- Written by Kimberly Pepmiller Kimberly Pepmiller
- Created: May 21 2018 May 21 2018
The nine team members from the United States arrived successfully in Tanzania on Saturday afternoon. All of the luggage arrived, and we made it through customs in record time. We checked into the Keys Lodge in Moshi and had some downtime to recover from many hours of cross-continental travel. In the evening we were able to enjoy dinner out and a special celebration for Jamielynn's birthday, one of our team members. Birthday memories from Africa are pretty special.
Early Sunday morning we ventured out to Uchira to worship with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ at Uchira Lutheran Church. Due to the washed out roads of the rainy season, we traded in the regular team bus for two four-wheel drive vehicles in order to ensure a successful arrival to church.
The Lutheran Church of East Africa is not in official fellowship with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) at this time. However, the theology and belief systems are very similar. In fact, Bishop Angowi assisted to start the Lutheran Church of East Africa (LCEA) after attending seminary in the United States and realizing that his beliefs did not fully align with the ELCA teaching that was being preached at the Lutheran churches in Tanzania. Since beginning the LCEA within the last forty years, the church body has grown to about 5,000 parishioners in Tanzania. <
Many LCEA pastors and seminary students were in attendance during the church service to worship with us and celebrate Pentecost. These people will also assist us with the clinics this week. Church followed an order of service similar to a LCMS church service. Pre-service worship music was provided by congregation members singing traditional African worship music. The service included songs from a hymnal that congregation members brought with them, liturgy readings and a sermon that was translated into English for us. Following the service, we headed to a local restaurant for lunch.
The afternoon was spent resting and recovering from jet lag. The evening allowed time for clinic and cultural orientation, dinner and then time for rest before the start of the clinic. We are anticipating a fruitful and fun week.
“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?