Eric Soard is a United Methodist missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries assigned along with his wife, Elizabeth Soard, as a church planter and discipleship trainer in the Mara Region of Tanzania.
The United Methodist Church in Tanzania has expanded rapidly since it was launched by the North Katanga Annual Conference in 1989 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with assistance from Global Ministries. Volunteers in mission have helped to extend the church into the Mara Region in northern Tanzania, bordering Kenya, but the area has few trained, ordained pastors. Eric and Elizabeth will initially concentrate on the Tarime area. The couple is familiar with this area since they spent two years in Tanzania as volunteers working with Angel House Orphanage and Angel Secondary School.
Eric was born in Arkansas, but now counts Medina, Tennessee, in the Memphis Annual Conference, as home. His church membership is at the First United Methodist Church of Medina. Eric received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee and worked as youth director at Lambuth Memorial United Methodist Church while in college. He has also been youth director at Medina First Church.
“I have spent my whole life in the church…and I remember the first time I accepted God’s love for me as one of his children,” he says. “However, I think the most important time was when God asked me to share His love with others….”Faith for me is something that must have a real impact on the world around me and how I interact with that world.” As he matured, Eric felt God’s “call for my life, a call to serve others.”
He and Elizabeth volunteered in 2010 for mission service in Tanzania, working at the orphanage and school in Tarime. Angel Orphanage is an Advance mission project of Global Ministries.
The work of helping to plant new churches in Tanzania appeals to Eric. He says: “I am excited about establishing new, holistic communities of faith that can spread the reality of God’s adoption of his children in this world.”
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