May 10, 2014

MacPhersons’ Say ‘Asante Sana’

Over and over again “Asante Sana” (“Thank You” in Swahili) was spoken by our Tanzanian missionaries, Susan and Tom MacPherson, as they called via Skype into the Assembly from East Africa. Calling from a classroom at the Irente Childrens’ Home with some young students who had not yet had their dinner and were up past their bedtimes, Tom and Susan thanked the Synod community for all the support that has been provided to their ministry there. “We really felt called here, and we never doubted the financial and spiritual support of SEPA for our work,” Tom said.

The MacPhersons and students on Skype.

The MacPhersons and students on Skype.

As shared by David Neale, Chairperson of the SEPA Tanzania Companionship Team, here are just a few examples from the long list of opportunities made possible through SEPA support:

  • 70 young women are learning English
  • 60 young children and 70 older youth have formed a relationship with “an older couple”
  • A young girl named Violet has had a successful operation for spina bifida
  • A truck made possible by the ELCA has provided much needed transportation “up and down the mountain”
  • Last year a young man was able to complete secondary school, finishing first in his class

The MacPhersons home church is St John’s, Mayfair (Philadelphia). They will be ending their three-year stay in Tanzania in November, and promise they will be with us in person at the 2015 Assembly. They hope that someone (or some ones) will feel called to serve in their place in Tanzania.

Bishop Burkat shared the happy news that Bishop Munga with other leaders from the Northeastern Diocese of Tanzania, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania will be with us in November, coming to the Bishop’s Convocation.

As the Skype session was nearing its end, the MacPhersons invited the Assembly to pray the Lord’s Prayer together with those in the Irente classroom. We prayed it phrase by phrase, first they in Swahili, then we in English. “Amen!” we said together. We ended our joint Skype time with the Irente children speaking a blessing over us, its English translation being projected for the Assembly: God Almighty full of mercy, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Bless and keep you. Amen And for this the Assembly, with some wet eyes, said “Asante Sana”, too!  — Irma Kelly

 

Updated May 15 to correct the location of the Skype call as Irente Children’s Home, and to clarify that the much needed truck was provided by the ELCA, not the Synod.