Sunday started early, as worship at Mikanjuni begins at 7:30am. The service was filled with wonderful music from 4 different music teams. The church was full to capacity, approximately 400-500 people. For a portion of the service a chicken stood at the front of the sanctuary after working itself loose from the bag it came in (some members bring crops or livestock as an offering, which are auctioned after worship). I had the honor of preaching with Pastor Ngoda interpreting. It was a remarkable moment that I will never forget. The service lasted about two hours and ended with the entire congregation exiting the building as they sang the final hymn. In-kind offerings were auctioned followed by vibrant fellowship outside.
The travelers then had a productive meeting with the Partnership Committee discussing how the relationship between Saint Luke and Mikanjuni can continue to grow. We visited a sub-parish of Mikanjuni that currently worships in a house. They have raised $12,500 toward purchase of land to build on and need to raise $5,000 to purchase the lot. While visiting the site, we had the opportunity to see and walk along the edge of the Indian Ocean.
After a late lunch, we met with several groups from Mikanjuni: music teams, women’s group, an elder choir, and others. We learned about their ministries and told them about Saint Luke.
I was then given the opportunity to address all the groups about the work of the ONE Campaign and the global effort to end extreme poverty. I shared my conviction that Christianity must care for the poor and that I see the Lutheran Church in Tanzania taking that task seriously. I told them about the global advocacy effort the ONE leads and then asked them to give me their ideas on how poverty can be addressed in Tanga. An important and lively conversation started that convinced me that the people of Tanzania are ready and capable of bringing about great change. I encouraged them to continue the conversation as an expression of their faith. I also gave them instruction on how to add their names to the growing list of 8 million ONE members.
It was a long and blessed day as we returned to our hotel and made plans for dinner.