One mother, impressed by the way Jarkko had led baptism and communion services in Dabia, decided to name her son after him. What a privilege! The nearest name to Jarkko that is familiar to Tanzanians is Jericho, but after some help with the spelling, the child’s full name officially became Jarkko Festo Laban.
Dabia is an isolated village in the Kilimatinde region of Tanzania. In some ways progress is happening fast. The village is hurtling into the twenty-first century with its first internet connection facilitated by a new radio tower. Recently, pilot Jarkko Korhonen was able to Facetime and Whatsapp his family in Finland from the bush! Mobile networks connect people where there are no roads, yet the village has no electricity and only one solar panel on the village shop’s roof.
The government’s strategy is to build a link tower in every village, although many of them don’t even have basic infrastructure and facilities. While mobile companies and business interests drive progress in telecommunications, MAF strives to facilitate medical and evangelistic outreach in Dabia, which amazingly led to these testimonies of baptism.
Life is difficult in Dabia but the monthly mobile clinics are making a real difference – reaching villagers where there are neither roads nor medical services. Some mothers have to walk a very long way to attend the medical clinics, so MAF plans to build a new airstrip near to the surrounding villages. An extra medical team could then be flown in, greatly increasing the impact of the Kilimatinde outreach.
The legacy of Jarkko’s work with MAF will live on in Dabia in a remarkable way. The naming of Jarkko Festo Laban reminds us that what we sow, we will reap. As followers of Christ, we can rejoice as we continue to share God’s love, knowing that many seeds will one day produce a crop for eternal life.
Story by Jarkko Korhonen and Amelia Combrink, photos by Jarkko Korhonen