Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Emmanuel Makala Selected as Bishop of the Southeast of Lake Victoria diocese

Pastor  Emmanuel Makala was elected to be the first  bishop of the new Southeast of Lake Victoria Diocese (SELVD)  on Wednesday evening by the delegates of the new diocese.  Trafaina Nkya was also elected to the position of  assistant to bishop. Both men have been friends for years  and have actively worked with visitors from the Mid-South District for many years.

The decision to divide the ELVD was made over three years ago.  Having experienced rapid growth, the ELVD became the largest diocese  in  the Lutheran Church in Tanzania. The office of the East of Lake Victoria Diocese (ELVD) will remain in Mwanza  and  the new diocese will be housed in Shinyanga which is  three  hours southeast of Mwanza.

Emmanuel has been serving  since 2009 as the Assistant Bishop of the East  of Lake Victoria Diocese (ELVD) and Dean of the Cathedral and District Pastor. He also  has also been studying  for  a PHD in Ministry at Concordia Seminary -Fort Wayne through  the support of the Mid-South District, LCMS and Concordia Fort Wayne.  .  He previously received his Bachelor and Masters degree from Makumira University in Arusha, Tanzania.

Emmanuel is married to Lillian and has 3 children Mercy, Mary and Meshach

Saturday, September 1, 2012

How did Lutherans come to Tanzania

Lutherans in Tanzania

Some of you have me asked how Lutherans came to Tanzania.   I saw this little clip recently on Pastor Al Collver’s blog 

 “ Lutherans first arrived in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania in 1836, sent by the Leipzig Mission Society. Around the this time in the 19th century, European Churches typically did not send missionaries from the State church. As a result pious lay people and pastors formed mission societies to send “missionaries” to the heathen. Bible Societies also formed during this period."

In fact, the LCMS was built in part by the mission society efforts of Wilhelm Loehe. Article VI of the Missouri Synod’s Constitution prohibits work with “heterodox tract and mission societies.” The first and immediate context of this for Dr. C.F.W. Walther would have been mission societies like the Leipzig Mission Society
Kidia Parish in Old Moshi

Stella Hirji , owner of African Trails travel agency in Arusha Tanzania ,   a friend who has helped  us make travel arrangements for the last 10 years told me that   the first Lutheran church was built in her village Kidia Parish in Old Moshi where she was born and her parents still live.   Her grandfather Mr. Joseph Merinyo was a staunch follower and  he was  the first African to be sent to Leipzig in 1907  to study in Germany, and stayed there for two years before he came back he worked as their interpreter and helped in their missionary work.

Indeed the Lutheran Church in Moshi had close affiliation with Leipzig Church. Actually before the Kidia Parish Church was built, the Germans first put a wooden hut at a place called Kitimbirihu where  believers from the whole village used to go and pray once a year during the anniversary of the church. Although it was an open place it was also fun. She recalls that when as a  young girl her grandfather used to receive the various missionaries who came to Moshi. He was also a very close friend of the first Bishop of Kilimanjaro Bishop Stephano Moshi ( Kilimanjaro Christian Medical center was built in  his honor.

The Lutheran Church in Tanzania has experience rapid growth and currently has 5.8 million members which ranks it behind the Lutheran Church of Sweden with 6.5 million, 7.3 Lutheran in America, 2.4 million are in the LCMS,  and the Evangelical Lutheran church of Germany with 24 million.

The Mid-South district LCMS has been partnered with one of the newest Diocese in the Lutheran church of Tanzania (ELCT)  the East of Lake Victoria Diocese  (ELVD). The ELVD has grown in 10 years from 40 thousand to over 100 thousand baptized Christians.   This area of the country was one of the last areas to be evangelized,  missionaries did not visit the area because of the distance from the ocean, the heat and sickness . There still are many people, about  6 million, who are not Christian and many of these have not heard the name of Jesus.

That is why we go, following in the tradition of missionary societies and CF Walter. We go to share the gospel.

Come join us

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friom Clarksville to Tanzania...the importance of being intentional

Congregations and Missions- the importance of being intentional

A mission group from Grace Lutheran Church in Clarksville Tennessee has just returned from a mission trip to Tanzania with great excitement and   stories to share.   The group  consisted  of  Cindy Buckner, Tom and The  Rev.Jon Sollberger.  Tom and Pastor Jon supervised   putting a roof on the girl's dormitory, making  needed repairs around the school  while Cindy taught English as a second language classes to the students at the Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School. They fund raised for this project  throughout the year bringing in $17K.  Their bond with the East of Lake Victoria Diocese in Tanzania extended to paying the school tuition for some needy students and supporting the International Lutheran Health Partners who   provide health services to the poor and disadvantaged Tanzanians.   ELVD Bishop Andrew
Gulle visited the Grace in 2010 and Dr. Dennis and Paul Lofstrom visited the congregation in 2011 bringing information and enthusiasm to the  congregation .  Another member, Jane Schult, is leaving with another  group going to Tanzania as part of an evangelism  and church planting team.

 Grace has always been intentional about mission support. The congregation has been active in supporting missions in a number of continents, such as The Siberian Lutheran Church  in Asia and feeding children in Haiti. Their Junior Youth works  to provide  health kits and individuals put together quilts for Lutheran World Relief and other projects.  Pr. John Nunes, President of LWR, preached at Grace as part of their 50th anniversary celebration in 2010.  Locally they support a food agency that runs a food kitchen for the hungry, they run their own food pantry serving 500 families a year, and support the local Pastoral Counseling Center to provide 100 free hours of counsel to those who can least afford it. 

Each congregation of the district seems to have different mission focus with individuals gifted to support  a specific area of ministry outreach and   desire to use  their God given gifts.  Grace is known for their
wonderful  traditional liturgical worship service, music program, and one of the largest pipe organs in Middle Tennessee. Pastor Peters shared an observation on that issue.
 "Some may say  that  congregations interested in liturgical  things are often less "missional", This may  be  true in some cases, but  I believe it is  overstated. In fact it appears that most of the mission money sent to Synod through District is sent in by congregations that use the  hymnal."

Grace Lutheran Church has seen the benefits to being intentional about missions both at home and abroad. People want to be a part of a congregation that serves and makes a difference for Christ. Their generosity and heart for missions  is a wonderful witness around the  Clarksville and beyond.

I want to encourage  your congregation to find a mission outreach  domestic and foreign to support
It will affect the lives of the congregation forever.