As part of his transition from Wesley College Principal to Executive Director of our US Foundation, Eric Soard spent five weeks in Tanzania in late summer 2020. While there, he sat down to catch up with Wesley College students and graduates. Here is Jackson's story.
Jackson: Plans changed, faith grew
2020 has been a year, I think we can all agree on that. Jackson is someone else who has had his plans affected by a global pandemic. After graduation from Wesley College last year, Jackson became the first Tanzanian to be accepted into UMC Global Ministries’ Global Mission Fellow program.
Unfortunately, the program was cancelled due to COVID-19, and to participate in the future, he will have to reapply.
The Global Mission Fellow program is a huge growth opportunity which is hard to underestimate. Travel and service outside of one’s home community always change people’s lives in dramatic ways. Due to the pandemic, Jackson went from preparing to move to another country to serve for two years, to figuring out the next step in his life at home in Tanzania.
Yet, as we were talking, it is clear that he has grown through this disappointment. We discussed his calling as a pastor, his desire to see the church and God’s kingdom grow, and how he had hard decisions in front of him. Priorities of his family, the church, and his own personal growth all need to be considered.
Jackson’s next step most likely includes ordination, and he is also trying to understand if losing this chance to work abroad this year may be a door closing to several of his dreams.
As we ended the conversation, he seemed to have a peace that his role was to be faithful. Faithful in taking care of his family, faithful to follow God’s call in his life, and faithful to doing the best work he can do for God’s kingdom regardless of where he was. I pray that his dreams can still happen, but I also have a peace as I see the maturity and leadership that has and continues to grow in Jackson’s life.