Mathayo Kachili

20 February 2024

February 2013

As soon as Generosa said goodbye to her husband, Mathayo Kachili, she headed back to the kitchen to take care of the rice she was boiling for her twelve kids’ brekkie. The couple’s four-month-old bub, strapped to her back, made happy sounds as Generosa stirred a pot of strong black tea on a stove next to the rice. Kachili’s job as a pastor for a growing Christian church in northwestern Tanzania had its fair share of challenges, but God always looked out for him and his family. However, that morning in February 2013, Generosa was concerned for Kachili. He was bidding farewell to a pastor from another country amid heightened tensions in the city due to a recent clash between Muslims and Christians over meat butchering practices.

Although the Tanzanian constitution didn’t prohibit Christians from slaughtering livestock for meat, traditionally, this task belonged to Muslims for it to be considered ‘halal’ or permissible under Islamic law. Kachili had recently spoken up in support of Christians having the right to slaughter and sell meat, and Generosa worried his words might have made him a target for upset Muslims. Despite Kachili’s reassurances, she knew there had been riots that day at a nearby butcher shop.

On his way to meet the visiting pastor, Kachili was confronted by four militant Muslims, one of whom happened to be their neighbour. The men grabbed him, dragged him down the gravel street, and attacked him with machetes. Although one tried to behead him, the blow missed, striking Kachili in the chest. His right hand was nearly severed while trying to defend his head and neck.

Later, a church member found Kachili in the street, and with little strength left, he identified one of his attackers. After the men left, a neighbour rushed to tell Generosa about the attack. Despite the efforts of the doctors, Kachili, lying unconscious on a stretcher, passed away shortly thereafter.

Despite the immense loss, Generosa forgave those who took her husband’s life. “They didn’t know what they were doing,” she said, citing Scripture’s call to forgive those who offend. In Tanzania, Christians can freely practise their faith, but in predominantly Muslim areas, they face oppression, from family pressure to violent threats and even the burning of churches and homes.

Despite this persecution, local churches persist in spreading the gospel in challenging and unreached areas. Like many Tanzanian Christians, Generosa believes that this adversity is bringing greater unity to the church, viewing her husband’s tragic death as a means for the Lord to bring a harvest into His kingdom.

 

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