A Conversation with Rev. Hagai
Posted on October 06, 2016
In September, we had the privilege of formally welcoming our newest Tanzania country director, Rev. Emmanuel Hagai, to the ALARM family. As an ordained minister, Rev. Hagai spent 10 years as a local pastor in both Temeke and Mwanaghati and received his theological training at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA. In addition to his responsibilities as Tanzania country director, Rev. Hagai is completing a master’s degree in peace, trauma, and religion at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Please join us in welcoming Rev. Hagai, his wife Mary, and their three children to the ALARM family.
Welcome to ALARM! Can you tell us a little about your background?
I was born in a Christian family and had the opportunity to attend church growing up. During Sunday School class, I was fascinated and inspired by the story of Moses—I never wanted to miss class. When I was 19, I attended a four-day youth Christian fellowship with students from the Mwanza region. One evening, the speaker preached from Matthew 11:28-30, and I decided to surrender my life to Christ. Being born and raised in a Christian family didn’t satisfy my life until I met the King of Kings, Jesus Christ. It was my time from rubble to rejoicing!
What are some of the challenges facing Tanzania right now?
First, human rights and rule of law. Freedom of expression, access to information and media are regulated by legislation. Poverty and inequality continue to be a problem as Tanzania remains predominantly agricultural, with three quarters of the population living in rural areas. There are many challenges facing local communities like land conflicts, gender-based violence, lack of health care and safe water, and tension between Christians and Muslims, among others.
How is ALARM responding?
Training church leaders [through ALARM’s Pastoral Leadership Training Institute and other programs] is mission critical to achieving lasting and holistic transformation in African communities. Together with the Church in Tanzania, we are developing selfless leaders who put the interests of the people they serve ahead of their own interests through Bible-based teaching and preaching.
What excites you in your work with ALARM?
I am so excited to work for ALARM, because it’s an opportunity to inspire churches and other agencies in Tanzania to advocate for peace and community transformation. ALARM is empowering the Church in Tanzania to fulfill the Great Commission!
How can we pray for Tanzania and the ALARM-Tanzania staff?
Pray that Tanzania would remain peaceful and would continue to welcome refugees warmly. Pray that we, as a staff, would have a desire for God’s word and our eyes would be open. Pray for unity, vision, creative energy, wisdom, and for funding for ALARM programs in Tanzania.