A member of the En-kata choir from Tanzania

A member of the En-kata choir from Tanzania

African choir asks: why such fear?

There is no charge for this performance, but ‘offerings’ are encouraged for Bowser event

What’s being described as a message of faith and fearlessness is coming from the continent of Africa and it is spreading right here in North America.

This fall, the En-kata choir from Tanzania, East Africa, is sharing songs and stories about the awesome power of God at work in their community. The ‘Why Such Fear?’ Tour 2014 will be in Bowser’s Island Gospel Centre at 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21 with their moving performance.

In a news release issued by the Gospel Centre, choir member Naitapuaki Lengina explains the title of the tour: “In our lives, we have challenges, but since our God is with us, Why Such Fear?

According to the release, Lengina’s story is an example of the hope and good news coming from a continent that in the West is more often known for having to battle challenges of poverty and disease.

“I was a Maasai girl who was married off young, the fourth wife of an old man,” Naitapuaki recalls. Left widowed and alone to care for her children, she saw the miraculous change. “My children needed an education and God helped us build a school.”

This is the fourth tour of the En-kata choir through North America; their nine-week journey will take the Maasai from Washington State to Virginia with stops in several U.S states and Canadian provinces in between.

The choir tours are the main fundraiser for the construction of a Maasai-led elementary school in Obili, Tanzania. Money collected on previous tours has enabled the Maasai to build classrooms and bathrooms as well as teacher housing.

A grand opening celebration for the school was held in June 2011 and kindergarten classes started in March 2012. The number of children wishing to enroll in the school, however, far exceeds the room available in the three classrooms built so far.

“The ‘Why Such Fear?’ tour will help the school to expand its capacity, and provide the graduating kindergarten and Grade 1 students with classrooms to move into,” said En-kata tour coordinator Jeremy Feser.

The musical presentation will feature songs written by the Maasai and performed in both their native language of Maa and the official language of Swahili, interspersed with testimonies by the performers.

The testimonies will be translated live on stage, and the songs will have on-screen translations. The performance is family-friendly and anyone is invited to attend.

“There will be no charge, but offerings are encouraged as one of the goals of the ‘Why Such Fear?’ Tour is to raise money to continue with the construction of the school in Orbili,” Feser said.

According to the release, the En-kata choir is a project in partnership between Pamoja Ministries and MAPED, an indigenous Maasai organization in Tanzania that combines the salvation message with issues of social justice. Together, the two groups have created several CDs of the choir’s music as well as music videos and a stunning picture book showcasing one community of the Maasai. These items will also be available at the event.

For more information about the choir, call Jeremy Feser, 519-343-3413

— Submitted by Island Gospel Centre