Gifts That Inspire

Date posted: Thursday 07 December 2017

One of the gifts I appreciated when I traveled to Tanzania last June was the gift of seeing a church at a different point in its history and development than this synod. A century and a half ago, Lutherans in the Twin Cities pulled together to create a series of faith-based institutions - hospitals, schools, colleges, and homes for orphans and the aged. The needs of the broader community were at the forefront of the church's common work in that generation.
 
These are days of growth and building across the Iringa Diocese. I was particularly impressed by my visits to the Lutheran boarding schools in Image and Lutangilo. Headmaster Andeck Ngogo at Image has been a mentor for other school leaders, including Sebastian Chaula, who serves in the more remote, rural area of Lutangilo. These leaders, as well as the teachers and students I met, place their faith at the heart of their daily duties. The passing of faith from one generation to another is as clear as the progress being made in school exams.
 
At Lutangilo, it was my privilege to help with the dedication of the new science labs. For the young women and men studying there, STEM education is as pivotal as it is for many in the high schools within this synod. A new generation is arising in both contexts. I returned to Minnesota with a fresh commitment to ensure that faith formation be a central part of life for the youth in this synod just as it is in the boarding schools of the Iringa Diocese.
 
Others of you have been deeply involved with the growth of the hospital in Ilulu or the clinics in a number of smaller communities. Through Bega Kwa Bega you, too, have witnessed the great things that are accomplished when people of faith invest in institutions that serve the common good. Our partnership work makes a difference in each of these settings. The way our partners put their faith into action provides a lesson we should not overlook in our more secularized landscape.
 
At the heart of Bega Kwa Bega is the commitment to prayer, presence and projects. I experienced the impact of all three in Image and Lutangilo, a gift that continues to inspire me now that I am back home.
 
Bishop Patricia Lull
Saint Paul Area Synod, ELCA
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