- Written by Mark and Megan Mantey Mark and Megan Mantey
- Created: 04 September 2018 04 September 2018
The most important is, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.Mark 12:30–31
In Uganda, knowing and belonging to a community is an important aspect of daily life. People know their neighbors. There is a sense of camaraderie and understanding amongst neighbors. Being a good neighbor holds great importance.
This creates great opportunity for the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU), as they are neighbors to a lot of people in various communities. Recently, we witnessed these efforts in Busia-Uganda, which is in the Far Eastern Deanery and borders Kenya. We were able to work alongside the LCU pastors, local evangelists and lay leaders, and a LCMS short-term missionary, in door-to-door evangelism efforts, sharing the love of Christ by connecting to the nearby neighbors in three different villages.
Part of being a good neighbor in East Africa is welcoming visitors when they come to your home. Even if a person does not know you, they will still welcome you into their home and be grateful for the visit. The daily routine around their home pauses, and the focus shifts to learning about the visitors and attending to their needs.
The LCU knows their local churches are neighbors in the various communities. As neighbors, the LCU knows it is important to know one another. This also provides opportunities to share about the Lutheran faith with the surrounding community, answering questions about the Bible and teaching what Scripture says. The church also wants to learn more about the daily lives of the community, share in their joys and pray for the burdens each family carries. Ministry of presence is a strong part of the door-to-door evangelism efforts as we listened to challenges of individuals and families and offered hope through Christ Jesus. We are thankful the door-to-door evangelism efforts create another way for the local church body to follow up and nurture Christ-centered relationships with their neighbors.
The Work of the Church
We praise God that the work of the church continues to be done through the hands of the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU). Most recently in the Eastern Deanery, where we live and serve, the LCU has been working with the local community leaders to plant a church in the village of Bukwara.
Within the same Deanery, in the village of Ikumbya, we praise God that brothers and sisters in Christ were welcomed into the Lord’s family through the waters of Baptism. There were also three people who affirmed their faith at their confirmation.
Life and Ministry Update
Beginning a new semester at the seminary is always an exciting time.
We enjoy reconnecting with the returning students, hearing about their time away from seminary with their families and about their ministries in their various home regions. It is always encouraging to see them with smiling faces ready to greet, share and learn about what has been happening at the seminary since they were last at school.
It is also a joyful experience to meet the new students that are beginning their seminary journey. We met many of them over the break during recruitment and other ministry opportunities, so we are thankful to continue to build relationships with them. This year, there are several students from the refugee settlement in northern Uganda that Mark and the LCU met back in February. We praise God that the LCU is working with the neighboring church bodies to provide them with an education in preparing for ministry.
Seminary Construction Continues
As classes resume at the seminary, so does construction to finalize the structures. We are thankful for the willing hearts and hands who make this possible. As the structures near completion, this assists the Lutheran Church of Uganda to better equip the men they are training for ministry. This is realized through a healthier living environment in the dormitory, a library that can protect the books against the elements and eventually a chapel for weekend and mid-week worship, training, and outreach opportunities. As the structures get closer to being completed, the LCU is excited about the possibilities the campus can be utilized to share the love of Christ with their community.
Mark and Megan Mantey serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as career missionaries in Uganda. Mark serves as the project manager for the seminary, and Megan is the seminary’s instructor of Christian education and counseling. You can follow their work at www.facebook.com/MissionMindedManteys.