The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
As the theme of our recent Fall Festival stated, we are “Companions in Christ: Together and Apart.” How can we feel “together” when we are over 8,000 miles and a world apart? In the Oct. 29 newsletter, we talked about the tool WhatsApp as a way to keep in touch with our brothers and sisters in Tanzania. There are many other things we can put in our communication toolbox including e-mail, Facebook Messenger, YouTube videos, links to our online worship services and Zoom. See what several partners have to say about these options:
Here is a note from Sebastian Chaula, headmaster of Lutangilo School which I just received. We are in frequent contact using this option which is available to those who have Facebook accounts.
Halo mama shikamo. Hopeful your fine. We expect to start our form four exam’s on 23/November 2020. Please, pray for my student’s and the school in general, I real need them to do better than those of last year. I believe God will award my student’s a better, result according to how we have prepared. Pass NY greetings to my sisters.
We are in contact monthly with our partners in Magome by e-mail. We share text and photos. The pastor often sends me pictures of their projects, service, and congregation members which I share with our members. In the past five months we have sent them a YouTube link to our online video service a couple of times. Some of them have been able to watch these on the pastor's smartphone. They have responded very positively to the showing through return e-mail to us. - Jack Schlukebier, Salem Lutheran, West St. Paul
Sent to Ken Smith, St. Stephen in White Bear Lake, from Hubert Sariya, Agricultural Officer, Lukani:
No fear! Just give it a try. See what our SPAS congregations have to say:
We are in the process of establishing a Zoom meeting with the pastor (one of the few people with an iPhone). Don't know how this will come out but our first attempt will be this coming week. They have no electricity in the village but are able to charge their few devices thru solar power. We brought them the first solar charger a few years ago. - Jack Schlukebier, Salem Lutheran in West St. Paul
We were able to arrange a Zoom call yesterday morning (6 am!) with our partners from Bomalang’ombe and Vikongwa. On this call we had a chance to meet the new pastor at Vikongwa, and we met two students who are in Form III at Bomalang’ombe Secondary School, one student who is at the University of Dar es Salaam and a nurse whom we sponsored through Form IV and then for a nursing certificate. It was so wonderful to “see” everyone and I thought you’d be interested in hearing about the call. -Caryn Josephson, Prince of Peace in Roseville
As you can see, many wonderful connections are being made between partner congregations. Even in the time of COVID, we are able to feel closer through the advantages of technology! We encourage you to try one or all of these methods of communication so you and your congregation can feel together even as we are apart. Bwana Yesu Asifiwe!
Karen Sawyer Smith