Ibrahim Milyango lived from 1892 to 1978. He served the Lord as an independent evangelist and was neither responsible to the AICT, nor to the AIM leadership. He had seven children.
Ibrahim believed that he was called to the work of evangelism to be a missionary to the yet unreached. He traveled in the Mara, Shinyanga, and Mwanza regions for two purposes: to evaluate the needs and to evangelize. He stayed at a particular place until he noticed that those to whom he preached had grown spiritually mature. He then moved on to another place.
Ibrahim continued evangelizing until he was unable to walk because of age. Even then, although he was too old to walk, his heart burned to get to the unreached. Anyone who visited Milyango realized that he was a man of determination. I remember one day at a certain Sunday service at Imalaseko, Shinyanga, in 1971, when he contributed the amount of 270 Tanzanian shillings for an evangelistic campaign to the Wataturu of Bukundi, situated about 160 miles southeast of the Shinyanga municipality.
In my opinion, Ibrahim was best at propagating the gospel because he knew how to get his audience’s attention. In 1980, at the funeral ceremony of the late Rev. Andrea Kabupu Midetelo of Kolandoto Shinyanga, Milyango testified to the life of Midetelo. Milyango said, “This young man (even though Kabupu was 85 years old when he died) laid in a coffin on our front. I met him when he was a dealer of hides. He was young, handsome, and smart. I called to him, ‘Kabupu, leave those dead skins, follow me and let us deal with living skins, which are God’s people who are dying in their sins.’ He followed me. Now that he has served His Master, and finished the race, let him have a rest. Stop crying for him, he is victorious. Let us be of great joy that he is in His Father’s hand. If your desire is going there, believe in Jesus just now. I assure you, the time will come when you will meet Midetelo face to face in heaven.”
On that occasion, I saw numerous people receive Jesus as their master and personal Savior. His story challenges me deeply. I remember when one of Milyango’s daughters got married, Milyango and his wife gave the church all of the dowry money which was instead used to build chairs in the Central Church of AICT at Makongoro in Mwanza. Using a dowry in such a way was extraordinary to Wasukuma culture.
Milyango evangelized in such places as Bushitala, Nyida-Luhumbo and Ishigamoto, Maswa; Idukilo, Shinyanga; Mihama, Shinyanga; Buzinza, Shinyanga; Kalasani, Magu; Dindilyani, Magu; Imalaseko, Meatu; Bariri, Bunda; Mirungu, Musoma. When he was in Bunda in 1952, he planted an orange tree at Bariri. Bariri means “cold.” That tree stayed there as a living reminder of what Milyango had done there. Today, there is a big church in the town of Bunda.
Joseph N. Gisayi
D. N. M. Nghosha, his writings about Milyango, “Yanayomhusu Milyango,” Headquarters Office of the AICT.
Anna Njuka, interview by the author, October 2002, Mwanza.
Rev. Hezronie Shimba of AICT Bunda, interview by the author, September 2002.
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.