Peter and Tammy Russell work with Wild Hope International in Tanzania after spending years working with Kenya’s
Maasai. Peter enjoys training Christian leaders and potential leaders “in the life of radical faith,” with Tammy assisting in the process of discipleship and transformation.
Recently, they had a five-day getaway on the pristine beaches of Zanzibar. Peter had looked forward to the time to “relax, read a good book, enjoy some good food, swim, and exercise.”
“As we flew in over the Indian Ocean, the aquamarine and coral blue of the waters surrounding the emerald archipelago formed a picture so breathtaking that I felt my soul start to rejuvenate,” he recounted.
After they found their hotel, Peter and Tammy slipped into the hotel pool overlooking the sea, and Peter felt God’s love surrounding the two of them.
In the evening they strolled along the beach and saw the locals mingling with the tourists and enjoying themselves, playing soccer, volleyball, and swimming.
But, they also noticed a darker side to the tourist experience. “We were keenly aware of broken and desperate people. In Tanzania as well as Kenya, Maasai men come to the tourist beaches to sell trinkets and play the noble warrior for lonely tourists. It saddens us,” Peter noted.
“Over the years, Tammy and I have developed a principle (right or wrong) when we are on vacation at the beach of not letting on that we know the Maasai language. We have found that once this is discovered, relaxing is a challenge as everyone wants to talk to you,” he explained.
That night after Peter fell asleep to the whirr of air-conditioning, he had a disturbing dream. “In the dream I saw Maasai going to perform a sacrifice filled with occult meaning. When I woke up I shared the dream with Tammy, we prayed together and the heaviness lifted somewhat. But later in the day it came back and I had a stirring in my heart to have church on the beach.”
When Sunday arrived, Peter and Tammy took a walk on the beach.
When a young Maasai man greeted them, Peter answered him in Maasai. The young man was shocked to hear his language coming from a tourist.
“I have a message on my heart to give to you Maasai here. Can you gather your friends together?” Peter asked.