In 2022 we are going to celebrate the TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY of THE LION OF JUDAH ACADEMY’s ministry (In Kiswahili the school is, “Simba wa Yuda Academy”). As we begin 2022, we’d like to give you just a glimpse into why the school exists, as well as the amazing miracles God is doing, by introducing you to the Shilikale Family, and especially their eldest son, Daniel.
One of the first events we (Hart and Lynn Inlow) attended after our arrival in Tanzania in 1999 was the wedding of Emmanuel and Esther Shilikale. Emma and Esther were students at Nassa Theological College where Hart taught. Emmanuel graduated in 2000, I believe. Esther graduated a year later, in 2001. That’s the same year we broke ground on our first two Lion of Judah Academy buildings (we already had ten students, a borrowed classroom, and a part-time teacher). Following their graduation, Emma and Esther almost immediately began working as national missionaries to unreached people groups in Tanzania.
Some explanations may be helpful here. “National missionaries” are missionaries who do missions outreach to others within their own nation. “Unreached people groups” are identifiable ethnic groups of people having their own unique culture and often their own language, where there are few if any followers of Jesus Christ. Tanzania has over 120 tribes, each one its own people group, with its own traditions and customs and, usually, language. There are believed to be 120+ languages spoken in Tanzania. Many are considered “unreached.” Many of these people groups live in very remote areas, often separated from others, and they often resist intrusion from “outsiders” – including other Tanzanians.
I’m taking the time to explain this because these are the folks Emma and Esther chose to go to, to carry the Gospel, to teach, to live among. Most of all, to love with the love of Jesus. They have been faithfully following this calling for 20 years, in some of the most harsh and challenging environments and circumstances imaginable. Just to think about the work they do humbles me beyond words.
Many, many of the families who are part of The Lion of Judah Academy community have similar backgrounds and stories to tell. Emma, Esther and their family are not alone!
Daniel, Emma and Esther’s firstborn, came along about that same time. He is now 21 years old. In 2007, when he was about five, they enrolled Daniel in Lion of Judah Academy. They sent their little boy to boarding school, far away from home. They took that step because the school, though still developing, was specifically designed to help Tanzanian pastors, church workers and national missionaries have a safe, Christ centered environment where their children would receive the best education possible. Like the Shilikales, many parents lived and worked, and still today they live and work, in very hostile settings, often with no schools at all available, and generally with few resources. For twenty years, The Lion of Judah Academy has been there for THEM…and for their children.
For the next 12 years Daniel attended, and excelled, at The Lion of Judah Academy. He was joined by several brothers and sisters, the younger of whom still attend the school
After finishing Secondary School (form four) in 2019, he went to Musoma Technical School for advanced studies in Physics, Math and Geography. He just recently completed those studies.
Those two accomplishments alone – successful completion of secondary school, and successful completion of advanced studies – puts Daniel in a very exclusive group of Tanzanian students. It is a group most all Lion of Judah Academy high school graduates also belong to, simply because LJA has become one of the best schools in the nation.
So what’s next for Daniel?
We’re proud of all our graduates (did you see this recent post highlighting our recent graduates?). Daniel is one example. He is an example we think you will be interested to know more about.
I’ll begin by sharing a few comments from recent email conversations with him (I have his permission).
Daniel writes, “I absorbed the heart of missions from my Parents…how they did mission. My life was changed as I lived in the bush and participated in mission outreach.” He continues, “…not only that, but also at Simba wa Yuda I met missionaries who inspired me to do missions.” He wrote, “I (was) involved in mission trips (with) my Father…that is when my desire to do mission began, after feeling a call in my heart to serve Him in my life, so as to accomplish my two dreams. I desire to do mission aviation, as it carries my two dream goals.”
Daniel’s two “dream goals”? To do missions…and to fly. His dream is to become a missionary pilot.
In pursuit of those goals Daniel applied to, and has been accepted into, one of the premier missions aviation programs in the world: The Moody Bible Institute Missions Aviation program, in Spokane, Washington, where he will be studying to earn a BS degree in Missionary Aviation Technology – Flight.
Daniel continues, “I see the need to do mission aviation because there are places where vehicles cannot go, but missionaries who are working in those areas (need help).” He sees the potential for bringing medical assistance to those in remote areas, providing evacuation services in emergencies, and carrying the Gospel of Jesus to people who cannot be reached in traditional ways. While his heart is very much in Africa, Daniel is open to go to any location in the world “where God will send me.”
What do Mom and Dad, Esther and Emmanuel, think of all of this? Daniel writes, “My parents support my plans and the studies in the U.S.; they have been even covering all the expenses for applying and helped me get my passport. They are behind me 100%….”
His studies begin January 17, 2022, only about three weeks away. The first term will be totally online, so initially he will remain in Tanzania.
In July, however, he is scheduled to come to the U.S., to Spokane, to prepare for the fall term. It is a five year program. The first year is devoted to Biblical studies. Then, he says, “the second and the third year i will be taking mechanical aircraft skills; and for the fourth and fifth year I will take the flight major studies and internship.”
Challenges abound, of course. Not the least of those are the financial challenges. Remember, this is a young man whose parents are missionaries in one of the poorest countries in the world! I asked him about the finances of it. “I am trusting God to provide, and really in every step He has been with me.” Daniel explained each year will have a cost of $17,000 for tuition and living expenses. Then, of course, there are things like visa, travel expenses, documentation, and so forth. Even his first online semester has costs required for internet access, books, and the like.
Overwhelming for a poor missionary family in remote Tanzania. But…are we not still celebrating the season of the miracle in which God’s angel proclaimed to the virgin girl, “…nothing is impossible for God”! I can guarantee you, the Shilikales know that is true from experience…and are trusting that for Daniel at this time.
Even with his eyes are focused on the calling God has given to him, Daniel remains very aware of where he has come from. “I am so thankful,” he writes, “to Simba wa Yuda for laying a foundation for my life and shaping me to be a great leader. The training I got from Simba wa Yuda is something which made me to be who I am now. Simba wa Yuda helps the students to follow their vision and calling.”
Twenty years ago, as we were just beginning to grasp hold of the vision of a school for the children of Pastors, church workers, national missionaries and others, our minds were skeptical. But God’s Spirit testified to our hearts and convinced of what our eyes could not see and our minds could not imagine: the special plans and purposes He had for Simba wa Yuda Academy.
We never could have dreamed what God had planned. Today, we are certain the miracle is still unfolding before our eyes. What a privilege it is to be part of it!
We have introduced you to Daniel and the Shilikale family because they are examples of the miracles God is doing in and through The Lion of Judah Academy. Theirs is one story among many, many others.
This is what YOU are doing when you support the Miracle of God that is The Lion of Judah Academy with your prayers, encouragement and financial gifts. Who knows what God has planned?
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
More about the Twentieth Anniversary Celebration will follow. A special celebration is planned at the school in November. All are, as we say in Tanzania, “warmly welcome.”
Please be praying for Daniel and his family. The challenges are huge…for Daniel’s education…for the work the family is doing among unreached people…for many other things. God is good. If you think you would like to communicate with Daniel, or somehow be involved in what he’s doing, please contact us
We’ll include a few other photos of Daniel below.