Tanzania Ups and Downs

Written by | June, 2015
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From the Field

When the ELCT, which was the large union of Lutheran churches in Tanzania, decided to ordain women, it was the last straw for a small group in that church body. They formed a group and wrote letters of inquiry to the LC-MS, WELS and the CLC. The letter to the CLC dated April 4, 2000 was addressed to Prof. Pfeiffer at Immanuel Lutheran College. He forwarded the letter to me. The date is important to help us remember that God is in charge. I was already scheduled to go to Etago, Kenya at the end of April. Happily, a meeting was arranged. I met in Nairobi with four of the pastors of the Lutheran Church of East Africa which had formed two and a half years earlier. During several days of meetings I went over with them fourteen pamphlets and leaflets explaining our teachings. They also presented a doctrinal paper on their positions. Here is one of the ‘ups’. We seemed to be agreed. But of the four pastors I met with now only one is in fellowship with us, Pastor Jeremiah Issangya. One of the ‘downs’. Yet for those who left us they have been replaced by pastors who joined us, Malyi, Gondwe, Mshana.

One uplifting event in the LCEA’s brief history with us was the beginning of a seminary which had in 2006 fourteen enrolled. But then came the break with the LCEA and they closed the seminary.
When I visited in Tanzania each year until Pastor Mayhew took over, it was a joy to be out in the congregations visiting with people and seeing the church at work. While it is sad that so many who originally were with us are no longer, it is a sign of God’s hand that there are even more who have joined us.
Statistics: 30 pastors, 8 pastors in training, 45 evangelists, 15 evangelists in training, 35 congregations,20 preaching stations, 3500 members.

One of the areas to pray about in their work is with the Masai tribe. This was one of the least evangelized tribes in Africa. These rather tall and formerly warlike people are heavily nomadic. Pray our brothers can continue to reach out to these people in the Great Rift Valley.
Another area in which work has been done is along the coast of the Indian ocean. This is where the Muslims are heavily concentrated. May God use our people to show the love of Christ to these people under Allah.