2012 Vision Trip To Tanzania
June 20 – July 5, 2012
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38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John 7:38
You may have heard that Prince of Peace is beginning to expand our global outreach by developing ministry partnerships with Lutheran Christians in Tanzania. I am excited that Jack and Elaine Zimmer have signed on to be the first participants from Prince of Peace (along with our family) in the Vision Trip to Tanzania that I will be leading this June 20-July 5. Ten travelers will head out on a life changing adventure to east Africa.
I want to address one simple question…WHY?
For those who may not be inclined to read the entire article below, let me put it in a nutshell: It is one thing to hear that the vast majority of people in the impoverished country of Tanzania must live on about $1 a day. It is quite another to know some of those people personally, to share a meal with a family who may not eat tomorrow, to become friends, to stand in their village and hear about their child who was taken by malaria and in the next sentence about their vision of creating a trade school at their church to bring hope to the whole village.
By visiting our Lutheran brothers and sisters in Tanzania, we begin to gain an understanding of what life is like for our friends there, to see it with our own eyes, to worship in thatched-roofed churches, visit villages, hospitals, schools, and homes. We learn about the role of the church in the lives of the people. Worshiping together in their churches, we recognize that we truly are part of the same community of faith in Christ. We also experience the breathtaking beauty of their land and the wildlife it supports out on the vast Serengeti plains and deep in the Ngorongoro Crater.
We do not travel to Tanzania as missionaries. We do not step off the plane and set about building a church or a school as we may do on more service focused trips. Our Tanzanian friends know how to build. In fact, the members of the congregations built many of the churches in Tanzania from the ground up. We go to learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ, to pray and worship with them, to bring encouragement, support and love while humbly accepting their gracious African hospitality.
As we travel together, meet and talk with people, develop personal friendships, and see with our own eyes how others live and struggle to survive, all the while keeping the faith, our travelers will say over and over again, “I just had no idea!” Of course, you see the pictures and read the statistics, but actually knowing these people, and having them as friends, that’s very different.
Is It Good Stewardship?
Even though participants in our Vision Trips to Tanzania cover their own costs for the trip, often giving up vacations to make the journey, the question still arises: is this good stewardship? Would it not be better to take the cost of a Vision Trip and direct it to world hunger or some other global ministry? As a direct result of participating in one of the Tanzania Vision Trips I have led in the past decade, people have responded with profound generosity. Here is a sampling of what has been accomplished so far:
- We have provided the funds to help renovate Kikoro primary school, which serves 350 poor students and support for Kimangaro Lutheran church nearby.
- We have also been blessed to raise the funds to help build the Saint Matthew’s Home for AIDS orphans and provide for its ongoing operation.
- We have helped Nkweshoo Lutheran church establish a trade school and to put a wooden ceiling in the church.
- We helped Agape Lutheran Jr. Seminary dig a new well to provide fresh water to hundreds of students and villagers.
- The Africa Fund at Prince of Peace is now providing the funding to complete the construction of a new school, which will train social workers to provide long-term care and support to orphaned children placed with extended families after leaving the orphanage.
- We have provided scholarships to help young people become pastors and to attend school at every level.
This is only a tiny sampling of the ways individuals have been motivated to make a difference as the result of traveling with me to Tanzania. Would these things have been accomplished without people having the first hand experience of traveling to Tanzania? Maybe, but I doubt it.
In my former congregation, and in other congregations that have participated in these trips, lives have been changed. In learning to know fellow Lutherans who struggle daily just to survive, we discover that survival is first and foremost a matter of faith in the God who provides what we need. We learn that we, who are wealthy in the world, have been given these blessings by God as a trust, an inheritance, to be shared with those in need. We learn that this is God’s plan; this is how God intends the world to work! And we learn that we need these wonderful friends as much or more than they need us. That is stewardship. That is incarnational mission.
One does not have to travel all the way to East Africa to find such teachers. They are close by, in the inner cities, on the reservations, in the Appalachian Mountains, just across the border in Mexico, yes, even right here in Brooklyn Park. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” I would never have believed that this living water could flow so freely in a place as impoverished as Tanzania. It does, I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
You will be hearing more about this exciting new global ministry of Prince of Peace. God bless you as you consider the possibility of supporting this new outreach to Tanzania by participating in a Vision Trip or by contributing to the Africa Fund at Prince of Peace.
Your partner in ministry,
January 11, 2012
2012 Vision Trip To Tanzania
June 20 – July 5, 2012
One of the great joys of my ministry over the past decade has been to develop ministry partnerships with the Lutheran Church in Tanzania. I have been leading group trips to visit our Lutheran brothers and sisters in Christ in Tanzania for many years. Our Global Ministry Team and council leadership here at Prince of Peace have embraced the vision to expand our congregation’s outreach into this fascinating, beautiful and impoverished country in east Africa.
A “Vision Trip” is different from a “mission trip” in that our primary goal is not to build anything or to provide a service while visiting Tanzania, but instead to accept the gracious hospitality of our Lutheran partners there as they share with us how they live out their call to be the church in that incredible place. We will visit Lutheran schools, churches, hospitals and other places where the gospel is proclaimed and hope and healing are provided. That’s what POP Vision Trips to Tanzania are all about. The Tanzania Vision Trips are life-changing journeys full of wonder and adventure.
Those who have been blessed to participate in a Vision Trip toTanzaniaare never quite the same when they return and there are a number of members here at POP who have already experienced a life changing journey to Tanzania. An expanded vision of the role of the Lutheran church in the world, the profound experience of being so warmly welcomed by people who appear to have so little, lasting friendships established with folks who may live in mud huts or cement shacks on the other side of the world…these are just a few of the amazing blessings which linger long after the Vision Trip ends.
We also spend several days experiencing the breathtaking natural beauty of Africa and her wildlife out on safari in the vast Serengeti Plains and down in the sunken volcano known as the Ngorongoro Crater. Visitors to these natural wonders in Tanzania support one of the primary means of employment in this impoverished country where most people survive on an income of under $1 a day.
Prior to departing from my former congregation in Pennsylvania, I had already begun the planning process for the next Vision Trip to Tanzania. This Vision Trip will depart from Minneapolis on June 20th and return on July 5th. Our whole family will be joining several members from my former congregation on this journey. I would love to have other members of POP come along to see where God may develop new relationships and ministry partnerships between our congregation and our Lutheran brothers and sisters in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania.
I realize that the time is a bit short between now and the date of departure for most people to begin considering a trip of this magnitude. While my long established friendships and partnerships in Tanzania help me to keep the trip costs well below commercial tourist travel costs to Tanzania and even below other non-profit group trips, the cost of this kind of international travel is still significant. A generous financial contribution has already been made to the newly established “Africa Fund” at POP. In addition to supporting ministry and outreach in Tanzania, this fund will allow Vision Trip participants to spread out the payment of the trip costs over time if desired.
If you are interested in learning more about the Vision Trips to Tanzania and our vision for ministry and outreach in that country, just track me down by calling the church office.
Your partner in ministry,
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