I was blessed to meet Rebecca Gode when she was serving the Lord at Katunguru in the Sengerema District of Mwanza, Tanzania. She was born in 1905 at Sima, Nyanguge, in the Magu District of the Mwanza Region.
Unfortunately, she didn’t get enough education from school. Out of kindness, an evangelist taught her how to read and write. She was married after being reborn through Jesus Christ. Her wedding took place in 1928 at Chamugili local church in Magu, Mwanza. Her decision to change her life’s direction from darkness to light was followed by hatred and persecution from her husband, in-laws, and even her own parents.
Rebecca’s husband and in-laws, with help from her parents, agreed to exclude her from family relations for being a Christian. The church leaders at her local church decided to take care of her and they helped her to get a job. God offered her a job as a cook at the Katunguru Mission of Africa Inland Mission / Africa Inland Church Tanzania (AIM/AICT). She worked there at the Christian Training Center, known as C.T.C.
Then the Lord called her to work as a Christian Education teacher in primary schools and Sunday schools. The church appointed her to teach at Katunguru Primary School and its local church. Sometimes, she went outside of Katunguru to proclaim the Good News of our Lord Jesus and to profess that he is the Redeemer. The church also appointed her to preach the word of God at Katunguru Dispensary every morning before daily dispensary services.
When she retired from work as a cook, she spent most of her time visiting sick people in their homes, where she comforted them through the reading of Scripture verses, faith testimonies, and prayers. Through her ministry, she brought many people to salvation in Jesus. Some of those converted by her influence are now serving God with AICT and various church denominations in Tanzania. Among them is the writer of this article, who met her at Katunguru in 1962, where she taught him for two years in some Sunday school classes.
Both the AIM and the AICT recognized the work Rebecca did with them to glorify God. Even though her husband neglected her, she never despaired. She continued working faithfully until her death early in the 1990s. The church and its missionaries worked hand in hand with her until she finished her race.
Although she was not blessed with children from her womb, God blessed her richly with daughters and sons in the faith,–spiritual children like Timothy was to the Apostle Paul (I Timothy 1:2, 18). Those daughters and sons are still serving God as teachers in Bible schools, as pastors and as evangelists. As the writer to the Hebrews says, “And by faith (she) still speaks, even though (she) is dead.” May her soul have rest in eternal glory. AMEN.
Joseph N. Gisayi
Testimony given by Esther Erastus, October 2000, Makongoro, Mwanza.
Interview by the author of Stephen Kapongo and Sospiter Buhuba, near relatives of Rebecca.
This article, submitted in 2003, was written by Rev. Joseph N. Gisayi, 2003-2004 Project Luke fellow, a minister in the AICT for the past twenty-four years, as well as a member of the Africa Inland Executive Council and chairperson of the AICT Mission and Evangelism Department. This article was reviewed and approved by AICT bishop Peter Kitula, David N. M. Nghosha, historian of the Africa Inland Church Tanzania and by Stephen Kapongo, coordinator of AICT Department of Mission and Evangelism.