There are a number villages in the South East of Lake Victoria Diocese ( SELVD) that present challenges to ministry outreach because of the number of traditional believers that practice a belief of superstition. These villages include: Lamadi, Ngela, Mwamachibya, Nyashimo, Mkula, Sapiwi, Masewa, Dutwa, Mwakibuga, Bupandagila, Ng’wang’wali, Nyangokolwa, Gaswa, Ikindilo, Sanungu, Lyalu, Mbiti, Ngulyati, Ngala, Gambosi, Luguru, Ngeme, and Mwamapalala.
The SELVD evaluation team selected Itilima as a priority for evangelism.
Bishop Alex Malasusa was taken to the Itilima district made up of 112 villages. This is a district with no Christians, churches, and more than 4,000 traditional healers (witch doctors).
Bishop Makala reported that he has been approached by Government officials at least four times asking him to open churches. The government workers in Itilima are uncomfortable working there and feel threatened by the many witchcraft activities in the area. Bishop Makala promised to Malasusa that, in 2016 there will be more than 4,000 Christians in the district. This is big commitment but the first step was this evangelism outreach event in the district.
The second step was on August 4th to appoint Evangelist Richard Bikonya to go there to plant a Lutheran Church. Since there is no house, church, or transportation for Bikonya, a government official volunteered to host Evangelist Richard in his local house for three months. What a generous gift.
Evangelist Richard also received an appointment to attend the Bishop Makala Training Center, supported by Mid-south District LCMS and Concordia Seminary- Fort Wayne to study as he continues his work at Itilima. He will begin this training on August 17th at the Negezi training center. This program allows the evangelists, such as Richard, to come to the training center for two weeks when personnel come in from Ft. Wayne to give specific religious instruction and then continue serving the people in the villages.
Money was also allocated to provide support for a motorbike for Evangelist Richard Bikonya to cover the areas in need. Money was also allocated to assist in the building a district church, a water storage tank and solar power.