We came for Maria

We recently finished  our annual mission trip to Tanzania. Our goal is to assist in church planting/evangelism by partnering with  the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, a country located in  East Africa.

The church body is called KKKT which stands for kanisa la kiinjili la kilutheri Tanzania. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) is the federation of  Lutheran  churches in Tanzania, and one of the largest Lutheran  denominations in the world with almost 6 million members. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) has a partnership with the SELVD diocese.  Our focus this year was  on the Kishapu district in the Shinyanga region.


Our evangelism team(ranging in ages 25 to 83 from the US) also  includes a local pastor and evangelist who will disciple the new Christians and establish a church in the district. Often we need translators in both Swahili and Sukuma as we go out to visit the people in their  bomas.The arrival of a group of mzungas ( white people) become  a curiosity.  We may be the opening, but the proclamation of the good news of the Gospel is the real attraction.

Bob Allen, our group leader, challenged us not to get hung up on numbers, although they are impressive. We come for one, he reminds us.

On this day, I was partnered with Pastor Dave Tews of Arkansas. He prefers the  colorful laminated pictures in Swahili to do his presentation and I am trained on the Evangecube. Since our stop was at the home of this woman, he told me to do the presentation. When we finished and she was baptized, she took the new name of Maria. My middle name happens to be Marie. It made me smile. I had to ask how old she was and was told that she was over 100 but not sure how much over 100. I think she looks beautiful. Today, we came for Maria.

100 yr old woman

Maria, child of God