Kigundu Ndwiga, Stewardship Director, East Central Africa Division

Summary: Stewardship director talks about his division’s challenges and vision.

Since its organization as the youngest division in 2002, East-Central Africa Division has been striving to move forward amidst very great challenges. Our experience has been like an African canoe striving to sail upstream against the tide. If it were not for the conviction that God is with us, we would have been paralyzed, shackled with the fetters of fear and raised our hands in defeat. However, we have struggled to move ahead, with the calm assurance of God’s presence with us. We declare with Paul, “If God be with us, who can be against us?" God’s presence has not removed obstacles and challenges, but has strengthened us to meet our challenges headlong.

The impeding tides

The following are some of the tides we have been sailing against:

·Millions of lost souls in vast unentered global mission areas.

·Approximately 2.5 million church members in dire need of being nurtured and equipped for ministry.

·A small underpaid workforce that urgently needs resources and relevant training to minister effectively.

·A great need for decent houses of worship to cater for an ever growing membership.

·Contextualized literature to ground our members in the truth in their major languages.

·Spearheading unity and overcoming negative ethnicity among the hundreds of ethnic groups across the division.

The “stewardship tide”

The challenges mentioned above highlight and underscore a great need?the need to become self-supporting. We dream and envision a time when we will completely finance our mission and boldly seize the greater blessing?the blessing of generously contributing and giving of our human and financial resources to the world field! That dream, our fondest dream, is based on the conviction that we have not been called to manage man’s scarcity but God’s abundance! It is informed by the wisdom of an unknown Talmudic philosopher: “The noblest charity is to prevent a man from accepting charity; and the best alms is to show and enable a man to dispense with alms.”

The vision of becoming a self-supporting and generous division may look like a mirage in a desert or sound like mere wishful thinking in a division where the strong adverse tides of civil wars, homeless displaced refugees, abject poverty, environmental degradation, climate changes, the droughts, the starving millions, the reduced life expectancy due to tropical diseases and the dreaded AIDS, the high levels of unemployment, the high birth rate and the resultant overpopulation, and the frantic scramble for scarce economic resources seem like an insurmountable Tsunami!

Misplaced confidence

A casual look at the circumstances within and without ECD could be discouraging! However a deeper look will reveal two very strong compelling reasons for our calm confidence in the fulfilment of our vision-the all sufficient grace of God who helps the weak and the united resolve of our people. The priority given to stewardship education, the appointment of stewardship departmental directors at every organizational level, the division-wide weeks of prayers, the stewardship camp-meetings and conferences, the intra and inter-country stewardship preaching initiatives, the flooding of stewardship material and the frequent visits to ECD by the GC stewardship directors are seeds that are bearing fruit.

Signs of progress

The annual average increase of 20% in the returning of tithe in times of an economic meltdown and serious droughts are harbingers of the fulfilment of that vision. The words of the ECD President, Elder Mbwana, in an email to me, sum it all: “...we have had an increase in tithe every succeeding year since we started. This is a direct result of God’s leading...I have even noticed we are close to achieving our strategic goal of tripling tithe in eight years....” With an all resourceful God on our side, we will continue to make tremendous headway upstream against the tide!