Monday, July 20, 2009
When we arrived in Bariadi, what a surprise to see the lawn so green and slowers growing along the walk ways. It was beautiful. They had had quite a bit of rain to make this possible.
On Friday our second day there we went to Luguru to dedicate the church there. This church building was started several years ago and finally they had enough money to put on the roof. They will have worship there each week even though they still need floor and benches. The church was full of people for the dedication and will continue to grow.
On Saturday we went to 3 sub-parishes. The first was in a very small church building which they have built making their own bricks. It was full of people and still growing week by week. The children recited the books of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The evangelists in the sub-parishes are taught by Pastor Mkaro on how to work with the people and children. Pastor Mkaro goes to the sub-parishes periodically to baptize and give communion as it is not possible for Pastor Mkaro to go each week. He has 10 sub-parishes. Bishop Gulle was with us and gave Bibles and mosquito nets to the people in the sub-parishes. The Bibles and nets were provided by Bob Allen from Tennessee. The people in this parish insisted we eat before we leave. So we did, delicious chicken, rice and soda.
The seconc sub-parish was waiting for us at their unfinished church building. They have foundation and part of the walls up several feet. They still come there to worship each Sunday. The children sang and again recited the books of the Bible. Pastor Mkaro inttroducred a young boy about 9 or 10 who had been coming and singing in the choir. One Sunday he brought his mother to church and after attending the servicre decided she needed to join the church. Pastor Mkaro said this boy is and "evangelist". Bibles and nets were given to some of these people as well.
We arrived at the 3rd parish about 3 o'clock and they had been waiting for us since 10 o'clock. They have land for their church but do not have a buioding started yet. They meet under a tree. Pastor Mkaro introduced the council of the church as he had done in the other parishes. The same procedure here as in the other parishes. What a blessing to see so many people come to worship anytime during the day or week. They are a very happy people because they have the love of Jesus in their hearts.
On Sunday Pastor Mkaro was installed as District Pastor of Bariadi and the sub-parishes. This increases his load but does not increase his salary. Pray for him as he takes on the task of having thousands of people to shepherd.
For three days in Bariadi they had a Sunday School Seminar. Teachers came from sub-parishes as well as Bariadi to learn how to teach Sunday school. Karol from US taught them two songs in English. They loved it and wanted to sing the songs over and over. Marge gave a Bible story. She told them they had a very important service of teaching the children about Jesus.
The women of Bariadi church has organized a group call Pambazuko Women's Group to offer assistance to widows and orphans. At this time they have 40 orphans they work with giving them food, clothing and school supplies. Once a month they invite the children to Bariadi and provide a meal for them. They invited the children to Bariadi and provided a meal for them. The children were there while we were there. We gave them a cross necklace, pencils and beanie babies which came from someone in US who gave away their collection. The ladies also help young girl orphans to sew. They have two pedal sewing machines and the girls can make things to sell to make money for themselves.
One more story----- An older gentleman lost his wife through death in October. He was having a difficult time dealing with her death. The people of Bariadi Church came to his rescue. They helped during his mourning time. After a time he gave his heart to Jesus with the help of Pastor Mkaro and the Holy Spirit. Not only did he receive Christ but the rest of his family did also. Because of this a church as started and now since October they have 200 members and still growing.
Pray for all the work going on in Bariadi and May God continue to bless these people.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Casting our nets in Tanzania……… This year’s Mid-South District mission trip took us to Ukerewe Island.
Ukerewe is the largest island in Lake Victoria, it is approximately 25 miles long and 10 miles wide with an area of about 200 square miles locate just (25 nautical miles) north of Mwanza It is linked by two ferry boats that carry everything that goes to or comes from the island. Each day at 8 and 8:30 the ferry boats leave the harbor in Nansio and head south to Mwanza. The arrival and departure of the ferry’s is a big event in the Nansio, the main town on Ukerewe. The road to the boat dock is lined with people selling all sorts of items, trucks loaded with product to ship are loaded on the ferrys.
The shoreline of Ukerewe Island is carved into numerous bays and it is surrounded by at least a dozen smaller islands. Each morning and evenings the shoreline on these little bays are covered with people coming to get water and to bathe. Each night the island is surrounded by hundreds of fishing boats lit by a lantern.
Fishing is an important industry in Ukerewe District and a lot of fishing boats, as well as canoes and traditional dhows, can be seen plying the narrow waters between the many smaller islands and villages. Ukerewe Island is a rocky island with small hills. The landscape varies between flat land, cassava and rice fields, plantations, rocks, rocky and sandy shores, and beautiful lakeshore. Most of the 150,000 inhabitants are living in the many traditional villages scattered around the island.
Petro Nakembetwa is the district pastor and MTC coordinator for Ukerewe Island and is located in Nansio. He pastors the congregation in Nansio as well as preaching regularly at each of the 13 sub-congregations with a Deacon and Evangelist. Once a month the 13 evangelists come to Nansio for 2 or 3 days for the monthly training. The MTC students are Sospeter Mafuru, Rovocautus Mwinula, Leonard Deogratius, Elisha Kamiali, Joyce Lwabuti, Emmanuel Kamalamo, Tito Makaranga, Alex Mkyama, Osward Manyaski, Winlight Kirenga, Eliasi Mchele, James Daudi, Christopher Terguli,
Each day we left our little motel in Nansio early to head out to a small village and the new congregation. The main road out of Nansio was tar and gravel for about 5 miles then it turned into a dirt road. We arrived at the villages each day with a great greeting from the congregation. We usually had a meeting where we signed their guest book and introduced ourselves. We then divided into teams to go out to individual homes to talk and share the gospel message. We invited the family to the church service and the movie.
We went back to the meeting area to prepare for the service. The meeting area could be under a Mango tree or in a government building of some sort. In the late afternoon, we had a worship service of singing, preaching and baptisms.
We would then eat dinner and wait for darkness when we could show the movie, (The Life of Christ) and have more baptisms.
We left the island with many new friends after preaching to over 2000 and visiting the homes of over 70 families and 489 were baptized.
We left seized with amazement over the catch that had been taken. Luke 5:9
Monday, May 4, 2009
-- Philippians 4:20
New Bishop in Tanzania
“Our Missionary in East Africa” Claude Houge and Africa Regional Director Dr. Mike Rodewald were able to be actively involved in the consecration of Bishop Andrew Gulle and Assistant Bishop Emmanuel Makala. Both men are our friends and previous leaders of the Mission Training Program in East of Lake Victoria Diocese, so we are happy to have leaders who are already good friends with LCMS World Mission.
We are leaving for Tanzania on May 17 to spent time with Bishop Gulle and Assistant Bishop Makala.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
For the sixth time in more than 10 years, a group of members from Bella Vista Lutheran Church of Bella Vista, Ark. visited Vietnam from February 8-19, led by retired pastor Ron Pfluger.
In addition to such yearly activities as visiting LCMS World Mission project sites in Phu Tho province and universities in Hanoi and Phu Tho where LCMS volunteers teach English, the Bella Vista group brought with them four eyeglass kits as gifts for the elderly in two communes of Phu Tho province. These elderly people are no longer able to read, sew, and do precise work solely because they cannot afford to buy reading glasses.
The eyeglass kits are a project of a Humanitarian Initiative of Rotary District 6110. Each eyeglass kit contains the tools, parts and instructions to make 314 pairs of reading glasses. However, a question arose: how were these eyeglasses going to be tested, constructed, and sent to those in need?
As always, the Lord provided an answer!
The health officials in health stations built or upgraded with the support of LCMS World Mission at the designated communes will do the eye testing, note what strengths of glasses are needed, and send the “orders” on to the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN). Volunteers will then make the glasses to fill the orders. These volunteers are retired friends of the LCMS-NIN project manager. The manager visited several projects in Arkansas where work was being done by retired people and noticed that this volunteer work gave immeasurable purpose, meaning and fulfillment to these volunteers’ lives, but also those whom they serve.
As a result, not only will the recipients of the glasses be able to read again, but the retired volunteers will gain a sense of purpose as well as an opportunity to provide meaningful service for others.
“It was a thrill to see the smiles on the faces of those who received glasses at the two communes we visited in Phu Tho province. One elderly man with tears running down his cheek even gave me a hug. The people who didn’t receive glasses that day carried big smiles on their faces because they knew their glasses would be coming soon.” –Pastor Ron Pfluger
Saturday, March 7, 2009
-- ACTS 5:32
Susie and I are anxious to again see the working of the Holy Spirit touch peoples lives in the ELVD. We are tentatively leaving the USA on may 17 for Tanzania. Three of us from this area will meet up with 3 more folks in Detroit.
I have heard from some of you who cannot go this year. If you are thinking about it and have not committed, give it some thought and get back to me this week.
Close your eyes and picture 10, 20 or 100 Sukuma people lined up to be baptized.
We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.
-- Acts 5:32
Of all the many gifts God gives, the gift of his presence in us through his Holy Spirit is among the most precious. The Spirit's presence makes us God's temple (1 Cor. 6:19). The Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God when we pray (Rom. 8:26-27).
The Spirit helps us overcome the pull of our flesh (Rom. 8:13-14).
The Spirit gives us strength in our inner being (Eph. 3:16). In other words, the Spirit is at work to transform us to the character of Christ. Let's thank God for his holy presence in us through the Holy Spirit.
Father, thank you so much for your Holy Spirit who even now is interceding for me as I pray. Please strengthen me through your Spirit as I seek to live a holy life dedicated to you. Dear Father, it is my heart's desire for you to transform me by your Spirit to be more like your Son in character and compassion. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
We visited the villages of Lyalu, Nyangokolwa, Ngulyati, Gambosi, and Sanungu. All of these are the sub-congregations of Pastor Mkaro and are ministered to mainly by resident evangelists that were trained by the Diocese. We baptized people in each village we visited.
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 Nyangokolwa 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.
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, and joy in the Lord). We are so much alike and at the same time so different.
Come and join us on this year’s trip. In May or June
Praise and thanksgiving to our God who has done marvelous things!!!!!!!!
Mungu awabariki(God bless you),
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Age is no barrier….
Martha Fetting, Hot Springs, Arkansas resident and member of, First Lutheran Church has a gift. She knits/crochets beautiful hats. She is 85 years young and has not forgotten the lessons learned living through the war. She is a very frugal person and instead of buying new balls of yarn prefers to use odds and ends of yarn left over from other projects to make hats. She has made over 1000 hats and they have found their way to hospitals, to the less fortunate, to California and Afghanistan. Now they will likely be Tanzania where they will be a “hot commodity” with the adults and children in the villages. The next mission trip will find members gladly making room in their luggage to carry these colorful hats to the Sukuma people. What a treat they will be! The people, in this country right under the equator, love to have anything western and will cherish the brightly colored hats
Mrs. Fetting is very modest but her talents lie not only with knitting. She speaks five languages having been born in Lithuania. She was often called to the local hospital to help with translation to non-English speaking patients. What an example of using her senior years to continue to bless others with her talent to benefit people around the world.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Nyakato, Tanzania! Is a place of great hope in the Mwanza area and in the East of Lake Victoria Diocese? Denny and Paula Lofstron have done such a great job in creating interest in providing health services to the people in the Nykato area. They have been great in sharing their enthusiasm with Church in the United States. As a result congregations in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Minnesota and other states have raised funds, shipped building material, and built medical clinics, isolation hospitals, and birthing hospitals. What a great story!
The clinic continues to grow as they are seeing 60 - 100 patients a day. They see more when special teams come and it seems that there are always special teams from such locations as Germany, Norway, The United States and more. Their goal is to give quality efficient care and it means being involved with every part of the process of seeing patients from chairs, water, charts, labs etc. It is a complex process but its reputation is growing every day. People are starting to come from far away as well as our own neighborhood. And we still strive to provide this care at low cost. To see the doctor is the equivalent of about $1.30, and we help out those who cannot afford that.
They are looking forward to starting the maternal child health unit...seeing moms to be, new moms and babies. They will start out slowly but everyone tells them they will be flooded as soon as the Bogumil birthing center is finished.
This week will see the beginning of the building of the eye center. The crew is starting to finish the inside walls of the birthing center with the rough concrete. Plastering will come next, and then finishing when the team from One Community Spiritual Center (formerly Christ Church Unity) in Kansas City arrives in June. Consider being part of this ministry. Contact me if you have an interest in a trip in 2009.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.
She loved him so much, daily she prayed for him to become a Christian so they could share their life together not only in this small village but also in eternity. Finally, after years of prayers, pleading and encouragement the Holy Spirit sparked a flame in his heart. He was baptized. He started a bible study with other local men and the prayers of this wife that he be filled with wisdom and understanding led to the church in Mwamanyuda.
The church was not finished, in fact, it was only 4 walls. The people had been working hard for the last year. The year before 200 were baptized and the congregation leveled the spot where the church would be. They hauled in stones for the foundation and began making bricks by hand. The bricks were baked on the building site and the walls were begun. We were meeting inside the walls to celebrate the church building.
The pastor preached to the people sitting in the hot sun and asked for those to be baptized to come forward. That day three lines of people came to be baptized and 280 new members were added to the congregation. It started with one woman praying.....the spark and then the flames......there is no apathy in Tanzania for the gospel.
Monday, January 26, 2009
The Proclaimer is an audio player that allows people in countries all over the world to experience God’s Word in their own language. This remarkable creation contains a specially engineered speaker system, designed to let groups of up to 300 people listen to the audio Bible together. The digital quality creates a clear, audible sound without any distortion.
Nearly indestructible, the player is able to stand up to harsh climates and does not require any cassette tapes or CDs. Instead, the New Testament is recorded in the selected language, and then programmed on a microchip, which is embedded in the player. This microchip cannot be erased and will not wear out from frequent playing.
Many areas of the world have little or no access to electricity. The Proclaimer was created with solutions to this challenge. It can be charged from multiple power sources: solar, the dynamo hand-crank, or the AC/DC charger. It can also run on its rechargeable battery, which plays for 15 hours. The solar panel can be used to recharge the battery, creating opportunities for the entire New Testament to be played repeatedly. The compact size of the Proclaimer makes it possible to reach remote villages and secluded areas of the world with God’s Word. Its convenience and portability make it ideal for use in schools and churches.
(How does the Proclaimer work?)
An installed microchip contains Scriptures in the heart language; the chip will not erase or wear out from frequent playing. The battery will play for 15 hours and can be recharged enough times to play the entire New Testament more than 1,000 times. The Proclaimer has a built-in generator and solar panel to charge the battery. The solar panel, in addition to charging the battery, will run the Proclaimer even without battery power as long as there is sunlight.The sound is digital quality and loud enough to be heard clearly by groups as large as 300.
Quoting a well-known TV personality: “The Proclaimer is self-powered and can play the Bible in the jungle, desert or … even on the moon! ”
The Proclaimer sees to be the ideal tool for sharing the gospel messages in the villages of Tanzania. I envision an evangelist or pastor leaving the Proclaimer with a family group or small village for them to listen to and returning in a few days answer questions and share additional information. I you would like you purchase a proclaimer for the ELVD (east of lake Victoria diocese) send your check for $125 to the Mid-south district LCMS 1675 Wynne Rd Cordova, TN 38016 with the notation Proclaimer. We will see that Proclaimers are purchased and distributed.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Bishop-elect Andrew Petro Gulle of East of Lake Victoria Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) is among more than 200 scholars who graduated at a colourful ceremony held by the ELCT Tumaini University- Makumira University College (MUCo) on November 15, 2008.
Thousands of people turned up for the 12th Graduation ceremony in which the ELCT Presiding Bishop, the Chancellor of Tumaini University, conferred degrees. Two students obtained PhD; 36 were bestowed Bachelor of Divinity in Theology; 53 students got Bachelor of Education with specialization in Languages; 93 students were awarded Laws Degree; 20 students including Rev. Gulle were awarded a Master of Theology Degree.
Rev. Gulle (45) has been a pastor in the East of Lake Victoria Diocese from May 26, 1996 having studied theology from 1991 -1995 at the then Makumira Lutheran Theological College. He re-joined MUCo for a Bachelor of Divinity from 2000 to 2004.
He served the Diocese in various capacities in Mwanza and Shinyanga Regions including being Parish Pastor in Imalaseko (Mwanza), Kahama, Mwadui (Shinyanga) and Sengerema (Mwanza) Parishes. He had been Bible knowledge teacher at Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School as well as being a coordinator of mission and training centres in the diocese.
Before his new position Rev. Gulle was Parish Pastor of Sengerema in Mwanza Region between July 15 and September 27, this year.
During the 10th General Assembly of the Diocese held in Bariadi, Shinyanga Region on 27th September, this year he was elected to lead the East of Lake Victoria Diocese to replace the late Bishop Nehemia Bomani who died last year. At the General Assembly of the Rev. Emmanuel Makala was elected Assistant to the Bishop