A team of 13 will be leaving for Tanzania on May 19th for a mission trip to the South East of Lake Victoria Diocese (SELVD).
The Mid-South District has been sending teams to Tanzania since 2004. The Kishapu district, the area we will be visiting this year, is a very dry and poor area with a high percentage of Sukuma who still hold to the traditional tribal beliefs of spirits and witchcraft.
God has truly blessed this partnership with the SELVD ; since 2013 over 6000 Sukuma people have come to the waters of baptism, 21 new pastors have been ordained, 9 deaconesses have been consecrated and pastors have been able to attend Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne for advanced degrees.
Thousands of Swahili Bibles and hymnals have been distributed, churches have been roofed, wells have been dug, water purification kits have been distributed. Tens of thousands have heard the Gospel message through the work of the mobile move van showing the movie the “Life of Christ” in their own language. Widows have been trained to support their families, bicycles and motorbikes have been provided to pastors and evangelists, and humanitarian assistance has been provided to albinos and orphans.
The Lutheran church in the world has been declining in membership; there are currently over 72 million Lutherans worldwide but one area of with world that is running contrary to this trend is the Lutheran church in Africa. They now have over 20 million members and continues to grow at a rapid pace. The largest Lutheran church group,
Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, has over 6.5 million members, the Lutheran church of Madagascar has 3 million and the church in Namibia has 1.1 million and The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania has a current membership of close to 6 million. This membership growth is a challenge to the SELVD, they are experiencing a shortage of pastors to minister to the growing flock. Most pastors in the diocese serve parishes with multiple preaching stations so when a new pastor is sent he has the ability to plant 5 or more new churches.
Our work must continue:
• The SELVD has a goal to train 38 new pastors, 113 new evangelists and 62 deaconesses by 2019.
• Some of the most pressing needs include: support to help in pastoral training both seminary and at advanced levels.
There is still a great need for Bibles and hymnals in Swahili. We still need bicycles and motorbikes for the pastors to travel the long distance between churches they serve, roofing materials for new churches, support to keep Cinema Leo(mobile movie van) operating, training widows with life skills, (since there is no such thing as life insurance or pensions), life skill training for youth, and humanitarian help for albinos and orphans.
Please consider giving a tax deductible gift to continue the work to the South East of Lake Victoria Diocese. God has opened the door in the South East of Lake Victoria Diocese of Tanzania and the Holy Spirit is working. You can be a part of this exciting transformation. Some are called to go and others are called to send. Thank you for your part.
Contributions can be made to:
Mid-South District LCMS
1675 Wynne Rd
Cordova, TN 38016
Please mark the check for Tanzania ministry.