Across the world Christians face all kinds of pressures and problems that seem strange to those of us living in the West. Simple things like the kinds of meat you choose to eat and how it is prepared can have life-threatening consequences, especially in places where extreme views of Hinduism or Islam dominate.
This is true in Tanzania. In the town of Buseresere there is an unwritten rule that only Muslims can prepare and sell meat (known as halal meat). That means Christian butchers are often targeted. In 2013, after a non-Muslim butcher prepared meat for a Christian funeral, some Muslims in the community began rioting. The premises of Christian butchers were looted, and people were assaulted.
Mathayo Kachilla was killed in the riots; he was on his way to a friend’s house when he received fatal machete wounds. He was also known as a spirited evangelist whose salvation messages led many to Jesus and resulted in regular baptisms.
Jane Roza, his widow, says: “I was here at home when the whole thing happened and did not even know when he was taken to hospital. A neighbour rushed into the house to tell me Mathayo was killed. It felt at that moment that I was forsaken by Jesus.”
Jane tried to approach her loss by finding comfort in the Bible. “I believe God knew Mathayo’s destiny…It was necessary that he go through this so that it would be a lesson for the remaining people. But also that the Lord can harvest into his Kingdom.”
Before he died, Mathayo was able to identify his killer as a neighbour who was well-known to his family. Other witnesses confirmed this, but the man was arrested only to be set free soon after under suspicious circumstances.
Jane says: “The children are emotionally affected when they see the person walking around freely. It is very painful to us all… Even though the police have visited me a few times after the murder to interview me and promised to keep investigating, we do not know what happened to the case.”
Jane and the children have a good home to live in thanks to Mathayo’s hard work and do subsistence farming to provide themselves with food. The surrounding Christian community helps where they can, and through the local church, Open Doors has provided the means for them to start a shop to help them generate an income. In partnership with the local church, Open Doors will continue to monitor their situation.
Tanzania is number 36 on the 2016 World Watch List. Of a population of 55.2 million, an estimated 29.6 million are Christians. Islamic extremism has been spreading in Tanzania, and militant movements in Somalia and Kenya are having an increasing impact on Tanzania.
Open Doors has been involved with the church in Tanzania since the mid-1990s, but most of our work was focused on the island of Zanzibar. More recently, our assistance has included specific areas of the mainland. Much of our work focuses on providing literature and on developing church leaders, though it also includes livelihood support. Our work includes:
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.