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.