Tanzania Partnership 2020: Shukrani [Thankfulness]

Asante sana. Nushukuru sana.

By Kirsten Levorson

When we visit our Tanzanian partners, words of thanks and gratitude greet us where ever we go. We hear songs of welcome, formal words of greeting, and then a litany of thanks. We are thanked for taking the long journey to meet them face to face, for our companionship in Christ, and for the love that we share through gifts that build chapels, send kids to school, provide medicines for the rural clinic, purchase bicycles for the lay evangelists and motorcycles for pastors.

Over and over, many times, we are showered with words of thanks such as these:

“I am writing to convey my great appreciations for your prayers, advice, contributions and all efforts which gave me the opportunity to be accepted at [Seminary]. Thank you, thank you, thank you a lot. It is like a dream or miracle to me.”

“The committee asked me to send great thanks to you for sending project money; we appreciate your love. We believe these chapels at Malunde and Kisilwa will be completely finished about plastering and we keep honour using this sacrifice. Another thing they asked me to thank you for paying costs for Zoom which will take place on Friday thank you very much.”

“We are continuing with renovation of the pastor’s house as we planned and at the dispensary we are building an entrance gate with a cross on top as a sign of church healthcare facility. We are so thankful for the support you are doing to our church Tungamalenga parish.”

As we receive these words of thanks and appreciation, those of us here in Minnesota are filled with our own deep gratitude for the way this companionship has changed our lives. As we engage with our Tanzanian brothers and sisters through prayer, exchange of visits, and mutual projects, we too experience the gift of accompaniment. We are befriended and beloved by people half a world away, whose lives are sometimes so different from our own, and yet we experience unity as followers of Christ.

“I am grateful for over 150 SOTV members who have traveled to Tanzania as ambassadors to the parishes of Makifu, Tungamalenga, and Usolanga, and who have returned home as evangelists, telling people here of the love of Christ that we experienced there.”

“I am grateful for so many gifts of love that have been shared with our companions. Gifts of money to support ministries, gifts of time and talent, gifts of hospitality when we hosted Tanzanian guests – all these gifts are deeply valued.”

“I am grateful that through this companionship, our children have a view of the world that includes Tanzania, its rich culture, its song and dance, its vibrant worship, its care for the poor and orphaned.”

“I am grateful for the Saint Paul Area Synod and its support for companionships like ours, through the Director of Bega Kwa Bega, Rev. Peter Harrits, and through placement of long term volunteers in Tanzania who facilitate our relationship in so many ways.”

“I am grateful for the God who created us, who brought us together as brothers and sisters from opposite sides of the world, and who will sustain this companionship even through times when we cannot meet face to face.”

“I am grateful to our brothers and sisters in Tanzania, who have shown us what hospitality looks like, whose prayers for us in our time of COVID have multiplied, and with whom we are still together even though we are apart.”