Mission trip to Tanzania 2017
This year the mission team was sent to the Maswa District of the Southeast of Lake Victoria Diocese (SELVD). The Maswa district located north of Shinyanga, has a population of 344,125 people, and is served by five pastors who serve five congregations and 13 sub-congregations. This year the mission team was sent to the Maswa District of the Southeast of Lake Victoria Diocese (SELVD). The Maswa district located north of Shinyanga, has a population of 344,125 people, and is served by five pastors who serve five congregations and 13 sub-congregations.
On our first Sunday in country, we were able to celebrate with members of the Lalago parish and with Bishop Emmanuel Makala, who consecrated the new Ephratha Lutheran Church building. This congregation was started as the result of earlier church plant/mission outreach to the area. On our last Sunday we worshiped at Budekwa, another new church that was planted two years ago after another mission outreach. Two other new church buildings were dedicated and the cornerstone laid in the villages of Mwanundi and Labago. These two sub-congregations were also started as the result of mission outreach activity two years earlier.
Sandwiched between worshiping at new church buildings and congregations we conducted mission/church outreach into the villages of Mwakidiga and Mbalagane, both are church plants of the Lalago parish. Mwakidiga located 45 minute drive from Maswa, has no other churches. Our local evangelist Fredrick Jeremia and Pastor Tenga had been doing work in the area in preparation for the team visit. Our group of nine Americans partnered with a Tanzania pastor, interpreters, and local congregation members. We walked to homes with a 2 or 3-mile radius of the village to visit all who lived in the area and share the Gospel message.
The Good News that God the Creator sent His Son to earth for them. Paul tells us in Romans 1 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen.
This is certainly true for the Sukuma tribe members we visit in Tanzania. They acknowledge there is a supreme creator they call Mulungu. They know that God created the heavens and the earth and all things in it. But they believe that God is not accessible by them. The Sukuma people believe in ancestor worship and spirits.
This means when someone dies they simply cease living in the flesh but continue in the spirit in a place closer to the creator God. They believe that God is accessible to them only through their ancestors, ghosts and witch doctors. So the people try to seek power from their dead relatives, but the relationship with ancestors can bring the possibility of blessings and good fortune, but also misfortune, sickness, drought all depending upon how good the relationship they had with their ancestor.
They have no Savior to help them connect with God. Their only hope is for their deceased ancestor to put in a good word for them or purchasing an expensive charm from the witch doctor to help them. We tell them they are separated from God by sin and the Good News that God loves them and sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ to earth. Jesus lived a perfect life, but went to the cross taking the sins of each of us with Him. He died and rose from the grave a victor over death, hell, Satan, sin and all evil spirits. He paid the price so they could have access to God in heaven who reaches out His hand to us through Jesus Christ and says Karibu…welcome, come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden I will give you rest. Jesus paid the price, they don’t need to pay the witch doctor for expensive charms. Jesus paid it all.
As the result of church outreach activities during the week, 1263 souls were baptized in the Maswa District. Pastor Tenga, District Pastor Gyunda will have the responsibility for serving them.
We are making plans now for our 2018 trip. Contact Bob Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or your interest. Check out our website at http://elct-selvd.org for more stories and information.