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Joseph Kazidi takes a break during a long day of farming in east Tanzania.
Photo by Josh Robinson

Around the World: Ministry continues despite the Russia-Ukraine war, hundreds of Christians worship in Uganda and more quick takes

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Around the World is our monthly rundown of news briefs, links and quotes from Churches of Christ all over the globe. Got an idea for this column? Email Erik Tryggestad at [email protected].

Featured image (above): Taking a break during a long day of farming, Joseph Kazidi finds shade under a tarp, his left leg extended. Sitting this way makes it easier on his hip, which was struck by a bullet as would-be robbers shot him three times when he was working as a security guard in his younger years.

The attack left Kazidi with mobility issues, Josh Robinson said, yet “he routinely out-walks and out-works many others who are younger.”

Robinson is director of communications for The Manna Project, which teaches men to preach, to farm and to be self-sufficient in ministry. The nonprofit, supported by Churches of Christ, sponsors a resource center in Nepal, the Rwenzori School of Preaching in Uganda and the Talawanda School of Preaching in Tanzania. 

Kazidi preaches in a Maasai village and manages the Talawanda school’s 55-acre farm, which includes land donated by his family.

“He is still going strong in his service to the Lord.”

Kazidi left a position of authority in the Pentecostal church to attend the Talawanda school. His wife disagreed with his decision and left him and their two daughters, Robinson said. While in school he nearly died from a respiratory illness. But he received life-saving treatment and graduated with honors.  

At 67, “he is still going strong in his service to the Lord,” Robinson said.


MINSK — This former Soviet nation borders both Ukraine and Russia. But the conflict between the two nations hasn’t stopped a ministry program associated with Churches of Christ there. 

Six students are taking classes in Minsk and are scheduled to graduate in May 2024, said Natasha Golos, a former secretary for the program. A minister in Minsk conducts online Bible and English classes for the school. 21st Century Global Missions in Fulton, Miss., supports the work.

“We commend the school in Belarus for their faithfulness to the Lord and for being a strength to the brethren in spite of the war in Ukraine. They are a light in the darkness in that part of the world.”

“We commend the school in Belarus for their faithfulness to the Lord,” workers with the Mississippi ministry said in a recent newsletter, “and for being a strength to the brethren in spite of the war in Ukraine. They are a light in the darkness in that part of the world.” 


Sainte-Elualie — “God Answers” was the theme of a three-day family retreat at Centre Bonnefoi, a church-owned camp three hours north of Marseilles. More than 120 members of Churches of Christ in France and Switzerland attended. 

“The highlight (other than our singing tradition) was the small-group discussions — particularly rich since we shared about when God answered our prayers or when he gave answers other than what we prayed for,” said Arlin and Pam Hendrix, missionaries in Lyon, France, in a recent newsletter.


Mbarara — Being In Jesus Christ and in His Ministry” was the theme of the Churches of Christ National Conference, hosted by the Mbarara congregation and attended by more than 200 believers from across the East African nation. 

“It was a great conference that was loaded with lots of lessons to learn,” said Kampala, Uganda, minister Isaac Sanyu.

Isaac Sanyu

Isaac Sanyu


It’s probably no surprise that the most effective missionaries to the southern African country of Zambia are, in fact, Zambians. 

Barry and Diniwe Phiri are retirees to boot. 

Barry Phiri spent his career working for the U.S. embassy in Zambia before he became a teacher with NewLife Behavior International, a nonprofit supported by Churches of Christ. 

Barry and Diniwe Phiri

Barry and Diniwe Phiri

In the past year, Phiri, his wife and their ministry team taught 242,000 people about Jesus, resulting in 357 baptisms and three new congregations, said Jo Umberger, NLBI’s vice president. 

They weren’t all Zambians. Barry Phiri, 73, trains church leaders, coordinates a prison ministry and has taught people in Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi. Diniwe Phiri teaches women, including those in prison, and trains them in skills to help them earn a living. The couple grows food for their congregation and those in need. NLBI provided four sewing machines to assist the vocational training program.

Umberger called the couple “local missionaries” and “an excellent example of NLBI’s mission to train Christian leaders around the world to equip their communities to put God’s Word into practice.”

Filed under: Christian nonprofits Churches of Christ in Tanzania International NewLife Behavior International News Rwenzori School of Preaching Talawanda School of Preaching The Manna Project Top Stories

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