri Mission Hospital in Tanzania, East Africa. Heri Hospital is located in the northwest part of Tanzania, not far from the city of Kigoma. After they returned from Africa, the Seventh-day Adventist Church sent them on permanent assignment to the mission hospital. The ministry, which has been functioning for more than 40 years, is now called Twing Memorial Ministries. In Africa, the work is carried out under the direction of Musa Mitekaro through an organization called Twing Association for Health & Education Development (TAHED). Presently the Twing Memorial Ministry supports nine lay pastors, an elementary school with grades primary through seventh, with 594 students, and a soon to open secondary school.
Recently, things were not going well here in Tanzania. Tension and fear were everywhere. The teachers and physicians of the country were on strike for better pay and working conditions. Many schools (private and government) were forced to suspend classes, and teachers stayed home. At the same time, the strikers employed soldiers to regularly visit all the schools to make sure that no instruction was taking place.
Despite our teachers being threatened with death or kidnapping, the headmaster of Twing Memorial Elementary School (TMES) told the “observers” hired by the strikers that, “We teachers at TMES trust God. We have nothing to do with this issue since the government does not pay us our salary. We love our pupils, they have a right to get education, and we will continue our teaching.” Every morning and evening the teachers and pupils prayed for the protection of their lives and for the school.
One day, a mob came to our campus, well-armed and ready to kill or kidnap our teachers, harm our students, and destroy our property. As the mob entered the gate to the campus, they were met by a man carrying a beehive. Suddenly he threw down the beehive and the bees savagely attacked the mob. In an attempt to escape, many sustained injuries from falling over backward as well as being stung by the bees.
The news spread throughout the villages that the bad men had met an angel of God who protected TMES. Surely, this was a modern day miracle. There are no bee hives anywhere near the school and no one knows who that man was. Psalm 91:11-12 reads, “For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Blessed be the Lord for protecting the school! And may His angels protect you.
A few weeks ago, I sent a builder named Deo to finish the work on the buildings of Twing Memorial Secondary School. He has had a lot of experience building government schools and is paid well. He was willing to travel a long distance to assist us for very little pay compared to government pay. He is staying at Twing Memorial Primary School. Every day he attends morning and evening devotion with pupils and teachers at our school. He is not a Christian and never attended a church in his whole life. He is getting Bible lessons from the school lay pastor. He says, “I am so happy and excited to be learning about Jesus. It is not a coincidence, but a providence of God for me to come to finish building Twing Memorial Secondary School.” Pray for Deo.
Faraja is in standard six (sixth grade). She was brought up in a Muslim family. She was impressed by TMES students and wanted to join this Christian school, but she was afraid to tell her parents about her wish. Finally, she made up her mind to join the school, without informing her parents. After she was registered, she wondered how to attend the school without the knowledge of the parents. “If they learn of my decision, I will be in serious trouble,” she thought.
This is how she was able to hide her plans. Every day she would get up early and take the cattle to the grazing area and bushes near the school. Then she would attend the classes and keep an eye on the cattle. She did this for two years without her parents’ knowledge, although they could see the books and notebooks by her bed. The teachers knew her problem, but it was difficult to handle this matter as it was a religious issue.
One day, she requested the chaplain, teachers and other pupils to pray about her situation. The following day, the village chairman and Faraja’s father came to meet the headmaster. The village chairman had already talked to Faraja’s father and had convinced him to allow his daughter to continue with studies at TMES.
Today Faraja is a baptized Adventist. She has had a great influence in her family, for now her whole family loves the Adventist faith and are truly Christian in heart. The family is studying the Bible with the chaplain and will soon be baptized.
Jamari Makata is a boy studying at TMES. He is also in standard six. He has received Jesus Christ and was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He was living in two worlds of faith. He is a follower of Jesus Christ, but at home his father and mother worship many gods and sacrifice to idols. This was a heartache for Jamari and he continued to pray for his parents and attempt to teach them the word of God. They seemed to not care or understand what their son was saying, so they ignored him. Jamari told the chaplain of TMES what was happening at home. The chaplain visited them regularly and taught them from Isaiah 44: 6, 8. “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and His redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God. . . . Fear ye not, neither be afraid: Have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? Ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any.”Isaiah 44:6, 8.
Now the father and mother have been baptized and attend church regularly. Jamari’s heartache has turned to joy. As Jamari shared this experience with his classmates and teachers at TMES, he shed tears of joy.
Praise for these stories goes to our Heavenly Father. He is working through our faithful teachers and school lay pastor.
By Dr. Larry Hawkins, Secretary/Treasurer for Twing Memorial Ministries. Website: www.grandmaafrica.com. Make tax deductible donations to: Twing Memorial Ministries, PO Box 6, College Place, WA 99324.