Thursday, November 27, 2008

Piki Piki Preachers

Motorbike Preachers

Pastor Amos Klimba a pastor with multiple congregations in the East of Lake Victoria Diocese is visiting the congregation of Nyamigamba in the Mwanza District of Tanzania . Piki Piki, the Swahili word for motorbike, is the main means of transportation for those pastors fortunate enough to have a Piki Piki.

It is hard for us in the United States to understand the difficulties of travel in other countries because we can easily drive anywhere at any time with one of our family vehicles. However, travel within the East of Lake Victoria Diocese of the Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELVD) can be tough at times and extremely tough during the rainy season. The ELVD is spread over a large area of Tanzania located primarily east and south of Lake Victoria. The land area of the diocese is similar in size as the area of the combined states of Tennessee and Arkansas. The size of the area is one travel issue but the other issue is the roads that must be traveled. The ELVD is reaching out to approximately 8 million Sukuma tribes’ people in this area with 40 ordained pastors assisted by a number of evangelists. Approximately 20 % of this population is non- Christian which means there is lots of work to do.

Many of these parish pastors have a home congregation and 8 to 13 sub parishes in the areas adjacent to their home congregations. Serving these sub parishes is very difficult and time consuming. The parish pastor in Barida has a congregation and 11 sub-congregation and the pastor in Sengrema has 10 sub-parishes. Some of the congregations are more than 40 miles away from their home church. It is difficult to serve each parish in normal times but in the rainy season it is almost impossible. An hour commute in the dry season can be a 3 hour trip on motorbike during the rainy season. Just imagine planning for an 8 am worship service in Bariadi and an 11 am service at a church at the other edge of the district. You might arrive at 11 or at 2.

The pastors may travel between these villages by walking, by bicycle or a motorbike. Often the evangelists walk between 20 to 25 miles a day to villages to share the message of Salvation. The travel between villages takes up much of their time.

The Mid-South District LCMS has help to support transportation issues during the last few years but we need to continue to help provide pastors and evangelist with transportation help so they can effectively serve those in their districts. This help includes motorbikes and bicycles and upkeep (money for tires and supplies) to they can keep them running. Think about how your congregation can support the transportation of the Pastors and Evangelists in the ELVD.

Bob Allen

Mid-South District

World Mission Coordinator


Monday, November 17, 2008

I love to tell the story part two

I love to tell the story, ‘Twill be my theme in Glory,

To tell the old, old, story of Jesus and His Love.

Entry into Jerusalem, Jesus Calms the Storm, and the Holy Spirit Descends Like a Dove


After a long, bumpy, dusty, one hour drive from Bariadi we entered Gambosi and were greeted by a group of about 50 children(and 1 very tall evangelist) running toward our vehicle waving tree branches and singing! I can’t remember EVER being greeted like that anywhere!! We got out of the truck and joined them as they led us to our meeting place under a tree on the edge of town. We were given the usual “places” of honor, chairs, and proceeded to introduce ourselves. Behind us there were several men from the village who were not as “happy” to see us as the children were. One man was drunk and they were making unkind remarks as we talked. Pastor Mkaro and the evangelist were a little concerned and tried to get the men to stop. We continued on.

My partner Francie, Mimii our interpreter, and myself gathered the children and we moved to a place apart from the adults to share our message with them. We must have told 5 Bible stories(they loved it) and sang and taught them several songs. It was a little tricky in the beginning because our English was translated into Swahili by Mimii then the Swahili translated into Sukuma by a village boy. You had to use short, simple sentences. Well, who do you think was sitting on a rock behind the group of children? The drunken man who was making lewd comments! Except this time, he was quiet, calm, and listening to the stories we told. Because Gambosi was in an area where much witchcraft was practiced, Pastor Mkaro did not want us to stay after dark for the showing of the Jesus movie. We were taken back to Baradi and Pastor Mkaro stayed with the evangelist.

The next morning at breakfast, Pastor Mkaro told us that the drunken man who caused so much trouble wanted to repent and be baptized. Praise the Lord!!

Mungu awabariki(God bless you)

Nancy Allen

“Let me tell you what he has done for me”

Psalm 66:16

I Love to tell the Story

Let me tell you what He has done for me.” – Psalm 66:16

I Love to Tell the Story

I love to tell the story; ‘tis pleasant to repeat

What seems each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet

I love to tell the story for some have never heard

The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I bring you greetings from our host congregation of Bariadi Lutheran Church in Tanzania and their pastor, Rev. Harold Mikaro. It was a very busy week for our team and the Holy Spirit was present everywhere we went. I have many stories that I’ll be sharing with you in future articles but I wanted to use this month to give some stats about what was accomplished.

We visited the villages of Lyaul, Nyangokola, Ngulyati, Gambosi, and Sanugu. All of these are the sub-congregations of Pastor Mkaro and are ministered to mainly by resident evangelists that were trained by the Diocese.

With the combined team’s donations that we brought with us, we were able to purchase 113 Lutheran Hymnals, 180 Bibles, 167 mosquito nets, $200 each to 4 congregations to put towards roofs for the churches they are building, $200 to the women’s group of Nyangokoloa for various pots, dishes, and cooking rings for food preparation for large groups, $100 for a new tire for Pastor Mkaro’s motorbike, and $70 towards a new bike that was stolen from an evangelist while he was working with us. We baptized over 150 people (I’ll have to get the exact number to you later).

I was able to share so many things(Bible stories, songs, crafts)with the many new friends I made and also learned many things(Sukuma & Masai culture, hospitality, joy in the Lord). We are so much alike and at the same time so different.

Praise and thanksgiving to our God who has done marvelous things!!!!!!!!

Mungu awabariki(God bless you),

Nancy Allen