A Pastoral Message at the Start of Lent 2021
One of my spiritual practices is to do a slow read of the Bible each day. In January I started reading[...]
In our last update, we introduced you to Ryan and Astine Bose, the volunteers who will be serving as our next program coordinators in Iringa. This week, we introduce you to another new member of the BKB Team, as well as the new procedures that will allow us to keep pursuing our common work remotely during the coming months.
As was shared at the BKB Fall Festival in November, Pastor Msigwa completed his service as BKB-DIRA Coordinator and began full-time studies remotely at Luther Seminary this fall. In mid-December, Bishop Gaville’s office named his successor: Pastor Jiskaka Lwila.
Pastor Lwila grew up in the Mlandege area of Iringa Town. Indeed, Mlandege Lutheran Church (partnered with Luther Memorial in South St. Paul) was his home congregation as a boy. Originally a secondary school teacher of mathematics and geography, education has been a through-line in his life of ministry as well. He pursued his Bachelor of Divinity at Tumaini-Makumira in Arusha, was ordained in 2014, has served as a parish pastor in Magulilwa (partnered with Amazing Grace in Inver Grove Heights) and Mkwawa (partnered with Incarnation in Shoreview), and was a chaplain for Mkwawa University and their University Students Christian Fellowship.
Since 2018, he has been on staff at the Diocese Head Office as Coordinator of Christian Education and TSCF (Tanzanian Students’ Christian Fellowship). In that role, his work has included coordinating and monitoring confirmation classes, teaching Christian faith in a variety of grade levels, training others as Christian educators, and organizing large gatherings for students and youth. As Pastor Lwila describes it, “This was a very good ministry for me because I enjoy working with youth a lot.”
This new call to coordinate BKB on the side of the Iringa Diocese came as something of a surprise. “I didn’t expect it at all,” he says, “but I believe that God planned this.” Accepting this call with great humbleness, Pastor Lwila believes that through teamwork on both sides and confidence in God’s promise, all things are possible. His hope for the partnership is simply this: that it will continue to grow stronger, “(especially) as we concentrate on the 3 Ps (prayer, presence, projects).”
Pastor Lwila and his wife, Mehida Andulile Ndasalama, live in Iringa and have a three-year-old son. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. Please join us in welcoming Pastor Lwila and his family to the BKB community!
In December, the Iringa Committee – in conversation with the Bishop’s Office and ELCA Global Mission – made the decision to hold off on deploying personnel to Tanzania until they’ve had a chance to be vaccinated. This means that neither Ryan and Astine nor I, as BKB Director, will be able to travel for another few months. Nevertheless, the life of the partnership rolls on.
Since returning from parental leave last week, I’ve been working overtime with leadership in Iringa to revise our behind-the-scenes procedures and shift the flow of work between Tanzania and the United States rather than between offices across the street. The goal is to resume our work while maintaining high levels of accountability across the partnership during this extended period of separation.
As new BKB team members settle into their roles and we lean into these new patterns of working at great distance, we request some patience as we get up to speed. Our focus for the next two months will be on scholarship payments and making sure that 1,100 secondary students receive the support that is promised to them. Once we’ve cleared those, we’ll be able to resume support of other congregational partnership projects. That said, if you and your partners have a large project ready for immediate launch, please contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can plan accordingly.
With all of this newness at hand, I also give thanks for the history of this partnership as well… for three decades of stories, hopes, visits, and projects that have been woven together to create such a beautiful – and durable – tapestry of relationship. We wouldn’t be who we are or where we are without all of you or those who’ve come before us.
In joy and gratitude,
The Rev. Peter Harrits, Director of BKB & Assistant to the Bishop