‘The Power Has Gone Out from Me’

August 2, 2023 | | GNJ News, Messages from the Bishop, Bishop's Relay Column, Tanzania

Who touched me?” Jesus asked his disciples on a crowded street, “for I know
that power has gone out from me.” (Luke 8:46)

“There is a great crowd,” his puzzled disciples answered. “Everyone is touching you.” But Jesus felt the power go out from him because there was a healing of a woman in his midst.

I recently traveled with representatives from our EPA and GNJ conferences to teach
in a United Methodist Pastors School in Tanzania. Tanzania is a fairly new mission field
for our church. The Rev. Mutwale Ntambo Wa Mushidi was sent there as a missionary in
1992 by the bishop of the North Katanga Annual Conference in the Democratic Republic
of the Congo (DRC) to start congregations in Tanzania.*

Today there are almost 100 churches. The Pastors School we lead is one of the few
pastoral and theological training programs that pastors in Tanzania receive. And they
receive that teaching with great joy and appreciation.

This was my third time teaching there. Bishop Mande Muyombo of the DRC said to
the gathered pastors, “I have set up a small room, and any pastor who would like Bishop
Schol to pray for them, go to the room and he will pray with you.”
For two hours, pastors came to me for prayer. Here are some of their prayer requests:

“I have prostate cancer and cannot afford the surgery. Pray for me.”

“I told my husband that the bishop has appointed me to a new church far from where
I am serving now.” (Her husband responded, “If you go, I will not go with you. I will find
a new wife.”)

“In addition to pastoring, I worked in a hospital. I took provisions home from the
hospital for the very poor people in my village. I was fired from my job, and I do not
know how I will provide for my family.” (The average pastor in Tanzania was paid a total
of $68 last year.)

“I do not know how to read, and it makes it very hard to teach and preach to my

“My congregation is in great turmoil, and I do not know how to bring peace.”

After praying for two hours with pastor after pastor, offering one heartfelt prayer
after another, I felt the power go out from me. I was sad. I was drained. I was exhausted.
The power went out from me.

The last person to come and see me was Frederic. I got to meet him in 2019, at the
last Pastors School we led before the Covid pandemic. He had been pastoring for a
number of years.

Frederic had a severe limp back then, and his speech did not always make sense. His
district superintendent told me that he had been in a severe automobile accident that
damaged his leg and his brain.

This time Frederic said he wanted to be the last pastor to see me. “I don’t want you
to pray for me,” he said.

Just before the 2019 Pastors School a doctor had told him he would not be able to
continue to serve a church because of the accident. “I asked you to pray for me then,”
he recalled, “and you did. I was healed. My leg is better, and my mind is sharp. And I
have continued to pastor a church.”

At that moment, the power was restored within me.

I invite you all—clergy and laity—to pray with others, for others, without ceasing,
especially in very challenging times. Pray until the power goes out from you. It may be
the only way power will be restored for the healing of our souls, for the healing of our
church, for the healing of the world.

Keep the faith!.
Bishop John Schol
The United Methodists of
Greater New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania

*The Rev. Mutwale Ntambo Wa Mushidi went to Tanzania with his wife, Kabaka Ndala

Alphosine, also a missionary. The two worked together to serve the people and lead in
the development of churches and various ministries, with support from Greater New
Jersey, Eastern PA and other U.S. annual conference.