Tanzania Update

An occasional e-newsletter of the
Nebraska Synod, ELCA
23 March 2009
TZ Cross


Nurturing and strengthening one another for life and mission
within the Body of Christ.
Welcome to the Tanzania e-newsletter of the Nebraska Synod!  This occasional e-newsletter is intended as a resource for those wishing to be connected to the Nebraska Synod's companion synod relationship with the Northern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.  Take a moment to refer others to this e-newsletter!
Grace at MachameFrom Bob Kasworm
Neema is Swahili for "Grace".  This week I had several hospital staff coming to me to see if I could assist a patient named Grace.  This is not so common because every day most of the people in the hospital need much, and I have made it clear that I cannot help everyone (one gets hardened in Africa). 
Grace's story goes like this. She is 21 and lives in a mining area near Dar es Salaam on the coast. She had given birth to her first child and then found out her husband planned to take the infant and sell her. Body parts are sometimes used in something like witchcraft ceremonies to bring about good luck and in this case to lead miners to the ore or gems they are looking for.  I knew that albinos here especially have suffered from this belief, but apparently also a newborn will do.  When Neema learned of her husbands plan, she escaped with the newborn and not much else and headed up country to Arusha to find an aunt to stay with.  After much searching she was unable to find any relations. She started traveling somewhere else but was without resources and quite ill. She was brought to our hospital by a good Samaritan who found her and her child just wrapped in a cloth and sleeping beside the road.
Grace was very ill with Malaria, (Malaria Falciparum with more than 20 parasites per high power field including ring forms for you medical folks out there). She was treated and as the staff realized she had nothing with her at all, so the call went out for assistance. I was able to provide some baby clothes and blankets/quilts and hats that were dropped off with me by Nebraska Synod travelers and other visitors.  I think it was not just that she was so very poor and sick (a common thing here) but that she had no family or extended family here to assist her and that really affected the hospital staff.
Well, Grace is doing better health wise as you can see from the picture (she is up and about washing clothes outside the hospital). She was so sweet and appreciative and curtsied to me when I greeted her before asking to take her picture.  What happens now?  Well, we are not sure. It turns out there is some sort of social services agency as part of our district government and I guess we start there. Happy endings are far from a sure thing here in Africa.

Your continued prayers, support, and involvement in our ministry efforts in Tanzania makes a difference!

Bob Kasworm
Alegent Health Tanzania

Global Formation Event
ELCA Global Formation Event
October 30-31 in Lincoln

The Nebraska Synod is hosting an ELCA Global Formation Event, October 30-31, 2009, at Southwood Lutheran Church of Lincoln.

Come discover how your congregation can live out the gospel in and beyond our borders - the borders of our congregations, our culture, our country. Discover what we can learn globally to help churches serve and thrive in our own back yards. Examine how to engage, serve, support, learn, and receive more effectively. 

For only $35 per person and in only 1- days, you can equip yourself and your congregational team for global and domestic ministry.

Participants will go home with new perspectives and new resources that will make it easy for you to:
    Understand how the context of ministry is change
    Energize your congregation's outreach
    Enhance connections with the worldwide Lutheran family
    Increase your congregation's effectiveness in mission.
For more information, go to the ELCA Global Mission web site or contact Pr. Martin Russell or Sharon Miley in the Nebraska Synod office.

John GossweinTanzania Pastor Exchange:
Pastor John Gosswein & Pastor Leons Shirima

Pastor John Gosswein of Family of Christ Lutheran Church of Tanzania heads to Tanzania for a six-week pastor exchange with the Northern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.  As part of the six-week exchange, Family of Christ will welcome Pastor Leons Shirima from the Moshi Town Lutheran Parish.  The exchange will take place between late-April to early-June.

Pastor exchanges between the Northern Diocese and Nebraska Synod offer congregations and pastors to the opportunity to mutually participate in the life of another church.  Congregations and pastors participating in pastor exchanges are blessed with an opportunity to have a powerful cross-cultural opportunity from receiving the ministry gifts of a Tanzania pastor.  Pastor exchanges are also scheduled for the fall of 2009.

Safari Logo

2010 Nebraska Synod Vision Trips to Tanzania
You are invited to visit our companion synod in Tanzania! As we continue to deepen our relationship with the Northern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, Nebraska Synod-sponsored vision trips to Tanzania are planned for:

February 1-16, 2010

July 13-28, 2010

The trips will include visits to ministry sites of the Northern Diocese as well as a safari to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. Contact Stephanie Lusienski or Pr. Martin Russell in the Nebraska Synod Office (402.896.5311) for more information.
Group size is limited.
Bouvier and MackieClimbing Kilimanjaro
Congratulations to Pr. Greg Bouvier (Sheridan Lutheran Church of Lincoln) and Dave Mackie (Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Sidney) on successfully climbing to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in February! Pr. Bouvier and Dave on are pictured on the summit of Kilimanjaro with their guides.

Are you interested in climbing Mount Kilimanjaro? A few people from the Nebraska Synod are planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro immediately following the February 2010, Vision Trip. The tentative climbing dates are February 15-20, 2010.  For more information, contact Stephanie Lusienski in the Nebraska Synod office.

NgaronyNgarony Youth
The Northern Diocese takes seriously its ministry to the young people of Tanzania. The Northern Diocese has been constructing a youth camp in the village of Ngarony to serve young people. The camp is seen as a vital tool for ministry.

A large, multi-use center is currently under construction to house faith-based seminars on Christian life and leadership, Christian faith formation activities, and large gatherings of youth. Donations are welcomed from congregations, individuals and foundations to support the completion of the initial phase of the project. The current need is to raise approximately $108,000.

To learn more about how you and/or your congregation can support this effort, please contact Bill Davis or Pr. Martin Russell.  Contributions should be make payable to the "Nebraska Synod" (write "Ngrony" in the memo line) and sent to:
Nebraska Synod, ELCA
4980 South 118th Street, Suite D
Omaha, NE  68137

Please Remember in Prayer . . .

  • Pastor John Gosswein and Pastor Leons Shirima along with their congregations, Family of Christ Lutheran Church of Kearney and Moshi Town Lutheran Parish, as they prepare for their pastor exchange.
  • The youth ministry program of the Northern Diocese, especially in preparation for its annual Easter youth conference.
  • The many people and congregations who generously support and advance the varied ministries of our companion synod relationships with both Tanzania and Argentina.
  • Bishop Martin Shao and the entire Northern Diocese in their ministry to the people of Tanzania.
  • Bob Kasworm who works for Alegent Health in Tanzania. Bob also serves as the Nebraska Synod commissioned representative in Tanzania and an ELCA Global Mission Associate.
  • All expressions of the companionship between the Northern Diocese and the Nebraska Synod.
Where is Bob?

Kimangaro Cross

Bob Kasworm works for Alegent Health as their Operations Team Leader for Tanzania. He is also a commissioned Global Mission Associate of the Nebraska Synod and the ELCA. During his working trips back to Nebraska, Bob is available to speak to congregations and groups. 

Bob returns home to Nebraska for a visit in late April and early May. During this trip home, his speaking and preaching schedule includes:

April 26
 Luther Memorial Lutheran Church of Omaha

May 3

American Lutheran Church of Ashland

ELCA Global Mission
To learn more about Global Mission in our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, including the Companion Synod Program, please click here.