Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gift leads to consecration of Bishop for Tanzania.....

 "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me".
Matthew 25:40

Sometimes we will not know this side of heaven what  impact our words or actions will  have for eternity. Even the smallest things may have long term consequences.
How many church members are active in church today because as children someone, maybe a Sunday School teacher, pastor  or a neighbor ,noticed them and encouraged their faith.
Here is a true and heartwarming story. A  young boy living in South Western Tanzania, a member of the Sukuma tribe, was raised with traditional  beliefs which included worshipping  their deceased ancestors.  
One day a  man  transferred into their  village with his work.   He performed his normal daily activities but he   also volunteered  one hour each Friday in the public school to share  his faith and  beliefs to the fifth grade class students.  Schools had a one hour class each week for students to have religious  instruction. They had Muslim, Catholic and Protestant teachers and the students could go to whatever group they chose.  The  man teaching  the Protestant group noticed that one student took a  special interest in what he was hearing  so he invited him to church to  attend confirmation classes he was also teaching.

The family did not approve,  but he came to  church and was eventually baptized and confirmed. When the time came for this man to move away from the village he announced in church that he wanted to give a farewell gift to the church. That gift would be that he would pay for one person to go to Bible College and this young man would be the recipient of this generous gift.  This education would have never been a possibly without this support.  

After successfully completing Bible College this young student went on to Seminary and was ordained a Lutheran pastor. He pastored  a number of places in Sukuma land. In 2009 at the age of 45, this young pastor was consecrated as Bishop of the East of Lake Victoria Diocese of the Lutheran Church of Tanzania. This diocese is one of the fastest growing Lutheran districts in the world.  Bishop Andrew Gulle shared this story of his life with us and said that he invited this  man to his consecration ceremony and reported that the man cried with happiness at the event. Sometimes God allows us to see  the fruits of our labor to encourage us. And even better ending to this true story is that Bishop Gulle reports that his family are now baptized believers.
The partnership of the Mid-South District and the East of Lake Victoria Diocese (ELVD)  may not seem like much  by the worlds standard but it is the only pure mission outreach help the diocese receives.  The number one request from the ELVD is for help to train new pastors and evangelist to spread the word to the people in the district who have not heard the gospel message.  One components of Fan into Flame is funding to support Church planting ministry training help for the ELVD.

Many people feel they do not fell called to go on an actual  mission trip to Tanzania but we can use our gifts and talents to support this ministry thru Fan into Flame.  Our part is to be  willing to offer them.