The 2019 mission team from the Mid-South District LCMS made up of members from Our Savior Lutheran in Cabot AR, Prince of Peace Lutheran in White House, TN and a team from Ascension Lutheran Church in Wichita, KS. Bishop Dr. Emmanuel Makala of the South East of Lake Victoria Diocese(SELVD) sent us to the parish of Tinde. This is a small rural agricultural village, a thirty minute drive from the SELVD headquarters in Shinyanga. Jeofry Tenga is the parish pastor. The congregation suffered from a storm that caused the walls of their church to cave in before they were able to roof it. This event led to people getting discouraged and leaving the church. Bishop Makala felt that our visit would encourage the pastor and congregation.
The team from the United States partnered with local pastors, evangelists and church personnel coordinated by Pastor Tenga to go to three locations in the Tinde parish to visit homes. Two days were spent in the village of Shabuluba, where 499 were baptized, land identified and purchased to start a new church. One day was spent in the village of Nshishinhulu where 211 were baptized, and the final two days were spent in the villages of Welezo where 422 were baptized, and land was identified for a church to be built at that site. A total of 1142 souls were baptized during this outreach event.
In our visits to hundreds of homes in the Tinde Parish we visited homes of families a few were Catholic, African Inland Church, or Seventh Day Adventist and many said they were traditional believers. In the homes of the traditional believers, many who heard the Gospel story came to understand that their relationship with God is because of what Jesus Christ did for them. No longer do they have to rely on the charms of the witch doctor to establish a relationship with God. They are united with God through the blood Jesus shed for them.
One of the major problems troubling Sukuma society is superstition and trust in the witch doctors as their source of hope. This has caused and are still causing chaos in Sukuma society such as; the killing of Albinos, and the killings of old women with red eyes who were thought to be witches.
Many sick people have died because they delayed medical treatment in favor of the local witch doctor advice. It is expensive to seek advice from the witch doctor who charge for their services in money, cows and goats causing an economic drain on the family. The good news is the Gospel that sets them free! Glory to God.
One woman I visited told me that her husband believed in the charms of the witch doctor and he would not become a Christian, but she wanted to hear the Gospel story. When she heard it she said it is so good what Jesus has done for me, I will be a Christian alone and we baptized her in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Before we could leave her home her husband showed up and they talked. He wanted me to tell him the Gospel message also. He gave up his charms and was baptized also.
The team also participated in mercy visits to bring food and supplies to the Albino compound in Shinyanga and to the women in the Deaconess house that trains primarily Albino women in life skills and sewing in order to have a chance at a secure and safe environment once they go out on their own. We also worshipped at the Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School with the 300 plus students. We enjoyed touring the school and seeing the improvements made. We also visited with Eric and Linda Funke, missionaries, who are completing seven years of service to this school.
Please check out pictures and stories at our website http://elct-selvd.org
Bob Allen, phone: 270-535-7370