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In August 2017, several members of Holy Trinity went on missionary trips to Tanzania & Guatemala. In Tanzania, we support a local parish in Isimani and we are setting up their very first library for their school. Meanwhile, in Guatemala City, we will be visiting Fundaniños Orphanage to serve the the children who grow, attend school, and play at their home church Casa de Libertad. We’ll be purchasing school materials with your generous donations, leading games/crafts, making a special meal, offering food staples to neighbors as an outreach project, and reinforcing “living” Jesus principles while playing or solving little conflicts between children!
Please enjoy the daily updates from these mission trips. Pastor George Koch, our sitting interim Pastor, will be writing updates on the Tanzania trip. Cristina Dolcino, an International Social Ministry leader, will send updates that have been written by the youth and adults while in Guatemala.
1) The danger of a single story. Often when we think of third world places like Africa, we think stereotypically of the overwhelming poverty. Certainly the story of poverty contains some truth, but it is just one story... For the poverty of Africa is a financial poverty, not a poverty of caring, generosity, resiliency and good will. You can not live with Africans for even a few days without noticing these other traits.
2) "Bega Kwa Bega" [Swahili for "shoulder to shoulder"]. Each of the 65 synods in the ELCA is connected to a global companion Synod. In New England our companion is the Lutheran Synod of Jordan and the Holy Lands (we support missionaries there). The Minneapolis Synod is the official companion of the Iringa Diocese of the Tanzania Lutheran Church. We are also in Iringa with the blessings of the Minneapolis Synod because of Joe Lugalla's long term membership at Holy Trinity.
Minneapolis Synod and the Iringa Diocese have developed a special way of working together in partnership called "Bega Kwa Bega." Americans coming to Africa the first time are set up by Bega Kwa Bega to experience everything Africa offers. Again, this is to allow Africans to tell more of their story. Thus for the last three days we have visited the largest nature park in Africa - The Ruaha- as well as a Stone Age digging site.
3) The Safari and return. Originally the sport of wealthy people to kill African beasts, the current safaris are used to promote conservation and counteract global warming. We spent two days in this natural "garden of eden" living in the animal's habitat. We saw Impalas, Dik-diks, leopards, baboons, zebras, giraffes, lions, hippos and crocodiles. It gives you a sense of proportion of how vast the created world is and how small a part man plays in it.
When we returned, we also stopped at a school for "at risk" children. Your benevolence helps to support this "House of Mercy" which offers a complete life for at risk or otherwise disabled children.
4) Today (Friday) we also toured the Nema Crafts workshop run by our Episcopalian friends in Tanzania. Handicapped people in Africa are often killed just after birth. Nema House offers them good job skills and a productive job. Our tour guide for Nema was one it the first employed. He now is the supervisor. Nema Crafts offers hope to people who formerly had no hope, and a way for them to make a living.
5) the Iringa Diocese- we also spent time with the General Secretary of the Synod ( the Bishop's right hand man), learning what the Synod does from replanting seedlings.
Next Blog - Stone Age tools and Masai wisdom. Stay Tuned!