May 11, 2011

MacPhersons Commissioned

“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” (1 Peter 4:10)

Surrounded by family, friends, and congregations supporting ministry in Tanzania, Tom and Susan MacPherson were commissioned by Joanne Carlson, Assistant to the Bishop for Global Vision, and Bishop Claire Burkat, to serve as volunteer missionaries at the Children’s Home in Irente, Tanzania.

“We did not wake up one morning and say to each other let’s be missionaries,” said Tom. “On the contrary, I was trying to plan for our future. I thought it was my responsibility for planning our future. I thought I was in control. Boy, was I wrong.”

He told of how a visit in 2008 to Tanzania with their home congregation, St. Johns Lutheran Church, Philadelphia changed their lives as they were touched by the depth of the people’s love for God.

“When you looked at their faces, you saw God in them,” he said. “When they shared what they had with us, again you saw God in them. The faith of the people was the pathway of their lives.”

Tom and Susan who have served as volunteers in an area hospital in a neo-natal unit and a home for medically fragile children realized that they were now being called to serve in the children’s home in Tanzania where they will be teaching English and general bookkeeping to health care workers.

Their journey to Tanzania is a joint mission of the congregations of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, the ELCA, and the North Eastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. The ELCA is providing them with a vehicle and health insurance. The Northeastern Diocese will give them a home and the ELCA and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod will share the cost of their training.

“We are going to Tanzania as ‘self-funded’ mission personnel, said Susan. “We will not receive any salary or stipend while there. We need to raise the service-related expenses for our two year stay. This includes food, water, electricity, gasoline, and propane. We are also required by the North Eastern Diocese to employ a housekeeper and a night watchman.”

Both Tom and Susan need financial support and offer themselves as resource people willing to speak at churches or with groups.

“Most importantly, we ask for your prayers for all persons serving the Lord through Global Missions throughout the world,” she said.

To support or schedule a visit from the MacPhersons contact Joanne Carlson at jcarlson@sepa.org or 267-323-3759.

– Rev. Sue Lang