Last month a synod wide delegation participated in a 'Vision Trip' to Tanzania in order to see, first hand, what this companion synod relationship is all about and to learn both the theory and practice of accompaniment that shapes it. Before they started their journey home the group was asked to complete the sentence, "Because of Iringa _________." This is what they said:
- I will have a greater understanding of where and how justice is needed in the world and will make a greater commitment to it.
- I will be more involved with synod missions.
- I am more patient.
- I have a deeper sense of my call as a pastor.
- I have a beginning of an understanding of the beauty of Africa and the culture of Tanzania.
- I have a deeper understanding of the growth and influence of the Lutheran Church in Tanzania.
- I will more strongly remember that joy and happiness do not depend on economic wherewithal.
- I developed relationships with people that I never would have known.
- I am more aware of other people in the world and maybe I will find a place to make an impact.
- I have found another home.
As we gather this week to celebrate the bounty of another harvest, our companions in the southern hemisphere are beginning to prepare the soil for next year's crops. While giving thanks for all with which we have been blessed, I ask you to hold our companions in your prayers as well - that they may know the depth of gratitude that we have for them and all they have shared with us. Because of Iringa, we will never be the same.
The Rev. Peter Harrits, Director of Bega Kwa Bega and Assistant to the Bishop