Since 2001, Shepherd of the Valley has enjoyed a vibrant relationship with our companion congregations in the Iringa Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.
Working bega kwa bega or shoulder to shoulder through prayer, presence and projects, we support ministries of evangelism, education, health care, and economic development. Makifu, Tungamalenga, and Usolanga Parishes are each comprised of seven to nine village congregations in a remote rural area.
The practice of praying for our partners and for our partnership is the foundation of the relationship between congregations of the Saint Paul Area Synod and parishes in the Iringa Diocese. Our companions in Tanzania often tell us it is the most important thing we do. As ‘can do’ Americans, our cultural bias is to jump right into projects and problem solving, and it can be a challenge for us to slow down and take time first to pray.
If you would like to pray for a specific individual from our companion congregations, prayer cards are available at the Welcome Center.
The practice of exchanging visits, being present with one another, building relationships with one another, is the glue that holds our partnership together. Shepherd of the Valley members commit significant resources toward sending a group of ambassadors to Tanzania each year, hosting Tanzanian guests every two or three years, and maintaining good communication between visits.
Our next travel opportunity is July 2018.
Applications are due January 15, 2018.
Being present with our partners, seeing their needs, hearing their priorities – our practice of presence leads naturally to joint projects. Most projects we undertake have a bega kwa bega or shoulder to shoulder aspect. For instance, Tanzanians make bricks, gather stones for foundations, and build walls while our American resources fund the building materials for roofing and finishing chapels.
Projects include providing scholarship funds for 150 secondary and university students, providing bikes and motorbikes to assist pastors’ and evangelists’ transportation around the parish, providing funds for expanding the local health center, providing medicines and mosquito nets, providing funds for village access to clean water. Your financial contributions to our Tanzania Partnership are accepted with deep gratitude.